In April 2022, I embarked on a challenging adventure through the Everest region, completing an 85-mile circuit that provided awe-inspiring vistas of the world’s highest mountains. My journey included summiting Kala Patthar, which stands at an elevation of 18,200 feet, on Day 6, and crossing two demanding summit passes, Cho La and Renjo La, on Days 8 and 9. In my quest to test my personal limits, I managed to accomplish this trek in just 11 days, with the invaluable assistance of a private guide and porter, even though it typically requires a minimum of 15 days.

Fortunately, I had the flexibility to adjust my route along the way, veering away from the standard Everest Base Camp trail toward Gokyo. Opting for the more strenuous but less frequented Three Passes trail, I ultimately circled back to Namche Bazaar via the seldom-visited western valley, thereby completing a full circuit.

Among the many memorable moments of this journey, one that stands out is my passage through the glaciated Cho La Pass, situated at an elevation of 17,782 feet, to reach Gokyo Lakes. The experience of traversing the world’s largest glacier, the Ngozumpa Glacier, felt surreal. It was as if I were engulfed by an endless expanse of gravel and sand dunes. The reward for my efforts came when I reached a cozy lodge after a grueling 9-hour hike across snow, ice, loose rocks, and glacial debris. The serenity of waking up beside the tranquil Gokyo Lake, with the pristine mountains perfectly reflected in its emerald blue waters, was truly enchanting.