Everest Chola Pass

This high altitude trek explores the key areas of the Sherpa homeland, visiting Namche Bazaar before ascending the stunning Gokyo Valley to the glacial lakes under Cho Oyu (8153m). Here we climb Gokyo Ri for a marvelous view of Everest and much of the rest of this high mountain wilderness. We cross the glaciated Cho La Pass and rejoin the classic route to Base Camp used by all the great and famous climbing parties. Allowing ample time for acclimatisation, we are able to get well away from the regularly-trekked areas, allowing for a great sense of exclusivity and adventure. Our aim is to visit Everest Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier, and climb Kala Pattar (5545m), which offers fabulous close-up views of Everest.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1
    You will arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. You can spend the evening as you like.
    Day 2
    Today is a free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath; one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Bodnath; the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. You can also visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city, where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving, is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The area is a maze of temples and images, and, leading away from the square in all directions, are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will also be a full trip briefing in the morning.
    Day 3
    You will take the short but spectacular mountain flight to Lukla (2800m), before setting off on the first short leg of the trek, ascending northwards into the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). You will then descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley, from where the trail crosses several tributary streams and you will get some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2652m). This is where you will spend your first night.
    Day 4 - 5
    You will climb steeply out of Namche to the Everest View Hotel. Built by the Japanese, this spectacularly situated hotel has wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam. It is also an ideal place for a tea break! Afterwards, you will trek to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung set below Khumbila, the rocky peak that is sacred to all Sherpas. In Kunde, you will be able to visit the Edmund Hillary hospital, and in Khumjung you can see the Edmund Hillary School. There should also be time to visit the Khumjung monastery, where (for a small donation) you will be shown the only yeti skull in the world! Descending to the main trail, you will spend the night at Kyanjuma.
    Day 6 - 7
    From Dole, the trail is steep in places, as it passes through Lhabarma and Luza along the side of the valley. You will walk high above the river, through scrub junipers, until you cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo (4410m). It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a Sherpa and killed three yaks!
    Day 8
    Today will be spent acclimatising to the altitude in Machhermo. From your lodge you will be able to walk up onto the ridge above Machhermo for even better views of the magnificent mountains. You can either take a packed lunch or return to the lodge for lunch.
    Day 9
    You will begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga, as well as up towards Cho Oyu (8153m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Pangkha, then descends to the riverbank before beginning the steep climb onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo glacier. You will pass the first of the lakes at Gokyo where a family of Brahminy ducks resides, before following the level trail to the summerhouses and walled meadows of Gokyo at 4750m. Gokyo is a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. In the afternoon, you can walk up the hill behind the camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.
    Day 10
    There will be an early start this morning for the ascent of Gokyo Ri (5360m),which is a small peak above Gokyo village. As you climb, the views become even more fantastic, and from the top you can see four of the seven highest peaks in the Nepal Himalaya: Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Stretching out for miles below you is the longest glacier in Nepal: the Ngozumpo glacier. This glacier tumbles down from the slopes of Cho Oyu. The climb is well worth the effort, for it offers you one of the best all-round views in Nepal. You will then return to Gokyo for lunch, and in the middle of the afternoon you will retrace your steps to the second lake, and climb to the crest of the moraine overlooking the Ngozumpo glacier. The route across the glacier is well marked with cairns, and will take you to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley. Tonight, you will stay at Tangnak (4700m), at the foot of the Cho La Pass.
    Day 11
    Another early start for the long day across the Cho La (5330m); you will climb up from Tangnak and approach a large boulder field. Beyond this ancient moraine, the climb to the pass is steep in places, and involves some easy scrambling. The upper part of the route can be covered in snow, particularly in winter. From the pass there are excellent views, including an unusual aspect of Ama Dablam. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier, which is usually snow covered, but fairly straightforward. You will then descend steeply to the grazing pastures below, as the trail becomes more defined towards Dzongla (4830m). This is where you will stay tonight, in a small basic lodge.
    Day 12
    Leaving Dzongla, you will continue your descent on an easy trail. A short ascent brings you to the foot of Awi Peak, which you will contour round on a wonderful high trail with great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. Finally, you will descend to join the main trail again, just below Lobuje, where you will spend the night (4930m). The sunset on Nuptse from the ridge across from the lodge is not to be missed.
    Day 13
    You will now be surrounded by Himalayan giants; Everest, Nuptse, Lingtren, Khumbutse and Pumori tower above you. Today is very long and hard, as you will visit Everest Base Camp. The trail from Lobuje climbs steadily by the side of the Khumbu glacier, and, after crossing the glacier rubble, you will arrive at Gorak Shep (5180m), a summer yak-herder's settlement situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. After a short break and snack you will set off for Base Camp. The trail heads along the crest of the moraine at first, before dropping onto the Khumbu glacier itself, where you will get magnificent close-ups of the great Khumbu Icefall as it tumbles down from Everest. In spring, you will see expedition teams as they prepare preparing for an ascent. Finally, you will retrace your steps to Gorak Shep for the night.
    Day 14
    Another long day as you ascend the small peak of Kala Pattar ('black rock') at 5545m. It is a steep two-hour climb to the summit, but the effort is well worth it, as you can appreciate the most magnificent view of the Khumbu glacier and, above all, a magnified view of the world's highest mountain. The Nepalese call it Sagamartha – ‘Head of the Waters’ – and the Sherpas call it Chomolungma – ‘Mother of the World’. You will then return to Gorak Shep and descend past Lobuje to Pheriche. Please note that the exact order in which we trek up Kala Pattar and visit Everest Base Camp will depend on the weather and how the group is acclimatising. Both days are long and hard due to the high altitude.
    Day 15
    After the exertion of the last few days, today is much easier.You will descend the Pheriche valley with spectacular views of Ama Dablam. You then join the main Imja Khola Valley, and follow it down to Pangboche, through an alpine meadow landscape with superb views. Looking back, you will be able to see the great ridge of Lhotse-Nuptse, which hides the lower slopes of Everest. Pangboche, at 3985m, is the highest permanent settlement on the approach to Everest, and in the upper village there is a gompa (monastery) founded by the lama Sange Dorje. Sange Dorje brought Buddhism to this region some three hundred years ago. You then drop down to the rushing Imja Khola, before walking through the peaceful rhododendron forests to the villages of Devoche, and then onto Thyangboche at 3867m. From here, there is a fantastic panorama view of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. Thyangboche has long been a sacred spot, and it is here that you will spend the night.
    Day 16 - 17
    You will retrace our steps southwards, with a final climb to the airstrip at Lukla.
    Day 18
    You will fly back to Kathmandu and spend the rest of the day as you wish. (Very occasionally, the flight back from Lukla is cancelled. Should this happen, we will attempt to have you flown back on day 19).
    Day 19
    Today is a free day in Kathmandu for individual sightseeing.
    Day 20
    Trip ends after breakfast.

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    15 days walking with full porterage; altitude maximum 5545m, average 4100m.
    Accommodation
    4 nights hotels, 15 nights tea-houses.
    Food
    Breakfast included in Kathmandu.
    What to Expect
    This trek is a C/D grade with 15 days walking. The maximum altitude we reach is 5545m, with the average being 4100m.
    For those who are confident of their physical fitness this will be a challenging walk to the Everest region with a chance to ascend Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar, from where we get superb views of the highest mountains in the world. Most of the walking takes place at quite high altitudes. We have included a number of acclimatisation days to maximise the chances of achieving success in climbing Gokyo Ri, Kala Pattar and reaching Base Camp.
    Although daytime temperatures can be very pleasant, many of the nights will be close to or below freezing, and at Gokyo and around the Base Camp area it can be well below freezing especially on the winter departures. Most of the walking is on well-established trails, but there may well be snow and ice at the highest part of the trek on any departure. The crossing of the Cho La involves a reasonably steep ascent and descent on rocky trails which can be icy, and at the top there is always ice and snow.
    For winter departures, daytime is usually pleasant but you must have adequate protection against the extreme cold at night.
    As this route has good tea-houses along its length and most campsites are now within settlements, this trip uses tea-houses as accommodation. Please see our Tea-houses versus Camping webpage for more information.
    Group size and age
    Min. 2, max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.
    Challenging/Tough
    In order to provide a more accurate grading system, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or split grade, for example Challenging/Tough. Occasionally, there are optional activities available en route, in this case the optional grade is indicated in brackets, for example Grade Challenging (climb Tough+). Clearly, conditions may differ from region-to-region or month-to-month and as such the information given on these pages is designed to act as a guide only.
    Walking & Trekking
    Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.
    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
    You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!
    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.
    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    Momos
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    Choela
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu.
    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.
    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.
    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.
    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.
    Please note if you are staying in Nepal longer than 15 days, you will need to ask for a 30 day visa.

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