About the Trip
Operated by AWExpeditions and our partner McGill Mountains
Nepal is the destination of a lifetime, and the 3 Passes Trek is the ultimate immersion in the Khumbu region which is home to Chomolungma (Mount Everest) and the heart of the Himalayas. With our 24-day itinerary you will get to cross three spectacular 17,000 ft and 18,000 ft passes as you follow ancient Nepali-Tibetan trade routes and immersive yourself in mystical Sherpa culture while you draw ever closer to Everest Basecamp.
Is it possible to visit the Khumbu region and Everest basecamp with less time and effort? Sure. You can trek to Everest basecamp in a fraction of the time that this journey will take, crossing zero high mountain passes and staying connected to the world on the social media fueled trekker’s super-highway that the main Khumbu Valley has become. Our 3 Passes to Everest adventure is the exact opposite: It is remote and challenging – at times maybe uncomfortably so. It is remote, soulful, and immersive. It will ask you to disconnect from daily life so that you can spend time reconnecting with parts of yourself that may not get to surface often. Be ready for an experience that will leave you changed forever.
The 3 Passes highpoints:
- Renjo La Pass | 17,560 ft (5,360 m) – Day 10
- Gokyo Ri | 17,575 ft (5,357 m) – Day 11 / optional
- Cho La Pass | 17,782 ft (5,420 m) – Day 13
- Kala Pattar | 18,519 ft (5,645 m) – Day 15 / optional
- Everest Basecamp | 17,598 ft (5,364m) – Day 16
- Kongma La Pass | 18,209 ft (5,550 m) – Day 18 / optional
About Nepal and the trek
This journey offers the ultimate Himalayan adventure, taking you on a challenging but rewarding trek through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. The Three Passes Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will immerse you in Nepal’s rich culture and natural beauty, allowing you to witness stunning views of the highest peaks in the world. You will travel across the Khumbu Valley and Everest Region staying in tea houses and visiting bazaars as you climb in elevation. The journey takes the team to Renjo La, Cho La, Kangma La and the emerald lakes of Gokyo before stopping at Everest Basecamp.
AWExpeditions is excited to offer this incredible trek to adventurers who are looking for an unforgettable and authentic Himalayan experience. Let us guide you on this thrilling journey through Nepal’s majestic mountains, ancient villages, and pristine wilderness.
This immersive adventure can be considered as an extension of life rather than a vacation. This is a long journey that requires the dedication of a significant amount of time and curiosity. Not only will you be challenged physically by the trek, your resiliency will be tested despite traveling in relative comfort. If you think you are up to the task, come join us for the adventure of a lifetime.
This is a non-technical high-altitude trekking itinerary that does not require mountaineering skills. Participants must be in excellent physical condition. Previous hiking experience is required. Previous backpacking experience and/or high altitude experience is highly recommended.
Trip duration: 24 days / 23 nights
Max group size: 8 guests & 2 guides
Early-bird* pricing: $5,700
*For sign-ups prior to October 31 2023. All reservations require a $500 deposit at the time of signup; balance of expedition fees typically comes due in two installments 60 and 90 days prior to departure. Ask us about flexible payment plans to space out payments further.
- Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
- Day 2: Sightseeing, gear check & welcome dinner
- Day 3: Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding
- Day 4: Phakding monastery visit
- Day 5: Trek to Namche Bazaar
- Day 6: Acclimatization & visit to Everest View Hotel
- Day 7: Trek to Thame
- Day 8: Acclimatization hike on Sunder Peak
- Day 9: Trek to Lungdhen
- Day 10: Renjo La Pass (17,585 ft)
- Day 11: Gokyo Ri (17,575 ft)
- Day 12: Trek to Dragnag
- Day 13: Cho la Pass (17,782 ft)
- Day 14: Trek to Lobuche Village
- Day 15: Trek to Gorak Shep and Kala Pattar (18,519 ft)
- Day 16: Everest Basecamp (17,594 ft)
- Day 17: Contingency Day
- Day 18: Kangma La Pass (18,209 ft)
- Day 19: Visit to Island Peak Basecamp or rest day in Chukkung
- Day 20: Trek to Tengboche
- Day 21: Trek to Namche
- Day 22: Trek to Lukla
- Day 23: Return to Kathmandu & final lunch/dinner
- Day 24: Depart
You will receive a detailed packing list in your expedition handbook after reserving your spot on this expedition. AWExpedition and our local partner will be responsible for group items including med kits, group food kits and more; you are responsible for your personal backpacking gear including the following items:
- Hiking boots
- Trekking poles
- 40l+ backpack
- 0 degree (F) sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Glacier glasses
- Backpacking attire including
- Warm down jacket
- Wind/water-proof GoreTex jacket
Technical mountaineering gear (rigid mountaineering boots, harness, crampons, ice axe, helmet etc) is not needed for this itinerary.
A more complete list is provided in the handbook. A broad selection of rental gear is available through national brands such as REI or Kit Lender. In addition, it is easily possible rent gear on location in Kathmandu.
- All international airport/hotel transfers in Kathmandu
- 3 nights accommodation in 3-star level hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu (2x pre-trail, 1x post-trail)
- Welcome and cultural dinner in Kathmandu
- Teahouse and tented accommodation during trekking and climbing
- Breakfasts in Kathmandu and three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) in the mountains
- Ground transportation by private vehicles to/from domestic airport
- All necessary staff with experienced English speaking climbing leader (guide/sirdar), cook and necessary Sherpa porters to carry duffels and climbing equipment, other helpers including their salary, insurance, equipment, flight, food and lodging
- All domestic flights (Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu)
- All necessary paper work: TIMS card and Sagarmatha National Park fee
- Nepal Visa fee (bring US$ 50 USD cash and two passport photographs (just in case) for visa issue on arrival)
- International airfare to and from Kathmandu
- Altitude chamber (PAC) or oxygen
- Travel and rescue insurance – recommendation: Global Rescue or World Nomad; emergency evacuation including helicopter and high altitude coverage required
- Personal backpacking equipment – good quality gear can be rented in Kathmandu if necessary
- Personal expenses (phone calls/air time/internet, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottled/boiled water, hot shower, snacks, curios, specialty coffee’s etc.) – recommend US$20-30/day
- Personal medications
- Optional trips and sightseeing if trip is extended
- Tips for local guides and porters – approx. US $400
- Single supplement - contact us to discuss availability and pricing
- How fit do I have to be? This is a demanding high-altitude backpacking adventure. You have to be able to comfortably hike 10-12 miles on with 5,000ft+ of ascent and not feel utterly exhausted at the end of it, in order to enjoy this trek
- How difficult is the route? This is a long itinerary that mixes very demanding pass crossings with easier trekking and some active rest days. There is plenty of time for acclimatization, but you need to be ready to put down several hard high mountain pushes within a relatively short period of time (just take a look at days 13-18 in the itinerary!). Each individual push can be a 7-10 hour day with up to 3500 ft of elevation gain and even more descent. In addition, we are spending half of our time above 14,000 ft which means that altitude becomes a big factor.
- Should I be taking acetazolamide (Diamox) for this high altitude trek? That's a question for you and your physician. If you haven't been to 18,000ft before there is no telling how your body will react to extreme altitude: our bodies' ability to acclimatize is mostly determined by genetics, and the best predictor for your ability to acclimatize is prior performance at high altitude. In addition, Diamox takes 24-48 hours to become effective. Here's what that means for those who don't have prior experience at extreme high altitude, i.e. no insights into their ability to naturally acclimatize: if you'd like to minimize your odds of experiencing AMS (acute mountain sickness) Diamox may be advised; note: Diamox does carry negative side effects; consult with your physician when you seek to obtain a prescription.
- How much weight will I have to carry? You'll need to carry your personal gear except for your sleeping bag, which will be transported via our team of Sherpas and guides. Depending on how efficiently you pack, you'll likely be looking at ~25lbs.
- Is is possible to hire porters? Yes, it is possible to skinny your weight down more by securing additional support. Contact us to discuss details & cost.
- How many miles will we hike each day? Daily mileage ranges from 10-13 miles, with anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000ft of vertical change (ascent and descent).