Nepal is gifted with beauteous landscapes by Mother Nature, these are some of the must explore mountain passes
Mountains passes are paths for crossing a mountain. The high mountain range forms an uncrossable barrier to travel from one place to another. Passes have always become a key for trade and migration from generation to generation. These high altitude passes are the landmarks dividing two remote regions. Nepal is the home for many highest mountains in the World has passes higher than the summit of the tallest mountain of Europe. Passes in Nepal are very challenging which pulls the adventure seekers around the world.
A pass normally forms a saddle-like structure between mountains and is generally found just above the source of the river. Trekking to any mountain pass is not easy. It is the highest altitude to reach and will test the lungs and leg muscles to its limits. It demands a high level of physical and mental tolerance. For this reason, many hikers after conquering the pass wear, it as a batch of honour. Some of the challenging and beautiful passes of Nepal are listed below.
Thorong La Pass
At an elevation of 5416m above sea level, Thorong La Pass is undoubtedly the most popular and thrilling mountain pass in the Annapurna Region. This pass is formed by two mountains Khatung and Yakawa Kang. This pass connects Manang, home of Tibeto-Buddhist in the east with the temple of Muktinath in Mustang district, in the west. It is the highest point in the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Due to its high elevation, acclimatization is needed and depending upon the route taken, it can take about 12-16 days to conquer this pass. The best time to visit Thorong La pass is in spring where the sky is clear providing a mesmerizing view of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Gangapurna, Annapurna (I - IV), Machhepuchhre, and Langtang. Not only that, in Spring, but a variety of beautiful Rhododendron and other flowers also cover the trails making it delightful to walk on.
Larkya La Pass
Larkya La Pass lies along the route of Manaslu Circuit. At an elevation of 5106m above sea level, it is the highest point of the 17 days Manaslu Circuit trek. Larkya La pass lies between Dharamshala also known as Larke Phedi and Bhimtang. This is not the highest pass but it has its own distinct difficulties. The terrains can be difficult to navigate and steep hikes can have a toll on the knees. Starting from the semi-tropical forest followed by an alpine forest area and finally, to ice-field area and glaciers, trekking to Larkya La pass provides a diverse range of vegetation. The top of the pass gives visitors a stunning view of World 8th highest mountain Manaslu and other mountain peaks. The hard work done for 17 days becomes worthwhile after seeing the view.
Kang La Pass
At an altitude of 5320m, Kang La pass is located in the remote area of Dolpa district. It is the highest point of Upper Dolpa Trek. Between Shey Phoksundo Lake and Shey Gompa, the foot of the trail starts which makes trekkers pass the magnificent forest and the trek to the top of the pass begins. At the top, a great view of Annapurna, Lamjung Himal, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Tilicho peak can be seen. Sliding down the trail leads to another prime location of Dolpa, Shey Village. The pass provides a chance for the travellers to explore the Tibetan culture, beautiful and isolated villages, and a wide range of fauna and flora.
Cho La Pass
Cho La pass trekking is not for the beginner trekkers. Navigating through loose boulders and torturous landscapes, guides and crampons are a must required. Without proper experience and training, the pass is impossible to cross. This pass is at an altitude of 5420m which means there will be a lack of oxygen making it difficult to breathe and puts an immense toll on the body. Cho La is tucked between two beautiful snow-capped mountains Lobuche and Cholatse. This pass trail starts from Gokyo Lake crossing the Ngozumpa glacier, ascending 5480m Gokyo-Ri and comes the Cho La pass.
The best time to cross this pass is in the Spring season. The fog and clouds will not interrupt the spectacular view of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, and many other mountains and the vegetation also becomes colourful and rich. Navigating the trail in this season is comparatively easier than other seasons.
Ganja La Pass
Ganja La pass is the main highlight of Langtang Trek. The pass is at an altitude of 5130m high, offers trekkers the wilderness adventure and panoramic view of the mountains. This trail takes people off the busy Langtang trail and leads to the quiet and isolated trails of Helambu. The trail starts from Syabrubesi, passing many Tamang villages through the alpine vegetation to reach Kyanjin Gompa. After crossing the Kyanjin Gompa, trekkers reach the Ganja La pass. At the top, beautiful snow-capped mountains such as Mount Gaurishankar, Ganesh Himal, Yala Peak, Ganchempo, Yala Peak can be seen. The people living in this region are a mixture of Tibetan, Tamang and Sherpa communities and living with them and tasting their unique cousins will be a different experience.
Trekking and exploring these passes are definitely not easy and require a great deal of preparation. Trekkers will have to endure immense physical and mental distress. However, the view from the passes will make anybody forget all the pain. The vegetation, culture and lifestyle of the mountain area is a rare experience no other place can provide.