Makalu – 3 Cols Trek

A high mountain traverse from Makalu Base Camp across Barun glacier to Khumbu across 6000+ m East and West cols.

3 Cols Trek is an absolute classic adventure right into the heart of the wildest Himalayas where only a few people dare to venture into. The trip makes a high mountain traverse across Barun Glacier from Makalu base camp emerging into Hinku valley and finally into the high alpine valley of Khumbu across the most challenging East Col (6100 m) and West Col (6135m).

A very high and demanding yet truly spectacular route where you are treated with the best views of the 8000-ers Cho Oyo (8153m) Lhotse (8501m), Everest (8848m), Makalu (8475m) and Kangchenjunga (8586m). This is an extremely challenging trek involving a sustained period at high altitude with some very steep slopes that is only intended for people with alpine experience and good stamina.

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu
  • Day 2 In Kathmandu - sightseeing & preparation
  • Day 3 Fly Kathmandu - Tumlingtar [460m](25min) & Drive to Num [1490m] (3 hrs)
  • Day 4 Trek to Sedua [1460m] (6-7 hrs)
  • Day 5 Trek to Tashi gaon [2070m] (6-7 hrs)
  • Day 6 Trek to Kauma [3470m] (6-7 hrs)
  • Day 7 Trek to Dobate (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 8 Trek to Yangri Kharka [3000m] (6-7 hrs)
  • Day 9 Trek to Sherson [4615m] (5-6 hrs)
  • Day 10 Trek to Makalu Base camp [5000m] (4-5 hrs)
  • Day 11 Rest day - Exploration
  • Day 12 Sandy camp upper Barun Glacier (5250m) (6-7 hrs)
  • Day 13 East Col base Camp (5500m) (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 14 Rest Day
  • Day 15 Traverse East Col (6100m) to Moraine (5550m) (8-9 hrs)
  • Day 16 Spare day for weather
  • Day 17 Across West Col (6135m) to Panch Pokhari (5445m) (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 18 Rest Day
  • Day 19 Across Amphu Labtsa (5600m) to Chukung (4730m) (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 20 Tengboche(3860m) (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 21 Namche (3450m) (5-6 hrs)
  • Day 22 Lukla (2800m) (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 23 Fly to Kathmandu (1300m)
  • Day 24 In Kathmandu
  • Day 25 Depart Kathmandu

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Kathmandu

    It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities.. .

  • Day 2

    Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu

    Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square..

  • Day 3

    Fly Kathmandu - Tumlingtar [410m](50min) & Drive to Num [1505m] (3 hrs)

    Our beautiful adventure in Nepal starts with an early morning flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar. Tumlingtar is our trekking starting point, 50 minutes of adventurous flight away from Kathmandu. We drive to Num from Tumlingtar for overnight stay which taks around 3 hours. .

  • Day 4

    Trek to Sedua [1460m] (6-7 hrs)

    We continue along the trail descending steeply from Num through the corn fields of Lumbang. Below the village the trail drops very steeply through a jungle to a suspension bridge over the Arun River (660 m). From the bridge we climb steeply to a primitive tea shop, then through corn and buckwheat field. Moving along the rocky path and tiny terraces planted with corn and barley, we make a long, steep, rough climb to Sedua (1460m).. .

  • Day 5

    Trek to Tashi gaon [2070m]

    Leaving Sedua, we make a gradual climb high above the Kasuwa Khola to Gyang (1770m). Climbing past the school at Gyang, it is a gentle walk through terraced fields and forested areas to Hindrungma village, and on to Rupisa. En route, we cross meadows and several streams, and then climb to the Sherpa village of Tashi Gaon, the last permanent settlement in the valley. . .

  • Day 6

    Trek to Kauma [3470m]

    We climb over the ridge and ascend through forests to a stream and onto a ridge where there is a small campsite. The trail levels out, and then climbs to a shepherd’s hut called Chipla atop another ridge. We climb past two small streams, then switchback up the ridge in forests to a kharka at 2900 meters and up to a saddle and Unshisha, a tiny meadow at approx 330 meters. Here the trail joins the ridge that separates the Iswa and Kasuwa drainages. The slope gets steeper and becomes a series of moss-covered stone stairs to Dhara Kharka, a meadow atop the ridge. We then move over a hillock and descend a bit to reach Kauma (3470 m). . .

  • Day 7

    Trek to Dobate (7-8 hrs)

    After the breakfast, We continue our trek to Dobate. Our trekking trail is ascending and takes us towards Shipton La summit. We pass through Kalo Pokhari, KeKe La and cross the Ke Ke La pass. Finally, a descend takes us to Dobate valley, our overnight stay destination. .

  • Day 8

    Trek to Yangri Kharka [4150m] (6-7 hrs)

    Our trek today is steep and dangerous in the start from Dobate. Trek should be done under guidance and precautions provided by experienced crew. The trail slowly goes flat on reaching Yangri Kharka. Overnight stay is arranged in Yangri Kharka. Our trekking hours sum upto around 6-7 hrs today. .

  • Day 9

    Trek to Sherson [4615m] (5-6 hrs)

    Beyond the Nhe Kharka, we follow the north bank of the Barun Khola for a while. We then cross a small wooden bridge before the river turns northward. The Barun Valley makes a huge S-shaped curve and the walls rise almost vertically 1500 to 2000 meters above the river, but the trail climbs gently as we approach Ripok Kharka. Still on the north side of the Barun, the trail turns westward and leaves the rhododendron forests for alpine tundra. Above Ripok Kharka, the route crosses a rocky crest with a few goths, and then ascends alongside a moraine formed by the Barun Glacier. There are excellent views of Pyramid Peak, Peak 4, Chamlang, Peak 3 and Peak 5, but Makalu is not yet visible. As we pass a ridge the glacier turns slightly north. We enter an alluvial valley and Makalu pops into view just before Sherson (4615 m). Sherson is somewhat sheltered, but still is a very cold spot. It is a long trek today of approx 8 hours.. .

  • Day 10

    Trek to Makalu Base camp [5000m] (4-5 hrs)

    From Sherson, we stay to the right in a gully on the east side of the valley. It is gradual descent to a minor pass about 100 meters above Makalu Base Camp. We then descend to a stream, cross on boulders to the base camp on the west bank of the river. From here we get terrific views of the south face of Makalu. The large buttress of the south face rises across from base camp. An ascent of this buttress yields views of Peak 6, 7 and Baruntse (7220 m); Everest and Lhotse complete the panorama.. .

  • Day 11

    Rest day - Exploration

    Today is a rest day for acclimatization and exploration.. .

  • Day 12

    Sandy camp upper Barun Glacier (5250m) (6-7 hrs)

    .

  • Day 13

    East Col base Camp (5500m) (7-8 hrs)

    .

  • Day 14

    Rest Day

    .

  • Day 15

    Traverse East Col (6100m) to Moraine (5550m) (8-9 hrs)

    .

  • Day 16

    Spare day for weather etc

    .

  • Day 17

    Across West Col (6135m) to Panch Pokhari (5445m) (7-8 hrs)

    Our journey leads to our next adventure over the Amphu Laptsa before we head towards the main busy trail of Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Thyangboche. Walk follows across the wide reaches of the upper Hongu Basin towards Kang Leyamura a 6,430 m peak to the west. Following the rocky glacier in the beginning, then towrds old and more recent moraine deposits, we reach the beautiful Panch Pokhari meaning 'five ponds' and make our camp near to the largest pond at the foot of our final pass Amphu Labtsa 5,780m. .

  • Day 18

    Spare Day for weather etc.

    .

  • Day 19

    Across Amphu Labtsa (5600m) to Chukung (4730m) (7-8 hrs)

    Another big day, an early start from the camp for 2-3 hrs treks leads us to the top of the pass and overlooking stunning views of the impressive south face of Lhotse and Lhotse shar and the summit of Island or Imajatse Peaks which looks as if it could almost be even lower than our vantage point. As soon the kitchen staffs and porters arrive at the pass, they will be lowered the 150 meters to the relatively less steep ground below the pass. Similarly, loads have to be carefully lowered, after checking every member in the group we slowly and carefully descend with the help of ropes and ice axe if required, then reaching the safe side from the pass by early afternoon everybody should be off the snow. Once in the safe ground away from the snow and ice area, an hour or more walk will take us to the ablation valley by the side of the Imja Glacier, now being within the Imja-tse valley walking will be more or less easier most of the way to the trekkers civilization at Chhukung a temporary settlement with 5-6 teahouse and lodges. Overnight Camp at Chhukung after 8-9 hrs of hard adventurous trek. .

  • Day 20

    Tengboche(3860m) (7-8 hrs)

    After the hard couple of days over the two high hidden pass in between the massif peaks, our route from here leads to a pleasant walk on the downhill slope to Dingboche and Pangboche village before Tyangboche. After two hours of easy walk brings us at Dingboche village. Dingboche is a beautiful patchwork of field enclosed by stone walls, protecting the crops of barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. Dingboche has about more than ten teahouses and it is also the gateway to Chhukung and farther beyond for the most challenging traverses towards Makalu area and Hinko Valley. From Dingboche a gentle walk leads towards the Imjatse River with excellent views of Ama Dablam, Kangtenga and Tawoche peaks the trail leads to a small wooden bridge, from the bridge an easy walk to Pangboche village. From here the route diverts into two ways, the upper one going to the upper Pangboche village, where the old Monastery is located, the gradual low route is the straight forward main trail onwards Thyangboche and beyond. It will be better to go the upper trail, for more view and to visit the upper Pangboche village 3,900m and its Monastery, which had a Yeti scalp, and a skeleton believed to be Yeti's hand, it was stolen in the early '90's, and has never recovered back again, like the monastery in Khumjung this Monastery is believed to be older, after the visit to the Monastery a gradual walk downhill brings you back to the main trail, with a short climb after the bridge over the gorge of Imjatse River, the walk follows Mani wall through the beautiful forest of silver fur, birch and rhododendron all the way to Tyangboche Monastery a magnificent place surround by the impressive view of the snow capped mountains. .

  • Day 21

    Namche (3450m) (5-6 hrs)

    After a visit to the newly built monastery after the old one was burned to the ground in the late 80's, our trek begins with a descend for an hour to Phungi Tenka, here we cross the long suspension bridge over the Imjatse River by now the trail is more busier with trekkers, porters and pack animals than the previous days. From the bridge an hour and half climb brings us toa small place of Shana-sa offering grand view of Ama Dablam and Thamserku. Perhaps we might stop for lunch in this village. After a break here, if people are interested to visit the upper sleepy village of Khumjung and Khunde they may do so, as the walk to Namche from here is just 2 hrs away on the easy winding trail with constant view of the snow capped peaks of Kwangde, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. Splitting the trail from here to Namche and Khumjung the later village will take about an hour uphill walk and then about 2-3 hrs to reach Namche for the overnight halt. On reaching Namche Bazaar it will be more or less back to civilization with excellent restaurant, shops, lodges and even Cyber cafe. .

  • Day 22

    Lukla (2800m) (7-8 hrs)

    Being on the main trail to Everest, the walk from Namche onwards will be an easier all the way to Lukla, the path leads downhill all the way to the confluence of Bhotekoshi and Imjatse which makes the Dudh Koshi. From here we cross the long suspension bridge with a short climb into the pine woods, reaching again back to the river bed, the gentle trail follows the river downstream passing through many farm fields and villages then coming at the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park in Monjo village. After Monjo another 2 hours of good walk leads to Phakding near the river Dudh Koshi. Final leg of this great trek will be another good walk to Lukla, you can walk at your own leisurely pace, enjoying the lush green scenery around. Apart from few short uphill the only long climb will be just before Lukla which will take approximately 45 minutes from a place called Cheplung or from the old big oak tree. On reaching Lukla, prepare for the last day great dinner and celebration with the fellow Sherpa crew, porters and trekking members. .

  • Day 23

    Fly to Kathmandu (1300m)

    We pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Kathmandu On touchdown, the rest of your day is free to do your own things. You could do some last minute shopping and packing, or send a few post cards home or even go down for a stroll to Thamel, an internationally known hub for tourists in Asia.. .

  • Day 24

    In Kathmandu

    .

  • Day 25

    Depart Kathmandu

    Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc- please ask us). . .

General Information

TRIP GRADE- Strenuous Trek

This is a long trek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet.

It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.

Testimonials

Overall thanks for the unforgettable experience. We hope to be back soon!

- Wouter Stinis & Anke Reynders, Belgium/Australia

Happy Explorers

Overall thanks for the unforgettable experience. We hope to be back soon!

- Wouter Stinis & Anke Reynders, Belgium/Australia Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

Community Service

Community Service

We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.

Join our community services

Address:

Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure
Amrit Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu, NEPAL.
GPO Box: 4902
Phone: +977-1-4418 100, +977-4418 400
Fax: +977-1-4412 888
Email: enquiry@explorehimalaya.com

Opening Hours:

Sun-Fri - 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Contact: +977- 9801024990, +977-9851064911 (24X7)