Bailing on Kala Patthar, 3 Passes Trek, Everest Region, Nepal

A successful trip to the Everest region requires paying attention to how you feel and knowing your limitations. We read of two cases during the time of our trip where trekkers died because of altitude sickness.

In Lobuche (4910) Don didn’t sleep well because of sleep apnea, a common symptom of altitude sickness, and I woke up with a headache. Our plan was to climb Kala Patthar today and sleep here in Lobuche one more night, but after the exhausting day climbing Kongma La pass yesterday and a troubled night the prospect of hiking again with the masses towards Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Kala Patthar just wasn’t worth it. We would have better views of Everest at Goyko Ri and Renjo La in a few days. So Instead we continued on the 3 Passes loop to Dzonglha which is far less traveled than the EBC route.

Although we did not have a room in the guest house in Lobuche, the tent ended up being quite comfortable. The guest house had provided us a firm mattress and blankets. A cold night, we woke to a layer of ice on the inside of the tent from the condensation of the moisture in our breath. The drinking tubes of our water bladders also froze. That said, it isn’t necessarily warmer in the guest houses.

Lobuche to Dzonglha

On a beautiful clear morning the route from Lobuche to Dzonglha was relatively short and easy. The track first heads back down the valley for about 30 minutes towards Dingboche. The trail to Dzonglha then splits off to the right down a valley with views of Ama Dablam to the west and a side of Tabuche we haven’t seen before to the south.

The former remains in shadow until afternoon.

The latter is beautifully lit in the morning.

The trail curves around the hillside to Dzonglha along mostly gentle ascents and descents without much elevation gain. Dzonglha at 4830 meters is a bit lower than Lobuche.

It took us just over 3 hours at a leisurely pace with photo stops.


Indra finds us a simple room at Mountain Home with a king size mattress and the toilet down the hall. The lodge and town are quiet and not too busy.

Shortly after we arrive Indra confesses that he has not been able to contact the porters directly and that he is not sure if they will get the message of the change of plans. He leaves us and heads back to Lobuche where he hopes to find the porters who had to spend the night in  Dingboche, a 3 hour walk away. Our large packs are sitting in the guest house in Lobuche waiting for the porters to claim them.

A quiet afternoon, I take a walk above the settlement, one of the prettiest settings yet. Looking back at the village from the rolling hills to the west the buildings disappear and I’m left with a peaceful scene surrounded by the mountains.

Further west towards Ama Dablam there is a viewpoint over Chola Lake. About 2:30 I lose my crystal blue sky as the low clouds start to roll in.

Indra returns around 4 with our packs but without the porters. He assures us that they will catch us tomorrow morning.

October 14, 2018

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

2 thoughts

  1. Your pics are beautiful!!! I am having a flashback moment – My friend and I did EBC and 2 passes trek in November 2018. Absolute travel highlight!

    1. Thank you Monica for the comment. It truly is a stunning destination! I’m curious did you have any difficulty getting in or out of Lukla?

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