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Everest Base Camp (3 Passes Trek)


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Everest base camp 3 passes trek (Kongma La, Cho La & Renjo La) 

 

It’s been a week since I came back from 3 passes trek in Nepal. The trek has been on my mind for long. I took some time off and completed this trek. 

My mind is blown with the grand views of many 8000ers & 7000ers on this trek along with lakes, evening colors, glacier crossings, tea house setup, permissions, facilities and more. 
It was like taking a walk in the museum of all these grand peaks for the entire duration of the trek. 
People of this national park have curated many great trails in the same region which attracts people in huge numbers to trek either independently or with an agency. 
It’s easy to trek independently. Getting a guide is NO compulsion.

3 passes is a circuit trek and could be done from either sides. I took the traditional route Namche-Kongma la-chola-renjo la-namche. 
I will show you all a glimpse of my journey through some of the many pics that I clicked. Curious people, plz ask questions.
 

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Lukla (9700ft) - Entrance to the valley by flight. You can trek for 3 days to reach here but if you limited time then take a flight.  There are back to back flights till 12 noon. One of the most busiest chotu airport that i have seen.  Surprisingly, airlines transport a lot of beer too. People consume a lot on this trek.

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Permission in Lukla- Very easy to get permit. Slightly cheaper for Indians (1500Nrs) for the entire trek irrespective of which trek.  They issue a punch card which has 3 machines on the trail to track your movement. They are trying this method.   2nd permit you get from Monjo.

 

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On the way to Namche.  From Lukla you descend down and cross a lot of pretty villages/tea houses on the way.  Doodh kosi is the river.

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Stayed in Phakding. Love how aesthetically appealing these houses are. Very neat, cozy and colorful. Michael (owner) was very welcoming. 

 

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On the way to Namche. To reach Namche is also challenging. Very good ascent from the river bed.

 

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All tea houses have fields next to it. They get green veggies straight from their fields to your plate. Even at 15000 ft they are growing veggies.  This one is from Monjo.

 

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2nd permit @ Monjo. 1500 Nrs They just need voter ID or adhar. Passport is mandatory only for foreigners.

 

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Crossed a number of suspension bridges on the way. My god they shake a lot but very solid. Even yaks cross this with very heavy load.

 

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One before moving out of Namche. Btw, you get all trek essential gears here. I got a second hand jacket for a great prize. Also, you have really amazing cafes as well. Must take an acclimatization day here. 

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One of the best options to have. Dal bhat Best bcoz you can get more servings. Per plate it is 450-1100 NRs. Price goes high with altitude

 

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Tenboche: after a breath taking 2000ft climb. Valley welcomes you with the grand view of Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest summit. On my left is the famous Monastery of Tengboche.  People mostly stop here to get blessings and then continue. Evening view is mind blowing from here

 

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Ama dablam can be seen from various points for good 5 days. It’s one beautiful looking mountain and means Mother’s necklace (if i’m not wrong)

 

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Went to Ama Dablam base camp from Pangboche. It was like a town with fixed mountaineering camps. Many climbers were climbing the peak. It's a huge base camp.

They had all the possible facilities available at that altitude. I visited one of the teams as well.  Went to the kitchen and dining area as well.

 

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Evening at Chukung. Alpenglow on Lhotse It was a grand view at 15600 ft. 

Evening colors are just amazing during this time of the year (I did it in November). 

 

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Kongma la at 18161 ft. It was the highes and most challenging pass of this trek.  My god what a long trail to the pass. Also, you don’t get to see the pass till the end. It has a couple of steep climbs which literally takes your breath away.   This day was the most humbling day. Majority of the time I was hiking alone and the first 2 people I met, I thanked them for being there. Then I met many more people including a family with their 4 year old toddler.

The view was also breathtaking  Rear side of Ama Dablam, island peak, Mt. Lhotse & Nuptse.

 

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The descend was equally challenging but short. The last hiccup was to cross the kumbhu glacier to reach Lobuche. It’s not hard but one must know the right spot to cross and before it gets cloudy otherwise it can get tricky to cross it.  The peak in the backdrop is Cholatse.

 

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Dining hall in Lobuche @16100 ft. All the dining place has this hearer which runs on yak’s dung. They use it warm water (see pic) simultaneously. The chimney helps it to keep it smog free inside.  You will find no yak dung anywhere. Everything is consumed here.  Amazing place to share and listen to stories. Made a lot of random conversations . 

 

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EBC & kumbhu icefall in the backdrop. If you zoom in you will see the entire icefall which climbers climb in the night. And one of the most dangerous sections on Everest. I found icefall to be the most exciting part of this day. 

 

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EBC. It Was heavily crowded. Helicopters were going like uber service here. Skipped kala pathar.  Loved kumbhu icefall. Also it was hard to imagine how people camp here during climbing season.  It’s all glacier and nothing else. 

 

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From Lobuche , i trekked to Dzongla. This is my favorite campsite on the entire trail.  Very quiet, small place. Amazing view of Mt. Cholatse. And this lake is also near by.

 

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A french guy was using this filter. Available on amazon and can be fixed on any regular bottle (as seen here)  Not very expensive i guess. Do check it out. 

 

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Dzongla tea house with Cholatse in the backdrop. This was the coldest camp but this view in the night didn't let me sleep. I kept looking at the mountain and managed to get a couple of night shots. 

 

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Next day was chola pass crossing. It was very underwhelming  I was freaking out thinking about the glacier. It was a very well marked trail with poles on the glacier to not get diverted.  It took 2 hours to reach the pass.   Or I think it felt easier after crossing Kongma la. Many people were crossing it as it connects to main everest & gokyo trail. I used spikes on this glacier.

 

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People crossing the glacier

 

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Chola pass

 

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This is the most crowded pass among the three passes as it connects EBC and Gokyo. 

 

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BTW between Dragnag and Gokyo Camp, I had to cross the biggest glacier (ngozumpa glacier) of Kumbhu valley. It was almost 3 km in breadth. Took more than an hour to cross.   One can easily loose trail here if not experienced. The trail keeps changing as the ice melts. And in the end it has a decent rockfall section like tapovan.  So one has to keep a check while climbing.  Right after this you reach Gokyo. The other side is dragnag camp.

 

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After chola & glacier crossing i was exhausted but this view got all the energy back and i was all set to go for Go kyo ri.

 

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But before that. My last high altitude tea house It was literally a resort. Looked very expensive but it wasn’t

 

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On the way to Gokyo Ri. Another 2000 ft climb from Gokyo

 

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A guy enjoying the view of everest. Pretty lenticular cloud on everest and the glacier down there, which I crossed in the afternoon.

 

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One of the most beautiful & scenic evenings of my life. I was so confused where to look. All sides were mind blowing.

 

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Closer view of Everest

 

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After sunset, moon rise with an eclipse. This was one in a million day for me. What luck!! 
Seeing alpenglow on Mt. Everest from 17600 ft and then Lunar eclipse. Couldn't ask for more.  

 

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Thodi der baad. It kept changing colors every few minutes.  I lost track of time & space.

 

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Descended down in the dark. And then this warm place was waiting.  It was one of the longest day. I ate & crashed after my meal.

 

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Room was very nice here. 1000 Nrs/night

 

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Night check before sleeping. 

 

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Woke up to see sunrise on Mt. Cho oyu (6th highest peak)

 

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Next day was the last pass crossing day and another very long day. When turned around while climbing to renjo pass, i got the best view of Everest along with Gokyo lake.  It was a good bye view. 

 

 

Edited by Dushyant Sharma
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Wow this is sooo beautiful!! these views are almost like a surreal dream.... Visually pleasing and adventurous..  Thank you for sharing this!! It seems the trail is less crowded...  Is it safe for women to trek around this time in November.

Most places are have these wide-open lands.. rocky and dry .. are they windy? How is the cold dry weather feel like? 

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@pranaviThank you 🙂
Also, the trek is absolutely safe for women. In fact I met a couple of solo women trekking 3 passes trail. Oct-Nov is a brilliant time to go for this trek. 

It was cold but November month is mostly sunny. So trekking during the day was very pleasant. Evenings were exceptionally cold but then you mostly sit in the dining hall which is warm. So it was comfortable.

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