Guide for Everest Three Passes Trek

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Informative tips for your Everest basecamp three passes trek in Nepal

3 passes Everest trek is not an easy trekking in Everest region but surely is not the hardest one as well. With 3 major hilltops; which help you to cover most of the Everest basecamp trekking region – three passes trek makes a beautiful walk in the Himalayas.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: INES & RALPH at the top – posing with  smile after success

From 2 to 3 weeks to cover this stunning part of Everest loop, it does worth your time either way. Either take longer days to take it easy go or soak in the pristine beauty in major places like; Chhukung village (before kongmala pass), Gokyo lakes (before Renjo la pass) and Thame village (where the isolated Buddhist monastery is located in a hilltop).

Not any technical climbing but surely uphill and downhill hikes are mandatory in Everest basecamp three high passes trek.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: POTTER WALKING UPHILL with his duty on his back – uphill of chola pass while trekking Everest three passes trek from Gokyo side first.

Gokyo lakes (all 6 are accessible), Namche bazzar and Everest basecamp itself is included in Everest three high passes trek. That is why this can be a complete Everest basecamp trek for those who have longer holidays in Nepal and likes to travel for adventure activities.

Few ideas for your travel to Everest three high passes trek are listed informational sub topics you might be looking for. Please take your time and let us know if we can be of any help to you as a trekking agency in Nepal, purely local ones.

Best time for Everest three passes trek

The climatic condition of Everest 3 high passes doesn’t remain constant as it is variable season to season. Nepal has 4 main seasons.

During the winter season (late November to Mid-February) the passes like Kong ma la & chola pass are frequently closed due to heavy snowfall.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: ICE OF CHOLA PASS seen while we were crossing right after snowfall the previous night

Rainy season (June to August) is also not suitable for three high passes trek. Everest 3 high passes trail do not get heavy rainfall but monsoon trek in Nepal will be mostly under the clouds. Trekkers will rarely get the view of the mountains.

Trekking to three high passes might be full of mystic vies like this if you do this trek in monsoon
Picturerainy season mystery of Everest three high passes trek

So, the spring (March to May) and autumn season (September to November) are mostly preferred trekking season for three high passes trek. In spring and autumn season the temperature and weather are suitable for trekking and climatic condition also remains at its best.

How long does it take for Everest three high passes trek??

Everest Three Passes trek can be done within 2 to 3 weeks (21 days) or maximum 23 days.

Longer itinerary for Everest three high passes trek makes the trek easier and will give plenty of time if instant modification in trip plan is necessary. Modification in three passes trek itinerary is common in the winters.

Short itinerary for Everest 3 high passes trek will involve high risk of skipping any of the passes. But in longer itinerary climbing all the passes is highly possible.

More than 16 days of Everest three high passes trek will have enough time for acclimatization and rest if you want to spend more time in beautiful destinations like Gokyo. Longer days itinerary also helps for wait and see in unavoidable weather change and snow storms.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: Gokyo lake and the Gokyo village seen right after sunrise – this is 3rd lake among 6 lakes in Gokyo valley

If you are looking for 100 percent success of all three passes of Everest with average fitness – longer trekking itinerary is recommended. For Example, heavy snowfall blocks the route over the pass and if the trek itinerary is tight with days change in plan will be tough.

How to get in there??

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: PLANE AT LUKLA AIRPORT – Mt Karyolong is both stunning and a main barrier of Lukla airport for easy landing on its mountain airport Runway

The starting point to get Everest Three Passes is flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The scenic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla will take around 35 minutes of time interval.

View of the mountains seen on the flight from kathmandu to Lukla in everest three passes trek
Picture – mountain view from plane window in Everest three high passes trek – while flying you can see more than Mount everest range

If you want to add your trekking days around 5 days then airport of Phaplu will give access to the Everest three high passes.

With recent road development we can drive all the way to Kharikhola and start trek to three high passes.

Some people also take helicopter to fly to lukla so as to skip plane to Lukla or to get best view of the mountains.

Everest three high pass trek a true heavenVIEW OF EVEREST SEEN FROM THE COCKPIT OF HELICOPTER – picture near Lukla airport on air

Very few takes helicopter to Namche itself and cut the number of days skipping the repeatable trail of Namche to Lukla section of Everest three passes trek route.

Essential equipment’s to take with you

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: INES WALKING NEAR LOBUCHE – Trekking trail is wide near the villages and gets narrower near any of three passes

  • Thermal Cap

Thermal camp is compulsory during these kind of high passes trek. The thermal camp will not only protects you from the cold, wind, snow fall and rain but also helps you avoid high altitude sickness.

  • Sunglass

It helps you to protect your eyes from UVs’ and strong refection of sunlight from after striking on snow surface. You cannot directly see the snow-capped mountains with your naked eyes while the sun too bright. Without sunglass it may be a big risk to your sight.

  • Sun scream

The Sunscream helps you to protect your face/body from the sun burn.

  • Head lamp

Sometimes you need to wake up early during kick off of the Everest three high passes trek (pass days). At the early morning, it can be dark outside and you may not see the trail. So, headlamp is necessary during the dark time for the clear vision of the trail. And surely it is very handy for movement while walking during the stay in the guest houses with very limited electricity.

  • Down Jacket

Down jacket is strongly recommended during Everest three high passes trek. As we all know – just fancy jackets cannot protect the cold in high altitude areas. So, to protect from the cold the trekkers needs to wear down jacket. Nepalgram provides Dawn Jackets as many of our clients’ just need for one time use.

  • Glove

The gloves are essential equipment that is required for trekking to Everest three high passes. Due to the coldness of high altitude area, the hand may sometimes get freeze. So, it is necessary to wear gloves during the trek. Specifically early start for passes or Everest basecamp must need a pair of Gloves.

  • Raincoat

Unfortunately, sometimes the weather is unpredictable. There is a saying that prevention is better than cure. So, it is necessary to carry raincoat in order to be safe from rainfall or snowfall.

  • Hiking boots

Hiking boots is mandatory for this trek. The others shoes such as converse, vans and other sports shoe are uncomfortable and cannot complete the trek. The trail can be so slippery that you can’t imagine of wearing other shoes rather than hiking boots.

  • Hiking socks

Walking 7-8 hours a day is normally with shoes on all the time and you also have to wear shoes while staying indoors as indoor heating is very bad in trekking regions. During the day, the sweat will surely ruin the shocks in a day or 4. Thin socks may bring trouble during the trek. So, it is necessary to wear hiking socks during the trek for Everest three high pass trek adventure.

  • Hiking pant/trouser

Wearing the jeans pants or heavy pants during the trek is never recommended. You can walk very easily while wearing hiking pants/trouser in comparison to heavy pants. Although your ski pant or dawn trousers are very good to keep you warm while staying in the tea houses.

  • Trekking bag

Trekking bag is required to put necessary staff you required during your trek. Even though we provide duffel bags for your luggage; day pack of at least 5 ltrs is recommended.

  • Muffler/Buff

Muffler is also important for the trekkers as it protect your neck/throat from the extreme coldness that can be felt during the most of the days in Everest three high passes trek.

  • Trekking poles

Trekking poles will help the trekkers to walk easily in comparison to walking without it. You didn’t need trekking poles for an hour. But, it will help you or will support during the time of tiredness or at least while walking downhill. Nepalgram provides walking poles in our service.

  • Water bottle/pack

Water bottle is one of the most important equipment during this trek. While walking 7-8 hours a day will surely need more than 4 liters of water. A sip of water widely recharges your hiking pace.

  • First-aid kit

First-aid kit is the most essential equipment for unseen difficulties. No one knows what comes next. So, it is always necessary to have kit during the trek. Our trekking guides will have one for group use.

  • Sleeping bag

Sleeping bag can help you to protect from the extreme coldness of Everest region where indoor heating is not available. Sleeping above the height of 5000 meters is not easy; the trekkers definitely find the climate extreme cold and sick with altitude. With saying that; sleeping in warm bed and sleeping bag is mandatory for better night.  So, in order to protect from the cold which may lead to suffer your three passes trek plan, you need to bring a very warm and comfy sleeping bag. Nepalgram provides sleeping bag to our clients for free use.

  • Duffel bag

Trekking around 23 days means that you cannot put all your stuff inside the trekking bag. You need more space to put your stuffs. Without the duffel bag you cannot put all your stuff that may be required for the Everest three high passes trek. So, the duffel bag is also important gear for Everest three high passes trek. We provide large size Duffel bag.

Altitude of Everest 3 Passes Trek

Talking about three high passes individually; Kongma La pass is the highest among all the three passes. Kongma La pass lies at an altitude of 5555 meters above the sea level.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: View near Kongma la Pass

Cho la pass is the second highest which lies at an altitude of 5420 meters.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Picture: Near the top of Chola pass

And last and the lowest is Renjo la pass, which is situated at an altitude of 5360 meters. These three passes are also known for the challenging part of Everest three high passes trek.

Apart from these high point in three high passes trek in Everest; Everest basecamp itself is at 5364 meters. Kalapatthar is a famous hilltop situated at 5545 meters and Gokyo ri is another famous hill station in Everest region at 5360 meters above the sea level.

Everest Three Passes trek solo

Solo trek to three passes can be a best isolation if you like the idea of self-realizing. Single person with Nepali staff to show you the new destination will surely entertain the best part of your mountain trekking in three passes trek.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven


As for independent trek to Everest 3 passes; the government of Nepal doesn’t give permission for the Independent trek for few of the trekking routes in Nepal. But Independent trekkers are allowed to trek to Everest three passes trek route.

First of all, the individual should make all the arrangement themselves such as flight ticket, permit, equipment’s used for trekking, food and accommodations etc. all by themselves. We hope this article should help in many of these factors of independent trekking to Everest three passes.

We recommend/suggest the independent trekkers to choose the right and suitable itinerary according to their physical fitness. If you can’t choose the right and suitable itinerary then you may face difficulties during the trek. Everest three passes trek is considered as one of the most difficult trek with Everest basecamp. So, don’t make a mistake to choose suitable itinerary so that you can complete your trek easily.

Trekking solo may cost high in comparison to the group treks.  But it is recommended over independent trekking.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

HELP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PASS – sharing is caring – giving away the spikes to porters after the Icey part of the pass and all of the passes get done.

We recommend the trekkers to not try Everest three high passes trek who have not experience of high passes trekking in Nepal independently. Because trekking around these three passes which are all above 5000 meters will not be easy as well as physical hardship is much required.

Note: Feel free to contact us for detailed information. We are your friends for Nepal travels.

Permits for the Trek

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

GUIDE SHOWING PAPERS AT THE CHECK POST –  there are multiple check points like this along the Everest three high passes trekking route

If you are decided for Everest Three Passes trek through a trekking agency in Nepal (or international) then that trekking agency will arranges all the necessary permits required for the trek. But, if you are trekking independent then you have to arrange permits by yourself.

First of all, you have to take sagarmatha national park permit from Kathmandu or can buy in the site to enter inside Sagarmatha National Park (you can take permit from Monjo village) where you can reach at the first day of your Everest basecamp Three Passes Trek. You can buy sagarmatha national park permit in Kathmandu at Nepal tourism board.

For local entry permit – you can buy this at Lukla.

The permit will cost as follows;

  • $20 USD for Local entry permit
  • $30 USD for Sagarmatha National Park entry Permit

Accommodation and Meals

The Everest Three passes trek has plenty of hotels and restaurants to offer you the good accommodation and meals facilities. You can find the facilitated lodges (teahouses) for accommodation as well as food in one place (very commonly). And talking about the meal, you will get a menu where you may find out all the dishes you want to eat/drink.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven


You can find out the best accommodation and meals especially in Namche Bazzar (tourist hub of Everest region). But as you get above 5000 meters – accommodation as well as food will not be that great.

How much does it cost for Everest Three Passes Trek??

Her the broken down of all the possible cost that is required while trekking to Everest three passes trek will ease your calculation:

  • Experienced guide fluent in English – $25-40 USD per day
  • Porter – $20-25 USD per day
  • Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla – $176 USD one way, $352 USD (Round-Trip) – as of year spring 2020
  • Flight cost for the guide if hired from Kathmandu- $80 USD one way, $160 USD (Round-Trip) – most of the trekking agencies in Nepal sends guide from Kathmandu as it avoids hassle in uncertain flight to Lukla or Phaplu.
  • Local entrance fee and Sagarmatha national Park entry fee – $50 USD per person
  • Food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) – $30-50 USD per day
  • Accommodation – $ 5-65 USD per night

Do and Don’ts to be follow during Everest Three High Passes Trek

  • You are not allowed to enter inside Sagarmatha National Park without permit. If you are found inside without permit then you will be charged as per the legal procedure.
  • If you use drone inside the Sagarmatha national park you have to take a special permission. You have to pay additional charge for using drone.
  • Flora and fauna located inside Sagarmatha National Park should not be harmed or disturbed.
  • The garbage should be put on an appropriate place.
  • Cultural and religious sites should be respected.
  • Camping is not allowed everywhere. It is allowed only in the designated areas.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven

Ines SPINNING THE PRAYER WHEELS – respecting others culture is more than just being fancy.

Three passes trek difficulty

Trekking over the high passes has always been a big adventure – both psychologically and physically. Regarding Everest basecamp three passes trek; trail is fine but the unavoidable change on weather might make it tougher. Three high passes are easy to navigate with sign posts – but the weather change or foggy days will ruin the beauty and trekkers might lose their trail very easily.

Some of the trails near the summit of passes or after the top of passes might have new born glacial lakes, if not identified the right trail – risk is to the life.

Everest three high pass trek a true heavenStone on top glacial ice chunk at the Everest base camp

Are these high passes involves lots of uphill or downhill walking? Yes, they do have steep uphill and steep downhills. But these ascend worth the beauty of the mountains from every top you get to after a steep uphill. Downhills are opener of beauty of hidden side as always.

Summit of most of these three passes trek is not the attraction (except renjo la & Kongmala pass which are magnificent) but the beauty of the Himalayas can be captured a little bit before or after the passes where all the difficulty ends and top is in very near distance.

As called high passes of Everest basecamp trekking trail – all are equally difficult as per the altitude prospect. But among all; Chola pass is bit technical & Renjo la pass is easiest. Whereas; Kongmala pass is long as well as beautiful.

All of these high passes do have glacial lakes which get exposes in the summer and frozen half a year.

Everest three high pass trek a true heaven


About Author

I grew up in the mountains & got university education in Kathmandu to become an engineer. But with homely environment of mountains interest me to become a trekking & tour guide, by passion. I have been 6574 meter to the highest & fortunately got chance to explore most of Nepal and bit of abroad.

Eventually, passion converted to profession and here i am on behalf of Nepalgram - a Trekking agency in Nepal.

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