Mount Everest Region
Key information: Mount Everest Region
- Great walking in superb and generally little-visited scenery to the north of the world's highest mountain.
- The fact that you can drive to Rombuk monastery makes for day tripper visitors in the “main” base camp area, which isn’t that great for the atmosphere. But there is exceptional walking in superb and completely empty mountains elsewhere, including to the Kangshung base camp.
ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest17
- Human interest8
- Negative points8
- Total rating85
- Note: Negs: Altitude
- Length: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
The Big One, undoubtedly one of the most baggage-laden places on earth, with myth often clouding reality. The world's highest mountain: 8,850m of striated rock, ice, tumultuous falling glacier, unblemished snow, jagged ridges….and dead bodies. An ultimate target for most serious walkers, albeit tarnished by too many visitors.
It is a funny historical accident how much less known the fabulous if harsh and dry scenery to the north of Everest (Qomolangma to the Chinese) than its magnificient but overvisited Nepali counterparts.
The area is, oddly, more accessible than the Nepali side – once you have made it to Tibet that is. And the north-face base camps in Tibet are a mere thousand metres or so higher than the surrounding high plateau.
The Kangshung face base camp is relatively remote and totally spectacular, with amazing and unobstructed close up views of this sheer face. It can be trekked as a 5 day circuit from the Kharta valley.
The main base camp above Rongbuk Monastery can now be reached by minibus (you can guess the consequences). Despite this, the Everest views are stunning, and the high monastery itself has simple charm, so it is not to be missed if passing: but not as a special walk. The area is, though, very empty once you are away from the Rongbuk/Base Camp areas.
You can hike in (or back out - downhill!) from Dingri in 3-4 days and from the Friendship Highway nearer Shegar, also in 3-4 days. See Lonely Planet Tibet for details.
There are numerous routes that end at either of the base camps.
These are tough walks in high, remote mountains, on which you will have to be self-sufficient and where altitude can cause real problems. Come prepared.
Remember that the altitude can cause misery and even death. It will undoubtedly detract from your enjoyment, although most would still think that a major walk here is a high point of their hiking lives. If you arrive by vehicle at Rongbuk or the like, you will be gasping for breath, even if you have acclimatized to the main Tibetan plateau.
This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Trekking in Tibet: a Traveller’s Guide - Gary McCue
Tibet - Lonely Planet has a section on walking here.
Find these and other books on Amazon.
Tibet Handbook (Footprint) – Gyurme Dorje
Tibet – Bradt Travel Guide
Seven Years in Tibet – Heinrich Harrer
Find these and other books on Amazon.
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
May to October.
Autumn is generally best for Tibet, although people say May is also excellent for the Everest region.
Spring and early summer can mean full rivers (and winds).
Winter is doable (for specialists) but horribly cold.
Generally fine in season, but come prepared for unpredictable mountain weather and cold nights.
Those on organised expeditions will be transported from/to arranged start/departure points.
Most people fly in to Lhasa and come overland, or up the Friendship Highway from Nepal.
Permit requirements change, but as of late 2012, a special permit, beyond the general Tibet prmisions, is needed to walk in this area. Expedition organisers should arrange these.
See Walk Summary above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Extreme altitude: will affect everyone; potentially fatal. Acclimatize appropriately, come prepared to cope, be ready to evacuate people in extreme cases
- Extreme mountain weather: snow, rain, severe cold and wind are possible at any time of year and the weather can change rapidly. Come prepared.
- Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
- Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
- Harmful animals of all shapes and sizes, including snakes.
- This is remote country: food and other supplies will not be readily available and help will be hard to get if things go wrong.
- Health risks: this is a relatively undeveloped country, and you will not get prompt medical help of a standard available elsewhere if you become ill. Come prepared, including getting all appropriate inoculations/medications.
- Beware of dogs: throw stones if they threaten, keep well clear if possibly rabid.
- Be sensitive about photographing people: don’t without permission. Ask permission if in doubt about whether they would mind.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
You are required to have local guides as of late 2012.
You effectively have to form or join an organised/supported expedition. Choosing a suitable guide or company if of course vital, nd the guidebooks contain good advice in this regard.
If hiring a guide locally, meet him/her and get comfortable before committing. Make sure all requirements are understood and agreed, including remuneration!
Expedition organisers include:
- Exodus – www.exodus.co.uk do expeditions to Kangshungside.
- PLEASE HELP Walkopedia by recommending any reputable tour organizers that you know of – local or otherwise.
Camping is the only option, once on the trails, although it is possible to stay at Rombuk monstery guesthouse and do day walks from here. Some basic accommodation is available on the treks in and out, but don't rely on them. Some basic accommodation is available on the treks in and out, but don’t rely on it.
Other information and tips
Tipping is expected, so come mentally prepared and with enough cash. Check guidebooks for current rates. Do err on the side of generosity if unsure – it will make a big difference to them.
Do be careful, considerate and respectful in all dealings with the locals.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
- http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/ has some relevant pages
- Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
- www.besthike.com has good information on the Dingri to Everest trek.
Other things to do in the area
Tibet has a huge variety of great walks.
We are not a shopping website. But, there are beautiful and interesting things to be found, and anything bought from local people must be of some help to these desperately poor areas. So, wallets out! (And don’t try to extract the very last cent when bargaining…)
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more