The Everest region of Nepal has amazing treks that go between small mountain villages, over high passes and through large valleys. We did the Everest 3 Passes trek. The first few days took to the first pass, Kongma La (for part 1 click here). Then we saw Everest Base Camp and went on to the second pass, Cho La (Click here for part 2)
We spent 2 days at the lakeside village of Gokyo. It’s set on the aqua coloured Dudh Pokhari (lake) with a gorgeous mountain backdrop. Above Gokyo is a look out on the peak, Gokyo Ri, at 5360m where we had amazing views of Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. All of those 8000ers in one 360° panoramic view!
The trail to Renjo La (Pass) went above lake Dudh Pokhari, slowly increased in elevation and slowly gave us more and more views of Everest behind us. At the end of the lake the trail became very steep up a moraine, across what used to be a glacier and up steep boulders to the pass, 5360 m. From the pass we could see Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Makalu, but the clouds were quickly coming in and soon our view was lost. The trail over the other side of the pass was steep, down a staircase of slate slabs. When we got to the river valley below, the weather changed for the worse and we still had a long slow descent to the hamlet of Lumde.
On the way down the valley the next day we passed several yak herder settlements with stone-walled paddocks and mud houses. As we descended further the vegetation changed to include junipers, dwarf rhododendrons, and by the time we reached the village of Thame, there were trees and green grass, our first in 10 days! Tenzing Norgay, who was first to summit Everest with Sir Edmond Hilary, grew up in Thame as did another famous climber, Apa Sherpa, who Richard met when he was here last.
Above Thame is a Gompa (Monastery) built on the side of a rockface. It’s beautifully decorated, similar to the one in Pangboche but this one had many musical instruments such a dungchens, oboes, symbols and sea shells.
The trek from Thame took us through beautiful forests of rhododendrons that were blooming with yellow, white and many shades of pink flowers. We also passed a few small villages with their chortens and prayer flags set among the flowers. It was one of the most beautiful days on the trail.
The trail brought us back to the main Everest Base Camp trail where we made our way back to Lukla and our flight back to Kathmandu. The runway in Lukla is on an incline, which on landing, we didn’t seem to notice, but take-off is another story. The plane begins at the top of the hill and speeds downhill on the runway, taking off just before it ends at a steep drop-off!
A final note:
Porters, commonly called Sherpas, are possibly the strongest, fittest men anywhere. (Sherpa is their ethnicity, not their occupation) They are very small in stature but are able to carry loads 2 – 3 times their size. In addition to being used by trekkers and climbers to carry packs, porters along with horses and yaks are the main shipping options for local towns to receive supplies. We saw these men and boys carry loads of plywood, mattresses and crates of canned good on their backs. It’s another remarkable difference between our lives.
For details on the trek go to Everest 3 Passes Trek including Base Camp.
Coming up next, trekking in Mustang, Nepal.
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