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Kala Patthar & Gokyo, Everest 3 pass #3

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Unforgettable excursion to the summit of Kala Patthar, at over 5500m, to watch the sunrise over Everest, Lhotse and Pumo Ri. The trek then continues westwards to cross the Cho La pass, the immense Ngozumpa glacier at the foot of Cho Oyu, and discover Gokyo, a pretty little village on the shores of a lake at 4800m, mirroring the snow-capped walls that encircle it. Finally, the ascent of the Renjo La, a natural gap at almost 5400m, gives access to a new valley where you'll find the village of Thame and its beautiful monastery, in an exceptional natural setting. Less frequented, this part of the loop offers unprecedented panoramas, with a string of 6000m peaks towering over our heads. An avalanche of photos!

Kalapatthar, sous le Pumoir et face à l’Everest

Technical summary

Type ✦ Trek itinérant

Location ✦ Upper Khumbu

Region ✦ Everest National Park

Country ✦ Nepal

Length ✦ 69,5kms

Vertical drop ✦ 2580m

Max altitude ✦ 5645m

Difficulty ✦ D

Duration ✦ 5 days

Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

Itinerary description


Day 11 to Day 15

We take advantage of the night at Gorak Shep to climb Kala Patthar at 4.30 a.m. and watch the sunrise over the Everest range. The route then takes us back to Lobuche, before branching off at the foot of Cholatse and heading west to Dzongla. From here, the ascent of the snow-covered Cho La Pass leads to the Ngozumpa glacier, crossing it to find Gokyo and its lake. Continuing westwards, the Renjo La gives access to the Thame valley, which we'll descend to return to the loop's starting point, Namche.

Day 11: Gorak Shep - Dzongla 4830m (Kala Patthar 5645m)

Day 12: Dzongla - Gokyo, 4750m (Cho La, 5420m)

Day 13: Rest in Gokyo (4th lake 4900m)

Day 14: Gokyo - Thame 3750m (Renjo La, 5360m)

Day 15: Thame - Namche 3440m

Day 11: Gorak Shep 5165m - Dzongla 4830m

14.5 kms, 590m d+, 920m d-, alt max 5645m

The ascent of Kala Patthar consists of climbing up a kind of hill to finish on a small summit along a ridge, literally at the foot of Pumo Ri (7161m). No difficulty other than the altitude. Allow 1h30 to 2h for the climb. From here, an exceptional 360° view of the Khumbu Himal, facing Everest and Lhotse, the two 8000m peaks in the area.

1h to Gorak Shep. Then descend to Lobuche, pass the village and before Thukla, there's a fork to the right leading directly to Dzongla. The trail then follows all the mountainous terrain, staying at around 4800m until it reaches Dzongla. The views over the valley and the emblematic Ama Dablam in the background are exceptional, before we come face to face with Tobuche, Cholatse and Arkam Tse, three splendid 6000m peaks towering above us. Overnight in Dzongla, at the foot of Arkam Tse. Allow 2h to 2h30 for Lobuche Dzongla.

Day 12: Dzongla 4830m - Gokyo 4750m

11.7 kms, 740m d+, 810m d-, alt max 5420m

Big stage! Exit above Dzongla to climb up a wide valley and plunge all the way to the end, facing a cirque of seemingly impassable walls. The se,tier then rises, reaches the foot of the walls and there, a corridor that was hidden appears. It's a steep climb, and you have to put your hands up in places, but it's not difficult. Further up, you reach a flat area that leads to the pass. The final section is on the left, in a steep scree slope, and we finish by walking on a long névé (crampons not necessary if the snow is soft). 3h from Dzongla to Cho La Pass, 5420m. Normally, if the weather is clear, we should have a view of Everest... not for us.

On the opposite side, a steep descent, equipped with a cable, almost reaches the valley floor. The path then crosses and rises to over 5100m to a ridge with a characteristic large boulder. From here, it's a long descent to the village of Dragnag (2h30 descent from Cho La). Follow the Ngozumpa glacier before crossing it (long and tiring!), and climbing its western flank to reach Gokyo, hidden behind it, on the shores of the 3rd lake. 2h from Dragnag.

Day 13: Gokyo 4750m - 4th lake 4900m

12.2 kms, 270m d+, 270m d-, alt max 4900m

Rest day in Gokyo. Several options: either laze by the lake, climb Gokyo Ri for a splendid panorama (if the weather is clear...), or climb back up to Cho Oyu base camp along the glacier, which we did because it was overcast. 1h to 1h30 for the 4th lake, more for the 5th lake.

Day 14: Gokyo 4750m - Thame 3750m

20.5 kms, 660m d+, 1580m d-, alt max 5360m

Huge stage! Early start to Renjo La Pass, 3rd on the loop. Cross the log of the lake to skirt it and climb gently. At the end, quickly climb straight up to pass 5000m on a steep trail with narrow switchbacks. This leads to an upper plateau overlooking the lake. Cross this plateau in the direction of the cirque, which seems to block the way. You then come to a small gap decorated with a Tibetan flag. To get there, the final stretch is rather exhausting, climbing steeper and a little in the snow. You can feel the difference in altitude above 5000m... about 3 hours to climb from Gokyo.

Once you've reached the pass, switch to the opposite side of the valley on a large descent to reach a new valley to be gradually lowered. We did the next part in the fog, but after a good while on the flat, the path descends more steeply to end up at Lundgen, in the Thame valley. From here, follow the path along the right bank of the Bhote Koshi, without difficulty, to Thame, hidden behind a promontory.

Day 15: Thame 3750m - Namche 3440m

10.6 kms, 320m d+, 670m d-, alt max 3820m

Visit Thame Monastery, 20′ above the village. Superb! Then the descent below the village leads to a bridge in the Bhote Khosi gorge to cross to the left bank. Follow the easy path to Thamo, and continue along the relief of the valleys until you reach Namche. Arrive at the top, on the opposite side to where you started, at the beginning of the loop.

Map & topo

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