Everest Khnagsung Face Trek (East and North Face of Everest)
This is an outstanding trek for extreme adventure seekers. This high adventure trek includes all the highlights of our ‘High Road to Lhasa' journey (including time in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse) with a ten-day trek to the Kangshung Face of Everest - a spectacular trek that is undertaken by only a select number of groups each season.
We follow trails through conifer and rhododendron forest, past sacred lakes and across the verdant yak grazing pastures set beneath a backdrop of Lhotse, Makalu and the huge Kangshung Face (East Face) of Everest. After the trek we drive to the Rongphu Valley to appreciate the huge dimensions of the North Face of Everest before heading back to the Kathmandu Valley.
Crossing the 5330 meter high Langma La (pass), the highest point of the trek, on your way to Everest’s east base camp gives you an ultimate high altitude experience. Some of the peaks which you get to view on this trek are Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse, Gauri Shankar and the Kanchenjunga massif.
Trip Facts:
  • Trip length: 21 Days
  • Grade: Moderate to fairly challenging trek - Grade Explanation
  • Starts in: Lhasa
  • Ends in: Kathmandu
  • Group size: Maximum 12
  • Accommodation: Hotel, lodge and camping
  • Transportation: 4WD Land cruiser with support truck
  • Maximum altitude: 5390m


>‘Off-the-beaten-track’ trail through valley of flowers, alpine lakes and meadows across high mountain passes.
>Awe-inspiring view of East face (Khangsung face) and North Face of Mount Everest.
>Breath-taking display of picturesque mosaic of Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen, ancient monasteries, high mountain passes, wide arid plains and awe-inspiring mountain views.
>3 amazing days nights in Lhasa visiting Potala Palace, Norbulingkha monastery, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Markets, Drepung monastery.
>One each night in Shigatse & Gyantse visiting monasteries, forts and exploring burgeoning Tibetan towns.
>Adventurous 4WD ride across the ‘roof of the world’.
>Hotels / lodges with Tibetan character wherever possible.
>Complete hassle free Chinese (Tibet) travel documentation.
>Spectacular flight to Lhasa passing right over Mount Everest and many of the highest peaks in the world (if you join the trip in Kathmandu)

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Fly Kathmandu to Lhasa. The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes an hour and is without doubt one of the most spectacular flights in the world. The flight path takes us just east of the Everest massif, with unrivalled views of the remarkable Kangshung face of Everest. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours.

Days 02 & 03:  In Lhasa. Two days are scheduled to appreciate the rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera.

The Jokhang The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet. Established in the 7th century when Buddhism was first introduced into Tibet, the temple has been considerably enlarged, particularly during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama. Within the Jokhang, a series of temples are situated on the ground and the upper floors – some are closed to the public, but our guide will be able to give you a detailed description of each of the main chapels. The main entrance to the Jokhang is always full of activity, with pilgrimsprostrating themselves as they conduct their prayers before continuing on their ritual circuit around the temple.
This circuit area, together with the Barkhor– the marketplace outside the Jokhang – is a gathering place for Tibetans, who may have travelled for many months to reach Lhasa. The Barkhor is the ‘real Tibet’, with a multitude of stalls selling anything from ceremonial scarves to Chinese thermos flasks. You can spend many hours there people-watching, although be sure to ask first before taking any photographs.

Sera and Drepung monasteries. It is a short drive out of Lhasa to visit two of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Drepung Monastery was founded in the 15th century. A century later the 2nd Dalai Lama established the Ganden Palace that was to be his residence until the 17th century when he moved to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. While at the monastery we visit the huge Main Assembly
Hall and the famous teaching colleges. Sera Monastery once housed a huge monastic population of around 5000 monks. However since the Cultural Revolution the number of resident monks has fallen to a few hundred. Like Drepung it was founded in the 15th century and includes several important teaching colleges (including the famous debating courtyard) and the Main Assembly Hall with its important thangkas and impressive statues.

The Norbulingka - This large compound, situated to the west of the city, is where successive Dalai Lamas spent their summer months. Indeed, the 14th (current) Dalai Lama preferred to stay in this Summer palace, rather than in the cold, isolated chambers of the Potala.

The Palace of the 14th Dalai Lama is situated in the centre of the compound, and little seems to have changed since the time when he escaped into exile in 1959. Most of the private quarters are open to the public, which always includes a steady flow of Tibetan pilgrims keen to pay homage to their exiled leader. The Palace of the 13th Dalai Lama, situated on the perimeter of the Norbulingka, is also open to the public.
The Potala Palace is one of the highlights of a visit to Lhasa. It is divided into two main complexes – the outer white building that housed the administration, and the Red Fort, where chapels, tombs and the living quarters of the Dalai Lama are located. Founded in 1645 during the reign of the great 5th Dalai Lama, the White Palace was completed in 1648, twelve years after the Dalai Lama’s death. To avoid possible problems, the head monks related to the masses that the 5th Dalai Lama was in deep meditation until after the Red Palace was completed.
It is normal to approach the Potala through the Western Gate and make your  way slowly through the labyrinth of chambers to the lower floor of the Red Fort. The most impressive hall within this medieval building is the chamber housing the tombs of the former Dalai Lamas, including the massive golden tomb of the 5th Dalai Lama. This chamber is currently undergoing renovation, however, and is not open to the public.
Nearby is the chapel commemorating Padmasambhava's, the Tantric sage who introduced Buddhism to Tibet. On the upper middle floor is the tomb of the 13th Dalai Lama, while the next floor contains the official Reception Hall and living quarters, some of which are open to the public.
We complete our visit to the Potala Palace by leaving through the main gate to the Red Fort, before descending the series of steps to the marketplace  immediately in front of the palace. The time spent in the Potala will depend on the number of pilgrims and tourists that are visiting while we are there.

Day 04: Drive to Gyantse which takes about 7 to 8 hours. From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley tothe Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding – in the
foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snowcapped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse.

Day 05: In Gyantse and drive to Shigatse and it takes about two hours.
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) – built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels.
In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse.

Day 06: In Shigatse & drive to Shegar which takes approximately six hours.
In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the ‘Great Scholar¹).
Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the ‘Buddha to Be¹); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use. Later in the day we drive to Shegar and overnight.

Day 07: Drive to Kharta Valley and it takes about seven hours. From Shegar we divert from the main highway and drive south towards the Everest region. From the top of Pang La (5150 metres) we gain views of Everest and the lie of the surrounding country. From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi where the jeep track divides - the track to the west heading to the Rongphu Valley - the one to the east leading to the (Phung Chu) Arun Valley and the village of World Expeditions Adventure Travel … Taking the Paths Less Travelled Page 5 of 9 Kharta - the administrative headquarters of the region. We camp at the nearby village of Yuba.

Day 08: Commence trek to Dhampu which takes approximately three to four hours. From Yuba (3650 metres) we follow the jeep trail along the banks of the Kharta River. At the end of the jeep road we cross a substantial bridge and follow a well defined trail that gradually winds above a series of small scattered settlements set amid barley fields. Two to three km above the bridge the trail splits. The lower trail continues up valley eventually diverting to the Langma La, while we follow the upper trail that ascends steeply in places towards the valley
leading to the Shao La. There are good views back down the valley towards our camp and the Kharta district and the snow capped ridges to the east. In particular we can appreciate the forested hillside to the south of Kharta village that marks the upper limit of the monsoon.
En route to camp we may pass villagers laden with planks of wood that have been carried from the Kama Valley. Our first camp is on a grassy meadow known as Dhampu (4300 metres) – the first of many magnificent alpine camps.

Day 09: Dhampu to base of Shao La and it takes about three to four hours.
The first few km on this stage is hard going across a large boulder field. The trail ascends a series of 'glacial steps' before reaching a series of glacial lakes at the head of the valley located at the base of the Shao La (4700 metres).

Day 10: Base of Shao La to Joksam which takes about five hours. An early start is imperative to ascend the Shao La (4970 metres) and gain our first views of Everest (8848 metres), Makalu (8475 metres) and Lhotse (8501 metres). From the pass there is a steady descent to yak pastures before a steeper descent to the valley floor and the trail on down to the Kama Valley. The rocky trail makes this stage quite demanding on the knees as it winds down through birch groves and dwarf rhododendrons to the camp at Joksam (4000 meters). This is an idyllic camp, situated amid pine and fir forests just above the Kama Valley. This change of vegetation reflects the monsoonal influence and summer rains that surge up the nearby Arun Valley throughout the summer months.

Day 11: Joksam to alpine camp and it takes about five hours. From the valley floor there is a steep 300 to 400 meter ascent through the conifer forest to a ridgeline high above the Kama Valley. Here we gain magnificent views south towards the Arun Gorge and Nepal. Our trail then crosses alpine ridges that support the summer camps of yak herders' from Kharta village. We also pass a
series of beautiful lakes before ascending a ridge and gaining our first uninterrupted views of the Kangshung Face of Everest. We camp in one of the idyllic meadows.

Day 12: Camp to Pathang which takes about three hours. Depending on the selection of the camp it will take just a matter of hours to descend to the camp at Pathang (4550 metres), a beautiful meadow camp beneath the impressive peak of Chomo Lonzo (7790 metres). Options are available to ascend to the sacred lake immediately above the camp. The trail heads up the hillside to the north and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the lake. At the far end of the lake is Sacred Cave carved out of the hillside which is said to be one of the many places where the sage Padmasambhava meditated during his journeys through Tibet. Within the cave are a number of simple shelters and prayer rooms where offerings are made by the occasional pilgrim.

Day 13: Pathang to Hoppo and it takes approximately three hours.
From Pathang the trail heads across the meadow before ascending across a loose scree slope that can cause difficulties for the laden yaks. The climb up and across the scree slopes is tiring and it is good to get back onto the more established shepherd trails. Rounding the hillside the Kangshung Face of Everest comes again into view, while across the valley the impressive glaciers at Chomo Lonzo can also be appreciated. Our camp at Hoppo is situated amid yak pastures at (4800 metres).

Day 14: Trek to Kangshung Base camp & return Pathang which takes about six hours. The trek to the Kangshung Base Camp (5050 metres) can be completed in a couple of hours. The trail gradually ascends the grassy ridges to the snout of the Kangshung Glacier. As we view the huge face it is not difficult to understand why it has only be attempted by a handful of expeditions.
The Kangshung Face detailing his successful climb in 1998 - is a must. From our
vantage point, the impressive North East Ridge of Everest is also seen. We return to Pathang overnight.

Day 15: Pathang to base of Langma La which takes approximately five hours.
The trail from Pathang heads back down the valley before diverting north towards the Langma La. It leads gradually across the yak pastures and en route we gain views of the summit of Makalu. Our camp at Shurimo (4800 metres) is located at the base of the pass.

Day 16: Cross Langma La to camp and it takes approximately seven hours.
The climb to the Langma La takes two hours. From camp we climb a well graded trail with further views of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. From the pass (5330 metres) there is a steep descend to the valley floor. As the valley opens out we pass yak herders' camps from Kharta and the nearby villages. Here there is no shortage of fine campsites.

Day 17: Camp to Yuba which takes approximately four hours. From camp we head down to the confluence of the Kharta Valley and gain views of the Kangchenjunga massif rearing above the ridges beyond Kharta on the Nepal- Sikkim Border. Our trail then leads past the substantial village of Lunrubling as we complete our circuit back down to Yuba village and the site of our first camp
(3650 metres).

Day 18: Drive to Rongphu Monastery and it takes about six hours. From Yuba we drive back to the village of Phadhruchi before continuing onto the Rongphu Valley. Rongphu Monastery is situated 15 kilometres below the Base Camp and was reconstructed after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's. From here we camp or stay at the nearby hotel –rooms subject to availability - and
gain unrivalled views of the North Face of Everest.

Day 19: Optional trek to the Base Camp. We have reserved a full day to walk to the famous 1922 base camp from where the interwar British Expeditions mounted their assaults on Everest. Return to Rongphu overnight.

Day 20: Drive to Zhangmu which takes about ten hours.
An early start is necessary to complete the drive back to the highway and the Chinese/Nepal border at Zhangmu. After re-joining the highway, we drive across the rolling plains of the Tibetan Plateau to reach the Lalong La (5042m). From here we head down the spectacular Sun Kosi Gorge to the border town at Zhangmu, where we spend the night. Please note that the facilities at the government-run hotel here are basic.

Day 21: Drive to Kathmandu and it takes about six hours
. After completing Chinese immigration and customs formalities we transfer our gear by truck down the eight-kilometre stretch that leads to the Friendship Bridge and Nepal. You will require a re-entry visa at this border, so please have your documentation ready. After clearing Nepal’s customs and immigration, our chartered bus will complete the drive to Kathmandu.