More than 50,000 trekkers make a point to visit Everest region every year. The popular Everest base camp trek attracts adventure enthusiasts from around the world. Equally intriguing but least traveled regions of the Everest are its 3 high passes; Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La, respectively. Here, you will cross some of the highest passes in the world, along with traversing the greater Khumbu valley.
Crossing high passes is considered an ordeal, which toughens you physically and mentally by showering upon you its harsh weather and unmerciful terrains. However, if you wish to trek the high passes, then there isn’t any treks in the world as adventurous as this!
Everest’s 3 passes are some of the highest passes in the whole world. Located at close proximity to Everest, the 3 passes require more time, skill and strength to explore the entire region. Encountering the uneven terrains, sea of snow and ice and bitter cold is common.
One must be accompanied with a guide during the trek, as the region still consists of unbeaten tracks. The wider and barren landscape, most of the times, is taken as a Ghostly town.
#1 Renjo La
Renjo La is one of the high passes located in Khumbu valley at an elevation of 5,360 m (17,585 ft). It follows the path leaving Gokyo to the west and is in the eastern front of Lungden.
The path to Renjo La is quite strenuous; snowfall during winter makes it difficult to attempt the pass. Renjo La and surrounding regions are culturally Tibetan. Enjoying close panorama of some of the highest mountains in the wold is the major attraction of the trek. Through Renjo La, you can reach the exquisite valley of Gokyo and make your way further west to Cho La Pass.
#2 Cho La
Cho La 5,420 m (17,782 ft) is a high pass located along Gokyo trail in Khumbu valley. It connects the village of Dzongla to the east and the village of Thagnak to the west.
One can cross Ngozumpa glacier on the way to Cho La. To the east the trail joins the classic Everest Base Camp route.
Ascending Cho La can be physically demanding and may require crampons for slippery paths. One can get best view of Lobuche peak from the top.
#3 Kongma La
Kongma La 5,535 m (18,160 ft) is another high pass located between Chukhung village and Lobuche. Trekkers can attempt Kongma La on a return route from the base camp.
It is the highest pass among 3 Everest passes. The panorama of surrounding mountains is quite amazing when seen from Kongma La.
∞Map & Trek Seasons∞
Pre-monsoon (March-June) and Post-monsoon (September-November) are two of the great seasons for trekking in Khumbu valley. The weather is clear; days are warm and nights are cold.The higher regions and passes may receive snowfall during post-monsoon and winter.
∞Gears & Equipment∞
- Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
- Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
- Crampons – it may become essential to carry crampons along because the high passes and the surrounding are quite difficult terrains with snow and ice covering the field. Using crampoon during the ascent may help climb easier.
- Lightweight knapsack - It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
- Lightweight sleeping bag - Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10 C°) can be a great precaution.
- Fabric band-aids - Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to band-aids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.
Costs & Permits
The permit cost for entering Sagarmatha National Park (UNESCO Heritage Site) is:
- SAARC Nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person (Approx. US $15)
- Non-SAARC Nationals – Rs. 3,000 per person (Approx. US $30)