Here’s a Three Passes Trek Itinerary guide for your up-and-coming trip to Nepal.
The Three Passes, I think, is the ultimate multi-day trekking route in Nepal and offers the best of the Everest region in one single trek.
Thinking of doing EBC? Do the Three Passes.
Wanna hit Gokyo Lakes? Do the Three Passes.
Want to experience all of the Khumbu region? Do the Three Passes.
What are the Three Passes?
A quick overview of the Three Passes and what you’re getting yourself in for. In my opinion, this is the best trek you can do if you want to see Everest Base Camp, Ama Dablam Base Camp, Cho La pass, and Gokyo Lakes. It combines them all in one, big, massive, wonderful adventure.
Elevation Gain: >12,000m
Highest Points: 5550m Kala Pattar and Kongma La
Three Passes: Kongma La (5550m/18,209ft), Cho La (5420m/17,782ft), and Renjo La (5360m/17,560ft)
If you’re interested in a full costs breakdown of the entire trek, you can click here:
Three Passes Trek Cost Guide
Clockwise or Anticlockwise?
A common thought when tackling the Three Passes, is which direction should you choose.
For the purpose of this itinerary, it’s based on an anti-clockwise direction.
How did I come to the decision of picking either way?
Well, when I looked at the elevation charts, I could see that on all the days where the passes were crossed, the climb was a long, slight incline, and then a steep drop off. For me, I’d rather work hard, on a shorter climb and then descend at pace.
That was one consideration, the other was that within just a few days of arriving in Lukla, you’ve been on top of Renjo La at a mighty 5360m. Which to me sounded like a very fast accent, with not enough time on the mountain to fully acclimatise. Thus potentially causing more issues down that line that I wasn’t willing to risk.
Day by Day Three Passes Trek Itinerary
Please note, this is the itinerary I followed and is to be used only as a guide for your own trek.
Take the necessary precautions needed to ensure you acclimatize properly, and safely.
Here is a day-by-day Three Passes Trek Itinerary:
Day 1: Lukla to Monjo
Nice and easy for day one. Your flight will get you into Lukla early enough to get a few hours in the legs. You can stop at Phakding if you’d prefer, and might be better if you’re worried about acclimatization.
Day 2: Monjo to Namche Bazaar
A difficult day of elevation gain, but if you set off early enough it shouldn’t be too long of a day. You’ll gain a lot of elevation so it’s important you take your time and plan a rest day in Namche.
Day 3: Namche to Everest view hotel (Acclimatisation day)
You could take a full rest day here and get used to being over 3000m. Or you could do the short hike up towards Everest View Hotel. The views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Everest, and Nuptse are some of the best on the entire route.
Day 4: Namche to Pangboche
If you didn’t manage the day hike yesterday, you’ll follow a similar path today so you won’t be short on views. I wanted to stop in Pangboche because I wanted to do the day hike up to Ama Dablam Basecamp.
Day 5: Pangboche to Ama Dablam Basecamp (Acclimatisation day)
Would highly recommend you visit Ama Dablam Basecamp. The trek is a long, hard slog up to the base camp, especially at this elevation. But the base of Ama Dablam is absolutely awe-inspiring. One of my favorite days!
Day 6: Pangboche to Chukung
Walking directly toward Everest is a day I’ll never forget. Standing alongside Nuptse and Lhotse, you’re literally facing some of, and the, biggest mountains in the world. Incredible!
Day 7: Chukung rest day (Possible to do Island Peak Basecamp)
I took a full rest day here, doing nothing other than taking pictures, wandering around Chukung, and taking in the dramatic landscapes all around me. Island Peak base camp is worth a visit if you’ve got some juice in the legs.
Day 8: Chukung to Pyramid via Kongma La Pass
Undoubtedly the hardest pass, and I am glad I did it first. A tough, and very long day in the hills and at an elevation that wouldn’t go below 4800 for the entire day. The view from the top of the pass is incredible and offers full 360 views of the entire Khumbu.
Day 9: Pyramid to Gorak Shep (Kala Pattar Sunset)
Most people stop in Lobuche, which is fine. But 20 minutes past Lobuche is a wonderful place called Pyramid. A weather station at the base of the glacier offers some of the best amenities anywhere in the mountains. Warm showers and the comfiest beds of the trip!
Day 10: Gorak Shep to Dzonglha
You can either do Kala Pattar or Everest Base Camp from Gorak Shep. I chose not to do EBC, and hike through the Kala Pattar to watch the sun setting on Everest itself. I’d strongly recommend doing KP for sunset rather than sunrise.
Day 11: Dzonglha to Gokyo via Cho La Pass
Cho La was one of the most fun days in the mountains I have ever had. Donning the microspikes, accompanied by two Aussies, and a Scot – crossing Cho La is a day I’ll never forget.
Day 12: Rest day in Gokyo Lakes
Actually spent Christmas Day in Gokyo, and it snowed. It was a magical experience. From Gokyo, you can do Gokyo Ri but the snow stopped me and then I hadn’t planned for an additional day here.
Day 13: Gokyo to Lungden via Renjo La Pass
Renjo La is deemed the easier of the three passes, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still a tough day in the hills and a long descent after you’ve reached the top of the pass.
Day 14: Lungden to Namche Bazaar
They say it’s all downhill from here, but not sure it actually is. However, the thought of heading back to Namche, and having a beer and a pizza with my newfound trail friends made this day go by super quickly!
Day 15: Rest day
Full rest day in Namche and I enjoyed more beer and more pizza! Make sure you visit the Yeti Bar and catch a mountaineering movie whilst you’re there. No better place to do it!
Day 16: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The final leg, the last time over the famed bridges and taking in the incredible scenery. There’s one heavy climb back into Monjo, but all plain sailing after that.
Day 17: Fly back to KTM
Hopefully, all your flights aren’t canceled like mine were. I ended up jumping in a helicopter to get back to KTM for NYE, but this could well be a place you might get stuck for a few days. Make sure you pick a nice teahouse!
There you have a full breakdown of the day-to-day Three Passes Trek Itinerary I followed to complete my trek in December 2022.
It truly was one of the most incredible adventures I have ever been out of, and way outside of my comfort zone. But truly life-changing and a country I am already excited to go back and see more of.