Three Passes Trek Itinerary Guide [2023]

Everest View Hotel

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.

Incredible views on the Three Passes Trek

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.

Distance: 180km
Days: 16-20
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

In front of Ama Dablam

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.

High above Namche

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.

The incredible Namche Bazaar

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!

Stairway to heaven

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.

Want to know what to pack for your Three Passes trek?

Ultimate Nepal Trekking Packing List Guide

Want to know a full cost breakdown for my Three Passes trek?

Full Costs Breakdown for 18 Days on The Three Passes

Can you trek in Nepal without a Guide?

Guide on whether you can go solo or not

If you’ve any questions about the Three Passes trek, then drop them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.

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8 Replies to “Three Passes Trek Itinerary Guide [2023]”

  1. Excellent read and great detail on your itinerary. This sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

    1. Hey Curtis. Thank you, mate. It really was. Nepal is a fantastic country, and if you’ve yet to visit. Go!

  2. Super insightful!

    A friend and I are also considering doing the Three Passes Trek in December (approx. 1-20/12. We have quite some experience doing Alpine hikes but are of course trying to prepare as good as we can, especially taking in to account additional challenges the winter months may bring. We’re still having some questions, any insights would be greatly appreciated!

    *For now it’s still possible to hike Everest region without a guide despite Nepli restrictions, any indication what situation may be in December, or anyone’s guess?

    *Assuming it would be possible to start without a guide, how easy is it to find a guide “en route” for e.g. only the highest/most challenging passes if we would like so?

    *Will a lot of tea houses already be closed, or on the contrary, likely increased odds of finding a spot due to low season?

    *Can we expect a lot of snow high passes, are crampons or microspikes required?

    *What are the odds of passes closing due to bad weather/too much snow? Are there alternative routes?

    *At least one pass I saw crossing a glacier (Cho La), is there a risk of crevasses? I see most people crossing it without any ropes or other precautions.

    *Is it possible to do the hike in the winter with trail shoes (e.g. Hoka Speedgoats, which already served me very well in the Alps), or are sturdier hiking boots?

    *Are there other things to consider during winter months compared to high season? At the moment it looks like the only drawback is increased cold, but you get fewer crowds and clearer views in return. Provided you dress the part, it seems like a good trade-off. Anything we’re missing?

    *Sleeping bag or other cold clothing recommendations? (e.g. Temparature rating, in your other post I saw -8 comfort rating, that’s adequate?)

    Thanks in advance for replying to any of these questions! 🙂

    1. Hey Vincent!

      Sorry for the delay, but thank you for your questions, I’ll do my best to help you here.

      1) Right now, it’s possible – yes.

      2) Super easy to find a guide. Most teahouses will be able to find you someone along the route at any stage should you need it. If you’re staying in Chukung stay at Yak Land hotel and tell Mingma his Welsh son sent you!

      3) Some teahouses were closed when I went, but not all. Still had the choice of a few, and plenty of spaces. Some nights just me and one other hiker.

      4) Microspikes most definitely required for Cho La pass, other passes didn’t have snow, but that’ll be different year on year.

      5) There are some alternative routes, yes.

      6) I don’t know about the crevasse risk, but there wasn’t any to worry about when I crossed.

      7) I did the hike in Salomon Speedcrosses, so yes totally fine in trail shoes if you’re used to it.

      8) Nothing other to note I don’t think. The cold can be brutal, no doubt. But I’m OK with cold if it means quieter trails and clearer skies.

      9) Good merino baselayers were important for me. A good set of gloves, a decent down jacket and you’ll be fine. If you sleep cold, go a heavier bag, if not don’t worry too much as quiter teahouses mean more spare quilts!

      Have an amazing trip!

      1. Thanks Lou, very helpful for our preparations. 🙂

        1. You’re most welcome, have a great trek!

  3. Petra Vrňáková says: Reply

    Wow! Amazing!!!! Thanks a lot you share your experience! Is it necessery to have a quide and porter? Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Petra!

      As of right now (At least my knowledge) you don’t need a guide, or a porter, for the Everest region. If you want one, be sure to use one, but they’re not needed.

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