The trekking trails in the Nepalese Himalayas go higher than the summit of the highest mountains in Europe. Trekking through the hair-raising, nerve-wracking passes to complete the journey is the ultimate badge of honour for any mountain enthusiast. While many aspire to go higher and higher, battling the unforgiving terrains and weather of the Himalayas is not for everyone.
Thousands of trekkers come into Nepal to trek in the Himalayas, but most only undertake moderate treks that climb up to 3,500m on average. Thus, the routes are well-dotted with convenient and comfortable lodges all along the trail. However, a slight downside to this fact is that sometimes a place loses its sense of wilderness due to the heavy flow of trekkers and subsequent commercialization. For those truly experienced trekkers, who are looking for challenges, far from their comfort zone, here’s a list of five high altitude treks in the Himalayas.
Everest Three High Passes Trek
Everest Three High Passes trek is unanimously the most adventurous and challenging trek in the Everest region. If you are someone who has already conquered the Everest Base Camp and are looking for a more difficult challenge, this is the right one for you.
After hiking from Chukung to Lukla, you will cross the Kongma La Pass (5,535m) to reach Lobuche and eventually the basecamp. You will cross the second pass, Cho La (5,430m), when hiking to Gokyo; and finally conquer the most difficult one, Renjo La (5,340m), to reach Thame and Namche Bazaar. If the weather is favourable, you can cross these passes without the need for any equipment. Although the trek isn’t very technical, the dramatic and frequent change in elevation may give you a hard time. Thus, acclimatization is extremely important.
Ganja La Pass Trek
The Ganja La Pass trek is the most difficult and treacherous trek in the Langtang region, which very few dares to undertake. The short but steep crossing of the Ganja La (5,106m) from Kyanjin Gompa in Langtang to Tarke Ghyang in Helambu is one of the most stimulating experiences in the entire Himalayas.
You will have to trek through avalanche- and landslide-prone regions, and under no circumstances should you attempt to cross it alone. You will also need a wide range of tools and equipment to make the journey. However, in the end, the hard work will really pay off. You won’t only get to relish in the views of the Nepalese Himalayas but the ones on the Tibetan side too.
Phoksundo Lake via Do Tarap Trek
Dolpo is one of those regions that many have heard of, but only a few have dared to visit. Located beyond the gigantic Dhaulagiri massif, it is completely shut by snow for several months in winter. Phoksundo Lake via Do Tarap trek will take you right into the heart of ancient Tibetan culture.
Commencing either from Dunai or Jumla, the trek includes crossing two difficult passes – Numa La (5,360m) and Baga La (5,090m) – through the yak herding region near the Phoksundo Lake. You won’t come across another trekker for days on end. The isolation makes the trek even more dangerous than it already is. However, trekkers must note that the region is only accessible until late October. It’s also trekkable in monsoon.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp
In terms of popularity, Kanchenjunga Base Camp lags far behind ABC and EBC. However, the trail leading to the basecamp of this third-highest peak on earth is far wetter, lusher, and isolated than these two. The absolute seclusion and remoteness elevate the trek’s sense of adventure and potential risks.
Given the region’s remote setting, trekkers can only trek as a part of an organized trekking group. You can trek exclusively to the southern or northern basecamp, but if you are looking for an extreme adventure, we suggest you combine both journeys. You can do so by crossing Lapsang La Pass (5,160m) or Mirgin La Pass (4,663m). The view of the Kanchenjunga massif from these passes is simply unreal.
Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek
Many trekkers are of the opinion that Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is the most difficult trek in the Nepalese Himalayas. Even more so than the aforementioned treks. For starters, it’s a camping trek – there are not even basic, makeshift lodges to spend the night if the weather turns ugly. Secondly, it involves crossing two high passes: French Pass (5,360m) and Dhampus Pass (5,200m). And lastly, you will need to spend three consecutive days trekking above 5,000 meters.
The Dhaulagiri trek may be the most challenging among all, but if you are physically fit and well-experienced, this is the ultimate trek for you. The view of the five peaks of the Dhaulagiri massif from the high passes is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.