Kala Patthar is one of the best viewpoints of Mount Everest, and a trek here can be combined with the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek. The viewpoint is popular because Everest is not visible from the base camp. The Kala Patthar Trek is challenging yet rewarding for mountaineers who want to catch a glimpse of the world’s tallest peak.
If you’re a sucker for snow-capped mountain views, this blog is for you. In this article, we discuss the various details you’ll need to plan and accomplish your trek to Kala Patthar. We’ll take you through the hiking details, the best time to visit, the different views, and much more. Let’s dive right in.
DIY Hiking Guide To Kala Patthar
Table of Contents
- 5 Interesting Facts About Kala Patthar
- How To Reach Kala Patthar?
- The Best Time To Visit Kala Patthar
- Where To Stay And Eat?
- Network Availability
- ATM Availability
- Languages Spoken
- Hiking Details
- Views From Kala Patthar
- Important Things To Remember
- Essential Things To Carry
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Posts
5 Interesting Facts About Kala Patthar
- Kala Patthar translates to “black rock” in Nepalese and Hindi.
- Kala Patthar is on the South ridge of Mt. Pumori in the Himalayan range.
- It is not an actual mountain or a hill. It has a prominence (vertical distance from a given summit rising above the lowest col connecting it to a higher summit) of only 10 m or 33 feet.
- Kala Patthar is the highest altitude most will reach without a climbing permit. It is also the highest point reached by trekkers doing the EBC and three passes trek.
- Italian scientists installed the world’s highest webcam at the summit of Kala Patthar for study and research purposes.
How To Reach Kala Patthar?
Hiking is the only way to reach the Kala Patthar peak. Trekkers who visit the Everest Base Camp (EBC) add an extra day to their itinerary to get a good view of Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar.
There are different routes to reach Gorakshep, the trek’s starting point. You must trek for a few days from Lukla to reach Gorakshep. You should acclimatize along the trail to avoid altitude sickness, as Gorakshep is at 5180 m or 16,995 feet.
The Best Time To Visit Kala Patthar
Like the EBC, Kala Patthar has two trekking seasons – Late April to early June and September to December. The best time to visit Kalapathar is during the months of May, October, and November.
Sunrise or sunset? which is the best time to visit Kala Patthar?
This is one of the most popular questions people ask before planning their trek to Kala Patthar. At dawn, the sun rises behind Everest, thus creating a silhouette for people witnessing it from the Kala Patthar summit. At dusk, the sun sets opposite the peak, and hikers can see Mount Everest basking under the golden orange light in all its glory. However, depending on the season, the mist might cover the view.
So, according to us, sunrise is the best time for the Kala Patthar trek as it would let you enjoy clear views. But do let us know what you think. Sunrise or Sunset? Drop your answers in the comment below.
Where To Stay And Eat?
At the base of Kala Patthar, you’ll find tea houses in the valley of Gorakshep, where they provide accommodations and restaurants. We stayed at Buddha Lodge and Restaurant, which was pretty comfortable.
You’ll get intermittent signals at Gorakshep from NCell and EverestLink. You will get no signal on the trail while hiking Kala Patthar.
No ATMs are available at Gorakshep, and few tea houses accept card payments. Cash payments are widely accepted.
Many people speak Nepalese, Sherpa, Hindi, and English.
- Cost: Although climbing Kala Patthar is free, it will cost you to reach Gorakshep and return.
- Permit: No special permits are needed. The permits bought for EBC are valid for Kala Patthar as well.
- Timings: Open 24*7. No restrictions.
- Duration: 2 – 3 hours to ascend and 1 hour to descend.
- Max Altitude: 5644 m or 18517 feet.
- Hike Distance: 1.9 Km (one way)
- Difficulty Level: Difficult – highly subject to your fitness level.
- Terrain: Rocks and loose boulders
- Hiking Route:
Wake up and start early to get clear views of the summit. The hike starts from the Gorakshep village. At the trailhead, there is a direction board to guide you. Start hiking up slowly by following the visible trail at your own pace.
Twin’s Tip: Do not miss looking up at the millions of stars above you.
After about an hour of climbing, you’ll see the snow-covered Mt. Everest and the surroundings slowly visible in the dawn light. With the sky painted with shades of vibrant orange and red colors behind you and Mt. Pumori lighting up with a golden peak upfront, you will be left dumbfounded at the marvelous landscape. Soak in those views as you ascend.
The trail gets pretty steep towards the end of the trek. Every step you take is worth it when you reach the top. The summit is marked with prayer flags.
Views From Kala Patthar
Surrounded by snow-clad mountains 360°, you get to see the below peaks:
- Mt. Pumori (7138 m)
- Mt. Lingtren (6714 m)
- Mt. Khumbutse (6636 m)
- Changtse West (7541 m)
- Everest South Peak (8749 m)
- Lhotse (8516 m)
- Nuptse (7732 m)
- Ama Dablam (6814 m)
The distant panoramic views of the following peaks are also visible:
- Pokalde (5806 m)
- Kangtega (6783 m)
- Kusum Kangguru (6367 m)
- Thamsherku (6623 m)
- Taboche (6495 m)
- Cholatse (6335)
- Arakamtse (6423 m)
- Lobuche East (6090 m)
- Paniyo Tapa (6650 m)
- Lobuche West (6135 m)
- Nirekha (6159 m)
- Changri (6027 m)
- Chumbu (6859)
The Khumbu icefall and the Khumbu glaciers are visible as well.
Important Things To Remember
- A guide is not required to hike Kala Patthar. Download the offline maps and follow the trail. The trail is pretty much visible until the very end, with a direction board kept at the start of the trail. The probability of getting lost is low or nill.
- The use of plastics and smoking is strictly prohibited. As a hiker, it is incumbent on you to be responsible and not litter. Collect and bring back the waste and dispose of it in dedicated bins.
- There are no water sources en route while hiking. So ensure you carry some snacks and water before starting.
- Layer up well, as it is cold and windy at the top of Kala Patthar. You should wear a beanie, gloves, and a down jacket without fail.
Essential Things To Carry
- Ensure you carry at least 1 L of water per person.
- Have your first aid kit handy.
- Cap, sunscreen & sunglasses are essential.
- Carry a poncho or raincoat in case of rain.
- A headtorch is necessary as the hike is done during the golden hours.
Read the blog to know more about what we usually carry for day hikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a guide mandatory for the Kala Patthar hike?
Although the Nepal Government stated in March’23 that guides are compulsory to trek in the Khumbu region, it is not strictly practiced. We did EBC, Kala Patthar, and the three passes trek in September’23 and were allowed to trek independently. We were not questioned at the checkpoint along the trail. You can trek solo, and a guide is not mandatory.
Is camping allowed at the top of Kala Patthar?
Kala Patthar’s hilltop is too windy to pitch your tent. Standing at a staggering 5644 m altitude, the spot is unsafe for camping. Stay at the tea houses in Gorakshep at the base of the valley.
Can the Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp hike be done in a day?
Absolutely. Both the hikes can be done in a day. People usually go early for a sunrise hike to Kala Patthar, return to Gorakshep, have food, and continue their hiking journey to the Everest Base camp and return.
Where does the Kala Patthar trek start and end?
The Kala Patthar trek starts and ends at the Gorakshep village.
How early should I leave Gorakshep to see the sunrise at the Kala Patthar summit?
Start as early as 3:30 or 4 AM from Gorakshep. It usually takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit of Kala Patthar from the base, depending on your pace.
The sunrise trek will require you to leave when it is dark. Is there any possibility of getting lost?
The trail is pretty much visible until the very end, with a direction board kept at the start of the trail. Download the offline maps and follow the trail. Getting lost is very unlikely. Also, since the Kala Patthar trek is popular, irrespective of the season in which you do the trek, you’ll be accompanied by a few fellow trekkers along the trail.
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