The Everest Region’s ultimate trekking expedition, the Three Passes Trek is just that, a trek that passes over 3 peaks; Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La. All three of these passes are remote, sitting at 5,388m, 5,380m and 5,535m high respectively. It is one of the most popular treks in the Nepalese Himalayas thanks to its spectacular scenery and pure adrenaline pumping adventure.
Here are a few top highlights of the Three Passes Trek:
1. The scenery is just magnificent, boasting panoramic views of the Himalayas, which gets better and better as you approach Everest Base Camp. Still, all of the scenery on this trek is phenomenal, with its rugged terrain, glaciers and deep rivers.
2. The Sherpa culture is dominate here and great to see. Sherpa are some of the friendliest people in the world and their hospitality is incredible. They are experts of the area, as most of them were born and raised here, and make for great guides. They are also extremely warm and welcoming, opening up their homes to the tens of thousands of trekkers that pass through the mountain villages each year while enjoying the Three Passes Trek.
3. The monasteries and stupas in the mountains are beautiful and adorned with colourful prayer flags. If you’re lucky, you may happen to be passing through during a Buddhist holiday and will get to hear and witness the monks praying and participating in holy rituals.
4. The Gokyo Lakes are the highest freshwater lakes in the world and are something truly spectacular. These oligotrophic lakes sit between 4,700 and 5,000 metres above sea level and are one of the reasons why many hikers chose to do the Three Passes Trek.
5. The Khumbu Glacier is also magnificent, sitting at 4,600 metres above sea level. Hikers pass through the glacier on the return from Everest Base Camp.
6. The memories will last a lifetime and make doing this 19-21 day trek worthwhile.
There are also a few things to remember when doing the Three Passes Trek, like;
1. It is a challenging hike and one that you should be prepared for. Some days you could trek for up to 7 hours, so being healthy and reasonably fit is a must. It is also important not to feel discouraged. Just have fun and enjoy the scenery.
2. Many hikers get altitude sickness, so be sure to prepare yourself by bringing along some Diamox.
3. Squatter toilets are the norm and are not always pleasant.
4. There are internet connections in most villages along the way, though they are painfully slow and expensive to use.
5. Doing the Three Passes Trek between January and March is not recommended.
It is very possible to do the Three Passes Trek independently, as the trail is easy to follow and there are villages along the way. Some people also do it on their own with a Sherpa, though the most popular way to do this hike is by organised tour. When booking a the Three Passes Trek through a tour group everything will be included, so you won’t really have to carry any money around or worry about where you are going to sleep. It also means that you will get to meet a group of other fun loving adventurists to enjoy the scenery with and will definitely make some lifelong friends.
Discover the stunning Gokyo Lakes in Nepal
Sitting at an altitude of between 4,700 and 5,000 metres above sea level, the Gokyo Lakes are a set of oligotrophic lakes in the Solukhumbu District of northeast Nepal. These 19 stunning lakes are the highest freshwater lakes in the world, with Thonak Lake being the largest at around 65 hectare.
The Gokyo Lakes is a popular destination that is seen while trekking to Everest Base Camp. It is also possible to do a trek just of the lakes and Gokyo Ri, as it is a shorter and less strenuous trek than heading to base camp. This trek takes around 14 days, and in addition to seeing these magnificent lakes you will also see Ngozumpa glacier, which is the largest glacier in Nepal.
Here are a few reasons to enjoy a Gokyo Lakes trek rather than do a full 18-21 day Everest Base Camp trek:
1. It is less stressful both mentally and physically, as the maximum altitude on this trek is 5,357 metres above sea level and the trek itself takes just 10 days to complete. This makes it great for people with time constraints or those that just want to explore the Gokyo valley.
2. It is a stunning trek that takes the same route as the Everest Base Camp trek, but then steers off at Sanasa and the follows Dudh Koshi River to Machhermo, where views of the lakes and the Ngozumpa glacier can be seen.
3. The views of Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu from the village of Gokyo are spectacular and something right out of an issue of National Geographic.
4. The culture and lifestyle of the Sherpa can really be seen on the Gokyo Lakes trek, with villages consisting of a few huts, some of which have been turned into guesthouses for trekkers passing through.
5. The experience will of course be an unforgettable one, with the spectacular scenery being imprinted in your mind for a lifetime.
The Gokyo Lakes trek can be done at any time of the year, though the most enjoyable time is in the fall and in the spring. This is when the temperatures are the most comfortable and the views are the best. Some people prefer to do this trek in the winter, as there is much less traffic, though it can get quite cold. The summer is a bit wet for enjoying the Gokyo Lakes trek, though it is a great time to see the rare flora in the region. Those combining the Gokyo Lakes trek with the Everest Base Camp trek should do the trek in the spring or in the fall.
When booking a Gokyo Lakes or Base Camp trek it is important to use a reputable company that has experience in dealing with travellers from all over the world. This ensures that you are comfortable and well taken care of so that you can really enjoy the experience. Trekking companies use porters and yaks to do all of the heavy carrying, putting less stress on you and your body. As well, all sleeping and eating arrangements will be taken care of, so all you need to do is hike, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the magnificent scenery.