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Everest Three Passes Trek – Overview

The Everest Three Passes Trek is a challenging circuit trek offering spectacular views of the highest mountains on earth. From our vantage points at the high passes and the summit of peaks, we will be able to take in spectacular mountain vistas. This is not possible on the standard Everest trek.  The ascent to and descent from the passes can be challenging – some sections are icy and requiring navigating over loose rock. But no technical climbing skills are required for this trek. Trekking the Three Passes is similar to our Ultimate Everest Trek but also involves crossing the Kongma La pass, the most challenging of the three passes. The Everest Three Passes Trek is a comprehensive Everest region trek that allows you to see more of everything in the Khumbu: spectacular mountain vistas, Sherpa culture, high passes, and rustic villages.

The Trek

The Everest Three Passes trek begins with a flight to the airstrip at Lukla. Trek up to the Imja Valley from where you face your first challenge: the crossing of the Kongma La pass (5,535m /18,159ft) to Lobuche. Continue to the Everest Base Camp and climb Kalapathar for an up-close view of the south face of Everest.  Continue over the Cho La pass (5,420m/17,782ft) to the Gokyo valley near the Ngozumpa Glacier.  At Gokyo, you will hike to the summit of Gokyo Ri – a vantage point to view four mountains over 8,000 meters: Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu.  From Gokyo, cross the Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) to reach Thame, home of several famous Sherpa mountaineers. Finally, descend to Lukla via Khumjung.

If you prefer a less strenuous trek, check out our Everest Base Camp Trek or the Ultimate Everest Trek. The latter involves crossing the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (Gokyo lake to Thame) but not the challenging Kongmala pass. We are also happy to customize the trek for you. Read about Jwalant’s Everest Three Passes trek experience here.


The Everest Three Passes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are the best among all trekking trails in Nepal. And several lodges on the trail have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.


Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Everest Three Passes Trek are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). Unlike other Everest treks, it is NOT possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February. This is because the trek involves crossing three high Himalayan passes.


The Everest Three Passes trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). The highest altitude reached is at the summit of Kalapathar (5,545 m/19,195) and the highest overnight elevation is at Gorakshep (5,212m/17,100 feet). At the beginning of the trek, there are two acclimatization days and several short days to allow for proper acclimatization. Trekking the three passes involves average daily hiking of around 6 hours with a few long days of around 8-9 hours. These include the optional day hikea to the Amadablam Base Camp and the Everest Base Camp. But the pass crossing over the Kongma La, Cho La and the Renjo La are mandatory. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.


All our Everest Three Passes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff. Do read this article “Is Crystal Mountain Treks expensive?” to learn more about this.

Do contact us (info@crystalmountaintreks.com) if you have more questions. We are happy to help!


Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary: Everest Three Passes Trek

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 3 Kathmandu – Lukla to Phakding Phakding 2,800m/8,700ft
Day 4 Phakding to Namche Namche 3,400m/11,270ft
Day 5 Namche acclimatization day Namche 3,400m/11,270ft
Day 6 Namche to Tengboche Tengboche 3,870m/12,900ft
Day 7 Tengboche to Pangboche. Visit Amadablam Base Camp. Pangboche 3,985m/13,100ft
Day 8 Pangboche to Dingboche Dingboche 4,360m/13,950ft
Day 9 Dingboche acclimatization day Dingboche 4,360m/13,950ft
Day 10 Dingboche to Chukkung Chukkung 4,730m/15,500ft
Day 11 Rest day at Chukkung Chukkung 4,730m/15,500ft
Day 12 Chukkung to Lobuche crossing Kongma La pass Lobuche 4,930m/16,200ft
Day 13 Lobuche to Gorakshep Gorakshep 5,160m/17,100ft
Day 14 Gorakshep to Dzongla Dzongla 4,830m/15,900ft
Day 15 Dzongla to Thangnak crossing Cho La pass Thangnak 4,700m/15,450ft
Day 16 Thangnak to Gokyo Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
Day 17 Explore Gokyo Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
Day 18 Gokyo to Lungden crossing Renjo La pass Lungden 4,350m/14,350ft
Day 19 Lungden to Thame Thame 3,750m/12,500ft
Day 20 Thame to Namche Namche 3,400m/11,270ft
Day 21 Namche to Lukla Lukla 2,800m/8,700ft
Day 22 Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 23 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 24 Final departure    
Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu (1,350m/4,450ft)

As you fly over the densely concrete urban jungle of Kathmandu valley, the birds eye view of the Himalayas on the north will be a pleasant surprise. Once clearing the customs, our representative will be waiting to attend you through the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu streets towards your hotel. After settling in, we will gather for a short briefing, where we will also get to know each other. Welcome dinner is a 15-minute walk-away in the tourist hub of Thamel, where both Western and local cuisines are offered.

Hotel Tibet or similar. (Dinner).

Day 2Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Full day exploration of the sights, sounds and pleasant chaos that is Kathmandu. Visit Bodhnath which is a sacred destination for Buddhists from all over the world. Circum-ambulate the sacred monument with devotees, spin the prayer wheels along the stupa walls, and immerse yourself in the experience of Bodhnath.

Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, the God of Destruction. The main temple has a two-tiered golden roof and an ornate silver door. However, visitors cannot enter the main temple sanctum and must view it from across the sacred Bagmati River.

Then drive to Patan. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum which houses ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar (Palace) Square. The medieval architecture of Patan is the finest with stunning architectural designs of palaces and temples including the Krishna Mandir. Return to hotel. Free evening to prepare for your Ultimate Everest trek.

Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Kathmandu - Lukla to Phakding (2,800m/8,700ft)

Please note that flights to Lukla could be delayed or cancelled for a number of reasons. In such an event, return to the hotel and resume program the following day.

Your day will start very early today as most flights to Lukla are scheduled for the early morning hours. Be prepared for a wait at the airport if your flight is delayed due to weather at either Kathmandu or Lukla. The flight to Lukla (2,800m/8,700ft) is approximately 25 minutes. It is now one of the busiest mountain airports in Nepal with up to 50 flights per day during peak tourist season.

At Lukla, meet your trek staff – porters and assistants. Today’s three/four hour trek to Phakding is on fairly level terrain along the Dudh Koshi (‘koshi’ means river in Nepali). Past Lukla, descend to Chaurikharka and continue on a fairly level trail to Choplung (2,700m/8,910ft). Continue on a trail that descends to Tharo Koshi, a settlement named after the stream flowing through it. Once past the bridge over the Thado Koshi, the trail climbs a bit then contours around a ridge to Ghat (2,590m/8,500ft). There is a monastery, numerous prayer wheels, mani stones and a chhorten at Ghat. From Ghat, it is approximately 20 minutes to Phakding, a fairly large settlement dominated by lodges.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 4 miles/6.5 kilometers
Ascent: 836 feet/255 meters
Descent: 1,424 feet/434  meters
Total Time: 4 – 5 hours


Day 4Phakding to Namche (3,400m/11,270ft)

The day’s trail follows the Dudh Koshi past several villages until you begin your ascent to Namche. Before reaching Monju (2,840m/9,350 ft.) is the village of Chumoa where in the 1970s, an eccentric but creative Mr Hagayuki lived without a visa for almost 10 years – farming and running the Hatago Lodge – before being deported. The lodge is now falling apart, but his fruit trees still bear flowers and fruits in the spring and summer. Just beyond Monju is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park where your park permit will be checked. Visit the Information Center thNamcheere while your permit is processed by Park staff. Depending on the time you reach this point, lunch will be either at Monju or Jorsalle (2,830m/9,300ft) inside the park.

Past Jorsalle, the trail follows the Dudh Koshi and crosses it, twice before the base of the hill which climbs up to Namche. This climb is long and steep. Walk slowly on this hill to avoid altitude sickness. The switchback trail is well-worn and wide through a pleasant pine forest. Weather permitting, you will get your first view of Mt Everest at the beginning of the switchback trail. At the end of the long switchback trail, you enter the open panorama of Namche which is built in a natural amphitheater.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 6.25 miles/10.5 kilometers
Ascent: 2,944 ft/900 meters
Descent: 693 ft/211 meters
Total Time: 7 – 8 hours

Day 5Namche acclimatization day

Acclimatization day. There are numerous things to do in Namche. Hike up to the Park Headquarters at Mendalphu, which is an excellent view point for Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Amadablam. Visit the information center there. Then climb up the hill to Syangboche (3,790m/12,450ft), and perhaps further up to the Everest View Hotel from where you can also get excellent views of Everest. Another option is to hike towards Thame and get as far as you can before you backtrack the same way to Namche. En route, you can visit Namche Gomba and Thamo Gomba.

Also remember that you can get online at Namche or make a telephone call (although both internet and calls can be fairly expensive).

Lodge. (All meals)

Day 06Namche to Tengboche (3,870m/12,900ft)

Climb to the top of Namche Bazaar, then walk on a fairly level trail to Kenjuma and Sanasa (3,600m/11,830ft). Here, there are extensive displays of souvenirs to tempt you. Bargaining is very much in order! The trail now descends to the Dudh Koshi, which is crossed to reach Phungi Tenga (3,250m/10,700ft). There is a now-deserted army post here. Past this point, the trail ascends to Tengboche through conifer and rhododendron forests. It is a grueling three/four hours of uphill climbing.

Visit Tengboche monastery in the evening, or watch the setting sun cast its last rays over Everest if the skies are clear. There is also an eco-center with historical and cultural exhibits in the monastery compound. If monks are performing prayer ceremonies when you visit, please do not take flash photos or otherwise disturb the ceremonies.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 6.06 miles/9.05 kilometers
Ascent: 2,511 ft/765 meters
Descent: 1,196 ft/365 meters
Total Time: 6 – 7 hours

Day 07Tengboche to Pangboche (3,985m/13,100ft)

Today is a short day of around two hours trekking to Pangboche. This should aid with acclimatization. The trail descends steeply to the small village of Debuche. Here, quietly tucked away in the trees is a Buddhist nunnery.

An optional hike to Amadablam Base Camp at 14,800 feet. (2.7 miles with 2,242 feet ascent one way). Or you may just opt for a shorter hike. Past Debuche, cross the Imja Khola and climb to the village of Pangboche (3,880m/12,800ft). The Pangboche Monastery is the oldest in Khumbu and once contained relics that were said to be the skull and hand of a yeti. These items were stolen in 1991.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 2.65 miles/4.25 kilometers
Ascent: 550 ft/167 meters
Descent: 478 ft/146 meters
Total Time: 2 – 3 hours

Day 08Pangboche to Dingboche (4,360m/13,950ft)

Hike to well past the village where the trail climbs to Shomare and then to Orsho on a shelf above the river. Beyond Orsho, the trail divides, the left leads to Pheriche and the right to Dingboche. We will take the right trail to Dingboche. Dingboche is a pleasant village with outstanding mountain views.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 3.62 miles/5.82 kilometers
Ascent: 1,099 ft/335 meters
Descent: 21 ft/6.4 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 09Dingboche acclimatization day

Acclimatization Day. You can spend this day resting, walking around the restful village, or climbing up to the chhorten on the top of the ridge above the village. Or you can do a hike to Feriche.

Lodge. (All meals)

Day 10Dingboche to Chukkung (4,730m/15,500ft)

Today is a short day to aid with acclimatization. Climb gradually to the top of the moraine above Pheriche Valley and continue across a few yak pastures. Then make a short but steep ascent to Dughla where you will arrive for lunch. Most groups will trek on to Lobuche but staying in Dughla will help get used to the altitude.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 3.3 miles/5.31 kilometers
Ascent: 985 ft/300 meters
Descent: 72 ft/22 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 11Chukkung rest and acclimatization day

Today is a rest day and acclimatization day before the big climb over Kongmala to Lobuche. You have the option to hike to Imja Lake and Imja Tse Base Camp (Island Peak Base Camp).

Lodge. (All meals)

Day 12Chukkung to Lobuche (4,930m/16,200ft)

Begin early by around 5:00 or 5:30 am. Climb gradually past several pastures for about two hours to approach a steep rocky section which might require some scrambling. Past this section is a gradual climb to a small lake from where the pass is visible. Begin the final steep climb to the pass. From the pass, enjoy views of Cho Oyu, Makalu, Island Peak, Baruntse and many other peaks (see gallery below). The initial descent is steep and through loose rocks. After navigating the tricky trail for about 30 minutes, the trail becomes easier until you enter the Khumbu glacier. The glacier is constantly moving and that means the trail changes each year. Past the glacier is Lobuche.

Lodge. (All meals)

Chukkung to Kongmala Pass:

Total Distance: 3.88 miles/6.24 kilometers
Ascent: 2,759 ft/786 meters
Descent: 76 ft/23 meters
Total Time: 4 – 5 hours

Kongmala Pass to Lobuche:

Total Distance: 2.73 miles/4.4 kilometers
Ascent: 369 ft/112 meters
Descent: 2,174 ft/663 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 13Lobuche to Gorakshep (5,160m/17,100ft)

Begin the trek today by ascending gently through meadows in the Khumbu valley. Then cross several steep moraines while also walking on an ‘active’ glacier. Gorakshep is situated on a sandy and flat section that served as base camp for the 1952 Swiss Everest Expedition.

After lunch, if you feel up to it, hike to Everest Base Camp and return to your lodge at Gorakshep. The round trip hike from Gorakshep to Everest Base Camp can take around four or five hours (2.1 miles with 469 feet ascent and 125 feet descent one way)

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 2.99 miles/4.8 kilometers
Ascent: 770 ft/235 meters
Descent: 248 ft/76 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 14Gorakshep to Dzongla (4,830m/15,900ft)

Hike up Kalapathar (5,545m/18,195ft) for views of Everest and surrounding peaks. This 335m/1,100ft steep ascent is challenging. Previous clients’ hiking times for this climb have ranged from two to five hours – one way. But there is no doubt that, weather permitting, the summit of Kalapathar serves as one of the best unobstructed view-point for the southern massif of Mt Everest.

Enjoy a well-deserved lunch either at Gorakshep or Lobuche, and then continue to Dzongla.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 7.78 miles/12.52 kilometers
Ascent: 730 ft/222 meters
Descent: 1,755 ft/555 meters
Total Time: 6 – 7 hours

Day 15Dzongla to Thangnak (4,700m/15,450ft)

Start early from Dzongla, walking through a pasture before beginning a steep ascent to the Cho La (‘la’ means pass in the local Sherpa language) at 5,420m/17,850ft. Some scrambling might be necessary as you navigate through the rocky trail. You will then reach a glacier from where it is a gradual ascent to the pass. The trail on the descent from the pass is steep and can be icy with a short walk on the moraine. There are cables on both sides of the pass which should help on the steep sections.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 5.81 miles/9.35 kilometers
Ascent: 1,876 ft/572 meters
Descent: 2,351 ft/716 meters
Total Time: 6 – 8 hours

Day 16Thangnak to Gokyo (4,750m/15,500ft)

Climb to the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in the Sagarmatha National Park and the origin of the Dudh Koshi. The crossing of the glacier is quite rigorous – the trail keeps changing as, yes, the glacier does move every year. Once past the glacier, ascend a small section to reach Gokyo. Situated at the head of the Dudh Koshi Valley and along the bank of the Ngozumpa Glacier, Gokyo used to be a small yak herding settlement. It has now become a popular tourist destination. Gokyo Lake is a sacred lake revered by both Buddhists and Hindus.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 2.57 miles/4.13 kilometers
Ascent: 782 ft/239 meters
Descent: 570 ft/174 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 17Gokyo

Today is a Gokyo Ri exploration day. You may also opt to rest. The hike to Gokyo Ri (5,483m/17,990ft) is similar to the hike to Kala Pathar, but a little shorter and easier. From here, you will be able to view Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu, all rising majestically above 8,000 meters. You may also opt to hike to the fifth lake from where the view of Everest is spectacular.

Lodge. (All meals)

Day 18Gokyo to Lungden (4,350m/14,350ft)

Another early start today. Climb steeply to Renjo La (5,375m/17,700ft) from where you will again experience awe-inspiring views of Everest and other mountains. From the pass, descend steeply to reach Lungden, a village that has still not been influenced much by tourism. The hike today can take over eight hours.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 7.06 miles/11.5 kilometers
Ascent: 1,931 ft/588 meters
Descent: 3,397 ft/1,035 meters
Total Time: 7 – 8 hours

Day 19Lungden to Thame (3,750m/12,500ft)

The hike to Thame is a short descent along the Bhote Koshi, a river that originates in Tibet. The quiet village of Thame is home to many famous Everest summiteers: Tenzing Norgay, who with Sir Edmund Hillary, made the first summit of Everest in 1953; Ang Rita Sherpa, also known as the ‘snow leopard’, has successfully climbed Everest ten times without the use of supplemental oxygen; and Appa Sherpa who is attempted his record-breaking 20th summit of Everest in 2010.

At Thame, visit the Thame Monastery, one of the three oldest monasteries in the Khumbu.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 5.85 miles/9.5 kilometers
Ascent: 309 ft/95 meters
Descent: 2,055 ft/626 meters
Total Time: 4 – 5 hours

Day 20Thame to Namche (3,400m/11,270ft)

Trek on fairly level trail today trekking past Thamo and a few other smaller villages.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 5.41 miles/8.7 kilometers
Ascent: 720 ft/220 meters
Descent: 1,960 ft/598 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Day 21Namche to Lukla (2,800m/8,700ft)

Return to Lukla. This is your last day of trekking.

Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 11.21 miles/18 kilometers
Ascent: 2,153 ft/656 meters
Descent: 4,067 ft/1,240 meters
Total Time: 2 – 3 hours

Day 22Lukla to Kathmandu

Fly Lukla to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day free in Kathmandu.

Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast)

Day 23Kathmandu

This is a contingency day in case of flight delays from Lukla to Kathmandu.

If your flight arrives on schedule, sightseeing in Kathmandu. Visit Swayambunath, better known as the Monkey Temple. It is situated on a small hill overlooking Kathmandu City. Be prepared to climb almost 300 steps to reach the stupa at the top of the hill.

Drive to Bhaktapur, the City of Devotees for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Bhaktapur is a medieval city in the Kathmandu valley and is least disturbed by modern life. Here, you can absorb the architectural splendor of the five-storied Nyatapola temple, or the sculptural delight of the Peacock Window.

A final farewell dinner in Kathmandu.

Hotel Tibet or similar. (All meals)

Day 24Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)

Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid until December 31, 2024)

2 – 5 persons: $3,300 per person

6 or more persons: $3,100 per person

Single supplement: $300

  • US$ 200 per person discount on 2024 Spring treks.
  • Please inquire for quote in GB£ or Euros.
  • All our treks are private treks for two or more participants and can be arranged for a date of your choosing.
  • In the months of April, May, October and November, all fixed-wing flights to/from Lukla are required to operate from Ramechhap airport. You must either drive to Ramechhap (5-6 hours) a day prior to your flight and spend the night at Ramechhap. Or leave Kathmandu around mid-night to board the morning flight. Alternatively, if you may choose to fly directly to Lukla and back to Kathmandu on a helicopter (foregoing the drive to Ramechhap). For this, a US$ 600 surcharge will apply. You may also opt to fly one way only (Kathmandu to Lukla) on a helicopter for a surcharge of US$300 per person. Click Lukla flights for a detailed explanation.

Payment policy:

  • A 20% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.
  • Balance is payable a week prior to departure or on arrival in Kathmandu.

Cancellation policy:

  • Deposit is non-refundable. But if you cancel a month prior to trek start date, your deposit will be applied to any trek you undertake with us anytime in the future.
  • No refunds for unused services once trek begins.


Price Includes

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information 
  • Motivated, well-cared-for staff 
  • All airport transfers 
  • Two full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments 
  • 4 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu 
  • Airfare: Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu 
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Lodge trekking as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Three meals a day on the trek
  • Boiled water for your bottles twice a day 
  • Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals 
  • Guide and staff insurance 
  • Use of Steripen for water sterilization 
  • Sagarmatha National Park Fee
  • Gamow Bag (High altitude pressure chamber) or supplemental oxygen.

Price Excludes

  • Your international airfare 
  • Nepal Visa 
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary 
  • Tips and gratuities 
  • Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you) 
  • Travel insurance (Required
  • Other expenses of a personal nature
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If you don’t have 24 days for this trek and or don’t wish to do the physically demanding Kongma La pass, consider our Ultimate Everest Trek which involves crossing of two passes only.

If you’re short on time but don’t wish to do a fast paced trek to high altitude, check out our Everest – Tengboche Monastery trek. This trek goes up to Tengboche Monastery with excellent views of Everest.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious trek with en suite rooms, Western toilets and daily showers, our Luxury Everest Trek is a good option for you. We use Everest Summit Lodges and Yeti Mountain Homes which are at a far superior standard than other lodges on the trail with a garden area, comfortable lounge and a professional staff.

If you have around 19 days but don’t wish to do a fast-paced trek, check out our Everest Base Camp Trek.

If you’re looking to climb a Himalayan 20’er (first or otherwise), check out out our Island Peak climb. We can also organize climbs of Mera Peak (6,476m/21,240 feet) and Lobuche East (6,119m/20,070 feet).

And, YES, we would be happy to custom-design any of our program for you for a minimum of two participants.

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Frequently Asked Questions


When is the best time to do the Three Passes Trek?

There are two preferred seasons for the Everest Three Passes Trek: Spring (March through May) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near the Base Camp and at the passes. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

Do remember to bring micro-spikes and gaiters for the passes.

How fit do I need to be for the Everest Three Passes Trek

The Everest Three Passes Trek is more strenuous than both the Ultimate Everest Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek. But anyone who has reasonably good cardio-vascular fitness and can hike 8 miles a day can do the Everest Three Passes Trek. Allowing for optimal acclimatization is the key. Most of the trek is on relatively level trail with some steep ascents and descents. That said, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. While this trek does not involve any technical climbing, expect ice on the ascent to and descent from the pass. Gaiters and micro-spikes are a good idea. Remember to strengthen your knees prior to the trek as the descent on loose rock can be quite demanding on the knees.

It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.

We rate the Everest Three Passes Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

Can a beginner do the Three Passes Trek?

There are two aspects to completing and enjoying a trek: Physical and Mental. The daily mileage covered on a moderately-paced Everest Trek isn’t too challenging for anyone in good physical shape as you would only have to walk up to 6/7 miles per day. There will be a few days where the daily mileage is around 10 miles. But on the mental side, it’s a good idea to establish that you like hiking and don’t mind basic conditions, so that you can actually enjoy the experience when you do it. So it is better if you come prepared for this trip by actually doing some strenuous hikes around where you live.

What kind of meals should I expect?

Meals on the Everest Three Passes trek is quite varied. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.

Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Check out our article on food options for vegetarians.

What kind of gear do I need for this trek?

Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.

If you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.

It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.

There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home. If you have time for shopping in Kathmandu, make sure you check out Everest Outfit – a new Nepali outdoor brand – which has exceptional quality outdoor gear that are relatively inexpensive.

Can I drink tap water on the trek? How do I get safe drinking water?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge. We also provide boiled water twice a day for NO extra charge. Since water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitude, it’s best to sterilize the boiled water as some lodges may not bring the water to a boil for long enough to eliminate bacteria/protozoa in the water.

Do read our blog on safe drinking water options: Hydration on treks in Nepal

Is there mobile signal on the trek? How about wi-fi?

Some of the places on the main Everest Base Camp trail now have cell coverage. N-cell coverage is available in most places; more so than NTC. But once you get off the main trail, coverage may not be available. Some lodges will offer wi-fi for between $5 to $10 per day. The most popular wi-fi provider in the Everest region is Everest Link with relatively good coverage and speed. It should cost you around $20 for 10 GB and around $30 for 20 GB package.

How should I prepare for the trek?

The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek.

1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning.

2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.

3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.

In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.

Check out our article on training for treks.

Are there ATM's on the trek route? Can I pay with my credit card?

There are ATM’s in Lukla and Namche. But they may not always be working. So don’t rely on them. Bring cash for expenses en route. Some lodges do accept credit cards but will charge a 5%-10% surcharge.

What are the toilets like? Will I have a chance to shower?

Most tea houses have a common toilet. Now-a-days, many tea houses, especially those at the beginning of the trek, have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.

It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.

What vaccinations are required for trekking in Nepal?

No vaccinations are REQUIRED. There are some that are recommended. Check out websites of the following for immunization that are recommended:

1) CIWEC hospital in Nepal

2) CDC (Center for Disease Control)