Everest 3 Passes Trek, Part 3

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!

Gokyo in front of Dudh Pokhari (Lake)
Gokyo in front of Dudh Pokhari (Lake)
View of Everest and Lhotse from Gokyo Ri
View of Everest and Lhotse from Gokyo Ri
View west from Gokyo Ri
View west from Gokyo Ri
View of Cho Oyu (left), Everest (far right) from Gokyo Ri
View of Cho Oyu (left), Everest (far right) from Gokyo Ri
Cho Oyu from Ngozumbo Moraine
Cho Oyu from Ngozumbo Moraine
Himalayan Snow Partridge
Himalayan Snow Partridge

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.

Dudh Pokhori (Lake) from below Rinja La (Pass)
Dudh Pokhori (Lake) from below Rinja La (Pass)
Dudh Pokhori (Lake) from below Rinja La (Pass)
Dudh Pokhori (Lake) from below Rinja La (Pass)
View of Everest from below Rinja La (Pass)
View of Everest from below Rinja La (Pass)
View of Everest (left), Nuptse (front) and Lhotse (right) from below Rinja La (Pass)
View of Everest (left), Nuptse (front) and Lhotse (right) from below Rinja La (Pass)
The weather is changing below Rinja La (Pass)
The weather is changing below Rinja La (Pass)
Everest and clouds below Rinja La (Pass)
Everest and clouds below Rinja La (Pass)
View from Rinja La (Pass)
View from Rinja La (Pass)
Everest towering above Dudh Pokhari from Rinja La
Everest towering above Dudh Pokhari from Rinja La
View north of Rinja La (Pass)
View north of Rinja La (Pass)
Rinja La (Pass)
Rinja La (Pass)
Coming down from Rinja La
Coming down from Rinja La

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.

Yak herder ranch
Yak herder ranch
Chorten above Thame
Chorten above Thame

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.

Chorten and Mani Stones above Thame
Chorten and Mani Stones above Thame
Mani Stones above Thame
Mani Stones above Thame
Thame Gompa and surrounding houses
Thame Gompa and surrounding houses
Thame Gompa
Thame Gompa
Chorten above Thame
Chorten above Thame

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.

Flowering Rhododendrons
Flowering Rhododendrons

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!

Plane taking off from Lukla
Plane taking off from Lukla
Plane taking off from Lukla
Plane taking off from Lukla
Plane taking off from Lukla
Plane taking off from Lukla

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.

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Porter Pit Stop
Porter Pit Stop
A porter with a full load resting on his walking stick
A porter with a full load resting on his walking stick
Porter carrying a heavy load
Porter carrying a heavy load

For details on the trek go to Everest 3 Passes Trek including Base Camp.

Coming up next, trekking in Mustang, Nepal.

To see our pictures from Annapurna click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGL5XQNaWm8  

For pictures from Richard’s Everest Summit click  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFmsecd6yN0 

For extra pics from this trip go to Gallery/Nepal. For extra pictures from other blogs go to Gallery at monkeystale.ca Click on a picture to view it as a slide show.

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