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EVEREST BASE CAMP, GOKYO VALLEY AND RENJOLA PASS SOLO TREKKING

EVEREST BASE CAMP, GOKYO VALLEY AND RENJOLA PASS SOLO TREKKING

Here is my 17-day itinerary hiking to Everest Base Camp, Kala Patthar and Gokyo Valley, returning via Renjola Pass, alone with no guide and no sherpas.
The first idea was to trek through Chola Pass but it was too snowy without special equipment and a bit dangerous to venture alone so I didn’t risk.

I advice you to plan your itinerary with a few days extra to be able to adapt your itinerary in case you are tired, you feel altitude sickness or the weather is bad and you have to overstay somewhere on the way.

You’ll notice that the stages of this trek are quite short, with few hours walking or elevation gain in one day. But this way, you respect the recommendations to avoid the altitude sickness. If you want to be faster and go higher, it’s up to you but it’s at your own risk.

The best views on this trek, according to my point of view are from Gokyo Ri and Renjola Pass, and the village that I prefered was Gokyo, it has a very pleasant location right by the lake.

COPY OF PAPER MAPS

DAY 1 : LUKLA (2860m) TO MONJO (2835m)

mapa- de Lukla a Monjo
Lukla to Monjo

DAY 2 : MONJO (2835m) TO NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m)

mapa - de Monjo a Namche
Monjo to Namche

DAY 3 : ACCLIMATIZATION IN NAMCHE BAZAAR / DAY WALK TO HOTEL EVEREST VIEW-KUMJUNG-KHUNDE AND BACK

mapa - Namche bazar y alrededores
Namche bazar

DAY 4 : NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m) TO TENGBOCHE (3870m)

mapa - de Namche a Tengboche
Namche to Tengboche

DAY 5 : TENGBOCHE (3870m) TO DINGBOCHE (4410m)

mapa - de Tengboche a Dingboche
Tengboche to Dingboche

DAY 6 : ACCLIMATIZATION IN DINGBOCHE

DAY 7 : DINGBOCHE (4410m) TO LOBUCHE (4910m) VIA DUGHLA

mapa - de Dingboche a Lobuche
Dingboche to Lobuche

DAY 8 : LOBUCHE (4910m) TO GORAK SHEP (5140m) AND EVEREST BASE CAMP BACK (5364m)

mapa - de Lobuche a Gorak Shep
Lobuche to Gorak Shep

DAY 9 : GORAK SHEP (5140m) / TOP OF KALA PATTAR AND BACK (5550m)

mapa - Gorak Shep Kala Patthar y EBC
Gorak Shep, Kala Patthar and Everest base camp

DAY 10 : GORAK SHEP (5140m) TO PANGBOCHE (3930m)

mapa - de Gorak Shep a Pangboche
Gorak Shep to
Pangboche

DAY 11 : PANGBOCHE (3930m) TO LHABARMA (4330m)

mapa - de Pangboche a Lhabarma
Pangboche to Lhabarma

DAY 12 : LHABARMA (4330m) TO GOKYO (4790m)

mapa - de Lhabarma a Gokyo
Lhabarma to Gokyo

DAY 13 : GOKYO / TOP OF GOKYO RI AND BACK (5360m)

DAY 14 : GOKYO / TREK TO THE LAKES AND BACK

mapa - Gokyo Gokyo Ri y los lagos
Gokyo, Gokyo Ri and the lakes

DAY 15 : GOKYO (4790m) TO MARULUNG (4210m) VIA RENJO-LA PASS (5360m)

mapa - de Gokyo a Marulung via el Renjo La Pass
Gokyo to Marulung via Renjo La Pass

DAY 16 : MARULUNG (4210m) TO NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m)

mapa - de Marulung a Namche
Marulung to Namche

DAY 17 : NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m) TO LUKLA (2860m)

mapa - de Namche a Lukla
Namche to Lukla

DAY 1 : LUKLA (2860m) TO MONJO (2835m)

Walking time: 4h

The arrival at Lukla airport, known as one of the most dangerous airport in the world, is a bit surprising as you start walking right outside of the tiny terminal building! Backpack on, let’s go!

The walking path is going around the scary runway to join the main street on the right and the end of the village. There, you’ll find the ticket office checking the TIM trekking permit, delivered in Katmandu.

The path then goes down in the forest and I pass by a few small villages. All of them have restaurants and accomodation. After 1h walking from Lukla, I cross the 1st suspended bridge. The next village is Nuning, where you can visit the monastery, see many Mani walls and prayer wheels.

I stop to eat in Phakding, a 2h walk from Lukla, in the terrace of one of the many restaurants to enjoy the sun.
The path then follows the river and arrives to many pretty and quiet villages like Tok Tok or Bengkar, better than Phakding to spend the night. I go on a bit further to Monjo (2800m).

Pista de Lukla
Lukla’s runway
Porteador llevando una nevera
Sherpa carrying a fridge!
Paredes de mani
Mani walls
Monastère de Nuning
Nuning monastery
Campamento después del terremoto cerca de Bengkar
Camp site in Bengkar after the earthquakes

DAY 2 : MONJO (2835m) TO NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m)

Walking time: 2h
Elevation gain: 585m

From Monjo, I follow some stairs going down in the forest and I join Jorsale very quickly. I cross another suspended bridge, follow the river and go up a little bit. I suddenly arrive to another suspended bridge, much higher this time! I give way to the yaks before taking a few pictures. From here, it’s another 1h45 to reach Namche Bazar. For the 1st time I can see the Everest, through the trees, from a small viewpoint. The weather is very clear today, I’m lucky!

Just before arriving in Namche, there’s a small hut where you have to pay a fee to enter the National park: 3390 NPR pp for foreigners.

Puentes colgados
Suspended bridge
Río Dudh Koshi
Dudh Koshi river
Sherpas cargados
Sherpas overloaded
Primer mirador al Everest
First viewpoint on the Everest!

DAY 3 : ACCLIMATIZATION IN NAMCHE BAZAAR / TREK TO EVEREST VIEW HOTEL-KUMJUNG-KHUNDE AND BACK

For my acclimatization day, useful to avoid altitude sickness, I decide to do a loop of 4 hours and sleep a 2nd night in Namche. I hike up to the viewpoint by the steps at the end of the main street of Namche. Once in Khumbu Lodge, take on the right and you’ll see a sign to go to the office of the national park, where the viewpoint is. The landscape and the view here are magnificent!

I then go back to the crossroad and go on to the left, and up in S zigzgags with stunning views over Namche, which houses look smaller and smaller! In 1h I arrive at the old runway of Syngboche and a bit further up at another viewpoint on Everest and Ama Dablam among other peaks. A few minutes away is the Everest view hotel, the highest hotel in the world (?) at 3880m high! You can actually go inside and sit at the terrace at the back of the building to enjoy the views!

Outside on the left, the path then goes down to Khumjung and its green houses. Beautiful views from this village! You can also spend the acclimatization night here, it’s quieter than Namche! Don’t miss the monastery where you can see a yeti’s skull!!! I then go to Khunde and back to Namche.

Vistas del Thamserku desde Namche
View of Thamserku from Namche
Namche Bazar
Namche Bazar
Vistas al Ama Dablam y Everest desde el Hotel Everest View
Ama Dablam and Everest from Everest View hotel
Pueblo de Khunde con el Ama Dablam de fondo
Khunde and Ama Dablam in the background
Cráneo de yeti (?) del monasterio de Khunde
Yeti skull (?) monastery of Khunde

DAY 4 : NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m) TO TENGBOCHE (3870m)

Walking time: 4h
Elevation gain: 750m

I cross Namche and at the viewpoint, I turn on the left. Once at the mani stone, take right. The path follows the side of the mountain with stunning views. It’s an easy walk to Phunke Thenga where there’s another suspended bridge before going up in the forest to Tengboche (2h up).
Tengboche is not really a village but more a monastery surrounded by a few teahouses. The day I arrive, the monks are getting everything ready for the religious festival “Mani Rindu”.
I can enjoy some performance in the afternoon: the monks dancing and praying, interesting!

Camino a Tengboche
Way to Tengboche
Tengboche
Tengboche
Monasterio de Tengboche y celebraciones del Mani Rindu
Tengboche monastery and Mani Rindu celebrations
Monasterio de Tengboche y celebraciones del Mani Rindu
Tengboche monastery and Mani Rindu celebrations

DAY 5 : TENGBOCHE (3870m) TO DINGBOCHE (4410m)

Walking time: 4h
Elevation gain: 600m

Early in the morning I decide to assist at the blessing ceremony of the festival Mani Rindu… at 4am… After 2 hours, they haven’t finished yet but I have to leave quietly to go on walking. I take a few minutes to hike up the small hill at the end of the village where the view over the monastery surrounded by the mountains is beautiful.

Tengboche
Tengboche

With Dini, a german girl I met on the way, we walk to our next destination: Dingboche. On the way we can see the damages of the earthquakes, which partially destroyed Deboche monastery. The path goes down to the river, which we cross. The view on Ama Dablam peak here is perfect! Then, the path goes up until Pangboche. We follow the river to Somare, a little village with a few teahouses. At the end of this village, the landscape becomes more desertic. We cross the river and arrive at Dingboche, a village with few trees, we are now higher in altitude.

Vistas al Ama Dablam
View on Ama Dablam
Vistas al Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Dingboche
Dingboche

DAY 6 : ACCLIMATIZATION IN DINGBOCHE

I wake up this morning and notice that the windows of the small room are frosted… And outside everything has been covered by the snow during the night!
It is still snowing this morning and the wind is very strong too. I was thinking of going hiking to Chhukhing, a nearby valley and back, but the weather is too bad. I decide to stay in Dingboche to rest instead.

Ventanas heladas
Frosted window

DAY 7 : DINGBOCHE (4410m) TO LOBUCHE (4910m)

Walking time: about 4h
Elevation gain: 580m

From Dingboche, the path is going up the stupa on top of the village. The landscape is all white, it’s beautiful but the way is somehow hard to find with the snow covering the hiker footprints! I’m glad I find some people on the way to confirm I’m going the right way! Due to the earthquakes earlier this year, few people came to hike in Nepal this year (2015) unfortunately.

After 1 hour walking, I can see a few remote houses: Dusa. From here I have a wonderful view of the whole valley. I can also see Periche further down. Then suddenly, I’m inside a big cloud, and can barely see the way. It’s snowing too. I then arrive in Dugla, a small village of 3 teahouses. Then the path is going up to Thokla Pass. From the top of Thokla Pass, you can see a few tombs, some climbers and sherpas who failed to reach the Everest are buried here. The sky starts to clear up a bit and I can enjoy the views! From here, it’s an easy and flat hour walk to Lobuche.

Vistas al Tobuche y Cholatse
View on Tobuche and Cholatse
En el Thokla Pass
At the Thokla Pass
Tumbas en el Thokla Pass
Tombs in Thokla Pass
En el Thokla Pass
Thokla Pass

DAY 8 : LOBUCHE (4910m) TO GORAK SHEP (5140m) / TREK TO EVEREST BASE CAMP (5364m) AND BACK

Walking time : 2h30 from Lobuche to Gorak Shep – 4h from Gorak Shep to the EBC back (2h+2h)

The path follows the valley to Lobuche Pass, where the panorama is stunning. From here we go along the glacier, which is right below the path. You can see the small teahouses of Gorak Shep in the distance. In the middle of the white mountains…

Lobuche Pass
Lobuche Pass
Lobuche Pass
Lobuche Pass
Campo de hielo
glacier
Gorak Shep
Gorak Shep

Lunch time in Gorak Shep! The weather is beautiful so I don’t know where to go this afternoon: Kala Pattar or Everest base camp!
The travel buddies I met earlier today on the way want to go to the EBC so I join them. The path is not difficult, flat at the beginning, then it goes up and down following the side of the mountain. We pass a small ridge before hiking in big rocks. The sky is clear and the views amazing! The glacier is covered by fresh snow, like the surroundings! It’s gorgeous! The EBC is empty, nobody is attempting to climb Everest these days, it’s still too dangerous after the recent earthquakes…

De camino al Everest base camp
on the way to the Everest base camp
Campo de hielo-EBC
Glacier-EBC
Campo de base de l'Everest 5364m
Everest Base camp 5364m

IMG_9631

IMG_9672

De camino al Everest base camp
on the way to the EBC

DAY 9 : GORAK SHEP (5140m) / TOP OF KALA PATTAR (5550m) AND BACK

See the details and pictures in this post.


Nuptse by night

DAY 10 : GORAK SHEP (5140m) TO PANGBOCHE (3930m)

Walking time: about 6h30

Even if I like adventure, I chose not to go through the Chola Pass. It’s a pity but locals advice me better not to go that way alone because it has snowed a lot the past few days and it may be very slippery with no special equipment. In the mountains and especially abroad, you have to be cautious and avoid accidents.

I leave Gorak Shep a bit sad because I liked this place very much, the feeling of remoteness make it a special place. Plus the countryside of pristine wilderness is superb here.

So I go the same way back to Lobuche, Thokla Pass, Dugla, and then down to Pheriche. Stunning views.. up to Pheriche Pass until the crossroads to Dingboche. The last leg to Pangboche is easy, a bit boring tho.

Campo de hielo
Glacier

IMG_0021

IMG_0055

Yaks en el Thokla Pass
Yaks at Thokla Pass

IMG_0065

Vistas desde el Thokla Pass
Views from Thokla Pass
Casa cerca de Pheriche
Houses close to Pheriche

DAY 11 : PANGBOCHE (3930m) TO LHABARMA (4330m)

Walking time: about 5h30

Pangboche is divided in two: the lower part of the village with some houses, and the upper part, with the monastery and at the end, the way to reach Gokyo Valley through Phortse. I follow this way which is going on the side of the mountain.

After 2h30 walking, I arrive at the quiet village of Phortse. I cross the river in Phortse Thenga, hike through the forest and I decide to sleep in Lhabarma after passing Dhole’s slope.

Pangboche
Pangboche
Monasterio de Pangboche
Monastery in Pangboche
Vistas del Ama Dablam
View of Ama Dablam
Pueblo de Lhabarma
Village of Lhabarma

DAY 12 : LHABARMA (4330m) TO GOKYO (4790m)

Walking time: about 5h

From Lhabarma, the path is almost flat and after walking 1h30 I reach Macchermo. The weather is beautiful, I enjoy the countryside very much! In Machhermo, I have to cross a river and then the path is flat again to Phangga.
From Phangga, it’s gently uphill following the river. I start feeling the altitude again. After crossing the river, I arrive in a rocky area and I see the 1st lake! Gokyo is also famous for its lakes, it has 6 around the village.
The 2nd one is bigger and the water is turquoise green! Beautiful! I’m not very far now, I can already see the 3rd lake and some houses.

Gokyo is a gorgeous place, right by the lake. I’m glad I have a few extra days, I’ll be able to stay the whole day tomorrow and enjoy the place!

Pueblo de Machhermo
Machhermo
Primer lago, cerca de Gokyo
1st lake, close to Gokyo
Segundo Lago, cerca de Gokyo
2nd lake, close to Gokyo
Segundo Lago, cerca de Gokyo
2nd lake
Segundo Lago, cerca de Gokyo
2nd lake

DAY 13 : GOKYO / TOP OF GOKYO RI (5360m) AND BACK

Walking time: about 4h
Elevation gain: 570m

I leave Gokyo at 4am to arrive at the top of Gokyo Ri before sunrise. This time, I took my backpack with my warm sleeping bag inside. I was super cold on top of Kala Patthar a few days before and had to leave the summit very quickly. This time, I can wait and enjoy the view inside my sleeping bag!

I can barely breathe, because of the altitude and because I have a cold for a few days already. I walk for 2 hours and I’m the 1st to reach the top… wow… I have no words to describe such amazing landscape… incredibly beautiful!

You can see the first lights of sunrise behind all the huge peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu… Below, Gokyo village and the lake… Amazing!
I wait until the sun rises, enjoying the view inside my sleeping bag, hard to go back down with such a view!

En la cima del Gokyo Ri
At the top of Gokyo Ri
Vistas desde el Gokyo Ri
Views from Gokyo Ri
Vistas desde el Gokyo Ri
Views from Gokyo Ri

DAY 14 : GOKYO / TREK TO THE LAKES AND BACK

Walking time: about 5h return
Elevation gain: 200m

I take the path at the end of the village. 1 hour walking and I arrive at the 4th lake. It’s easy to get lost here as there’s many huge rocks around the lake. The path is not clearly marked neither. The 4th lake is turquoise green and beautiful. I’d like to be able to swim, the water is so clear!

The 5th lake is another hour/hour and a half walking. And the 6th… I will never find it.. I have no gps, just a paper map and nobody to ask. I’m alone hiking here. I must be very close but the path is difficult to follow, there’s huge rocks and I’m not actually sure I’m still the right way… According to my map, I shouldn’t be very far but I still can’t see any lake around… Before I get lost, I turn my way back from where I came. It’s more reasonable and I still enjoyed the hike very much anyway!

Lago de Gokyo
Gokyo Lake
Lago cerca de Gokyo (4o)
4th lake Gokyo
Lago cerca de Gokyo (5o)
5th lake
Gokyo
Campo de hielo
Glacier

DAY 15 : GOKYO (4790m) TO MARULUNG (4210m) VIA RENJO-LA PASS (5360m)

Walking time: 7h30 total : 4h30 to Renjola Pass + 3h to Marulung
Elevation gain: 550m

I’m not sure I’ll be able to go through Renjo la Pass, it snowed a bit and I have no crampons. I leave early so if I cannot pass through or it’s too slippery, I’ll have time to go all the way around.

I leave Gokyo behind, I follow the path around the lake which is flat before arriving at the Renjola Pass wall. I can see hikers going up the vertical slope in front of me. As I go up too, I can guess I won’t be disappointed. “Bistari bistari”, “slowly slowly” as sherpas are used to say here. The path is going in S among rocks and snow. I have to be careful every step not to slipper…

It was worth the effort! The view is amazing here too! I can see Gokyo and its lake, the Everest and on the other side of the pass Angladumba lake and the surrounding snowy peaks. I stay here for a while.

The way down is a bit slippery due to the snow, even if some steps are built with the rocks. The path goes close to the lake and follows the valley. I can see Lunde already with its few houses. I go further down and sleep in Marulung, a tiny village of few basic teahouses.

Lago de Gokyo
Gokyo lake
Subida del Renjo La Pass
Up to Renjo La Pass
Subida del Renjo La Pass
Up to Renjo La Pass
En el Renjo La Pass
Renjo La Pass
En el Renjo La Pass
Renjo La Pass

DAY 16 : MARULUNG (4210m) TO NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m)

Walking time: about 5h

From Marulung, the path goes along the river. I take my time to visit Kyaro monastery, and after 3 hours walking, I arrive at Thames, a pleasant village. Nice view on Thamserku before reaching Thamo, Phurte and back to Namche!

Thame
Thame
Thame
Thame
Thame
Thame

DAY 17 : NAMCHE BAZAAR (3420m) TO LUKLA (2860m)

Walking time : about 7h30

From Namche to Lukla, I take the same way than coming, see Day 1 and 2!

A TRIP TO COOK ISLANDS