When I fell in love with Himalayas: EBC and High Passes: Part IV

3rd Jun 2020
Photo of When I fell in love with Himalayas: EBC and High Passes: Part IV by Pooja Khandelwal
Day 1

And finally, this is the last blog in the series of my blogs for trek to EBC and High Passes ☺️

As mentioned earlier, please go through the first three parts i.e. Part I, Part II and Part III of this series before reading on further to experience one of the incredible and most enthralling trip in the Trekking world!

The pictures in this series of four blogs will definitely leave you itched to go for this adventurous, beautiful and dramatic journey of 20 days!

Honestly, I haven't seen such a varied landscapes, starting from paved path lined with those tiny tea houses with a backdrop of snowy mountains, to the arid landscapes of dry and steeply paths, to those clear days with crystal clear 360 degree panoramic views of mountains towering upto 8000+ meters, to the glistening blue glacial lakes and the mighty Khumbu glacier itself which is known as one of the largest glaciers and is not an easy one to navigate!

All of this, for sure will leave you completely enchanted throughout the journey and speechless at the end ☺️

So, here are the details of how I spent my last 5 days of this trek, going upto Gokyo Ri to witness that famous three lakes view, climbing the third and the last Renjo-La pass and finally heading back to the base and to Kathmandu.

Day 16: Gokyo Ri (5483M) & to Renjo-La base (5130M)

Climbing Gokyo Ri was a much tougher job then it looked. The main reason, again, I guess, was that it consists of a combination of 2 mountains, one behind the other. So basically you start climbing, thinking you see the top, and it is not much to push yourself up to it, however, as soon you reach the top, you see another stretch to climb ahead you J

As soon as I reached the top, the views were unbelievable with many 8000 M peaks all around. Surrounding us were Cho Oyu (8153 m), Gyangchung Kang (7922 m), Lhotse (8501 m), Makalu (8475 m), Cholatse (6440 m), Taweche (6542 m), Kantega (6685 m), Thamserku (6808 m), Lobuche (6145 m) and Mt Everest (8848 m) itself! The striking color of the lakes below completes the picture for sure!

After spending some time soaking the views from the top, and capturing those as much as I could, we proceeded further to our wilderness camp just below the Renjo-La pass, which was the last pass of our trip to be covered. The climb itself was moderate.

Day 2

Day 17: Cross Renjo-La (5400M) to Taranga (4000M)

Highlight of the day was the morning even before we started our trek. As soon as I opened my tent, I saw crystals of snow rolling down from the tent cloth, and then the heavenly view outside can’t be described in words! It had snowed over night, which converted all of our orange tents and the brown mountains around us into a serene white landscape. The most mesmerizing part was seeing the moon in the background for around 10 minutes, after which the moon disappeared in the day light.

From the base of Renjo-La, I got to see an outstanding view of Gokyo Lake & Khumbu glacier. This was possibly the best sight of the trip capturing almost everything we encountered on our trip – the mountains, lakes, glaciers, villages, mountain vegetation, etc. along with all colors of mountains (white, black, brown, etc.)

After devouring this magical landscape, we got ready, had our breakfast and started our day with an ascent again to reach Renjo-La pass. It was steep, though I didn’t find it very tough to climb. We quickly made it through the ice covered path to the top of Renjo-la.

I and another fellow trekker waited for the other trekkers to join us on this last pass to have a group picture taken before we descended down to Taranga, where we had our night stay for the day.

Day 3

Day 18: Namche Bazaar (3440M)

There was already a sense of achievement completing this challenging and satisfying expedition, as we started descending down south to return to the civilization. It was a long walk though to Namche Bazaar. The difference was that I was fasting for Karwachauth (an Indian festival wherein a woman fasts for the long life of her husband and only eats or drinks anything after sighting the moon in the evening). I thought it would be tough for me to trek without eating or drinking anything – however, surprisingly, I didn’t have any major issues until we reached the camp in Namche bazaar at around 3:30 PM in the afternoon.

The other trekkers headed to enjoy some coffee, cakes and food in one of the nice cafés of Namche bazaar, I slept in the tent to pass the time until evening when I could see the moon and eat and drink something J

Well, I made it through and had a very sumptuous food in the evening!

Day 4

Day 19: Lukla (2800M)

And we continued to trek down towards more civilization, all downhill. The trail took us down the Doodh Kosi valley to Lukla airstrip for the flight back to Kathmandu.

I had a chance to take a bath after many-many days, enjoy a nice buffet, and celebrate our success with a couple of beers!

It was for sure one of the best days of my life in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, and experiences like these push me to go back to the mountains again and again, where I not only find peace & happiness, but makes my mind free of any thoughts, allowing me to enjoy the serenity of nature, the mountains, and all the freshness around!

Day 5

Day 20: Fly to Kathmandu

We boarded the first twin-otter aircraft from Lukla to Kathmandu; the flight lasted an hour and took us along many of the well-known peaks of the Himalayas including Cho Oyu, Numbur, Gauri Shankar and Langtang, which we had witnessed from much closer quarters during our trek.

I had an amazing day staying in Kathmandu, doing nothing but devouring on food, and enjoying the coziness of my hotel room before boarding the flight to Delhi and then to London!

A quick Spend guide for my 24 days expedition to EBC and the 3 high passes

Visa cost: 40 USD for 30 days (Indians do not need a Visa to enter Nepal)

Flights: 200 USD (From Delhi to Delhi)

Package Tours: 1800 USD (All inclusive – all food, lodging during the trek, airport pick-up/drop-off, 3 days stay in a 5* hotel in Nepal, guides and porters, flights from Kathmandu to Lukla and back, a day sightseeing in Kathmandu and everything else you can think of from landing to Kathmandu to boarding the flight back home)

Miscellaneous (Phone charging, buying internet vouchers, taking showers during the treks, etc.): 30 USD

Total trip cost: Approx. 2050 USD (door to door)

Useful facts

I chose World Expeditions as my tour operator for this. I did this due to the fact that this was the first time I was trekking alone with an alien group and in an unknown country, and I wanted to make sure that I do not have any issues during such a long expedition

My recommendation would be to do a detailed research to get the best price for the trip if you choose to go for it. According to my research later, a more or less similar trip can be done for a lesser price

Having said that, World Expeditions are highly professional and you would not have any surprises whatsoever on the itinerary. They stick to the promises and details they provide to you before the trip. They provide the best of lodging and food during the trek and give individual trekkers the flexibility to trek at their own pace as one prefers

You can also very well go for a solo trek to the EBC, however for the high passes, especially Kongma- La and Renjo-La, you might need guidance on the path as you won’t find many trekkers along these. I remember we were the only group doing these 2 passes and had no other trekkers around us. Though the path is kind of defined, and if you are doing it solo, you will need to be extra careful in navigating the path and choosing where to camp

If you plan to do only the EBC, you can very well do it on your own without any help of a guide as the path is very well defined with fixed tea houses all up to Gorak Shep (base village for EBC)

There might be some difficulty in finding a place in the tea houses if you do EBC in high season, so be careful in choosing your time of the trek and be flexible with your itinerary

I think it would still be wise to probably hire a guide from Lukla who can help you with bookings for your stay ahead and with all the local knowledge that they have

All said, if you are doing the EBC with three passes, and solo with one guide, it should then cost you about 30% less than what I paid for, for an all-inclusive trip.

Feel free to ask any questions you have. Visit my Upcoming Adventures to see what I am planning ahead and feel free to drop a line if you would like to join me in any of these!

Keep Exploring!!!

Renjo La base morning scenes

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Morning Panorama, can't explain in words. Look at the moon!

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal
Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

While going up to Renjo La

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Descending down from Renjo La pass

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Fresh snow from over the night

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Towards Namche Baazar

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Mornings like these 😊

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Birdseye view of Namche

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

A grand breakfast on the bed at Kathmandu after the completion of trek

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Gokyo lakes from half way - look at the tiny village below

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

View from the top of Gokyo Ri

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Another view from top of Gokyo Ri

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal

Love those flags

Photo of Kathmandu, Nepal by Pooja Khandelwal