Destinations // Everest Region Trekking Nepal

Nepal houses 8 of the 10 tallest mountains in world. Solukhumbu, Nepal’s Everest Region, contains 5 of them  –Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,516m), Makalu (8,481), Cho Oyu (8,201m) and Manalsu (8156m). Throw in the other famous 6,000m+ peaks of Everest’s National Park, Sagarmatha – and you are literally in a mountaineer dreamland.

Trekking alongside and through these beauties to Everest Base Camp is one of the most amazing adventures I have ever experienced. If you are reading this, then you have either been and probably agree or are trying to decide if this is the right trip for you. To be clear – trekking in the Himalayas is not a cakewalk. It is a challenge that will test you physically and mentally – and for me, was personally fulfilling. Where else can you test yourself, climb some of the world’s highest mountains, visit ancient monasteries, experience unique culture and build friendships with these mountain’s true heroes – the Sherpas? Exactly.

While the Everest Region can be trekked year round, a majority of travelers plan around the infamous “windows” of calmer, warmer weather. Just don’t blink or you will miss them. If you follow summit attempts of expedition teams, then you know that these periods are from early October to mid-November, and late March to late April. If you decide to head out during these peak periods (pun intended), be prepared to share the trails with a lot of people. Here’s a snapshot of the Everest Region’s seasons. Note that the exact times fluctuate every year and all comes down to when the monsoons start and finish.

SPRING: PRE-MONSOON (MARCH – MAY)

Great time to go as the lower regions are very green and the weather is at it’s best. This is the best time to be on the trails if you want to experience the buzz of the Everest climbers making their way to basecamp. Just be ready for the crowds – especially on the main trails.

SUMMER: MONSOON (JUNE – SEPTEMBER)

There is a reason why the trails are empty this time of year. Most trekkers don’t mind trekking in the rain, but it’s the clouds that tend to cover the peaks that steal the amazing views the region has to offer.

FALL: POST-MONSOON (OCT – NOV)

Once the monsoons are gone the skies begin to clear up and the days become quite mild again. As with the Pre-Monsoon season, the trails really pick up again as this window opens. This is the busiest trekking season of Nepal.

WINTER: POST MONSOON (NOV – FEB)

 As winter begins to roll into the Everest Region, the days get shorter and fewer trekkers can be found on the trail. This time of year can be really good for trekking as the days are comfortable. Just make sure you have the right gear with you because the nights are well below freezing.

Like most trekking hot spots in the world, the Everest Region has plenty of trails to explore. While most involve getting you to experience the majesty of Mt. Everest, you have the choice to influence difficulty level and how trodden you want your paths to be. Here’s a snapshot on some of the most popular treks in Nepal’s Everest region.

//EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK

The trek to Everest Base Camp is one of the most famous in the world. When it comes to the Everest region, it is also the most popular. The main trail is a well-marked trekking highway. It runs across gorgeous glacier fueled river valleys, through ancient monasteries of the Sherpa villages, and alongside some of the world’s most magnificent mountains. It’s here atop the Khumbu Glacier that expeditioners prepare for and begin their Mt. Everest summit bids.

Distance: Lukla to Everest Base Camp is 62km (38.58 miles)

Highest Elevation: 5,380m (17,600ft); Side trip to popular Everest View Point – Kala Pattar – can get you to 5,644.5m (18,519ft)

//EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK VIA JIRI

If you have time on your hands and don’t want to fly into one of the world’s most dangerous airports – Tenzing-Hilary Airport in Lukla, this trek could be for you. This route allows trekkers to follow in the footsteps of the earliest expeditions. You will spend more time in the lower, more populous region of the Himalayas before joining the standard Everest Base Camp trail. While a great way to acclimatize, not many people take this route these days as it adds an extra five to seven days of trekking to an already long and arduous trek.

Distance: Jiri to Everest Base Camp is about 150km (93.2 miles); Exact route differs as it traverses the land across various ridges all of which are different sizes; Distance is dependent on the route taken.

Highest Elevation: 5,380m (17,600ft); Side trip to popular Everest View Point – Kala Pattar – can get you to 5,644.5m (18,519ft)

//EVEREST 3-PASS TREK

The Three Pass Trek is an excellent way to experience the more remote parts of the Everest Region. It’s also quite challenging. As you probably guessed from the name, this route passes through 3 high-altitude mountains passes as it makes its way to and from Everest Base Camp. It is recommended to take the loop clockwise to assist with acclimatization. If you have high altitude trekking experience and know your body, you can go in either direction. Regardless of the direction, climbing up and over the Kongma La (5,528m), Cho La (5,380m) and Renjo La (5,388m) passes is an awesome way to test yourself, truly acclimatize for EBC and offers some of the best scenic look outs that exist in the region.

Distance: Lukla to 3 Pass Loop is about 164km (102 miles)

Highest Elevation: 5,528m (18,136ft); A side trip to popular Everest View Point – Kala Pattar – can get you to 5,644.5m (18,519ft)

//GOKYO LAKES TREK

Another challenging and off the beaten path trekking option in the Everest Region is the Gokyo Lakes Trek. From Sherpa village Namche Bazaar, you’ll continue through the valley instead of joining the main EBC trail or 3 Pass Trail. The trek continues up the Gokyo valley to the village of Gokyo, known for its turquoise glacial lakes. The surrounding area has smaller trails that lead to more of these picturesque lakes. Trekkers have the option of crossing over the Cho La Pass to join the main Everest Base Camp Trek or turning back towards Lukla the way they came. I’d recommend experiencing Cho La Pass – one of the three passes in the 3 Pass Trek. This pass will take you out of the Gokyo valley and into the Khumbu valley. You’ll never forget the view of Everest dwarfing the little town of Gokyo from the top of the pass.

Distance: Lukla to Gokyo is about 46km (28.5 miles); Obviously much longer if you cross the Cho La Pass and hit the main EBC trail.

Highest Elevation: 5,357m (17,575ft) if you choose to see the sunrise at Gokyo Ri. Can be higher if you decide to join the main EBC trail.

//EVEREST PANORAMA

Want to trek in the Everest Region but short on time? Perhaps you aren’t so keen on strenuous treks or high altitude? The Everest Panorama also known as the Everest View trek may be what you are looking for. Panorama trekkers join the main EBC trail to Namche Bazaar and use it as a base to make scenic side trips. This shorter variation of the trek doesn’t continue to higher altitudes towards Everest base Camp, but does offer great views of Everest and other surrounding peaks such as Lhotse, Thamserku and Ama Dablam. It really is a great opportunity to see the beauty of the region and explore Sherpa villages and ancient monasteries like Tengboche – the highest in the world.

Distance: Lukla to Tengboche is about 28km (17 miles)

Highest Elevation: 3850m (12,631ft)

NOTE THAT AVERAGE DURATION OF THE TREKS COMES DOWN TO MANY FACTORS: DESIRED ROUTE, HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE TO EXPLORE THE REGION AND ACCLIMATIZATION DAYS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE ELEVATION OF THESE TREKS AND HOW PACING YOURSELF ENSURES YOU NATURALLY ACCLIMATIZE AND AVOID ALTITUDE SICKNESS (WHICH CAN BE FATAL).

Have the urge to summit but not quite ready for Mt. Everest herself? There are also several trekkable peaks in the Everest region – most notably Island PeakMera Peak, and Khayu Ri. So if you thought the Everest Base Camp Trek was your only option – I’ve not give you a lot more to think about. No need to stress – planning a trip to the region doesn’t have to be daunting. These trails are very popular and well equipped with a variety of tea houses, places to eat and local guides & sherpas ready to make your experience an excellent one.

When mapping out my Everest Region trekking adventure, I knew I wanted to accomplish three things: 1) visit and overnight at Everest Base Camp, 2) find route less trodden and more challenging (to avoid the crowds) and 3) minimize backtracking to be able to see more of the Everest Region. I enlisted the help of one of my favorite LGBT travel companies – OUT Adventures – to assist in the planning of an itinerary. The result was a combination of the popular Everest Base Camp Trek combined with two of the three passes of the 3-Pass Trek. I got everything I set out to accomplish in one trip and it was one hell of an adventure.

For more exploration of the Everest Region with OUT Adventures be sure to check out:

  • Destinations // Everest Base Camp Trek – An in-depth look at one of the world’s most famous treks and my twist on it’s itinerary.
  • Journeys // Everest Base Camp Trek Tips & Tricks – Your guide to things to take into consideration when heading the region.
  • Connections // Robert Sharp – Meet the Out Adventures founder and what makes Out Adventures so great.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OTHER PLACES VENTURED IN THE EVEREST REGION BE SURE TO CHECK OUT DESTINATIONS // EVEREST.

10 comments

  • Wow! You pictures are amazing! I love mountains and I like hiking but this kinda hiking is a whole different story!
    I hope I can someday find someone to do this with and train for it because I would love to see this in real life! 🙂

    • A lot of people do this trip on their own. Every day you meet tons of trekkers on the route sharing the same experience as you. You’ll often be staying at the same ta houses as well – so always an opportunity to make new friends from around the world.

    • Its a great place. Trekking season opens up again once the monsoons are done. 🙂

    • It’s really an explosion to the senses. I can’t wait to go back myself and explore more of it.

  • Nepal is really the stuff that dreams are made of. That is mainly because of the presence of the majestic Himalayan ranges. The region offers some of the most breathtaking trekking trails in the world. The ultimate must be the one to the Everest Base camp. Loved reading your post about the different trails for trekking.

    • I agree with you 100%. These mountains are gorgeous and have a spiritual feeling about them. Thanks for checking out DomOnTheGo.

  • This is on my must-do lists between this year and next. I really really want to do this – more for my satisfaction. Your advice and tips are highly appreciated and I am book marking this for my trip…whenever it happens.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Feel free to give me a shout when you decide to plan your trip. 🙂 It will no doubt be a trip of a lifetime.

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