Khumbu Valley and Cho La Pass trek is an exciting trek that gives you a panoramic view of the tallest mountains of Nepal, like Mt. Cho-Oyo, Mt. Makalu, and Mt. Everest.
Khumbu Valley is the home of Sherpas in the Everest region. Khumbu is one of the three major Khambu and Sherpa settlements of the people of the Himalayas.
The other two settlements are Solu and Pharak. There is just one town in Khumbu Region, Namche Bazar.
Namche Bazar is the biggest settlement of the Khumbu region and the main trading center and hub of people living in the Everest region. Namche Bazaar has infrastructures like banks, post offices, the internet, and health posts.
Khumbu Valley’s elevation ranges from 3,300 meters to 8,848 meters, and it is the summit of Mount Everest. The region’s important settlement places are Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Lukla, Pangboche, and Monjo.
The trek comes across Cho La pass after Gokyo valley and six Gokyo lakes. Cho La pass sits at an altitude of 5,420 meters and is the best viewpoint to see the entirety of Gokyo valley and the mesmerizing Gokyo Lakes.
Cho La is a summit and is a summit pass connecting two villages of the Khumbu Region, Dzongla and Thagnak.
Highlights of Khumbu Valley and Cho La Pass Trek
Khumbu Valley is the home of some of the tallest mountains in the world.
Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, hid the Khumbu Valley for future times when people would need them as sanctuaries. He described Khumbu in religious books as a valley surrounded by snow peaks.
Trekking in Khumbu Region is regarded as one of the best in the world. Wild Junket ranked the Everest Circuit Trek as the third-best trekking option in the world and the best trekking option in Nepal.
Some highlights of the Khumbu Valley and Cho La Pass trek are:
- Tengboche Monastery: Tengboche Monastery is very popular among tourists who visit the Khumbu Valley.
- The monastery lies in Tengboche, a small village on the way to Cho La Pass. The monastery sits at an altitude of 3,867 meters.
- Tengboche monastery is a famous Buddhist monastery, and many Buddhism followers from all over the world visit the monastery.
Tengboche monastery is the largest gompa in the Khumbu Valley. The region also has many other monasteries near Tengboche.
The Tengboche gompa was built in 1916 and underwent some structural changes. The monastery was destroyed by an earthquake in 1934 and was later rebuilt.
The monastery was also destroyed by a Fire and was built by monks and volunteers. Followers from all over the world funded the construction after the Fire destroyed the monastery.
The monastery area is spiritual, and monks come to the monastery to learn and get enlightened. The village also reflects ancient Tibetan cultures and traditions.
- Views of Mount Everest and neighboring mountains: Khumbu Valley trek is the best destination to view the majestic Mount Everest. The Khumbu region also consists of peaks like Lhotse (8,516m) and Nuptse (7,861 m). The Khumbu and Cho La Pass trek gives a panoramic view of towering snow-capped mountains like Thamserku, Kangtega, Cho-Oyu (8,201 m), Pumori (7,161 m), Nuptse, Lhotse, and Manaslu (8,156 m). You can also see the pyramid-like mountain Ama Dablam (6,812 m), often referred to as the most beautiful mountain in Nepal.
- Cho La Pass: Cho La pass is a major trip highlight. The pass is a summit itself, thus also called a summit peak. The peak stands at a height of 5,420 meters above sea level in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Cho La pass is a must-climb pass, not just for trekking and climbing experience but for scenic views from the summit of the peaks, lakes, and glaciers. Most prefer to cross Cho La Pass because of the stunning views of the Himalayas and come face to face with the natural beauty of the Khumbu region.
The summit of Cho La gives outstanding views of Mt. Cho-Oyu, Lobuche, Cholatse, Gokyo, and Pumori. The pass also provides views of the pristine Gokyo lakes and Gokyo Valley. Gokyo lakes are sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.
Ngozumpa Glacier: Ngozumpa is the longest glacier in the Himalayas. The rocky glacier is more than 36 kilometers long.
The Ngozumpa glacier originates from the base of Mount Cho-Oyu and spreads to the Gokyo Valley. You come across this gigantic glacier on your way to Cho La pass. The Ngozumpa glacier can also be seen from Peaks like Gokyo and Ngozumpa Tse.
Difficulty of Khumbu Valley and Cho La Pass Trek
The Khumbu region and Cho La pass trek is a very strenuous trek, and it is better to have prior trekking experience. This trek is a high altitude trek and requires good physical fitness. Majestic views and sightings replenish some portion of the fatigue and tiredness felt in the trek.
The Khumbu region trek is graded as 8 or 9 in terms of difficulty. You will undoubtedly face difficulties in navigating the trek when passing cliffs at an altitude of above 5,000 meters, so make sure to carry climbing gears, ice boots and warm clothes and general medication to prevent altitude sickness.
Many portions of the trek consist of climbing small summits like Cho La and Gokyo Ri. These are very cold areas and sit above 5,300 meters above seas level. These summit passes are difficult to cross, and your trekking experience can be beneficial in traversing the pass safely and with ease.
Possibility of Acute Mountain Sickness in Khumbu Valley and Cho La Pass Trek
The Khumbu region lies at an altitude of 3,000 to 8,848 meters. Trekking in this region is classified as high-altitude trekking.
Trekking at such high altitudes comes with risk and discomfort too. You can get acute mountain sickness very easily in the Khumbu region.
You must categorize some extra days just for acclimatization to the surrounding. Acclimatization is very important to keep your body accustomed to the high altitude.
Scaling high altitudes without acclimatization a day before will lead to mountain sickness when you try to trek higher elevations the next day.
Make sure to spend a whole day in a nearby tea House before climbing Cho La pass and other high passes of the Khumbu region.
Things to Carry to prevent Acute Mountain Sickness
A simple method to avert mountain sickness is to ascend at a slow pace. Trekking high altitudes in a short period will worsen your condition when suffering from mountain sickness.
You can also take medicines to be safe from altitude sickness. Some drugs that help in preventing acute mountain sickness are Acetazolamide, Dexamethasone, and Ibuprofen.
Locals have their traditional methods to prevent altitude sickness. Most locals don’t suffer because they are familiar with high altitudes. If they suffer from mountain sickness, the local people use garlic and cloves to improve their condition.
You must also carry a medical kit because the trek is filled with rocks and uneven terrain. You will need general medical items like bandages and sprays to cure sprains and cramps.
Essentials for Khumba Valley and Cho La Trek
Some of the essential items crucial for Khumba Valley and Cho La Trek are:
- Warm Clothing: A single layer of clothing is not what we are referring. We expect you to pack at least three layers of clothing (Base Layer, Insulation Layer and Outside Layer ). The summit peaks and passes are icy, and you will be thankful for wearing a full set of clothing gear.
- General Trekking Gear: General trekking gear must include trekking trousers and shorts, waterproof shell jacket and trousers, trekking hat, beanie, neck gaiter, gloves (inner gloves and outer insulated gloves), hiking boots, trekking shoes, warm thermal socks, hiking socks and gaiters.
- Bags and Backpacks: You need two or three backpacks on the trek. One is a duffel bag. Duffel bag is ideal if your bag is to be carried by a porter. You must have a backpack to carry your belongings like a camera, water bottle, food items and general clothing items. Make sure your bags are waterproof.
- Sleeping Gear: Sleeping bag and liner is very essential for the trek. Tea houses aren’t quite warm in the night, so it is best to carry a sleeping bag. You can also bring a sleeping bag liner for added warmth.
- Poles and Headgear: Pole gears will make your trek very easier. You must carry quality gears. Trekking poles, Sunglasses and Headlight is essential items in the trek.
Make sure you carry a water bottle, to keep yourself hydrated. You can carry toilet papers for convenience as lavish services are rare in tea houses in higher altitudes.
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