Tips on how to Run Nepal’s Three Passes

This publish is a follow-up on telling our story about working Nepal’s Three Passes in a day.

The phrase is out, working Nepal’s Three Passes has grow to be a factor. And, Chukhung is on the radar as a basecamp for a lot of professional climbers trying to acclimate and for mountain runners searching for excessive, enjoyable coaching. We truly met some fellow runners who had used our 2018 weblog for journey planning.

With the rising curiosity, we’d like to supply some ideas primarily based on our expertise and what we’ve realized from others about learn how to most successfully do that journey.

Spend some days working round Namche and the villages of Khumjung and Khunde

Tips on how to Journey to the Khumbu Valley

After ten journeys to the Himalaya, I really feel like I’ve the logistics sorted out nicely sufficient to maximise the expertise by minimizing the variables that may put the brakes on the enjoyable. Total, Nepal is a fairly simple place to journey when you’re cool with issues being not fairly in your management. Nepal might be the friendliest place on this planet to go to and folks don’t get a lot kinder. For first timers to Nepal trying to get into the mountains, on this case the Khumbu Valley, the large questions are about logistics.

  • Think about taking a helicopter from Kathmandu to Lukla to keep away from airplane delays and cancellations. Planes are much less more likely to fly if it’s cloudy, however helicopters can often fly, subsequently you’re more likely to get out in your scheduled day. When airplane flights get cancelled, the passenger backlog grows and chaos follows to try to get out. Days could be misplaced ready.
  • Don’t rush to get to Namche Bazar from Lukla in in the future. If it’s your first time to the Khumbu, benefit from the stroll up. Most individuals keep an evening at in regards to the midway level in Phakding, particularly when you arrive to Lukla later within the day. The Sherpa Guide Lodge is outstanding.
  • Keep two to 3 days in Namche. There’s hundreds to do for working, nice meals and occasional, and cozy lodges.
  • I make my solution to Chukhung by taking the lengthy route. I am going through Gokyo Valley, staying in Dhole and Thagnak, crossing Cho La, staying in Dzonghla after which going to Chukhung through the excessive path to Dingboche. It’s a fantastic route, far much less crowded, and also you’ll get to verify your kind and the situations on Cho La. The drawback with going this manner is that you’re exposing your self to extra lodges, extra fatigue, and extra potential to get sick. Most individuals will head up the Khumbu Valley taking two to 3 days from Namche to Chukhung.
  • As soon as in Chukhung, settle in, dwell wholesome, eat nicely, sleep quite a bit, and benefit from the surrounding terrain.
Crossing Cho La whereas making our manner from Namche to Chukhung

Suggestions for Touring & Working within the Khumbu Valley – With an Eye on Working Three Passes

Earlier than You Go

  • Coaching Suggestions: Coaching and preparation ought to concentrate on toughness and sturdiness. We realized {that a} strong working base was possible not going to be sufficient to permit us to take care of the fatigue that may accumulate from going above 5000 meters thrice. Along with working, our coaching honed our total health (Uphill Athlete’s Chamonix Fit Program) with a concentrate on the “small muscle tissue.” In different phrases, muscle tissue that present help to the large engine muscle teams. We felt this was a key piece of our preparation and one thing we’d have missed with out the Uphill Athlete teaching.
  • Further Kilos: Weight reduction could also be a contributing think about why Kim and I each get so sick. We’re lean to start with and after only a week at elevation we begin getting thinner. This yr, we tried to place some further weight on by rising oils and nuts in our food regimen previous to arriving at elevation. We additionally tried to extend muscle mass, however with our physique sorts this doesn’t come simply.
Curb sinus and respiratory points as quickly as they begin

How are You Feeling?

  • Well being Points: Your well being is essentially the most important piece of the puzzle, the end result of your journey depends upon it. Enhance the chances of staying wholesome by means of any methods you may make use of. Journey with no matter powders, dietary supplements, or magic potions you already know will give you the results you want. I take an Emergen-C pack each day, use nasal inhalers, and obsessively use hand sanitizers. All that and I can nonetheless get sick every journey to Nepal. Do your greatest, and get sleep!
  • Excessive Altitude: Pay shut consideration to altitude points; complications, lack of urge for food, incapability to sleep, confusion, and low blood oxygen are indicators your physique is below stress and will worsen.
  • Blood Oxygen Measurement: The Suunto 9 Peak Professional proved to have a fairly correct blood oxygen sensor when in comparison with finger sensors. It was fascinating to see that once we had been feeling fairly shitty after early runs up excessive, our blood oxygen could be within the 70’s. As we recovered that very same day, the numbers would creep into the 80’s and we’d perk up. Later, as soon as absolutely acclimated, we’d solely drop into the 80’s and fairly shortly bounce again into the 90’s. Some individuals, who had been clearly struggling, weren’t seeing their numbers rise and needed to query their situation and make some selections. This is a vital gauge to reference.
In different phrases, not feeling your greatest

Assist Going Increased

  • Acclimating: Transfer slowly up in elevation. We spend two to 3 nights in Namche (3400 meters) earlier than persevering with greater. Assess as you go and if in case you have the posh of some further time, take it to acclimate.
  • Climbing: Let’s be sincere, as a path runner within the Himalaya you’re mainly a trekker who runs downhill, trots on the flats, wears tights, carries a small pack, and identical to everybody else, walks uphill.
  • Mountain Expertise: The distinction between a trekking thoughts body and path working method is that as a path runner, you’re in all probability going to be committing to greater days, being out in lower than best climate, carrying solely sufficient clothes to maintain transferring, and making important selections when issues don’t go as deliberate. These commitments require the next degree of mountain data.
  • Professional Recommendation: Ueli Steck felt that athletes can even have a a lot harder time adjusting to elevation as a result of they’re regularly evaluating how they really feel up excessive with how they usually really feel doing the same exercise at decrease elevation. In consequence, they push too arduous too quickly, which can nicely have a adverse impact on the acclimatization course of. His recommendation was: Go a lot simpler than you assume it is advisable till you’re 100% assured in your acclimatization. 
  • Gear Tip: Because of David Göttler, we began utilizing the AirTrim Masks for days once we’d be respiration arduous at elevation. They make an enormous distinction by preserving the air you inhale heat and humid, serving to forestall the burnt throat points from chilly, dry air. It’s much like pulling a buff over your nostril, however ventilated, with out moist, frozen material in opposition to your pores and skin.
Kim utilizing the Airtrim masks


  • On the Menu: Take note of your dietary consumption. Some recommendation we got from Uphill Athlete’s altitude coach: Within the early days eat extra carbs and fewer fats & protein. After 10 days at elevation (>3800 meters) begin to improve fats and protein. Devour further protein and carbs earlier than bedtime with drink mixes. 
  • Dietary supplements: For working day vitamin, be 100% sure that what you carry will give you the results you want at elevation. We discovered that drink mixes had been constant. In the event that they labored for us in regular coaching, they labored for us on the Three Passes. We used the Tailwind Endurance and Restoration Drinks, no caffeine for the primary half of the run, and caffeinated variations for the second half. 
  • Consuming: Previous to leaving for Nepal, we examined and decided ProBars to be the bar for the journey. At dwelling, they at all times style good and sit nicely. On the final minute, Kim determined to take a field of one thing fully new for us, Fillos Walking Tamales. She knew we may get sweets so opted to incorporate a savory “vitality bar.” Ultimately, ProBars had been inedible at elevation whereas the tamales had been excellent. And FYI, now we have zero affiliation with both model.
  • Favourite Meals: Our go to meals was, as at all times, Trail Butter. But additionally path combine (fruit & nuts) and plain crackers. If we stopped at a lodge for one thing extra important, plain rice with soy sauce appeared to sit down nicely. And Kim had a day by day ritual of slathering Path Butter and jam on Tibetan Bread for tremendous excessive calorie breakfasts.
Path Butter, a lot Path Butter. We every carried a number of Huge Squeeze packs on Three Passes.

What to Carry

  • Packing: Preserve that pack mild! We by no means carried greater than three 500ml comfortable flasks at any time. We used the Black Diamond Distance 15 which remained principally empty since we needed to put on our puffy jackets all day. 
  • Water: Talking of water… strive to not purchase all of your water within the available plastic one liter bottles. As a substitute, use the water on the lodges that comes from mountain sources. In the event you really feel it needed, deal with it together with your therapy of alternative.
  • Puffy Jackets: Put on a tried and true puffy jacket, ideally artificial, which you can run in. It must be mild, heat, and naturally work for cardio output. We did each our 2018 and 2023 Three Cross runs in puffies. It may be that chilly. Take a look at them earlier than you commit! We used the Black Diamond Vision Hybrid Hoody.
  • Crampons and Poles: Many trekkers had been sporting microspikes, particularly on the west aspect of Cho La. We by no means felt they had been needed for the situations we encountered and didn’t take them. Nevertheless, this can be a private choice primarily based on consolation and talent ranges on icy trails. Think about packing them and deciding when you want them for the day of. We did carry poles for the help they supply going uphill, stability downhill, and so they make nice headrests when it is advisable catch your breath.
Taking the time to hydrate proper


  • Charging: Most lodges provide charging at a value of about US$5-7 per gadget or battery. Nepali wall plugs often take any plug, however at all times American two prong or EU two prong.
  • WiFi and Knowledge: WiFi is on the market at most lodges at various charges. Knowledge is now in a lot of the Khumbu Valley and usually quicker and extra dependable than WiFi. Pre-paid information SIMS are available as much as Namche. However wait… Why not sever the info ties and benefit from the expertise with out pointless distraction?
  • Navigation: Make sure to obtain the Three Passes path to your cellphone for offline use. Gaia has the true route marked (as of Might 2023) together with a latest change to the Cho La Cross monitor that avoids a piece of glacier that grew to become impassable. Within the final two years some fastened metallic posts have been added to the passes for route discovering, however hold that monitor on the prepared.
It’s a puffy sort of place

On the brink of do 3 Passes? Ask questions within the feedback.

Or have you ever beforehand achieved it? Inform your story so it helps others of their planning.

By Dan Patitucci