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Kala Patthar Trek – The Viewpoint to Everest

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Meaning ‘Black Rock’ in English, Kala Patthar has an elevation of 5,644.5 m (18,519 ft) and is a small trekking peak famous for its incredible summit views of Mount Everest.

Although not an official trek on its own, the Kala Patthar trek is an optional extra when hiking the Everest Base Camp Trek.

It’s an extremely popular trek and you’ll see many other trekkers at the summit, especially in high season.

Although its popularity derives mainly from its stunning view, Kala Patthar is also one of the highest points in the Himalaya that can be reached without any technical climbing skills which adds to its popularity.

Kala Patthar Trek View

Because of the structure of Everest, the summit is not actually visible from Base Camp and most trekkers will opt to climb Kala Patthar in order to view it.

From the view point at Kala Patthar you can also see the giant peaks of Numptse, Changtse and Lhotse.

Many people tend to climb Kala Patthar early in the morning to get the dawn light, however, the sun rises behind Everest and Lhotse and you won’t get a good shot at this time. The best time to climb is late after noon as the sun is setting. If the weather is on your side you’ll be able to see Everest and Lohtse bathed in golden sunlight.

Sadly, clouds often roll in towards the afternoon and you’ll probably be safer heading up around late morning when you get the brightest light.

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Kala Patthar Trek – Difficulty

The trek is not particularly long, but it is uphill and at altitude.

For a standard trekker it should take anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours to reach the view point.

The top of Kala Patthar cannot be seen for some way up which adds to the mental difficulty. If you are well acclimatized and take it easy you’ll have no real difficulty, although you will need several breaks on your way up. If you’re not well acclimatized then you’ll find it’s a hard slog that will leave you wheezing and breathless.

Remember to take plenty of water and a warm jacket (see gear requirements here) as the temperatures can get seriously cold in the wind towards the top. For more information altitude sickness and acclimatization please see our detailed article here.

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Kala Pathhar Trek – Route

The trek begins at the original Everest Base Camp – Gorakshep (5,164m).

You start by trekking down into an ancient lake bed know as ‘The Beach’ before you start ascending. You make your way up a series of steep switchbacks before leveling off slightly as you begin to traverse the eastern side of Kala Patthar.

The trail then steepens again until you come to the summit ridge where you’ll feel the biting cold wind more than ever! From the ridge you scramble over boulders for 5 or 10 minutes before reaching the view point (marked with prayer flags). Look out for the worlds highest webcam there!

Here’s an awesome 1-minute dawn to dusk video from the Kala Patthar Webcam.

FAQ

If you have any further questions or queries about the Kala Patthar trek, then please just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

Thank you and happy trekking!

References: Share Everest

About the Author Andrew Roux

Andrew is one of the senior writers at Mountain IQ. A native of South Africa, Andrew has hiked and climbed all over the world. His favourite destination is Nepal and his most memorable hike was to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Leave a Comment:

6 comments
Arthur says September 11, 2017

Do you require a guide to trek up Kala Patthar ? Or can you do it independently?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 11, 2017

    Hi Arthur, No you don’t need a guide to trek up Kala Patthar. It is a relatively short hike. From Gorek Shep you can complete a round trip in under 2 hours. Although I wouldn’t rush it as the altitude makes the hike tough going. The views from the top are spectacular though!

    Reply
Lydia Dolan says October 10, 2017

Hi, me and my partner have started to look into treking kala pattar however i have asthma so acclimitization will be even more important for me! I dont know where to start or the best way to orginise our trip. So far we know we would have flights to new dehli then into katmandu, can you help?

Thanks,

Lydia

Reply
    Mark Whitman says October 11, 2017

    Hi Lydia, The Kala Patthar trek is in fact the standard EBC trek: https://www.mountainiq.com/guides/trekking-in-nepal/routes/everest-base-camp-trek/. Kala Patthar is a peak just south of EBC which takes a few hours to trek up and provides amazing views of Everest and the surrounding mountains. In terms of where to start, I recommend using our tour operator recommendation service, see form above. We will put you in touch with our recommended on the ground tour operator who can arrange the trek for you. As for asthma, it is possible to trek at high altitude, but I recommend getting clearance from your doctor first. All the best!

    Reply
Mike Curds says October 17, 2017

How long would it take from Lukla to the summit of Kala Patthar and back again? Can this be done as a individual trek?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says October 17, 2017

    Hi Mike, Kala Patthar is just south of EBC so it is a good 6-9 day hike from Lukla, depending on how fast you want to go / how well acclimatised you are. A round trip is at least 8 days and as much as 12-13 days. Effectively you are hiking to EBC and back. Hope this helps!

    Reply
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