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Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

Everest from ascent to Renjo La Pass 5,360m - 17,585ft)

The Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp, below we are going to go through comprehensive comparison between the two popular destinations of the Everest Region.

Both destinations are well-acknowledged for their unique appeal, attracting trekkers of varying interests and aspirations.

They are both breathtaking and unique package to go for if you want to cherish the Himalayan beauty or are an adventure seeker.

We will discuss how the Everest three Passes Trek and Everest Base Camp Trek differ here. It includes the difference in difficulty level, scenery, social & cultural encounters, and overall experiences.

The significant thing to consider is that while choosing any one trek between these two packages, factors like personal preferences, fitness levels, and desired levels of challenge and determination can influence highly.

Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

Here are quick differences between the Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

Three Passes Trek

Starts from Namche to Thame
Covers Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongma La Passes
Covers Gokyo Valley, Chhukung Valley, Renjo Valley and Kala Patthar
Total Distance of 166 Kilometers
Takes 14 to 18 Days to Complete
Cost around $1500 to $2800 Per Person
Challenging Trek
Three Passes Are Mostly Over 5000 Meters Above Sea Level
Not Much Popular
Requires some long Hiking Experience
Less Crowded
Broad View of Sceneries

Everest Base Camp Trek

Starts from Namche to Tengboche
Covers Gorakshep and Everest Base Camp
Excludes Gokyo Valley but Covers Kala Patthar
Total Distance of 130 Kilometers
Takes 12 to 14 Days to Complete
Cost around $1445 to $2280 Per Person
Moderately Challenging Trek
Only Gorakshep, Kala Patthar and Base Camp Are Over 5000 Meters Above Sea Level
Most Popular Trek in Nepal
Does Not Require any Skills
Most Crowded
Broad View of Sceneries but Less Compared To Three Passes Trek

Major Attractions of Two Destinations

The major attraction of the Three Passes Trek is Renjo La Pass, Cho La Pass, and Kongma La Pass. Similarly, the base camp itself is the primary attraction of EBC Trek.

Several other things attract hundreds of tourists annually in both locations. The major attractions of both treks are the diverse natural richness, people and their culture, flora and fauna, and the beautiful views of the mystic Himalayas.

Here are detailed highlights of Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp.

The Three Passes Trek Highlights

  • Three High Mountain Passes above 5000 Meters above Sea Level.
  • Gokyo Lakes [Gokyo Cho (Dudh Pokhari), Thonak Cho, Gyazumpa Cho, Tanjung Cho, Ngozumpa Cho, and Longbanga Cho].
  • Explore Gokyo Ri (5,357m) and Khumbu Glacier.
  • Explore Sherpa Culture and Villages [Thame, Lumde, Dughla, and more].
  • Remote and Pristine Landscapes within Sagarmatha National Park.
  • Diverse Flora and Fauna [endangered animal species like Blue Sheep, Snow Leopard, the Himalayan Tahr, and Red Panda].
  • Explore Everest Viewpoints, the Snow-Capped Mountains, Sunrise, and Sunsets.

Gyachung Kang 7,952m-26,089ft left & Hunchhi 7,029m-23,060ft right from Gokyo Ri

Everest Base Camp Trek Highlights

  • Reach Everest Base Camp at 5,364 Meters Above Sea Level.
  • Explore Tengboche Monastery, and Know The Significance of Buddhism.
  • Visit Gorakshep, The Last Sherpa Settlement in the Everest Region.
  • Explore Flora and Fauna in Sagarmatha National Park.
  • Explore the Diverse Cultures, Traditions, Norms, Customs, and Languages in Remote Villages.
  • Explore Lobuche Pass at 4,940 Meters Above Sea Level
  • Visit Kala Patthar at 5545 Meters Above Sea Level [Perfect viewpoint for 360 Degree view of Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, and other peaks].

Photography Tour in Nepal

Total Distance of Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

Several factors contribute to the difference between Three Passes and Everest Base Camp, and the distance is certainly one of them. These two popular destinations are both located in Everest Region with long trailheads. Here is a detailed narration:

The Everest Three Passes trail is approximately 166 kilometers (103 miles). It starts from Lukla, taking trekkers to the beautiful and remote wilderness of Lukla, Phakding and Monjo before reaching the Gate to Everest, Namche Bazaar.

Namche is a town that separates the trail to Gokyo Valley and Everest Base Camp. The standard route to Gokyo Valley traverses from the left side of Namche Bazaar to Thame, leading you to Renjo La Pass.

Trekkers and can start going to Renjo La first then cross Cho La Pass, and Kongma La Pass or they can start with Kongma La then reach Base Camp and later cross both Cho La and Renjo La.

Which route you want to follow depends on your personal preference and your priority among these passes.

If you are not sure about yourself that you can cross all three passes then decide which you would like to do first so that you don’t regret even if you are not able to cross others.

I recommend doing Kong Ma La first, then go to EBC, Kalapatthar and head toward Gokyo Valley; this gives you opportunity to visit most famous EBC and Kalapatthar first.

On the other hand, the Everest Base Camp has a total distance of 130 kilometers (80.7 miles).

Although the starting point of both EBC and Three Pass is Lukla, the EBC trail moves ahead from the right side of Namche Bazaar and goes through Tyangboche, Dingoche, Lobuche, Gorakshep and finally to EBC.

Routes to Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

As mentioned above, the starting point of both Three Passes and Everest Base Camp is the same location. Lukla, sitting at a pleasant and atmospheric altitude of 2860 meters above sea level, is where trekkers arrive first to commence their journey.

Trekkers have to follow the standard route from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, traversing through remote settlements like Chheplung, Phakding, Monjo and Namche.

For the Three Passes Trek, one route is to continue their journey to Thame Village. The hike continues to several locations like Tarnga, Lumde, and Renjo La Pass. During the trek, you will traverse pristine lakes such as Renjo Lake, Relama Tsho, and Gokyo Tsho.

After reaching Renjo La Pass [5,360 meters], trekkers will enter the Gokyo Valley. Here, the five frozen lakes of Gokyo and the majestic scene of Gokyo Ri Peak allure travelers.

The trek continues to Cho La Phedi and Cho La Pass [5,420 meters], going to Dzongla and Dughla. From there, the remote and unbeaten path continues uphill to Thokla Pass [4830 meters] and High Camp before we set our feet into the Kongma La Pass [5540 meters].

Here is a list of major destinations throughout the route to Three Passes:

  • Lukla (2,860 meters) to Phakding (2,610 meters).
  • Phakding (2,610 meters) to Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters).
  • Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters) to Thame (3,750 meters).
  • Thame (3,750 meters) to Lumde (4,368 meters).
  • Lumde (4,368 meters) to Renjo La Pass (5,360 meters).
  • Renjo La Pass (5,360 meters) to Gokyo Lake (4,750 meters).
  • Gokyo Lake (4,750 meters) to Cho La Pass (5,420 meters) via Thangnak.
  • Cho La Pass (5,420 meters) to Dzongla (4,855 meters).
  • Dzongla (4,855 meters) to Lobuche (4,910 meters).
  • Lobuche (4,910 meters) to Kongma La Pass (5,540 meters).

Everest Base Camp & Gokyo Lakes Trek via Cho La Pass

Regarding Everest Base Camp, trekkers hike from Lukla to Phakding and Namche before the trail distributes. From Namche, the trail continues straight to the settlements like Tyangboche, Deboche, Pangboche, and Dingboche.

From there, the trail meets the three passes route to Dughla (4,620 meters) and then continues to Thokla Pass. As trekkers hike at elevating altitudes, the trail takes them to Gorakshep, the last Sherpa Settlement in Everest Region.

From Gorakshep, it is a small and steep climb to Pumori Base Camp before reaching Everest Base Camp.

Here is a list of major destinations throughout the route to Everest Base Camp:

  • Lukla (2,860 meters) to Phakding (2,610 meters).
  • Phakding (2,610 meters) to Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters).
  • Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters) to Tengboche (3,860 meters).
  • Tengboche (3,860 meters) to Dingboche (4,410 meters).
  • Dingboche (4,410 meters) to Dughla (4,620 meters).
  • Dughla (4,620 meters) to Gorakshep (5,164 meters).
  • Gorakshep (5,164 meters) to Everest Base Camp (5,364 meters).

Difficulty Level | Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

The Everest Three Passes Trek is ‘Challenging’ while the Everest Base Camp is a ‘Moderately Challenging’ Trek.

The three passes trek comprises three high-altitude passes over 5000 meters, which pose significant risks and challenges. Altitude sickness, extreme weather, freezing temperatures, and snowfalls can be troublesome for trekkers.

It also requires strict preparation and strategy. We recommend that you prepare yourself for the Everest Base Camp trek and Three Passes Trek by joining a gym and hiring a good instructor.

While packing, go through this ultimate packing list for the Everest Base Camp Trek, where our expert team from Mosaic Adventure has outlined it in detail. This same packing guideline is useful for the Three Passes Trek as well.

On the other hand, Everest Base Camp Trek is moderate, which means it does not pose a significant threat compared to the Three Passes Trek.

Being said that Everest Base Camp also comprises some high-altitude locations such as Gorakshep (5164 meters) and Base Camp (5364 meters) itself.

This region is also highly prone to altitude-related issues and bad weather. Preparations and planning should be done strictly though this trek is not considered as challenging as three passes.

International Everest day

Elevation of The Destination

Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp: what are the elevation differences between these two famous destinations in Everest Region? We are going to find out!

The Three Passes are all located 5000 meters above sea level. The first pass [from the standard route] is Renjo La Pass at 5360 meters.

Similarly, the second one, Cho La Pass, is 5420 meters above sea level. Last but not least, Kongma La Pass is the highest pass in Everest Three Passes, at 5540 meters.

Talking about Everest Base Camp has a relatively low elevation than three passes of the Everest Region. It sits at 5364 meters above sea level.

Gorakshep is the only location above 5000 meters on the EBC trail [5164 meters]. On top of that, EBC lies at a higher elevation than Renjo La Pass; the difference between Renjo La and EBC’s altitude is only 4 meters.

Duration of Three Passes Trek vs. Everest Base Camp

The duration of the Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp is relatively visible since the total distance between these two destinations has a gap of around 35 kilometers.

The standard trail of the Three Passes is 166 kilometers (103 miles), which requires an average duration of around 15 to 18 days. Similarly, the Everest Base Camp has only 130 kilometers (80.7 miles) of standard trail distance. It requires an average duration of 12 to 14 Days.

However, the duration of both treks can be affected by trekkers’ preferences, itineraries, time of year, and preparation.

On top of that, the activities of trekkers’ must be kept in a note to know if the average duration of these treks can exceed.

12 Days Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Cost of Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp

The Cost of the Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp is another most important thing to consider. The important notion is that the trekker’s activities highly influence the cost of these trekking packages.

The itinerary, time of year [peak season/off-season], activities, preferences on guides and porters, preferences on gears, and level of luxury during the package make a difference in the total cost of Three Passes and Everest Base Camp Trek.

Since the Three Passes Trek is more challenging and long than EBC, it needs more preparation. This means that trekkers might need to spend more for this trek.

The Everest Three Passes Trek’s average cost is between $1500 to $2800 per person. Similarly, Everest Base Camp costs anywhere between $1445 to $2280 per person.

These costs are for the standard itineraries. The average cost of the Three Passes Trek is effective for around 15 to 18 days. Similarly, Everest Base Camp’s 12 to 14 days itinerary needs the designated expenses.

Looking at the price tag, it appears that the standard charge of Everest Base Camp can be more budget-friendly than the Three Passes Trek.

However, as we have already mentioned, several other factors can influence the increment and reduction of trekking costs.

Besides trekking, there are other ways to experience the relish of these treks. Helicopter tours are one of them. For a helicopter tour in Nepal, travelers have to pay anywhere from $1000 to $1500 for a group-sharing package.

If anyone is interested in a privately chartered tour to Three Passes and Everest Base Camp, the average cost is over $4500 per helicopter.

Here is a detailed segregation of Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp cost:

Destination Average Cost
Three Passes $1500 to $2800
Everest Base Camp $1445 to $2280

Trekking Conditions of Three Passes Trek vs. Everest Base Camp

The Himalayas are an amazing place for people who love exciting treks. Two of the most famous treks there are the Three Passes Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek.

But going on these treks is not just about being excited. 

For a safe and enjoyable trek, it’s essential to be aware of the trail conditions. It includes things like rough land, high places, changing weather, and meeting new cultures.

Understanding all these aspects will help you make the most of this unforgettable adventure.

Weather Considerations

Three Passes Trek

The Three Passes Trek, which is located in the breathtaking Everest region, is a trek that is subject to a variety of weather conditions.

As a result, trekkers must plan their expedition carefully and choose the pre-monsoon (spring) and post-monsoon (autumn) seasons. 

During spring, trekkers can enjoy clear blue skies, stunning rhododendrons in full bloom, and moderate temperatures that are perfect for trekking.

On the other hand, autumn provides trekkers with stable weather conditions, making it an excellent time for trekking with excellent visibility. 

However, it is essential to pack appropriately for the colder days, especially at higher altitudes, where temperatures can drop significantly.

Having the right gear for warmth is critical for a safe and comfortable trekking experience.

Everest Base Camp

The Himalayas are an awesome place for people who like exciting hikes. Two popular treks in this area are the Three Passes Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek.

But going on these hikes is not just about feeling happy. For a safe and fun trip, it’s important to know about the trekking conditions.

That includes things like tough paths, high places, changing weather, and meeting different cultures. Learning about these things will help you enjoy this amazing adventure even more.

High Altitudes & Adjustment To A New Environment 

Three Passes Trek

The Three Passes Trek is special because it goes through three really high places – Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La. These places are more than 5,000 meters high, so people walking there have to be very careful about getting used to the high altitude. 

In order to avoid feeling sick because of the high altitude, the trek plan makes sure people go up slowly and take days to get used to it.

That is really important for the health of the people walking. The Three Passes Trek is a super exciting adventure, but it’s really important to get ready and know about the possible problems and things to do to stay safe.

Everest Base Camp

The trek to Everest Base Camp is tough but worth it. Although there are fewer high passes than some other paths, you’ll still be walking at very high places, over 5,000 meters. 

It means it’s super important for your body to get used to the high altitude. The plan usually includes days where you rest so your body can get used to the thin air.

Walking at high places can be risky because of things like altitude sickness. 

So it’s really important to watch out for any signs of feeling unwell and to go up the mountains slowly. Overall, this trek needs you to be physically and mentally ready, and you need to be careful and show respect for the mountains.

Accommodation | Food Facilities

The Three Passes Trek vs Everest Base Camp cites the differences between the nature of treks in duration, distance, cost, and logistics.

Since we have covered most of them above, let’s explore the logistics available in these two treks.

The important thing to consider is that accommodation and food services are similar during these treks. Since both locations are within the Everest Region of Solukhumbu District, we can find similar delicacies and roofs to hide under.

Regarding accommodation, we only have teahouse accommodation available on the trail. Up to Namche Bazaar there are some modern lodges like Yeti Mountain Home but there prices doesn’t reflect the service.

You don’t have comfortable stay at higher altitude so try to adopt from lower altitude by choosing standard teahouses rather than sleeping in those ‘luxury’ lodges.  You will find many options of lodges Namche Bazaar, the Gate to Everest.

It is a vibrant town that has modernized with the flow of tourists attracted throughout the period. Lodges here serve trekkers with basic to luxurious amenities.

The attached bathrooms, restaurants, hot showers, and 24/7 electricity & internet services are some of them.

Similarly, after leaving Namche Bazaar, trekkers will head toward Thame for Three Passes Trek and Tengboche for Everest Base Camp Trek. Both Thame and Tengboche feature tea houses to stay.

These places come with shared bedrooms and restrooms, and electricity. Some tea houses even have internet services and hot shower amenities.

Trekkers have to accommodate in further basic lodges after reaching high-altitude places like Renjo La Pass, Cho La Pass, and Kongma La Pass during the Three Passes Trek. Basic teahouses are the only option left to accommodate in Everest Base Camp too.

Concerning the food and snacks, we can find local delicacies like Dal, Bhaat, and Tarkari during the Three Passes and EBC Trek.

While we stay at teahouses, we can taste Western food and dishes, including pizza, sandwiches, noodles, and other delicacies.

For the high altitudes locations like Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongma La Passes, trekkers might need to carry snacks on their own as food doesn’t taste that great there. The same goes for Everest Base Camp.

teahouse on lukla to everest base camp trek

Frequently Asked Questions

Which trek is more challenging, Three Passes Trek or Everest Base Camp Trek?

The Three Passes Trek is more challenging since all three passes lie above 5000 meters above sea level. So the risk of getting altitude sickness and other challenges is high.

How long does each trek typically take to complete?

The Three Passes trek takes 15 to 18 days, while Everest Base Camp Trek takes 12 to 14 days.

Which trek offers better views of the Himalayas?

Both treks are renowned for offering pristine views of the Himalayas, including Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Island Peak, Nuptse, and Cho Oyu.

However, the Three Passes Trek provides a wider range of panoramic views of the surroundings as you will be above 5000 meters most of the time.

Are there tea houses and accommodations available along the trekking routes?

Yes, there are numerous tea houses available along both trekking routes. However, trekkers should expect for pretty basic teahouses in high-altitude locations near to three destination, Renjo La, Cho La, Kongma La, and Everest Base Camp.

Which trek route is more crowded?

EBC Trek is more popular than the Three Passes Trek, which means that EBC Trail is more crowded. Three Passes Trek is more challenging, resulting in minimal visitors.

You will see crowds between Lukla – Phakding – Namche – Tyangobhce – Dingboche – Gorakshep and back the same route, while trekking on other areas you won’t find many trekkers.

Do I need prior trekking experience to attempt these treks?

You do not need prior trekking experience to trek to Everest Base camp or to complete Three Passes Trek. But, it is recommended that you physically prepare your body before reaching the trail.

The Three Passes is challenging, while the EBC trek is moderately challenging, requiring a lot of physical fitness, mental determination, and preparation with gear and supplies. More fitter you are more enjoyable the trek can be.

What Is The Distance of Three Passes Trek?

The Three Passes Trek is 166 kilometers long.

What Is the Total Distance of EBC Trek?

Distance of Everest Base Camp Trek is 130 kilometers.

Ama Dablam, Dingboche

Conclusion:

While comparing the Three Passes Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek, you should know that both treks are challenging and require a good level of physical fitness.

To complete the Everest Base Camp Trek, you will be trekking for about 12 days on the trail with just one night spent over 5000 meters.

On the other hand, during the Three Passes Trek you will be staying over 5000 meters for a couple of nights. Staying at such high altitudes can be really challenging, especially for those coming from sea level.

Therefore, if you are a really fit person and consider yourself determined then I recommend signing up for the Three Passes Trek.

I am confident that you won’t be disappointed with the splendid Himalayan views along that trail.

However, if you are reasonably fit person and would simply like to get a taste of the Himalayan experience, then the standard Everest Base Camp Trek should be one that you should sign up for.

I hope information provided above helps you in choosing between the Three Passes Trek and the Everest Base Camp Trek.

If you have already done either of these treks and would like to add anything then please leave a comment below.

Additionally, if you require any additional information to help you make a decision, please feel free to comment and I will do my best to provide information based on my first-hand experience of trekking both trails.

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