Located in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, there are three amazing treks that are suitable for different levels of trekkers, depending on experience and physical abilities. From the relatively easy hike to EBC from Old Tingri, through the stunning 55km Gama Valley, and up to the levels of the Advanced base Camp trek, the highest and most arduous trek on the planet. Whatever level of experience and fitness you may have, there is a trek around the area of Everest Base Camp (EBC) for everyone. And where better to trek in Tibet than under the watchful gaze of the highest mountain in the world.
Easy Trekking from Old Tingri to Everest Base Camp
The trek from old Tingri to EBC is the classic Everest trekking route in Tibet, and is completed by thousands of hikers every year. The most popular trekking route in Tibet, this amazing 4-day hike covers a distance of 70 kilometers across country, through valleys and forests, over high passes, and across vast areas of green or desolate plains. Starting from the small town of Old Tingri (4,390m), the trek has a moderate to hard difficulty level, mainly due to the high passes that you will cross. However, it can be done by a novice, as long as you are relatively fit.
The trekking from Old Tingri to Everest Base Camp is easy and suitable for most travellers.
Day 1: Trek to Lungchang (4510 m) (5 hours/12km/150m ascent)
The route starts in Old Tingri, and heads south on a direct line for the world’s highest mountain. After leaving the town, you will pass onto the wide Tingri Plain, crossing the huge area of local grasslands, which are inhabited by Tibetan antelopes and other local creatures. As you cross into the Ra Chu Valley, the verdant meadows are dotted with herds of sheep and goats, grazing on the lush grasses, and you follow the valley all the way to Lungchang. The area is home to sheep, goats, antelopes, and nomadic herders, with no permanent settlements in sight. In the afternoon, you can visit the small remote monastery of Choelun.
Day 2: Trek to Nam La (5150 m) (8 hours/21km/200m ascent)
Day two of the hike to EBC is a little more challenging for trekkers, as you will start the ascents into the lower mountains of the Himalayas, as you get closer to Mount Everest. The route follows a long uphill climb to Nam La Pass, at 5,150 meters above sea level, and the campsite for the night is just below the crest of the pass. With the uphill hike ascending more than 600 meters in one day, you should take every opportunity to take a break and rest, especially if you are feeling tired from hiking in the high altitude. Frequent rest breaks can help reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
Day 3: Trek to Zommug (4790m) (8hours/22km/360m descent)
After a good night’s sleep in your tent, you will wake in the morning ready to tackle the easier downhill leg of the hike, descending from the high pass into the lush landscape below. Few people can be found in this area of Tibet, and in the lush but desolate landscape, you are only likely to see yaks, sheep, goats, and herders, with their nomadic tents set up on the plains. The hike is pretty level after the descent from the pass all the way to Zommug, a small community set in the more barren area of the plains. However, the sunsets in Zommug are some of the most beautiful on the plateau, so get your camera ready.
Day 4: Trek to Rongbuk (5100m) and EBC (15km/6hours/290m ascent)
The last leg of the hike takes you from Zommug to EBC, and is a much easier ascent than the one to the pass at Nam La. The route winds through the valley near the foot of Mount Everest, and ends at the famous Rongbuk Monastery, the highest Buddhist monastery in the world. As you get closer to the mountain, it seems to loom higher and higher with each footstep along the trail, until you are finally standing in its shadow, looking up at the highest peak on the planet, just a few thousands meters above you.
Rongbuk Monastery is the highest monastery.
As well as the amazing views of the surrounding mountains and vast open plains along the trek, the major highlights of the trek are the Rongbuk Monastery and the arrival at EBC. Rongbuk Monastery is renowned as the highest Buddhist monastery in the world, and has seen many of the world’s greatest mountaineers passing through its doors on the way to Mount Everest. Lying at an altitude of 4,980 meters, this 120-year-old temple is sacred to the Sherpa people that live in the mountains around Everest.
And of course, there is nothing like Mount Everest itself, when it comes to outstanding highlights of any trip to Tibet. EBC, just past the Rongbuk Monastery, is the closest you can get to the actual mountain for normal tourists and trekkers, but has some of the best views in the world of this massive peak.
Trekking from Tingri to EBC is a long and relatively tough hike, and at high altitudes, there is a risk of altitude sickness. Temperatures are also lower than elsewhere, even in the summer months, so it is essential to stay warm and hydrated, and rest whenever possible to avoid altitude sickness and illness due to the cold weather. Warm clothing is required all year round, so make sure you have a warm jacket, sweaters, gloves, and hat.
Camping in Mt. Everest.
Sleeping bags are essential, as you will be camping all three nights, and you need a good arctic-rated sleeping bag to stay warm in the colder environment. It is also needed for staying at EBC or the Rongbuk Monastery, as heating is not an option this far out in the middle of nowhere. For the convenience of our clients, we help to offer these required kits as sleeping bags, trekking poles, hot water bagbrings and more, to facilitate you a comfortable and relaxed trek. Contact us for more details.
Challenging Trekking through the Gama Valley
Renowned as one of the top ten trekking routes in the world, the Gama valley is one of the most amazing and beautiful areas in Tibet for scenic trekking. Located at the foot of Mount Everest, the Gama valley trek is an awesome hike through an area of changing climates and landscapes, through dense forests of evergreen, semi-evergreen, and deciduous trees, as well as the vast juniper forest that covers a huge area of the valley. The valley offers you different natural beauties throughout the whole year with its rich vegetation, fauna and flora.
Gama valley is rated as the most beautiful valley in the world.
The main trek through the Gama Valley takes around eight days, and starts at the Youpa Village, at 3,770 meters, at the lower end of the valley. The trek stretches for 11 kilometers, and passes along the entire length of the valley to EBC, before heading back down to end at Lhundupling Village, at around 3,990 meters. As the trek progresses, it is a constant ascent to the next stop, with the highest point of the trek being above EBC at 5,310 meters, before dropping down to the base camp and then heading back out for the night’s camping at a slightly lower altitude. The trek ascends by more than 1,500 meters, and gives you some of the best views of Mount Everest on the plateau.
Trekking through one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, you will get to travel through an area known as the Orchid Valley. As well as being one of the main campsites along the trail, the valley is also the home to one of the most unusual orchids in the world, and the only plant of its genus to grow at such high altitudes. The valley is filled with the orchids in the spring and summer.
You will also get the chance to visit the local Sherpa people of the Gama Valley, the indigenous people that were literally born to be mountaineers. Sherpas have lived in the area around Mount Everest for thousands of years, and are perfectly adapted to life at the highest altitudes on the planet. Meaning “people of the east”, Sherpa people are normally used as guides and porters for mountaineers heading for Everest and the other high mountains.
The Gama Valley trek is physically demanding, ascending more than 1,500 meters from lowest to highest point, and requires a good level of physical fitness to complete. The trek is best done in the spring and autumn months, from April to May and September to October, to avoid the rains of summer and cold of winter, and you will still need good arctic-rated sleeping bags, as it can get very cold at night in the higher regions of the valley. It is best to make sure you are checked in a medical before you leave home, to ensure you are healthy for the trek, and there are yaks and porters available for those that require them.
Advanced Trekking from Rongbuk to ABC
The trek from Rongbuk Monastery to the Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest, from 5,200 meters to 6,500 meters, is the highest trekking route in the world. Trekkers on this route need some professional climbing gear, as well as a little mountaineering skill. Tourists who take on this arduous route can get to the highest base camp open to those not on an approved climbing expedition to the summit, and can enjoy the breathtaking view of the top of the world.
The advanced trekking route from Rongbuk to ABC is a challenging one with unexpectedly breathtaking view.
General 5-day Route: Rongbuk Monastery – Camp 1 – Interim Camp – Camp 2 – Advanced Base Camp – Camp 2 – Rongbuk Monastery
The five-day hike and climb starts from the main base camp at the foot of the mountain, and heads along the same route as mountaineers to the summit take. The first day takes you up to Camp 1, at an altitude of 5,500 meters, and on day 2, you will ascend to the Intermediate Camp at 5,800 meters.
Day three, and you will climb up to the next stop for the night at Camp 2 (5,800m), the highest campsite in Tibet. On day four, you will make the hike up to the Advanced Base Camp (6,500m), where you can get your photos and enjoy the stunning views of the peak and the surrounding mountains, before heading back to Camp 2 for the night. The last day is spent on the descent from Camp 2 to EBC, which is much easier going down than up.
The hike up to ABC passes alongside the famous Rongbuk Glacier, and you will hike along the glacial moraine, with its small floating glaciers, and the towering pinnacles of ice that stand hundreds of feet tall, next to the famous Serac Highway at 5,800 meters above sea level.
The Rongbuk Glacier above EBC is made up of the Middle and East Rongphu Glaciers, and is one of the most outstanding glaciers on the plateau. The glacial moraine that is pushed before the glaciers is filled with rocks and gravel from the side of the mountain, and is a rough and rocky hike.
Rongbuk glacier offers magnificent view.
EBC and ABC are two of the most amazing places on the planet. EBC, the closest place that tourists can get to Mount Everest, is the single most popular attraction in the world, while ABC, just below the infamous North Col, the site of many mountaineer deaths, is the limit of trekking and the highest point that yaks can reach. From here, only mountaineers with experience can continue, but it has the closest view of the summit from anywhere else non-mountaineers can reach.
Climbing to just over 2,000 meters below the summit of Mount Everest, a trek to ABC is hugely demanding, both physically and mentally, and you need to be in a good level of fitness, as well as being sound in mind. The trek can only be done at the same times as the attempts for mountaineering, due to the extreme altitudes, which limits it to May and October.
It is essential to make sure that you are well prepared, with good arctic clothing and sleeping bags, as it can get very cold on the higher slopes. This is also one of the few treks in Tibet that require you to have a full physical and medical check-up before attempting, to make sure that you are in the best of health to attempt this epic adventure.
Last but not the least, the trek to Advanced Base Camp is not available for ordinary tourists, who will normally stop at Everest Base Camp as the finale of their Mount Everest trip. To further move to ABC, one need to obtain the mountaineering permit apart from the permits to Everest Base Camp.
The three treks around Mount Everest are three of the most amazing treks that you can find anywhere on the planet. The Tingri to EBC trek is not as arduous as the EBC trek in Nepal, but has some amazing scenery and is a great way to reach the base camp if you are not inclined to be driven. The hikes of the Gama Valley are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful in the world, and there is no valley like this anywhere else on the planet. Its sheer intense natural beauty is outstanding in every way. And the ABC trek up the higher slopes of Mount Everest can not only give you some great views of the summit and surrounding area, but can also help to fulfil the dreams of every child, to climb on the world’s highest mountain.