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Ultimate Everest Trail Run

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18 days, 17 nights
Availability : April - June and October - November
Min Age : 15+
Max People : 12
Tour Details

The Ultimate Everest Trek is a strenuous circuit of the highest mountains on earth. No technical climbing skills are required for this trek. Himalayan peaks such as Lhotse, Everest, Cho-Oyu, Pumori and Ama Dablam dominate the skyline. And picturesque Sherpa villages, sacred Buddhist monasteries are other aspects that define the magical and inspiring landscape on this trek. Khumbu is the home of Mount Everest (8,850m) – better known as Sagarmatha among Nepalis and Chomolongma among Tibetan -speaking communities. Located in the Sagarmatha National Park, many visitors come to this region to glimpse the world’s highest peak but come away with much more: an appreciation of the local people who make their home in this high and difficult landscape, a spirit of adventure that brings them back to the Himalayas, and life-changing personal experiences.

The Trip

The Ultimate Everest trail run begins with a flight to the airstrip at Lukla. You will follow the classic route to the Everest Base Camp and climb Kalapathar for an up-close view of the south face of Everest.  Return is via the Cho La (pass) to the Gokyo valley.  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 to reach Thame, home of several famous Sherpa mountaineers. 

This is a private program for a minimum of two participants. We are proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more… 

 
What to Expect

 

On this running trip, you will only be required to carry your running pack with provisions for the day and a camera (5 – 10 lbs). Your main gear should be packed into a duffel bag (not weighing more than 25lbs) which will be carried by our porters. The porters will leave early every morning taking the bulk of your duffels to the next destination. You may run at your own pace and we  have a guide to client ratio of 1:3.

Our running guides are mostly graduates from the Mira Rai Initiative (MRI) who either aspire to race competitively (both domestic and international races) or have retired from competitive racing. At MRI, aspiring young female trail runners are not only provided training for trail running competitions but are also empowered with important life skills.

Total Distance: approximately 84 miles

Highest Elevation: 18,200ft

Total Elevation gain: 21,200 ft.

Daily running time:  4 to 7 hours

Brief Itinerary

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 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 Lobuche Lobuche 4,930m/16,200ft
Day 11 Lobuche to Gorakshep Gorakshep 5,160m/17,100ft
Day 12 Gorakshep to Dzongla Dzongla 4,830m/15,900ft
Day 13 Dzongla to Gokyo Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
Day 14 Gokyo Gokyo 4,750m/15,500ft
Day 15 Gokyo to Lungden Lungden 4,350m/14,350ft
Day 16 Lungden to Namche Namche 3,400m/11,270ft
Day 17 Namche to Lukla Lukla 2,800m/8,700ft
Day 18 Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 19 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu 1,340m/4,300ft
Day 20 Final departure    
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 2Explore 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 5 mile run should take two/three hours and 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.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 4 miles/6.5 kilometers
Total Time: 4 – 5 hours

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

Today’s run of a little more than 6 miles involves a 3,600 feet ascent and should take us around 4-5 hours. The 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.

Overnight 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).

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 6Namche to Tengboche (3,870m/12,900ft)

Today’s 6.2 mile run to Tengboche monastery should take us around 2/3 hours. 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.

Overnight 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 7Tengboche 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 8Pangboche to Dingboche (4,360m/13,950ft)

The 7 mile run today should take us around 3-4 hours. The trail descends steeply to the small village of Debuche. Here, quietly tucked away in the trees is a Buddhist nunnery. Well 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.

After lunch at Pangboche, 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.

Overnight 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 9Dingboche 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.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 10Dingboche to Lobuche (4,930m/16,200ft)

Today is a grueling day of around 6 miles with an elevation gain of around 2,000 feet. 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.

Climb directly up a trail on the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier into an area dedicated to climbers who have perished on Khumbu’s mountains. Past this point, it is a very gradual incline to Lobuche.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 5.82 miles/9.36 kilometers
Ascent: 2,083 ft/634 meters
Descent: 347 ft/105 meters
Total Time: 5-6 hours

Day 11Lobuche to Gorakshep (5,160m/17,100ft)

Today’s run to Base Camp and return to Gorakshep is around 8 miles and should take us around 5-6 hours. 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. You are running on a

Lodge. (All meals)

Lobuche to Gorakshep

Total Distance: 2.99 miles/4.81 kilometers
Ascent: 770 ft/234 meters
Descent: 248 ft/75 meters
Total Time: 3 – 4 hours

Gorakshep to EBC (One way)

Total Distance: 2.02 miles/3.25 kilometers
Ascent: 469 ft/143 meters
Descent: 125 ft/38 meters
Total Time: 2 – 3 hours

Day 12Gorakshep to Dzongla (4,830m/15,900ft)

Hike up Kalapathar (5,545m/18,195ft) for views of Everest and surrounding peaks in the morning for sunrise. This 335m/1,100ft steep ascent is challenging. Weather permitting, the summit of Kalapathar serves as one of the best unobstructed view-point for the southern massif of Mt Everest.

Continue 7 miles to Dzongla.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 7.78 miles/12.52 kilometers
Ascent: 730 ft/222 meters
Descent: 1,755 ft/534 meters
Total Time: 6 – 7  hours

Day 13Dzongla to Gokyo (4,750m/15,500ft)

Today’s interesting run of 5.6 miles over the Cho La pass to Thangnak should take around 3-4 hours.  Start your run 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 on all fours 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. After crossing this section, you will again run on a trail on a moraine until you reach Thangnak.

Today is a short running day of 5 miles (2 hours). Climb to the Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in Sagarmatha National Park and the origin of the Dudh Koshi. Cross the glacier and then ascend gradually, passing a few lakes, until you 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.

After lunch, you may opt to climb Gokyo Ri for views of Everest and Cho Oyu.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Dzongla to Thagnag

Total Distance: 5.81 miles/9.3 kilometers
Ascent: 1,876 ft/572 meters
Descent: 2,351 ft/716 meters
Total Time: 5 – 7  hours

Thagnag to Gokyo

Total Distance: 2.57 miles/4.13 kilometers
Ascent: 782 ft/239 meters
Descent: 570 ft/173 meters
Total Time: 2-3  hours

Day 14Gokyo

Optional day hike to the fifth lake of Gokyo for upclose views of Everest and other peaks. Or you may just opt to relax at your lodge near your lake.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 15Gokyo to Lungden (4,350m/14,350ft)

Today is a five to six hour run over the Renjo La pass. 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.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 7.06 miles/11.36 kilometers
Ascent: 1,029 ft/314 meters
Descent: 4,015 ft/1,224 meters
Total Time: 6 – 7  hours

Day 16Lungden to Namche

Today’s run of approximately 12 miles should take around 5-6 hours. The run 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 summitters: 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.

From Thame continue to Namche.

Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Total Distance: 11.26 miles/18.2 kilometers
Ascent: 1,029 ft/314 meters
Descent: 4,015 ft/1,225 meters
Total Time: 5 – 6 hours

Day 17Namche to Lukla 2,800m/8,700ft)

Return to Lukla. This is your last day of running and the 12 mile run should take around 5 hours. Retrace trail to Monjo and to Lukla.

Overnight 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: 6 – 7  hours

Day 18Fly to Kathmandu.

Fly Lukla to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day free in Kathmandu. A farewell dinner is planned for the evening.

Hotel Tibet or similar. (B, D)

Day 19Free day in Kathmandu

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 20Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure. (B)

Detailed Cost Information

PER PERSON PRICE (valid until December 31, 2022) 

2-4 participants: US$ 3,000 per person

5 or more participants: US$ 2,700 per person

Single Supplement: US$300

A helicopter surcharge of US$ 500 per person may apply if in the future all fixed-wing flights to/from Lukla are required to operate from Ramechhap airport (5-6 hours drive from Kathmandu). Paying this surcharge will allow you to fly on a helicopter direct to Lukla instead of driving to Ramechhap for your flight to Lukla. You may also opt to fly one way only (Kathmandu to Lukla) on a helicopter for a surcharge of US$250 per person.

 

Payment policy:

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

Cancellation policy:

  • Deposit is non-refundable.
  • No refunds for unused services once trek begins.
 

Price Includes

  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • 4 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet
  • Airfare: Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu 
  • Meals and lodge accommodations as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Guide to client ratio 1:3
  • 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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We are more than happy to organize a trail running trip to any location in Nepal for two or more runners. Check out our Manaslu Circuit Trail Running trip.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

When is the best time to do this trip?

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.

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