The North Col refers to the sharp-edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier and lies directly on the main climbing route for Everest from Tibet .
The North Col was discovered by Mallory while searching for possible routes to the summit of Mount Everest during the 1921 British Reconnaissance Expedition.
All subsequent expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s attempted to reach the summit of Everest by using the North Col. When climbers attempt to climb Everest via the North ridge (Tibet), the first camp on the mountain itself is established on the North Col.
Not only is this a fantastic experience in itself but could also be used as a good exploration for someone with ambitions to climb the highest peak on earth, Mt. Everest in the near future.
Climbing to the North Col is a perfect opportunity to see how you perform at an extreme altitude.
There are two major ways to start the Expedition, either by flying In/Out capital city of Tibet, Lhasa, or drive In/Out via Kyirong border, Tingri & Everest Base camp. Climbing North Col involves a similar itinerary to the initial phase of an expedition to the North Ridge of Everest.The visit to Lhasa, the overland journey across the Tibetan Plateau, the trek in the footsteps of George Mallory and a climb with awesome views of Everest, are the perfect ingredients of this special expedition.
It will also give a life-long impression of Tibet and its people, and an insight as well as deep respect for the achievements of the early Everest pioneers.
A very warm welcome to the Kingdom of Himalayas. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan international airport, our representative welcomes you and assists you transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu. After time to get refreshed, evening you'll meet and transfer for welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu i.e. Utsav or Nepali Chula (Kitchen). Here you will not simply experience the traditional Nepalese dish but will be entertained with Nepalese traditional dance and folk songs. After the dinner, you will be transferred back to your respective hotel.
Preparation for Everest and North Col Expedition; The day will also be for finalizing official procedure and other necessary arrangements. You will be also briefed on the nature of expedition, equipments and team composition. You can also make your last minute buying of personal items as you will be flying to the Himalayas day after tomorrow. In the late afternoon, the leader will check everyone's equipment, as Kathmandu is the last opportunity to buy anything missing. You will also get introduced with fellow expedition members and guides. Overnight at Hotel.
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Bauddhanath: Stupa with its 130 ft. dome. One of the world’s largest Stupa, Bouddha is generally acknowledged to be the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet. Pupshupatinath Temple: Pashupatinath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. Swayambhunath: Three kilometres west of Kathmandu city complex locates the one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Stupas, it is said to be 2000 years old. Visitors often call it "Monkey Temple". -After the city tour, our leader or guide will do the final briefing of the expedition. They will also take the opportunity to check the members' personal equipment as the city bazaars and climbing shops will provide the last chance to correct any deficiencies. Overnight at Hotel.
You will be driven to the airport on time to catch your flight to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. A scenic flight of an hour and 20 minutes to Lhasa with the stunning views of some of the highest peaks of the Himalaya including Mt. Everest 8,848m, Mt. Kanchenjunga 8,586m, Mt. Lhotse 8,516m and those Titanic lakes, the undulating Tibetan plateaus, are merely beyond belief. Upon your arrival in the world’s highest airport, the Gonggar Airport, you will be welcomed and escorted to the hotel by our Tibetan/Chinese representative (Tour guide). This will be our base for the next few days while we acclimatize to the high altitude of the Tibetan plateau (Lhasa is one of the highest capitals in the world at 3,665m/12,024ft). In the afternoon, we'll simply cruise around the city and then relax at the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
We experience invaluable insights during our visits to Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery. This 17th century Potala Palace offers an awesome view of entire city and also has private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Ancient history has it that Drepung Monastery which was built in 14th century used to shelter around 10,000 monks but as now there has been quite a declination resulting in only few hundreds. Tibetans' respect and belief are immensely knotted with this monastery. After visiting these two main monasteries of Tibet, we'll return to our hotel. Our dinner table has already been booked at the renowned Tibetan restaurant, and after that we have a cultural show to see which is worth watching. Overnight at Hotel.
Our tour begins with a visit to Sera Monastery. An experienced tour guide also working as an interpreter escorts us to this preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Further, we visit to Barkhor Market which can be quite a change from other visits. As we roam around the city savoring every tiny detail from stall hawkers coaxing their clients to purchase their goods to exhibition, we also have views of Tibetan culture, custom and tradition. Eventually, the tour for the day concludes as we return to the comforts of our hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
The drive to Gyantse takes between 5-7 hours(depending on stops en route for taking photographs) crossing 2 high passes the Karo La pass (5010m) and Kamba La pass (4794m). Stop at Yamdrok Tso Lake (Turquoise Lake) the second largest lake in Tibet, an amazing place to take pictures with never ending Yamdrok Lake aside. At Karo La pass, we'll have the stunning glimpse of a hanging glacier tumbling down from a snowy peak of Nazin-Kangsa (7252m) to within a few hundred meters of the road. En route we'll encounter with many colorful Tibetan villages and eventually we arrive to Gyantse, the main center of Trade in Tibet in the past, for Indian and Bhutanese traders. After day's exhaustion due to long drive, you indeed deserve a refreshing shower and a delicious Chinese dinner. Overnight at Hotel.
Before leaving Gyantse, we have time this morning to visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum. Pelkor Chode Monastery means “Auspicious Wheel Joy Monastery” in Tibetan language. It lies at the foot of the Dzong Hill to the west of Gyangze Town and the Kumbum is a large gold-domed Stupa and its many small chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals. It's just a pleasant couple hours drive to Shigatse, the second largest city after Lhasa in Tibet. After lunch we pay a visit to Tashi-lunbu Monastery, a prominent landmark of the region located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain and to the west of the Shigatse city. It is one of the four monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet. Overnight at Hotel.
The journey involves crossing of two high passes, the Tropu La (4890m) and Gyatso La (5250m - which is the highest pass of the trip) which cuts through several picturesque villages and will have spectacular mountain views all the time. En route we drop by the Sakya monastery which is renowned for the largest Sakya School Monastery nestled in the bosom of the city. It is about 40 km each way off the main friendship highway. This is the ancestral temple of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This is one among the few monasteries in Tibet which survived the Cultural Revolution. I bit that you will marvel at the inside decorations of monastery with countless gigantic statues of Buddhist gods and goddesses, made out of precious metals and stones. After visiting the monastery we'll have lunch before we leave for Shegar. Overnight at hotel.
After couple hours of drive on a Friendship Highway, we head towards the rugged road that leads us all the way to North face of Everest Base Camp. We will come across a Buddhist sacred place called Rongbuk, the home of the highest monastery in Tibet and a very renowned cave monastery of Guru Padmasambawa built in 8th centuries. Once again, there are some stunning views to be had of the Himalayas. Today you watch the incredible sight of Mt. Everest and its massif from the top of Phangla pass with uninterrupted views stretching from Mt. Makalu to Mt. Shishapangma. Below the pass, Everest initially is hidden from view, but as we turn the corner into the Rongbuk Valley it reappears, more impressive than ever. En route we can take a short break at Rongbuk Tented Tea house and continue our drive to Base Camp, which is 8km from Rongbuk. You will be pleased and amazed to see and meet the entire expedition crews waiting for all of you. From this day onwards you are going to sleep in your tiny little castle, Tent, and the real adventure begins here!
5 days will be spent at the base camp while our bodies adapt to the high altitude, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the views and taking the shots of Everest. For those feeling up to it, there are plenty of hillsides to scramble up to elevation of 5800-6000m, and Rongbuk Monastery lays an eight kilometer (five mile) walk down the valley. Another sight not to miss is Tillman's Camp, an idyllic spot beside the majestic Central Rongbuk Glacier, which offers staggering views of the north side of Everest. While there’s plenty to see in the valley, it’s important not to overdo it during this period - there will be plenty of opportunity for exertion later. At this phase of the expedition, climbers should be adapting to the altitude, drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and enjoying the cuisine of the Sherpa cooking staff. Overnight in tent.
The trek starts easily enough, crossing the pebble floodplain of the Rongbuk River, then weaving along a path between the glacier and the valley side. Today we can explore the Rongbuk Glacier and surrounding areas along the way. The views around this massive glacier are some of the best in the world. We will take a trail that rises to the east side of this ice cap and heads toward the peak of Mt. Everest. It was the discovery of this path in 1922 that provided the key to climbing the north side of Everest. Our trekking trail will meander over gravel hills to the west of the glacier until we get to Interim Camp. Another scenic day awaits us as we spend the night at the interim camp. What an amazing experience with ice pinnacles surround us in all directions! Overnight in tent.
Today is another day to rest and properly acclimatize. We are now at extremely high altitudes and must take all necessary safety precautions! Small excursions can be taken today and wonderful pictures abound. Overnight in tent.
ABC lies in the center of flattened gravel mounds next to the glacier. Today we ascend even farther into the intricate maze of ice as we meet up with the Changste glacier and can observe many of the challenging pinnacles, ridges, and even the rock summit of Everest. The reappearance of Everest is a pleasant distraction during the final climb, and as you round the corner toward the advance base camp (6440m) the whole northeast ridge can be seen, from the Raphu La to the summit. The shimmering triangle of snow highlighting the summit four kilometers away and two up will issues its siren’s call until your footsteps cross it! Overnight in tent.
We spend two full days at Camp ABC for acclimatization, rest and practicing climbing gears. If interested, we walk up to the Everest Advanced Base Camp. We may also be interested in taking a hike across the East Rongbuk Glacier to the Raphu La. Moreover, we will also plan and practice the climbing skills. Finally, we will get a good look at our route up North Col, and will continue to practice our rope skills. Overnight in tent.
We start early in the morning from ABC under the supervision of the expedition leader and Sherpas, and set off for the North Col. The moraine continues up the side of the glacier, close to the flank of Changtse, then we break out onto the glacier. There are few crevasses and the going is easy until we reach the very foot of the slopes leading up to the Col. The entire route to the North Col is fixed with ropes and these provide security and assistance as we weave up between seracs of ice. Most of the route is about 30 - 40 degrees steep, but there are usually some short steeper sections. The height gain up the headwall to the Col is only 300m, but it will take a long time and be an exceptionally hard day. However, the views and the situation will be worth it! Weather permitting; there will be unbelievable views across the north face, up the North Ridge to the summit, and westwards towards Pumori and Cho Oyu. After taking photos and having had a good rest, we head back down to ABC. Overnight in tent. We start early in the morning from ABC under the supervision of the expedition leader and Sherpas, and set off for the North Col. The moraine continues up the side of the glacier, close to the flank of Changtse, then we break out onto the glacier. There are few crevasses and the going is easy until we reach the very foot of the slopes leading up to the Col. The entire route to the North Col is fixed with ropes and these provide security and assistance as we weave up between seracs of ice. Most of the route is about 30 - 40 degrees steep, but there are usually some short steeper sections. The height gain up the headwall to the Col is only 300m, but it will take a long time and be an exceptionally hard day. However, the views and the situation will be worth it! Weather permitting; there will be unbelievable views across the north face, up the North Ridge to the summit, and westwards towards Pumori and Cho Oyu. After taking photos and having had a good rest, we head back down to ABC. Overnight in tent. We start early in the morning from ABC under the supervision of the expedition leader and Sherpas, and set off for the North Col. The moraine continues up the side of the glacier, close to the flank of Changtse, then we break out onto the glacier. There are few crevasses and the going is easy until we reach the very foot of the slopes leading up to the Col. The entire route to the North Col is fixed with ropes and these provide security and assistance as we weave up between seracs of ice. Most of the route is about 30 - 40 degrees steep, but there are usually some short steeper sections. The height gain up the headwall to the Col is only 300m, but it will take a long time and be an exceptionally hard day. However, the views and the situation will be worth it! Weather permitting; there will be unbelievable views across the north face, up the North Ridge to the summit, and westwards towards Pumori and Cho Oyu. After taking photos and having had a good rest, we head back down to ABC. Overnight in tent.
A spare day reserved in case of bad weather. There is no such guarantee that we can get quite a favourable weather on our planned day for the summit. So this day is used as a contingency in case if we are unable to summit the North col on the scheduled day due to bad weather condition or some other reasons. Sometimes somebody in the group may get some problems in acclimatizing well enough to make the ascent; the day can be used in that condition too. If the trip goes smoothly, we do not need this spare day. Overnight in tent.
Expedition is over and with a feeling of phenomenal achievement, we'll bit adieu to the Mountain "Everest-the mother goddess of the universe" Today is a long day as we cruise downhill back towards the Everest base camp. Wonderful sights abound as we leave this amazing peak. Overnight in tent.
We will drive pass Tingri crossing Lalung La pass at 5124m and Shung La pass at 5200m. We savor the enchanting views of the surrounding peaks of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar, as we descend from the arid Tibetan Plateau to verdant Kyirong on the Nepalese border. Upon 420 km drive, we find ourselves amidst the lush and verdant vegetation of Kyirong at 2700 meter. Overnight at hotel.
About 40 minutes of driving from Kyirong, our China side transportation will drop us at the Rasuwagadhi border & our Chinese representative will be assisting us to clear Chinese immigration. Depending on season and number of tourist, we might end up standing at the Chinese immigration for 1-2 hours (if not even longer). Once we cleared Chinese immigration we shall be crossing the (China-Nepal) border bridge over Trisuli River where we will meet our Nepal side drivers with transportation waiting for us. Within 10 minutes of driving inside Nepal, we will be visiting Nepal immigration office to obtain reentry visa. After completing all these formalities, we will be driving back to Kathmandu via Syabrubesi, Dhunche the district headquarters of Rasuwa district and Trishuli the district headquarters of Nuwakot. Depending on progress, we may have to stop at Syabrubesi/Dhunche for lunch. And continue drive back to Kathmandu for 5-6 hours depending on traffic. Remember that we will be hosting celebration dinner together for successfully completing the North Col Expedition! Overnight at hotel.
Today is free or last minute shopping for souvenirs or gift to your family, friends or relatives for you until your departure flight/drive or to commence any extra trips or activities you may have booked with us. If departing, you'll be transferred to the International Airport for your departure flight to your onward destination.
Download Trip Note of North Col Expedition