He Said/She Said: In the Shadow of Everest

He Said/She Said: In the Shadow of Everest

In a region dominated by one trek, the Everest Base Camp, we chose the slightly longer, but much less popular Three Passes Loop.  Upon completion our group of five was among the two dozen or so that completed the passes during the month compared to the 500 hikers that trekked to basecamp.  Here’s each of our takes on the the hike and sights we saw.

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HE SAID…

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I have never been somewhere as beautiful as Nepal’s Everest region.  Having been to fantastic places from Patagonia to the Galapagos to the great cities of Europe and Asia; nothing compares to the Three Passes Loop.  The Loop is a collection of ancient trading paths that connect valleys leading towards Mt Everest and other of the world’s tallest peaks.  To get from valley to valley requires hiking over ridges that provide spectacular views, albeit after putting in plenty of effort.

Days are filled with hiking uphill, scrambling up scree, squeezing between boulders, and gasping for air as we spent 10 days over 15,000 feet.  To make matters worse after hours of climbing over a pass then descending into a valley we were often faced with more climbing to get to our final destination.  Nights were miserably cold, falling well below freezing in our rooms, with daylight bringing the start to long days.  Even our “days off” included 3-4 hours of hiking.  The work of the Three Passes cannot be underestimated.

The efforts though reward hikers with indescribable beauty.  Atop the passes, ranging from 17,500-18,175 ft (5345-5540M), the sky is pierced by glacier capped mountains, many of the tallest in the world, in every direction.  Each pass brings its own challenges, scenery, and, most importantly, views in different directions.  There is nothing that can compare to the views from the passes except standing at the summit of the surrounding mountains.

While the vast majority of visitors to the region never attempt the passes, opting instead for the trek directly to Everest Base Camp and back, if you have the time and endurance the EBC hike pales in comparison to the Three Passes Loop.  While both are physically demanding, the varied scenery, uniqueness and accomplishment of completing the Three Passes makes it worth it in the end.

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SHE SAID…

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Spending the last three weeks high up in the Himalayas of the Solu Khumbu region I fell in love with the mountains.  The cool, crisp air and the stunning panoramas almost had me convinced that I could become a hermit as long as I could enjoy the snow capped Himalaya views every day.  I am a very social city girl, but the three passes trek had me convinced otherwise.

I’ve also never been a morning person, but this hike had me up at 5 am every day and on the trail by 6 am.  Some days we were hiking before the sun rose and the temperatures were fare below freezing, but none of this bothered me.  I loved the thrill of what vista awaited around the next mountain bend and I was content eating Dhaal Bhat.  Each pass made me more proud of what we had accomplished and every cold night brought an even more spectacular day of trekking.

Of course I missed a few creature comforts and the uphill walking in altitude wasn’t easy, but each day had me wanting for more.  The teahouses we stopped at for lunch and to spend the night offered enough social interaction and the constant promise of better scenery got me up each morning.  The three passes trek is easily in my top highlights from the trip thus far.

The trek may have been one of the most difficult things I have done on our journey, but I can’t wait to do it all over again in the Annapurna region in just a few days.  Don’t tell thinkCHUA, but I hope to do another 300 kilometers of trekking and even another pass over 5,000 meters.  Stay tuned to see what our hiking compromise ends up being and in the meantime start planning your own trip to the Himalayas- you won’t regret it!

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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