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Hiking the Three Passes route in Nepal’s Everest region

April 8th, 2011

Mount Everest viewed from Kala Pattar

We now pause for a short bit of self-promotion: my article in Sunday’s New York Times travel section is now available online. It’s about the trip to Nepal Lauren and I took last December, where we hiked a route called the Three Passes — a way of seeing the Everest region without spending all our time in the traffic jams along the route to Base Camp:

PERCHED on a narrow platform 17,500 feet above sea level, we paused to snack on boiled potatoes and the spicy Tibetan dumplings called momos, and to drink in the view.

We were at the top of the Renjo La, the pass that is the lowest point along a knife-edged ridge separating two valleys. Behind us, looming above a turquoise glacial lake, was Mount Everest. In front of us, an immense stone staircase led down into a valley dotted with roofless stone shelters and the occasional yak — a ribbon of green hemmed in by the soaring gray and white of Himalayan rock and ice.

Stunned into silence by the panorama, we descended the staircase and hiked on in a reverie. It wasn’t until we reached the banks of a fast-flowing river a few hours later that we noticed that the landscape no longer corresponded to the lines and dots on our map. We’d hiked for five hours without seeing another living soul, and, perhaps in part because of our solitude, somewhere along the way had taken a wrong turn…[READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE]

There’s also a nice slide-show accompanying the article, with some pictures from the trip.