Acclimating in Chhukhung, 3 Passes Trek, Everest Region, Nepal

Chhukhung (4370m) is the last stop before Kongma La (5535m), the first pass on the 3 Passes trek heading in the anti-clockwise direction. Being off the main trail to Everest Base Camp (EBC), the small village of lodges is much quieter, attracting mostly trekkers submitting the nearby Island Peak (6189m). Many of these folks travel the 3 Passes trek in the clockwise direction to acclimate for the climb.

Chhukhung also makes a good acclimatization stop, having a couple of day hikes in the area with stunning views. Today we would be heading up the valley towards the Island Peak base camp for an easy hike before our long day over Kongma La the next day.

We woke to high, fairly dense clouds. A new situation and I wondered what the day would bring.

As I watched the mountains and sky to the west during breakfast I could see the clouds evolving, leaving bigger and bigger gaps of brilliant blue. I ran outside a couple of times to photograph the changing sky and light.

When we left the lodge shortly after breakfast the sky to the west was nearly completely clear leaving a stunning blue sky. The east, however, remained covered in a high blanket. In between Nupste to the north and Ama Dablum to the south the clouds were ever changing.

The track to Island Peak base camp rolls up the valley on a gently incline. The first part runs along a ridge with open views, then through a narrow valley that obscures them before opening back up again along a rocky hillside which descends into a dry river bed.

Turning the corner, Nuptse and Island Peak are straight in front of you, an awesome sight against a blue, blue sky with high wispy clouds.

The track turns again towards the east and soon base camp is in sight. We didn’t go all the way to the camp, instead we climbed about 30 meters to the top of the bank to the right with a view over Imja Thso lake.

The drab, greenish brown lake is large and growing as the glaciers melt. They have recently completed a water control system to prevent it from breaching its natural dam and flooding the valley below.

From the viewpoint the sky was mostly clear but soon low clouds emerged from the east, cloaking the return trip to the lodge in clouds.

Khangri Resort is a well-run and clean establishment. The toilet rooms even smell clean. Food is generally good although the usual fare. The dining room is the typical tea house décor, but nicely done especially for being this remote. The stove is lit in the evening and morning and blankets are also available. Rooms are basic but clean with newish paint.

October 12, 2018

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

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