Trekking Nepal, Part VI: Kungma La

For those who have just discovered this, the previous posts about my trek through the Everest Region in November 2021:

Part I: Lukla to Namche
Part II: Namche to Khunde
Part III: Khunde to Pangboche
Part IV: Ama Dablam Basecamp to Dingboche
Part V: Chukkhung


Day 11: Kongma La

On this day, we split the party again. Four of us, plus leader Kim and most of the guides, and the yaks, headed down towards Dingboche and took the "low" route to Lobuche, up the river than drains off the Khumbu Glacier. My son and I, plus Alison, Lhakpa, and Junar, headed for Kongma La (Kongma Pass), just a few feet lower than the summit of Chukkhung Ri!

Cool cloud effects in the morning

Heading out. The yaks have farther to go, but much less climbing. They seem unworried.

The climb started pretty easy, up the same grassy slopes we'd been on, and traversing gently. Things got more real after an hour.

My son and Lhakpa waiting for Alison and me, as usual. Hard to see how we'll get through this wall.

Climbing higher, we paused at several false summits. We also started to encounter ice on the trail, on the north-facing slopes.

Stopped at a series of lakes just below the pass to snack and refill water bottles.
What is it about  boys, rocks, and bodies of water?

With one final climb to go, I asked Lhakpa if it was steep. "Oh, not bad." Not bad, if you don't mind a dubious path up a near-vertical slope!

Yeah. Not steep at all. The small grey-green lake just to the left of the large lake is where we'd stopped for water and snacks.

 At the pass, at last. Lunch! We made no mistakes this time--we had a ton of food with us.
Where we've been

Where we're going. Across the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche, which sits below Lobuche Peak, and just to the left of the bare-dirt thing that's the Lobuche glacier.
You can see our trail climbing the moraine on this side of the glacier.

The top of the descent was icy and steep; microspikes highly recommended.

The descent was long, and much more of it than we'd like required constant attention. I lost focus as it started to get a little easier, and took a spill. Fortunately, just a minor scrape and a bruise or two, but a good wake-up call.

Crossing the glacier was another challenge. There is a trail across, of sorts, but it shifts constantly. Finding our way down off the moraine and onto the route wasn't fun. Once there, though, it was fascinating.

Melt pond atop the (dirt- and rock-covered) glacier.

You can see the sort of jumble we had to cross. Mercifully, the trail was mostly still there once we got past the ponds.
Happy to arrive at the lodge, however unprepossessing!

The end of an exhausting and satisfying day.

 Next week: Everest Basecamp!

Read the whole story:

Part I: Lukla to Namche
Part II: Namche to Khunde
Part III: Khunde to Pangboche
Part IV: Ama Dablam Basecamp to Dingboche
Part V: Chukkhung
Part VI: Kongma La
Part VII: Everest Base Camp
Part VIII: Cho La
Part IX: Gokyo
Part X: Renjo La
Part XI: Thame Valley to Home

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2022
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.
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  1. Wonderful!! Glad to be along, virtually. maybe 20 years ago.

    1. Just to keep you on your toes--you're not more than a year or two older than our oldest hiker :)


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