This challenging trek encompasses all the very best that the Everest region has to offer. Gokyo Ri, Cho La Pass and Kala Patthar, are the three most astounding viewpoints in the Everest region. This trek takes you to Everest Base Camp Trek via the Gokyo Lakes and Cho La Pass, going up Kala Patthar for the most spectacular views of Everest.
You climb gradually to avoid the problems that high altitude can bring. You will have days to acclimatize in Namche Bazaar and have short days walking as you steadily gain altitude. Along the way, you have time not only to take in the incredible landscape but to see the villages and way of life in this fascinating area of the Himalayas.
Trek grade: This is a strenuous Grade 4 trek. The trails are not difficult but you climb to an altitude of 5360m Gokyo Ri, 5420m at Cho La, 5380m at Everest Base Camp and 5644m at Kala Patthar. You should be fit and be well prepared for this trek.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan|
|Day 3||Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)|
|Day 4||Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)|
|Day 5||Acclimatization day – hike to Thame|
|Day 6||Phortse Tenga (3700m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 7||Lhabarma (4330m, 2 hrs)|
|Day 8||Trek to Machhermo (4470m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 9||Trek to Gokyo (4800m, 4-5 hrs)|
|Day 10||Trek to Gokyo Ri (5420m), trek to Tangnak (4700m, 6 hrs)|
|Day 11||Trek over Cho La (5420m) and trek to Dzongla (4830m, 7 hrs)|
|Day 12||Trek to Lobuche (4930m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 13||Trek to Kala Patthar (5545m) and return to Lobuche (4900m, 8 hrs)|
|Day 14||Trek to Dingboche (4400m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 15||Rest day (Chhukung Valley)|
|Day 16||Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 3 hrs)|
|Day 17||Trek to Namche Bazaar (3450m, 5 hrs)|
|Day 18||Trek to Phakding (2600m, 4 hrs)|
|Day 19||Trek to Lukla (2800m, 4 hrs)|
|Day 20||Fly to Kathmandu (1300m, 30 minutes)|
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condMore...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wake-up call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included in your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead, you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant, a water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. The lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport are on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed, experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as the US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoint’s to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passed through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between, about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in the mountains is notoriously changeable, so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan
The day is spent visiting some of the major World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu. More…
You will have plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for your trek and check that you have everything you need. You might want to visit Thamel, the tourist hub of Nepal where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax, there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food, however, unless you have a very strong stomach. It is recommended that you have an early night as you will have an early start in the morning.
Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)
After an early morning wakeup call, you should dress to be ready for trekking. The domestic terminal of the airport is only 10-15 minutes’ drive from the hotel and you will have plenty of time to eat your packed breakfast before boarding the plane. Flying to Lukla on the small Dornier/Twin Otter plane, the flight takes about half an hour. It is a once in a lifetime flight during which, weather permitting, there are many opportunities to see the mighty Himalayas before landing in one of the most exciting airports of the world, Lukla airport, also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport.
At the airport, you are met by our team of sherpas who welcome us. You take a short break while the porters sort out your baggage that they will be carrying on a trek. To ensure that no one is overloaded, we do not allow any of our sherpas to carry more than 15kg. While on the trail, you will see many porters carrying three or four times this, sometimes even more.
To break you in gently, the first day of the trek involves just three to four hours walking, mostly downhill first to Thado Koshi (about 2 hours), before gently climbing again to Phakding where we stop for lunch and have the afternoon free. If you want to explore further, you can visit Rimijung Monastery that is about an hour up the hillside from Phakding village.
Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)
Today is more challenging as most of the day is uphill. With several opportunities to cross high suspension bridges across the rivers, you pass village settlements and at Benkar, you are welcomed by a view of the gigantic Mt. Thamserku dominating the horizon. You pass mani walls and Buddhist shrines along the way to the Sagarmatha National Park entry gate. The national park was established in 1976 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Here your permits are checked before you continue your way up to Namche Bazaar, the Gateway to Everest Base Camp and ‘capital’ of the famous Sherpas.
Namche Bazaar was originally a trading post but is now a tourist hub where expeditions to the Everest area start. As the first point on the Khumbu trek that is above altitude sickness threshold, this is a good place to spend some time to acclimatize.
Acclimatization day – hike to Thame
An acclimatization day allows for an excursion to Thame. Intricately carved mani stones mark the path to this village with a picturesque gompa on the hillside overlooking the valley.
Phortse Tenga (3700m, 3 hrs)
Leaving Namche Bazaar, the trail is very easy and chortens mark your way. You can see the twin peaks of Thamserku soaring up to the east. Here the legend of the yeti is alive and well and you can see in Khumjung’s red-walled gompa a yeti-scalp that has been preserved here. A large chorten marks the top of the ridge descending from Khumbila (5,761m), the abode of the patron god of the Khumbu region. The nearby settlement is said to be the birthplace of the lama who introduced Buddhism to the area. You descend to the beautiful little village of Phortse Tenga that sits on the banks of the Dudh Kosi.
Lhabarma (4330m, 2 hrs)
On your second short day to reach Machhermo, you start with a stiff climb of for about 40 minutes before the trail levels out and affords great views of the valleys on all sides. From here, you trek down to Dole where you might want to stop for a break. From Dole, you hike back up on to the ridge (which can be windy) to go to Lhabarma.
It is a very short day, but essential to help acclimatization. You have plenty of time to take it easy and enjoy the marvellous views. Your trail passes through summer yak pastures and small settlements as it follows the valley side, far above the river.
Trek to Machhermo (4470m, 3 hrs)
Another very short day, you continue up to Machhermo that has a fantastic setting with superb mountain and valley views. This small village is where the most credible yeti incident in the Khumbu region occurred. It was here in 1974 that a yeti was alleged to have killed three yaks and attacked a Sherpa woman!
At Machhermo there is a health post where doctors provide information about the risks of high altitude sickness (the majority of their patients are generally porters).
Trek to Gokyo (4800m, 4-5 hrs)
A steep climb leads up the moraine of the Ngozumba Glacier, the largest glacier in Nepal, past small lakes to the tiny kharka of Gokyo. Though strenuous, today is a rewarding day of trekking. You start with a steep climb up to the ridge above Machhermo, where you will get great views looking back towards Kantega and good views in front of you towards Cho Oyu. The trail levels as you pass Pangka and Nilibuk, and then you start to climb again, along with a narrow staircase trail to a small bridge that takes you to the first of the five lakes at Gokyo. The trail is flat but the 4700m altitude slows you down. After you pass the second lake you eventually reach Gokyo itself, which is located beside the much larger third lake. If you still have the energy, you might like to take a short walk up onto the ridge that overlooks Ngozumba Glacier.
Trek to Gokyo Ri (5420m), trek to Tangnak (4700m, 6 hrs)
An early start, it takes about 45 minutes to reach the top of Gokyo Ri (5360m), one of the highlights of your trek. The view is every bit as impressive as that from Kala Pattar, near Everest Base Camp. Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cholatse and Tawachee are all visible, the tremendous ice ridge between Cho Oyu, Ngojumba I and II and Gyachung Kang is one of the most dramatic sights of the Khumbu region – resembling a folding screen of ice, snow and rock. Below are the Ngojumba Glacier and serene glacial lakes.
Returning to Gokyo, you then set off for Tangnak. Your trail starts by climbing to the crest of the moraine that overlooks the Ngozumbo Glacier. Your route across the glacier is well marked with cairns but you need to take care as the path is narrow and can be icy. The trail goes up and down as you go to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley. You stay the night at Tangnak (4,700m) that is at the foot of the Cho La Pass.
Trek over Cho La (5420m) and trek to Dzongla (4830m, 7 hrs)
Another early start as you have a long day today. This is one of the most challenging days of your trek as Cho La is one of the high passes of this region and it can be slippery due to ice along the route. Climbing about 45 minutes up to a col, you see Cho La in the distance. It is steep climbing, especially for the last two hour until you reach the top of the pass. Take it slowly and steadily as in some places the trail is quite narrow. Be careful as rocks can sometimes fall down from the top. The top of the pass is decorated by prayer flags. The trail at the top of the pass is very narrow making it quite hard to walk but as you continue from here you will have new views of the valley and villages as you head downhill.
Take care on the descent as it is steep and you cross a small glacier (usually snow covered) which is fairly straightforward. After scrambling down onto the glacier, you follow a trail down a rocky gully to pastures below. The trail becomes more defined as you approach Dzongla.
Trek to Lobuche (4930m, 3 hrs)
This is a much easier day as you continue your descent. A short ascent brings you to the foot of Awi Peak, which you contour round on a wonderful high trail that offers great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. You eventually descend to join the main trail again just below Lobuche. From Lobuche, the view straight towards Nuptse and the sunset are truly magnificent.
Trek to Kala Patthar (5545m) and return to Lobuche (4900m, 8 hrs)
Altitude makes the climb onto the Changri Glacier tough and this is a long day. The trail from Lobuche climbs steadily beside the Khumbu Glacier. It takes about 3 hours to reach Gorak Shep (5180m), a collection of lodges situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. From here, near a small, usually frozen lake, you climb up Kala Pattar, a 5545m peak that provides the best close up view of Everest. The descent back to Lobuche is not difficult, but altitude induced lethargy can make the many uphill sections below Gorak Shep seem endless.
Trek to Dingboche (4400m, 3 hrs)
You descend through summer pastures and alpine meadows of scrub juniper and, in summer, a profusion of wildflowers and to Dingboche, the only place in the region where barley is grown. The mountain views are outstanding.
Rest day (Chhukung Valley)
A welcome rest day here provides the opportunity to hike up the Imja Khola to Chhukung, a small summer settlement from where the views of Island Peak (6189m), Lhotse, Ama Dablam and the fluted ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha pass are one of the highlights of the entire trek.
Trek to Tengboche (3860m, 3 hrs)
Trekking through forests filled with a variety of trees such as birch, conifers and rhododendrons, you are still accompanied by views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. At the bottom of the last stone stairway that leads up to Tengboche lays the small village of Deboche with its nunnery. The view from Tengboche is justifiably considered one of the most magnificent. Tengboche Gompa is the cultural and religious centre of Khumbu. Founded in 1912, it has been destroyed and rebuilt twice as the result of earthquake and fire.
Trek to Namche Bazaar (3450m, 5 hrs)
Descending to Namche Bazaar the route is unbelievably beautiful – the Dudh Kosi is far below and Thamserku, Kantega, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest rise in front. Woods, rhododendron forests, mani walls, chorten and suspension bridges across the river combine to make this a lovely walk.
Trek to Phakding (2600m, 4 hrs)
Descending the steep trail from Namche, the trail gets easier as you get closer to Phakding where you stayed two weeks earlier. It is a long trek to Lukla, so you break your journey here and have a chance to relax in the afternoon.
Trek to Lukla (2800m, 4 hrs)
This is your last day of trekking and it is uphill much of the way to Lukla. In the afternoon you might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping. Ask your guide for suggestions. In the evening, with your leader, we go for dinner
Fly to Kathmandu (1300m, 30 minutes)
An early start, you flight from Lukla to Kathmandu. Flights all leave in the morning as by the afternoon the wind gets up and planes do not fly from here. You have the rest of the day free to spend how you like in Kathmandu. In the afternoon you might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping. Ask your guide for suggestions.
Transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.