This spectacular trek explores all four valleys of the upper Khumbu. If you have the time this is the trek to do in the Everest Region. For acclimatization purposes I would suggest doing it from east to west, since its easier given the accomidation options to make a slower accent heading up the route to Chukhung than up the Bhote Valley from Thame. From east to west the trek goes first to Chukhung (the lodge base for the popular trekking peak Island Peak) then to Lobuche via the kongma la pass. The Kongma La (5535m/ 18,159 ft) between Chukhung and the Lobuche in the Everest Camp Valley is one of the most beautiful in the region, while you won't see Everest from its lofty hieghts, the views towards Ama Dablam which rises in the distance behind a chain of small glacial lakes that lead up to the pass are jaw-dropping. After Everest Base Camp the second of the three passes is the Cho La (5420m/17,782 ft), a glacial bound pass that is the most offten trekked of the three, conecting the Base Camp valley with the stunning Gokyo Valley. It definately worth spending a few extra days in Gokyo to explore the many view points and lakes of the upper Gokyo Valley. This is the most scenic of the three valleys and also as some of the best views of Mt. Everest. From Gokyo the third and final pass is the Renjo La which leads to the Bhote valley and Thame. Find a local guide for the three passes trek
Do It Yourself Information
Recomended side trips and day hikes
Tengboche: Ama Dablam base camp is a nice day long side trek from Tengboche, a shorter option is to climb the ridge behind Tengboche head towards the prayer flags on the ridge and keep following the ridge upwards.
Dingboche: The view point high above the lodges is worth the hike for a spectacular view down the valley and across towards Ama Dablam
Chukhung: This valley holds Island Peak one of the most popular trekking peaks in Nepal. The scenery around Chukhung is stunning and while there are no views of Mt. Everest, the beautiful Ama Dablam dominates the skyline. There are several day hikes that can be done from Chukhung including hiking up the viewpoints of Chukhung Ri (5559m/18,238 ft) and Chukhung Tse (5857m/19,216 ft) the highest peak (there are higher passes) you can trek in the region without a permit. Another day hike option is to hike up the valley to the large lake near Island Peak base camp.
Gokyo: The Gokyo Valley as numerous day hike options and its a shame that most do little more than climb Gokyo Ri and trek on. The upper Gokyo Valley is spectacular. Ngozumpa-tse, the 5553m/18,214 ft view point known as Knobby View, which lies between the 5th and 6th lakes of the Gokyo Valley. From the rocky top, which on the northern side drops a shear vertical 1000 ft down to the lakes at the foot of Cho Oyu, is probably the most spectacular panoramic view that can be reached by trekkers in the Khumbu. Perched atop a tiny rock pinnacle, reached by traversing a narrow ridge on the southern end, there are views of four of the world’s six highest mountains. Cho Oyu rises immediately to the north, appearing close enough that one could almost reach out and touch its shear ice covered southern face, and Everest, Lhotse, and Malaku to the east, while a gaze southward looks down the Ngozumpa Glacier and the lake dotted Gokyo Valley. Another great view point is the ridge between the 3rd and 4th lakes while the true peak can not be easily reached just below the rocks is one of the most complete views of Everest from reachable by trekkers from the Nepal side. Gokyo Ri is also of course worth a hike. If the weather is good the late afternoon is the best time to climb it but for most of the year the skies are most reliable in the early morning.