Tips on how to Run Nepal’s Three Passes

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

The phrase is out, operating 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 seeking to acclimate and for mountain runners looking for excessive, enjoyable coaching. We really met some fellow runners who had used our 2018 weblog for journey planning.

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

Spend some days operating 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 properly sufficient to maximise the expertise by minimizing the variables that may put the brakes on the enjoyable. Total, Nepal is a reasonably simple place to journey if you happen to’re cool with issues being not fairly in your management. Nepal might be the friendliest place on the planet to go to and other people don’t get a lot kinder. For first timers to Nepal seeking to get into the mountains, on this case the Khumbu Valley, the large questions are about logistics.

  • Take into account taking a helicopter from Kathmandu to Lukla to keep away from airplane delays and cancellations. Planes are much less prone to fly if it’s cloudy, however helicopters can normally 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 will be misplaced ready.
  • Don’t rush to get to Namche Bazar from Lukla in at some point. 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 if you happen to arrive to Lukla later within the day. The Sherpa Guide Lodge is phenomenal.
  • Keep two to a few days in Namche. There’s hundreds to do for operating, nice meals and low, and cozy lodges.
  • I make my strategy 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 an attractive route, far much less crowded, and also you’ll get to test your type 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 a few days from Namche to Chukhung.
  • As soon as in Chukhung, settle in, reside wholesome, eat properly, sleep rather a lot, and benefit from the surrounding terrain.
Crossing Cho La whereas making our method from Namche to Chukhung

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

Earlier than You Go

  • Coaching Suggestions: Coaching and preparation ought to concentrate on toughness and sturdiness. We realized {that a} strong operating base was doubtless not going to be sufficient to permit us to cope with the fatigue that may accumulate from going above 5000 meters 3 times. Along with operating, our coaching honed our general health (Uphill Athlete’s Chamonix Fit Program) with a concentrate on the “small muscle groups.” In different phrases, muscle groups 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.
  • Additional 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 12 months, we tried to place some further weight on by rising oils and nuts in our weight loss program previous to arriving at elevation. We additionally tried to extend muscle mass, however with our physique varieties 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 essential piece of the puzzle, the result of your journey relies on it. Enhance the chances of staying wholesome by any tips 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 finest, and get sleep!
  • Excessive Altitude: Pay shut consideration to altitude points; complications, lack of urge for food, incapacity 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 reasonably 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 can 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 totally 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 choices. This is a crucial gauge to reference.
In different phrases, not feeling your finest

Assist Going Larger

  • Acclimating: Transfer slowly up in elevation. We spend two to a few nights in Namche (3400 meters) earlier than persevering with larger. Assess as you go and when you’ve got the posh of some further time, take it to acclimate.
  • Mountain 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 operating method is that as a path runner, you’re in all probability going to be committing to greater days, being out in lower than ideally suited climate, carrying solely sufficient clothes to maintain transferring, and making essential choices when issues don’t go as deliberate. These commitments require a better stage of mountain data.
  • Professional Recommendation: Ueli Steck felt that athletes can even have a a lot more durable time adjusting to elevation as a result of they’re frequently evaluating how they really feel up excessive with how they usually really feel doing the same exercise at decrease elevation. Consequently, they push too laborious too quickly, which can properly have a unfavorable impact on the acclimatization course of. His recommendation was: Go a lot simpler than you assume it is advisable to 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 respiratory laborious at elevation. They make an enormous distinction by holding 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 cloth 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 operating day diet, 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 residence, they at all times style good and sit properly. On the final minute, Kim determined to take a field of one thing solely new for us, Fillos Walking Tamales. She knew we may get sweets so opted to incorporate a savory “vitality bar.” In the long run, ProBars had been inedible at elevation whereas the tamales had been good. And FYI, we’ve got zero affiliation with both model.
  • Favourite Meals: Our go to meals was, as at all times, Trail Butter. But in addition 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 take a seat properly. 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: Hold that pack mild! We by no means carried greater than three 500ml smooth 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 case you really feel it needed, deal with it along with your therapy of selection.
  • Puffy Jackets: Put on a tried and true puffy jacket, ideally artificial, that you could run in. It must be mild, heat, and naturally work for cardio output. We did each our 2018 and 2023 Three Move runs in puffies. It may be that chilly. Check 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, it is a private determination based mostly on consolation and ability ranges on icy trails. Take into account packing them and deciding if you happen to 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 to 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 normally take any plug, however at all times American two prong or EU two prong.
  • WiFi and Information: WiFi is offered at most lodges at various charges. Information is now in a lot of the Khumbu Valley and sometimes quicker and extra dependable than WiFi. Pre-paid information SIMS are available as much as Namche. However wait… Why not sever the information ties and benefit from the expertise with out pointless distraction?
  • Navigation: Make sure you obtain the Three Passes path to your telephone for offline use. Gaia has the true route marked (as of Might 2023) together with a current change to the Cho La Move monitor that avoids a piece of glacier that grew to become impassable. Within the final two years some mounted metallic posts have been added to the passes for route discovering, however preserve that monitor on the prepared.
It’s a puffy sort of place

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

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

By Dan Patitucci