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Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Sat 26 Jan, 2013 11:09 pm

Thanks Brad, good to hear!

Hey Gido, It is completely reasonable to trek in Everest or annapurna region solo. It does mean carrying a heavier pack but a 10kg pack is very doable considering you only pack for staying in lodges every night.

Yes, it does mean doing more research yourself and then you actually have to choose where to stay for the night and when to take a break ;) but the lonely planet trekking in Nepal guidebook will do you fine. It is nice to travel with someone else and there are a few forums around where you could find other travellers, but you will meet people on the track.

By the way, the Annapurna circuit is also a very nice area. What we saw of it was much different than Everest, although if I had to choose one area it would be Everest region. Partly due to the different feel of the villages which can only be accessed by yak/donkey or walking. Give yourself a few weeks and do both.

This is looking upto Thorung La, the high pass on the Annapurna Circuit.
Nepal 803.JPG
Nepal 803.JPG (131.14 KiB) Viewed 22391 times

The dry mountains near Kagbeni. Much different than Everest
Nepal 812.JPG
Nepal 812.JPG (122.78 KiB) Viewed 22391 times

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Thu 14 Feb, 2013 8:57 am

I plan to go back to Nepal and do the 3 passes solo plus 4 weeks white water kayaking.
Based on my last trip, I feel you can get away with a 5kg pack or less with some modern light weight gear in you go in September or October.
I did not need a down jacket in Annapurna at this time last year. Loved my Inov runners, great grip and so light on the trial.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Thu 14 Feb, 2013 12:55 pm

Thanks guys for the replies. I think I won't be able to do both treks in one trip, as I only can get 2-3 weeks of leave at this time of the year.
Nick, images of Anapurna looks amazing! Though I pefer more of an alpine scenery, thats why I sort of choosing Everest over Anapurna at this stage.
Also I heard a good feedback on the Island Peak climb, maybe anyone done that already or have any valuable info?
under10kg, where abouts the action on whitewater is happening in Nepal or is it basically the same areas as the main treks.
And what raft equipment do you use if you doing solo, or you planning joining a group.
I've never really done much whiterafting, but because I love to get to the remote areas to flyfish I'm considering getting one of those "Alpacka" rafts.
They look fantastic and weigh almost nothing, so you can combine hiking and rafting so easy.


Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Wed 02 Apr, 2014 9:10 pm

Great post Nick and beautiful photos. I've just been doing some research into Nepal treks with the aim of going with my girlfriend this October and the 3 Passes was the one that was standing out to me. We were hoping to be able to teahouse trek independently. I'd read a few trip reports that made it sound like there were some sections that are potentially tricky to navigate. Did you have any difficulties at all? Or was there also a local around to ask?

My only other question is about how difficult you found it to be. I'm do overnight walks quite regularly and am pretty fit. My girlfriend does overnight walks only occasionally but it also pretty fit. We would aim to do some training beforehand I guess. We've both spent a bit of time at altitude in South America, and had no problems with altitude sickness. I've climbed a peak almost 6000m, the highest she's done is around 5000. We'd plan on the recommended number of acclimatisation days, and probably set aside 18-21 days for the walk.



Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Thu 03 Apr, 2014 10:27 am

Gday Drew,

I did the 3 passes after the awesome inspiration from Nicks post. I did it as a group of 4 with no guides (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13413). We had no real navigation problems, only slight difficulty we came across was on the Kongma La pass as you head up the valley there seems to be the option to go left or right (we went left and always had a path while another group when right and had no problems) and then we lost the track right at the last little scramble (probably due to impatience) but it was easy enough to make our own way along the scree to the pass. If you pay attention and are used to following tracks then it is pretty easy, one guy with us didn't have any bushwalking experience so would often power off with his head down and lose the track but no problem for the rest of us.

As far as fitness goes if your fit and take your time you shouldn't have any problems, the first pass was a real struggle but after that we were fine. Its just luck of the draw with altitude sickness (plus other sickness) one member of our party who usual fitness is similar to the rest of us got so sick after Kongma La that he was struggling at a quarter of the pace of the rest of us until we got back to Namche. Likewise we walked with another group which early on powered through it but one got sick around Gokyo and looked like death on the final pass.

Make sure you take a kindle with lots of books as the most annoying part of the trek is most days are only half days and then you sit around the tea house all afternoon. 18-21 days is a good time budget because you will most likely lose a day or two with flight cancellations and sickness. When booking flights book the 6am flight, even if its a day later as so many of the flights get cancelled and its much harder to get an early flight for the next day once you find out yours are cancelled. We had a 10am flight and were at the airport until 4pm when they finally cancelled it and let us book another. I think we took 17 days in total and that included rest days in Namche, Dingboche, Chukung and Gokyo and also two days to get from Kala Patar to Dzongla due to illness (should be an easy 1 day)

I should also add that we did it in April rather than October. We had snow overnight when at Dingboche (it looked absolutely amazing the next morning) but it melted by 11am and abit of snow on the western sides of passes (both sides of Cho La) but still managed easily enough in runners

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Fri 04 Apr, 2014 5:20 pm

Thanks Frenchy, good to hear another person's perspective on it. Given that I do plenty of walking and am pretty good at following tracks I don't think the navigation is anything to worry about. And it sounds like the days are mostly pretty short so fitness shouldn't be a problem either. Still, a bit of extra walking/running/swimming in the lead up probably wouldn't hurt!

And the Kindle sounds like a good tip. I haven't got one but was thinking of it for future travels. How regularly did you have access to electricity to charge gadgets and did you have to pay to do so? I know that Kindles last a long time, but camera batteries will need charging every few days.


Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Fri 04 Apr, 2014 5:39 pm

Most places would let you charge batteries, in Namche we could do it for free and don't recall needing it again cause Kindle last forever and so does my SLR battery but in the scheme of aus dollars it wasn't expensive even a long way up hill of Namche, because the higher you get the more expensive it gets but its still cheap as chips in comparison to what we are used to. I do recall using wifi in Namche and Gorak Shep and possibly Goyko aswell.
It is also very cold make sure you have a really good puffer jacket for when you are not walking, for the sake of a few hundred grams I wish I had taken another jumper with me, perhaps coming straight from a North Qld summer wasn't the best acclimatastion for me but I was always cold. Fuel for the fire is so hard to come by for the locals that they use it very sparingly. And I remember spilling a little water when drinking on the climb up Kala Patar before sunrise and the water had frozen before it had a chance to run down my jacket. I guess that also depends on what time of year you go, I notice in Nicks photo the Gokyo lakes are free of ice when we were there they were frozen solid.
It an awesome place but so very different to bushwalking in Australia.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Tue 22 Apr, 2014 11:49 am

Air asia return gold coast to nepal under $600 at present.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Tue 22 Apr, 2014 1:08 pm

I was looking at flights from Melbs. Later in winter they were as low as $750... that was, perhaps these cheaper flights are, using Malaysian Airlines?
In any case, not a lot dearer than a trip to Tas with a car.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Mon 17 Nov, 2014 11:35 am

I just returned from this area. Having a tarp at Gokyo would have been great to camp at the 5th or 6th lake. This is such a great spot to spend time climbing around this area. Much more to do here than at base camp. Also after the big storm at annapurna I will carry a light tent or tarp for emergency use as well as gps.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Mon 17 Nov, 2014 3:32 pm

a tarp wouldnt stand up to the amount of snow that fell around annapurna... even a winter tent would have been buried.

Re: Nepal - Everest Three Passes trek

Thu 13 Feb, 2020 11:27 am

Hi Forumites
Here are a few notes from a Three Passes trips done in November 2019.
I had joined a private group on the latter part of the Great Himalaya Trail.
Their blog is here
and a video here ... FAln4imV6M

This was my 7th trip to the Himalayas, I am 62 and travelled with my 19 yo son.
Nepal is changing really quickly now, here are some general reflections

The Three Passes is not a difficult walk provided you give yourself plenty of time to acclimatise,
stay well and don't burden yourself with a whole lot of unnecessary gear.
All accommodation is in lodges which can be quite basic up to $100US plus night with all sorts of luxuries.
You should not need to carry more than 10 kilos.
The trail is well marked and often crowded with people walking in line, sometimes held up by tourist, porter, yak or mule jams.
There are small crowds at the tops of the passes.
This is not a wilderness or remote walk these days, the lodges are bustling and the whole of the Khumbu is prosperous and full of activity.
When the sky is clear there are many helicopters buzzing about.
The local communities and cultures are now diluted but the area is still spectacularly beautiful
and short of mountaineering the walk often represents a pinnacle of personal achievement.
Trekking in the Khumbu will soon resemble walking in the European alps.
There are some pressure points, Lukla is still often closed, Gorak Shep below Everest Base Camp can be a bit grim but on the whole people remain pleasant and honest, but do check your lodging bill.
Roads will soon make their way into the valley from below and perhaps from China over the Nangpa La then Thame..
So go soon.

Nepal is changing very fast with an emphasis on education and emigration
Consequently in prosperous areas most young people are studying in Kathmandu or a large regional town, leaving just children and older folks in the villages.
More remote villages are nearly empty.

Probably the most striking and distressing reflection is the very rapid rate of glacial retreat.
Small glaciers such as the one below the Cho La which, in 1979, was at least 200 hectares with a potentially lethal ice fall is now perhaps just 5 or 10 hectares, and will be completely gone within the next decade if not sooner.
By personal observation I can say that this is true all across Nepal.
These glaciers are at 5500 to 6000 meters altitude.

Cost wise we budgeted $50 Aus daily on the trail, this was enough but not generous.
Trail costs were accommodation, food , the occasional shower, the odd treat and costs of recharging our phones.
On the trail all payments were in Nepalese Rupees.
In 1979 my trail budget was $3 daily!
If you need a porter for some reason a reasonable cost is $20US/dayfollowed by a 50% tip on completion.

For personalised or more adventurous travel I would highly recommend Chhiree Sherpa from Best Nepal Trekking.
Over the years my family has spent nearly six months in the care of Chhiree
and he guided our recent GHT group.
Chhiree is the only guide to have led this long extreme route twice.
Here are Chhirees contacts:
Facebook ... r7xbQvyAvQ

So here are a few tips, I will put up some gear thoughts in the next post.
The most important thing is a slow acclimatisation, I really can't stress this enough,
sleep 300 meters higher each night and have plenty of rest days and a few spare days too.
I like the idea of two days in Namche, with a day trip up to the Japanese Hotel for tea on the verandah-,what a view!,
then across to Khumjung, an unaffected sherpa town, for a late lunch and the momastery with the yeti scalp.
And add in another acclimatisation day at the high point before your first pass,
at say Lungden below the Renjo La, or Chhukking below the Kongma La.

Gastro can ruin a trip. A severe episode can be highly debilitating.
Lots of hand washing with soap, hand sanitiser use, treat your water religiously with some form of sterilising tablet and think about what you are eating.
Get through Kathmandu fast and don't eat anything fresh or uncooked there.
Its distressing to pay inflated prices for phone charging, take a lead and a small solar charger.
WiFi is everywhere but charges can be high, get an Everest Link card in Lukla or Namche and make sure the date is long and it is regional rather than village based.

In Kathmandu we changed US dollars to local currency in 500 and 1000 rupee notes at the Thamel Money exchange (9841 965 623) who I recommend. They are just down a sidelane to the right about 100m down Jyatha Marg in Thamel. Do check the rates along the way.
Changing money back to $US can be problematic, technically it may not be legal,
but it is generally possible at good rates on days when the government inspectors are not around.
We bought some light mountaineering gear further down Jyatha Marg from the Everest Summiteers store
run by a sherpa family from the Rolwaling. The five brothers have summited Everest more than 50 times and their Guinness book of Records award is in the store.
We stayed long way out of Thamel in the sherpa quarter of town at the Shambala apartments in Faika 14 Kopan. Probably more sensible to stay in Thamel.
Travel insurance was from Covermore, I think, with rescue insurance (for some 6000m stuff elsewhere) from Global Rescue who are good for the more remote stuff. I don't think this is needed for the Three Passes.

Some gear notes for the Three Passes,
there is a link to a forum discussion here

First of all check the temperature for the time of year you are travelling.
In November early mornings and nights were cold, down to minus 10 or 15C.
Day times were fine and sunny with no rain and no snow.
Keep your packweight under 10kg.
Take a few luxuries like chocolate and snickers.

Footwear: I used 3/4 shank leather lined boots, its a personal preference,
trail runners would be ok if there is no snow and your ankles are strong,
take something light for the lodges at night, crocks and sox are fine.
We fitted some rubber minicrampons just once over the Cho La,
they cost $15US in Kathmandu but could be bought in Namche or Lukla.
Gaiters were carried but not used but I had some cotton minigaiter/ankle guard things from Bunnings to keep the dust out of my boots.
I do recommend these.
A few of pairs of wool socks, two light and one heavy.

I walk in long sleeved collared cotton shirts to keep the sun off. just one,under this was generally an Aldi merino T shirt, two carried,
and sometimes an Aldi longsleeved zip collared rolled neck wool skivy.
Outside a 200wt fleece such as MacPac Tui.
Some long pants and one long Aldi merino wool, just two sets of underwearcarried.
I had a Mac Pac hooded Halo down jacket which was fine, Mac Pac tends to underrate their fill power, you can ask the staff to check the garment tag for the actual fill power. Mine was 700u.
A fleece beany that I could pull right down over my eyes while sleeping,
a good broad brimmed sun hat, I used something vented in cotton from OR.
Gloves and a light pair of liners, and sungloves too from the Cancer Council.
Light weight jackets and overpants are fine, they are needed but probably won't be used,
Good sunglasses but you do't need glacier glasses.
Good head lamp, a set of AAAs will last the whole trip but batteries are and toilet paper can be bought along the way.
The lodges all have LED lighting now. The rooms are dim.
My sleeping bag has a minus 7 rating and I used Sea to Summit Reactor liner.
Nights can be cold in the lodges.
I like walking poles.
A good water bottle is important, maybe two, I used a soft wide mouthed 1l HDPE from Nalgene.
Can double as a hot water bottle. Backed with a crunched up polyethylene soft drink bottle.
Don't buy bottled water, it creates a terrible waste problem.
Water filers can be problematic if they freeze, we used chlorine tablets which have improved over the years.
Take enough for 3 liters per day.
Factor 30 lip balm and sunscreen.
Plenty of hand sanitiser.
A small towel.
Small bar of soap and some washing detergent flakes.

Gear wise the standouts were the merino T shirts , the MacPac Tui fleeces and Halo jackets.

On the medical side, some antinflammatories like Mobic, some Nuromol for pain,
plenty of Imodium.
Prescription wise Ondansetron wafers for vomiting are great,
some Panadeine forte, some broad spectrum antibiotics for skin, chest and bladder.
maybe some ciproxin for bacterial gastro (traveler's diarhoea) but there is a lot of resistance now,
perhaps something old like Bactrim or something new like rifaxamin (Xifaxan)
Azithromycin seems to be the most recommended treatment antibiotic for travellers diarhoea just now.
Another option would be something new like rifaxamin (Xifaxan)
Diamox (acetozolamide) is really useful, half a tab two or three times a day for preacclimatisation
and mild mountain sickness symptoms, it makes your hands and lips tingle by changing the pH of your blood and making you breath up a little.
maybe some light sleepers like temazepam.
And of course some Flagyl (metronidazole) for giardia.
If there is a medico in the group or you are going to Island Peak I would also throw in some dexamethasone, nifedipine and Viagra(sildenafil)
which works really well for pulmonary hypertension which is the early stage of high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPO).
A slow acclimatisation is much more important then the rescue medications.

A Kindle and maybe a pack of playing cards
The smallest pack you fit your stuff in, maybe a silnylon microday pack for side trips and carrying stuff around in the lodges.
Something to put your money in, you will have rather a lot of Rupee notes.
All the rooms have keys and padlocks, you could take your own but its better to keep your valuables on your person

Anyway those are my thoughts.
Go enjoy yourselves.
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