Beyond the classic itineries in the Khumbu Valley are more challenging treks to the summits of some of the higher peaks in the area. Those that are accessible to trekkers, i.e. without the need for advanced mountaineering equipment or expertise, include Chukkung Ri (5546m), Island Peak (6189m) and Mera Peak (6476m), the highest trekking peak in Nepal.
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Travel to Everest Region - Challenging Treks
Organised group tours: The following tours for Everest Region - Challenging Treks are available:
This superb trekking holiday makes a complete high-level circuit of the Khumbu and crosses 3 major passes to link the valleys of Thame, Gokyo, Khumbu and Imja Khola. From Namche Bazaar, we follow the course of the Bhote Khosi towards Tibet, before turning eastwards to cross the spectacular Renjo La (5340m). Then, from the holy lakes at Gokyo, it's up and over the Cho La (5420m) to reach Everest Basecamp and the dramatic viewpoint summit of Kala Patar. Our walk out takes us by way of the Kongma La (5535m) before joining the Everest Trail to walk out via the villages of Dingboche and Pangboche and the monastery of Tengboche. Optional ascents of Gokyo Ri and Chukung Ri add spice to this challenging trip, which we choose to run with a KE Western leader. Running this circuit of the main passes of Khumbu in a clockwise direction means we can build up our acclimatisation on uncrowded trails and in the unspoiled valley of the Bhote Kosi, leaving Everest Base Camp as the climax of the trip and also means we spend a minimum amount of time on the popular Everest Trail. For experienced trekkers who want to visit Everest Base Camp but wish to eschew the crowds and experience authentic Sherpa culture, this holiday really does have it all.
A challenging trekking holiday in the remote Kangchenjunga region of the Nepal Himalaya. Traversing the remote and rarely-visited north-eastern corner of Nepal, our trekking route to Kangchenjunga leads through picturesque farmland and rugged valleys to the basecamp for the south side of the Kangchenjunga massif at Ramze. Walking to the north side of Kangchenjunga by way of the Mirgin La (4663m / 15,295ft), we are greeted with magical views of the Himalaya including Makalu, Chamlang, Everest and Kangchenjunga. Trekking beyond the attractive Tibetan settlement of Ghunsa, with its sturdy wooden houses, numerous prayer flags and smiling villagers, we skirt the incredible northern flanks of Jannu on the approach to the Nepal side Kangchenjunga basecamp at Pang Pema (5100m / 16,728ft). Here at last, the formidable north face of Kangchenjunga is revealed. Our trekking efforts are rewarded with magnificent close up views of Kangchenjunga towering above the glacier opposite our camp in icy blue splendour. Varied and sustained, this popular trek is rated amongst the most beautiful walks in the world.
Makalu (8481m), the world's fifth highest summit, is normally climbed from a basecamp at Sherson (c.4700m), a lovely high grazing area close to the tip of the Barun Glacier and surrounded by an awe-inspiring array of Himalayan peaks. The return trek into this remote alpine world is one of the finest in Nepal and is accessed by way of a short flight to the airstrip at Tumlingtar above the Arun River. From here, our trekking route takes us through pretty terraced farmland and a number of delightful villages, before climbing to cross the Shipton La (4229m). At the high points of this classic trekking holiday, the views extend from Makalu to distant Kangchenjunga. We have a full day to explore above Sherson, gaining surprising views of the Kangshung (east) Face of Everest as well as close-up perspectives of the impressive Chamlang and of Makalu's towering South Face. This is a holiday for the connoisseur of Nepal trekking.
Mera Peak at 6476 metres, is one of Nepal's highest trekking peaks and its summit panorama takes in 5 of the world's 8000 metre peaks - Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Cho Oyu. This ultimate Himalayan trekking and climbing holiday begins with a short and exciting flight to the mountain airstrip at Lukla and continues through the high and lovely Hinku Valley. Here, our tried and tested program of acclimatisation contributes to an unrivalled success rate on climbing Mera peak. Although physically very demanding on account of the altitude, the climb on Mera Peak is not technically difficult, ascending snow slopes that rarely exceed 30 degrees. Viewed from the mountain's upper slopes, the sunrise on Everest and Kangchenjunga is truly unforgettable. Mera Peak is the perfect choice for fit and keen hillwalkers looking to take part in a real Himalayan climbing expedition.
Back by popular demand, the original KE ‘‘Khumbu Climber'' climbing holiday not only explores the three principal valleys of the Everest region, but also includes ascents of three major peaks in the shadow of Everest. This classic climbing holiday begins with a trek to the holy lakes at Gokyo where we make a training and acclimatisation climb of the 'Nameless Towers' above Gokyo's 'Fifth Lake' with the 'Scoundrel's View' of Everest'. We then cross the Cho La to reach our first mountain challenge, an ascent of Lobuche Peak East (6119m), which we tackle from a high camp spectacularly located on a level part of the ridge overlooking the main Khumbu Valley. After the climb there is the option to visit Everest Base Camp and / or climb the viewpoint peak of Kala Pattar before we cross the Kongma La to tackle our next peak, Pokalde (5806m). This provides an enjoyable and entertaining climb involving some easy scrambling protected by fixed line. From the summit there are sensational views of nearby Ama Dablam and all the peaks of the Khumbu, as well as the more distant but equally imposing Makalu. The fitting climax to this Khumbu trilogy is an ascent of the aptly named Island Peak, set in a sea of glacial ice directly adjacent to the incredible Lhotse South Face. Island Peak or 'Imja Tse' (6183m), is one of the most popular of the so-called 'trekking peaks' and gives classic Himalayan climbing on an alpine scale. Each of these peaks offers challenging and exciting climbing in exposed situations protected by fixed lines amongst breathtaking scenery.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya
Aug 2009 (9th ed.), 436 pages
Trekking in the Everest Region
(5th ed.), 320 pages
Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream
Oct 2008 (1st ed.), 200 pages
Nepal Trekking and the Great Himalaya Trail
Nov 2014 (2nd ed.)