Everest Base Camp & High-Altitude Passes
The Everest Base Camp Trek (commonly refered to as 'EBC) is considered one of the world's classic treks and takes one to the foot of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest (elevation : 8848m). The trek takes at least two weeks with several days of acclimatisation stops, and passes through the world's highest mountain range, the Himalayas. Trekking amongst 'eight-thousanders' provides one with some incredible views of some of the highest mountains in the world. I on the other hand, was looking for something far more remote so that I would be able to escape the ridiculous crowds that one tends to find on the EBC trail. The three high-altitude passes seemed perfect and at that time I thought would be a great side trip from EBC. Little did I know that (underwhelming) 'EBC' would end up being the side trip!A trip to the high-altitude passes (and EBC) requires a lot of preparation as any sustained trek uphill for weeks on end tends to take its toll, both physically and mentally, on those who try to take it on unprepared. I was fairly confident with my fitness levels so felt that I didn't require any special conditioning for the trip but I did ensure that the routes that I had planned to use were pre-programmed on my Suunto Ambit for assistance with navigation if they ever were required.
My original plan was to travel alone without porters and guides, starting the hike by flying in to Lukla and making my way up the classic EBC route. Once reaching Dingboche, I would have veered off to the East towards Chukung in order to climb to the summit of Chukung Ri before crossing the Kong Ma La High Altitude Pass. From there I would have made my way North to EBC and the summit of Kalapattar, before heading back down to cross the Cho La High Altitude Pass for Gokyo, the 5th Lake, and the summit of Gokyo Ri. Then I would have made my way across the Renjo La High Altitude Pass and back down to Lukla via Thame. The objective was to cross the three high-altitude passes (Kongma La, Cho La, Renjo La), to climb the three summits (Chukkung Ri, Kalapattar, Gokyo Ri), and to hike up to Everest Base Camp.As is usually the case with all trips, plans change. Ultimately, I did everything that I had intended to do except for the Kongma La high-altitude pass and the Chukkung Ri summit (reasons for which I will go into later).