Trekking Code: STE/ER/09
Trek duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Grade: Moderate to fairly challenging…But a trip that beckons the bold and the daring
Activity: Sightseeing and trekking
Starts and ends in: Kathmandu
Trek type: TH [teahouse lodges]
Accommodation: Hotel and teahouse lodges
Meals: Sumptuous hygienic meals provided on the trail
Maximum altitude: 5554m…when we reach the heights of Kalapathar for some mind-boggling views
Price per Person [Min. 2 PAX required]
This trek is all guts and glory to Everest Base Camp through the high passes of the Khumbu as we discover the homeland of the Sherpas on our way across the Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La with Climbs to the sublime peaks of Gokyo Ri and Kala Pathar for grandstand views of some of the highest mountains in the world…this is ‘The True Everest Trek – 3 High Passes’…as we rendezvous with the Himalayan giants in the great outback with a ridgeline less heralded but with more classic mountain beauty ever beheld anywhere on earth…
This high elevation circuit is a natural trailblazer with all the ingredients that sums up what the wilderness is all about. for those seeking high alpine adventure, this trip does a detour from the beaten path as we rip through Everest B. C., Kalapathar, Gokyo valley and its cobalt lakes and Gokyo Ri – epic vantage points where the landscapes are infinite and not seen anywhere else on the planet. What’s extraordinary about this venture is we tread the virgin path to Nangpa La valley, the exciting village of Marlung and the ancient monastery village of Thame that gives us the religious insights of a unique mountain culture that has survived for centuries. The added incentive is we tread world renowned legendary routes that stirred the imaginations of adventure seekers across the world as we cut across the three high passes of Kongma La at (5,535/18,159 ft), Cho La at (5420m/17,782ft) and the Renjo La at (5,340m/17,520ft). These blistering passes open up windows to some incredible landscapes that set our thoughts on fire.
Our trip to the Everest High Passes commences with an adrenaline mountain flight to Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla and then we begin our hike up through the characteristic route to the Sagarmatha National Park with a jolly walk by the banks of the mighty Dudh Koshi River.
We soon reach the summit of Kongma La, and make our way to Everest Base Camp, gasping at the scene of the Khumbu icefall which cascades from the Western Cwm. We next hike to the vantage point of Kalapatthar followed by the harsh climb through Cho La which brings us to the blue lakes at Gokyo. After soaking up the stirring views from the fifth lake and Gokyo Ri, we make a beeline for the stunning pass that’s Renjo La. After hanging around for a night in interesting Marlung we hike by a small part of the trail used for centuries by the Tibetan Traders via Nangpa La to reach quiet Thame. Following this historical route, we drop down to Lukla and hop our flight back to Kathmandu leaving behind our foot marks in the ebbing light of the Khumbu.
Life can be truly interesting on a compelling trip of this kind, because as tough as it gets in the course of your journey, in the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.
Arrive in Kathmandu at Tribhuwan International Airport
Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Flight to Lukla & Trek to Phading [2656m]
Trek to Namche [3450m]
Rest day in Namche
Trek to Tengboche [3860m]
Trek to Dingboche [4360m]
Trek to Chhukung [4750m]
Rest in Chhukung
Trek to Kongma La [5535m] – Lobuche [4940m]
Trek to Gorakshep [5170m] – Everest B. C. [5364m] - Gorakshep
Trek to Kalapathar [5554m] - Lobuche
Trek to Dzongla [4830m]
Trek to Cho La [5368m] – Thagnak [4680m] – Gokyo [4800m]
Rest day in Gokyo – Gokyo Ri [5357m]
Trek to Renjo La [5360m] – Marlung [4210m]
Trek to Namche Bazaar
Trek to Lukla
Fly to Kathmandu
Departure for home
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
You arrive in Kathmandu and our representative will be on standby with our office vehicle to transfer you to your hotel. A pre-trek briefing will be scheduled to discuss the trekking program and co-ordinate any last-minute arrangements. Your can refresh your self, go for a walk down the street to get familiar with your surroundings before preparing for a tasty dinner of a local Nepalese cuisine which you will truly enjoy accompanied by a cultural dance performed by the local belles. Your first overnight in the city of temples, probably the most in the world. Meals included: 1 welcome dinner
Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing
Today we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. This will include a visit to the Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world. We also visit Pashupatinath, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River and home to the most famous Hindu temple in the country. Here we will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) and pilgrims performing ritual bathing, and occasionally, funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The cremation site here is used by the royal family and also for the simple man living next door. Your early afternoon will be free to relax in the hotel garden or visit Thamel for some curious shopping. You will be given your trek departure information in the afternoon. Meals included: 1 breakfast
Day 3: Kathmandu - Lukla - Phakding [2652m] - 3 hour Trekking
After an early morning b/fast, we take the super flight from Kathmandu to Lukla at 2827m. Flight time is about 35 minutes to the airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing we will have time to explore the village while the Sherpa crew sort out and load the trekking equipment. In the afternoon, we begin the trek by descending towards the Dudh Kosi River, where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, just above Chaurikharka at 2713m. The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat at 2550m, it’s a short walk to Phakding where we’ll stay overnight.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 4: Trek to Namche [3450m] – hiking time approx 5 hrs
From Phakding, we cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment. We then take a steep hike to Namche. If the weather is clear, we get the first glimpse of Mt Everest. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market - a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 5: Namche Bazaar Acclimatization
We remain at Namche for a second night to allow for proper acclimatisation to the altitude. Namche is a prosperous village, situated in a large protected hollow. It gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Today a limited amount of trade exists at Namche and Tibetans are often seen in the village trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat.
It is recommended that you take the opportunity to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the National Park Headquarters above the village. The view is stunning and offers a superb panorama of the Khumbu peaks with great views of Everest. After breakfast, there are a number of options: perhaps a walk towards Thame (3810m) above the beautiful Bhote Khola river valley, or a visit to the National Park Headquarters to see the interesting displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture. There is also a mountaineering display and details of the park’s flora and fauna. Your guides will be on hand to offer advice and escort you on your walks. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 6: Trek to Tengboche [3867m] hiking time approx 5 hrs
From Namche, the trail contours on to the side of the valley, high above the Dudh Kosi. We get our first really good views of the great peaks of the Khumbu including Mt Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Passing by several villages and numerous tea shops, we descend steeply to a bridge over the river at Phunki Tenga. The village is an ideal stopover for lunch. Here we can rest before making the steep climb to Tengboche. Although the hike up the zigzag path is tiring, it presents us with many beautiful sights of rhododendron bushes with beautiful birds and superb mountain scenery. Tengboche is famous for its legendary monastery, the largest in the Khumbu. A spectacular panorama of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam rising in the horizon can be seen from the campsite. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 7: Trek to Dingboche [4350m] – 5-6 hrs
It’s from this point where the walk is fairly reasonable as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley gradually unfolds as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. We descend into the river and begin the climb up to Dingboche. On arrival at Dingboche, we are greeted by a fine-looking array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold wind and grazing animals. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 8: Trek to Chhukhung [4750m] – 3-4 hrs
Dingboche is a known summer settlement and hereabouts, the great peaks of Ama Dablam, the ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse, Tawache and Cholatse engulf us all around. We begin today’s trek to Chhukung by walking through stone walled fields and the Imja Khola valley before hiking across glacier moraines. As we hike the paths, we are surrounded by the Lhotse and Ama Dablam mountains. Later, beyond Bibre village we see Island Peak towering above us. The trail ahead is criss-crossed by icy streams. We reach Chhukung, a small settlement, in about half an hour from Bibre. From this point, directly across the valley are the incredible Ama Dablam and the Amphu Labtsa mountains. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 9: Rest Day in Chhukung
Trekking buffs strongly advise some acclimatization in Chhukung before getting through the Kongma La pass. However, we shouldn’t remain idle. The sights from Chhukung and further up the valley on the moraines towards Island Peak (6189 m) is simply marvelous. We grab this opportunity to climb the Chhukung Ri or climb to the base camp of Island Peak. The mighty south face of Lhotse towers above to the north, while Amphu Lapcha a (5780m pass) and the immense fluted ice walls that flank it dominate the horizon to the south. To the southwest, the eastern face of Ama Dablam provides an exceptional view of this quaint peak. We bunk out at Chhukung for the night. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 10: Chhukung - Kongma La [5535m] - Lobuche [4940m] - 6 - 7 hrs
We hit the trail at daybreak, probably before the birds get up. We need to cut through the highest pass today. We carry a lot of water and some snacks and a packed lunch as there are no teashops on the way. We truly relish this far-flung area and the raw wildness of nature!! We can select to go via any of the possible trails - either taking a climb over the hill northwest of Chhukung over the moraine of the Nuptse Glacier or we could hike back down the valley to Bibre and follow a high trail above the Niyang Khola. Just after some brief hiking we encounter master views of Island peak valley and the craggy ridge of Amphu Lapcha. Ascending along the east side of Niyang Khola valley, we turn west and walk through the sloppy rocky trails. We enter a wide basin dotted with small frozen lakes. The trail rises over loose scree gaining the Kongma La which takes about five hours after leaving Chhukung. Upon reaching the top, we encounter cairns wrapped in prayer flags, marks of the pass. Behind us is the landscape of icy lakes ahead down of which is the Khumbu Glacier. The final descent is the most difficult point of the trek today. Upon climbing the moraine on the far side, the trail turns north through Khumbu Glacier which brings us to Lobuche. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 11: Trek to Gorak Shep [5170m] - Everest Base Camp [5364m] - Gorak Shep - 8 - 9 hrs
The blazing trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier as we hike past a pyramid sign post. A little further down the trail we see the crest of the north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mahalangur, Lingtern, Khumbutse, Nuptse, etc. A small ascent takes us to Thangma Riju from where we identify 360 degree panoramas of snowy mountains. Climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of Changri glacier, we behold our first glimpse of Kala Pathar, a grey-green hummock beneath Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we are surrounded by snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the globe – Mt. Everest. After a lunch halt and some rest, we take the trail to Everest B. C. through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Moving straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers' memorial. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night's rest. However, the sunset view from Kala Pathar is more worthy than the sunrise view. For those trekkers who wish to carry on, our guides and Sherpas will synchronize a hike to Kala Pathar for marvelous sunset views today rather than waiting for the next day. It’s an overnight in Gorak Shep
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 12: Trek to Kala Pathar [5545m] - Lobuche [4940m] - 8 - 9 hrs
Today is the zenith of our journey. We start at early dawn to glimpse the vivid views from Kala Pathar witnessing the first light of day glowing on Mt. Everest. However, we need to get prepared for early morning departures of dark and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C) beforehand. Further, we need to brace for chilly winds which are quite common hereabouts. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Pathar we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of ascent, we will be at Kala Pathar. From this stage, we scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags. As we reach the top, we sit on the Kala Patthar where our eyes feast on the mind-boggling Himalayan Panorama, wandering from one mighty massif to another. Our video cams go on overdrive and take in views with memories to last a lifetime. On getting back to Lobuche, we have breakfast and wait for our friends to return back. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 13: Trek to Dzongla [4830m] - 3 - 4 hrs
Trek today is very short compared to previous or next days walk. The path to Dzongla branches off from the main trail some distance from Lobuche. After crossing a stream we come through a fork and later curving round to the wide gravelly river bed of the stream. As it flows southwestward, the trail runs across it and climbs the ridge ahead. From the grassy ridge ahead, as the trail runs across to southeast from where we can see soaring heights of Ama Dablam and Kangtega-Thamserku while Taboche looms prominently ahead. Pheriche village is visible down in the distance. We will also have visibility of mound in Chukpi Lhara and its memorials and the lodges of Dugla. As the ridge veers northward, the vast Chola Lake spreads below Mt. Cholatse. The lake stays with us over a long stretch until we descend to a wide basin. The trail climbs up a spur and descends steeply to another broad basin. After an hour walk transverse from the basin and shortly after crossing a wobbly bridge, we reach Dzongla. We spend the night in one of the local lodges at Dzongla (only very basic lodges are available at Dzongla). Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 14: Trek to Cho La [5368m] -Thagnak [4680m] - Gokyo [4800m] - 7 - 8 hrs
We set out early in the morning from our lodge; we will be greeted by the exciting sight of Cholatse looming over. Today is going to be one grueling day of our venture. The walk begins as we transverse through a spur extending westward from Dzongla. The route descends to a basin across which winds a whispering stream crusted with ice at places. In about an hour, we reach the top of the basin primed for our conquering of the Cho La. As we gain height, the view back gets increasingly more captivating; the Chola Lake begins to appear and the Ama Dablam in its pyramidal manifestation presides over a range of mountains on the south as Cholatse rises on the west. Climbing the incline is not easy; it is steep, but made worse by boulders over some of which we will have to scramble. We need to be alert as rocks can be glazed by ice. The final climb to the Cho La can be a little tricky as the trail curves round the bergschrund. Upon reaching the top, we see prayer flags, strung across cairns, flapping in the strong wind. Scenery of majestic peaks in all directions is breathtaking. Although long, the path leading down to Thangnak can be easily made out from the pass because it is just decent but can be hazardous if rocks are glazed by ice, a bit of cautiousness is needed. We reach Thangnak, a rather more substantial hamlet with a small village. Stepping out of the settlement, we are greeted by fabulous mountain views.
The trail brings us to the Ngozumpa glacier edge after short walk, which is longest glacier in Nepal. Reaching the other side of the glacier, we get view of the second of the Gokyo lakes on the series of six lakes. A short distance away is the third Gokyo Lake. On the edge of this lake stands Gokyo Village where we finally rest our weary bodies. We crash out at Gokyo for the night
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 15: Rest day - Ascent of Gokyo Ri [5483m]
Gokyo Ri peak stands like a guard above the village on the northern edge of the lake and we march out of camp at the first crowing of the cock-birds at the break of dawn, following a steep path up the hillside. As we go up, the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu slowly come into sight and the views from the summit of Gokyo Ri itself, is said to be one of the greatest in the Everest region – many say it is even far better than that from Kala Pathar. Should you feel energetic enough, the landscapes are even more to be enjoyed by falling back to the main route and following it north to the fourth and fifth of the Gokyo lakes, the latter being about three hours from proper Gokyo. We stay the night in Gokyo one more time. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 16: Gokyo - Renjo La [5360m] - Marlung [4210m] - 7 - 8 hrs
We got to start at the break of dawn as we have to outline our trail up to Marlung after the capture of Renjo La. As we don’t have an option to Marlung for overnight today, we need to start early. Down from the Gokyo Valley, we leave the main trail and turn to Renjo La trail by Dudh Pokhari. After about 3 hours, we gain the Renjo La where an amazing vista awaits. The Everest itself, Lhotse, Cholatse and Taboche can be seen gleaming in the sun. Views from Renjo La are much like that from Gokyo Ri with third Gokyo Lake and Gokyo Village beneath the gray smear of Ngozumpa Glacier. Continuing on from the pass, the trail winds down a stone staircase and then scramble over loose scree to reach the south bank of a small lake, Angladumba Tsho. The presence of ice on the trail while descending down can make our descent a bit hazardous. Along the way we see Relama Tsho and Renjo Lake. However, we walk down through narrow valley clogged with giant boulders to Lumde where there is a support Lodge but it can be closed often. We walk almost for an hour from Lumde to get to Marlung on the east bank of the Bhote Kosi. And this is where we spend the night. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 17: Trek to Namche [3450m] hiking time approx 4-5 hrs
We continue to follow the river and, after crossing it, climb back up through birch and rhododendron forest to Tengboche. Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku are just a few of the Himalayan giants to be seen. From Tengboche we descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi. At Phunki Tenga, we get to see the water driven prayer wheels, before making our way back to Namche for the night.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 18: Namche Bazaar-Lukla [2,800m] - 6/8 hrs
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to hike at a controlled pace as our wobbling legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries the trail gets flatter and usual. By this day we begin to feel better with the light breeze. Our sore throats and flu will be gone by today as we pass through this pleasant mountain air. Although we hike the same path down, we feel something different with the landscapes we see. We take a combo of pictures that include open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance snow covered peaks. We walk through the Sherpa villages' we observe the deep faith in Buddhism and the culture of prayer stones and prayers flag while we walk through the villages. On arrival in Lukla, we stretch those aching legs and reflect on the experiences of the last couple of weeks. We experience the conclusion of a fantastic trek on a merry note with everyone back safe and sound with happy faces! We bunk out in Lukla. Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner with tea/coffee
Day 19: Fly to Kathmandu
We pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Kathmandu. On touchdown, the rest of your day is free to do your own things. You could do some last minute shopping and packing, or send a few post cards home or even go down for a stroll to Thamel, an internationally known hub for tourists in Asia. Overnight at our hotel in Kathmandu
Day 20: Depart Kathmandu for home sweet home – So long, friends!
Our office support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc - please don't hesitate to let us know). We would be glad to help you. Thank you for doing this venture with us and it's been wonderful knowing you over the weeks. Please do stay in touch in the months ahead. Bon Voyage & take care!!!
Please Note: that although we will go the lengths to follow the itinerary given above, at times local trails or unpredictable weather patterns may necessitate slight changes if necessary. The trekking itinerary may also sometimes vary slightly depending on our trekkers' acclimatization rates. This adventure goes into wild territory above the timberline, so we seek to request maximum flexibility if and when required for the success and safety of your trip and your life.
A ‘TH [Teahouse Lodge] is a term used for sleeping in teahouse lodges on the trails. These teahouses are pretty basic but provide all the comforts that you would expect when hiking in remote conditions, they are cosy and warm – you’d like the homely environment. We crash out in single rooms wherever available, but often times we sometimes have to adapt to sleeping out in dormitory type rooms for a night. Generally, it’s just a bed with a pillow and blankets. It’s a matter of choice, if you want, you bring your own ‘Air pillow’ and freak out anyways, this is adventure in the wild…the rougher it gets the better. We accommodate our trek groups in local lodges available each day. Our porters hike ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please note, that some of them are very basic and a spirit of adventure is the call of the day. It is cheaper to stay in lodges rather than organizing a camping trek.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3-4-5 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection with this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website. Accommodation is never a problem, the choice exclusively yours.
At ‘Incentive Holidays’ – its zero tolerance on cutting of cost when it comes down to feeding our trekking guests, because we know how tough it is on the trails; we ensure that the lodges provide three tasty, bountiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast is ‘king size’ [the first meal of the day] consisting of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereals followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a lengthy gritty day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes completed with a simple dessert. Don’t be surprised if the delectable ‘apple pie’ lands on your plate, it’s literally ‘yummy’’, even better than the ones you come across in Thamel.
Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. The lodges always use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The local trek leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with focus on personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain extremely high standards of health over many years of planning treks - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for. ‘Gluttony is a sin’ but there are no restrictions on the grub we serve to our guests on the mountains; we leave it up to our trekking guests who are the best judge of their own appetites…Bon Appétit!!
Price per person [Min. 2 PAX required]
Budget : $1738
Standard : $1901
Deluxe : $2112
- 3N Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis at KTM
- 16N accommodation on Tea Houses/Lodges in the trail
- One English speaking guide
- Porter (1Porter for 2Pax)
- 3 meals (Breakfast, Lunch & dinner) during Trekking
- Welcome dinner at Kathmandu
- National park fees
- Airport pick up and drop (international & domestic)
- All ground transfer as per itinerary
- KTM-LUK-KTM Domestic air tickets
- Daily Meals (Lunch & Dinner) during Kathmandu
- Tips to Guide & Driver
- Bar Expense
- Telephone, Laundry and Internet
- Personnel Insurance
- Emergency Evacuation
- All other personal expenses
- Nepal Visa Fee
The best time to visit for a trip of this kind would be in the Spring and Autumn. It is wonderful during this time of the year when an overall beauties of the landscapes found in these trips are so distinct & stunning, due to clear weather pattern & sunny blue skies. Our program could be changed to accommodate individual group choices and preferences in order to give you proper holidays that become signature ventures for a lifetime.