Namche Bazaar to Tengboche, 3 Passes Trek, Everest Region

The small temple town of Tengboche sits perched on a ridge up a river valley from Namche Bazaar. For days to come as we continued up the valley we would be looking back, noting its presence below the Kongde range.

We woke to clouds hanging on mountain peaks, lower and thicker than the day before. Today being the third day of clouds blocking the peak views my mood was starting to dampen. We had planned the hike to start after the monsoon season that generally ends in mid-September, but maybe early October was a week too early.

Leaving Namche just before 9 there was a line of trekkers heading up towards Tengboche. The trail would stay crowded most of the day. This first part of the 3 Passes trek follows the same route as the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek. In two days’ time at Dingboche, the EBC folks would head north and we would continue east to Chhukhung.

Once on the cliff side above Namche the trail rolls along a well-built track, almost a road. A sherpa sits on the side of the trail taking donations for construction and maintenance.

This section would have amazing views down the valley but today there were only clouds.

Compared to the hike up the valley from Lukla to Namche this region is less developed with less agriculture and fewer towns.  It has more of a wilderness vibe except for the number of trekkers and yak trains on the trail.

Off in the distance you can see the Larja bridge, the double bridge we crossed on the way to Namche.

Nearing the river crossing there is a steep descent to a bridge where trekkers coming from both directions stop for lunch. It took us 3 hours from Namche to the bridge.

The bridge, over an impressive river, marks the start of a steady climb to Tengboche.

The track through the trees with some views over the valley is steep in sections with occasional not so steep sections where you can catch your breath. Tons of traffic on the trail, trains of yaks carrying supplies and large groups of trekkers (around 25) headed to EBC.

From the river it took us an hour and half to climb the 610 meters to Tengboche. This is the same elevation gain as the hill just before Namche. As we reached the top clouds closed in and remained that way for the rest of the day. A trekker we met in the lodge later that evening and who had reached Tengboche just before us said he could see Everest when he crested this ridge. For us it was a day without mountain views, just a bare hint through the clouds. I’m beginning to wonder if we will ever see a clear blue sky with sparkling mountain peaks.

Because of its location on the EBC route Tengboche was nearly full. One of our porters ran ahead and got us a small room at the Trekkers Lodge. Indra, our guide, told us that it was the last room available. It would turn out to be the worst room of the trip. A dreary small room with poorly painted walls making it just that much worse. It also turned out to be one of the coldest rooms of the trip. On the plus side it had a window with views down the valley. That is if there weren’t clouds in the way.

The lodge’s small dining room was more crowded than most but they keep the fire burning all day, a rarity for in guesthouses in the region.

October 8, 2018

For links to all the posts in this series see the 3 Passes Trek page.