Ultimate Photography Guide to the Eastern Face of Mt. Everest
Camping somewhere in the Eastern Face of Mt. Everest
Eastern Face of Mt. Everest, also known as Kangshung Face to westerners, was actually a massive area on Tibetan side, first explored by western explorers George Mallory and Guy Bullock in 1921. Two adventurers ventured into the Kangshung Valley, the upper reaches of Gama Valley in an attempt to find a way to scale Mt. Everest. Eventually, they ended up in Kangshung Glacier. In fact, the entire Eastern Face of Mt. Everest mainly consists of Orchid Valley, Gama Valley, and Kangshung Valley. One has to climb two mountains passes with extreme altitude, one is Shao La (4900m) and the other is Langma La (5320m).
Travelling in the Eastern Face of Mt. Everest promises an ultimate adventurous and photographic journey. You will be able to have up-close shots of three soaring mountains (Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Makalu) each with an average altitude of above 8000m in Himalayan Mountain Range and plenty of neighboring mountains with an altitude of around 6000-7000m. Surrounded by lofty snow-capped mountains, rarely-seen plants and crystal clear plateau lakes, you will get amazed by the surrealistic beauty of this wonderland and wonder how marvelous the work of nature is.
Best season to travel
lovely brook seen in Gama Valley
The best season to travel to Eastern Face of Mt. Everest is from September to October for the weather is relatively stable with high visibility and less clouds. However, if you come during May to June, the mountain passes are expected to have heavy snowfall. While July and August are the rainy seasons and the mountains are easily shrouded in clouds or mist. To make it worst, it is also the time when leeches are rampant in Gama Valley. From Dec to May, the road will be completely crippled by blizzard, not a good time for travelling.
The World’s Summits Viewed from Eastern Face of Mt. Everest
A galaxy of lofty mountains can be seen from Eastern Face of Mt. Everest.
The Best Places for Photography:
The sunning sunrise in Tangsum
a.Gang Dong Village Pass
This the last mountain pass before you official enter Karta Village( or Qu Dang Village), which is also one of the best places to takes photos Mt. Makalu, the world’s fifth tallest mountain. Standing on the top of the pass, you have stunning vistas of small villages scattered around the valley and winding Bum Chu River.
b.The Lower Reaches of Shao Lake
Shao Lake (or Xiao Wu lake) with an altitude of 4650m is normally chosen as the camping site for the first day of the trek. You can have easy access to water and more importantly the south bank of the lake allows you to capture the incredible golden reflection of Mt. Makalu at sunset.
c.Shao La Mountain Pass
Keep moving about 2 hours or so, you will end up in Shao La Mountain Pass (or Xiao Wu La Mountain Pass) where you will have a fantastic view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Makalu, and Mt.Chomo Lonzo if weather permits. Compared with Gang Dong Village Pass, Shao La Mountain Pass is 20 km closer to Mt. Makalu. Therefore this place is generally taken as the best place in Eastern Face of Mt. Everest to photograph Mt. Makalu.
Moving southward from Joksam (or Zhuo Xiang), you are about to enter the beginning of Gama Valley, also widely known as “Orchid Valley”. The valley features diverse and luxuriant vegetation, babbling brooks and snowy mountains afar. It’s a perfect chance to explore the peculiar plants in Mt. Everest region while enjoying the summits of Mt. Makalu, and Mt. Chomo Lonzo.
Surrounded by lofty mountains in the viewing platform of Tangsum (or Tang Xiang), you can have a panoramic view of Mt. Everest (8844.43m), Mt. Lhotse(8516m) and Mt. Chomo Lonzo and closely observe the intriguing color change of the mountain as if you were travelling in the mysterious land of Shangri-La.
Raga (or Rega) is a nice camping site where you can have brilliant shots of the sunset of Mt. Chomo Lonzo and use lower shutter speed to shoot flowing creeks.
Ega is the closest camping site to Mt. Chomo Lonzo. As the neighboring mountains of Mt. Chomo Lonze are shorter, photographing Mt. Chomo Lonzo from here, you can have a symmetrical composition as if Mt. Chomo Lonze was a flying eagle.
Normally, Pethang Ringmo (or Bai Dang) is the last camping site before arriving at the Base Camp of Eastern Face of Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Chomo Lonzo are visible without any obstruction in here. Since the former two mountains are far away from Mt. Chomo Lonzo, visually making Mt. Chomo Lonzo bigger and more impressive.
I.Base Camp of Eastern Face of Mt. Everest
This is two of the ultimate destinations to enjoy all the highlighted mountains in Eastern Face of Mt. Everest. Not only can you get closer to shoot Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse but also Mt. Makalu and Mt. Chomo Lonzo and famous Mt. Pethangtse in Nepal.
Situated at the bottom of a unclimbed mountain (7200m), Tsoshutrima (or Cuo xue ren ma) is unequivocally another jaw-dropping camping site. Six turquoise lakes are embraced by three soaring mountains (Mt. Makalu, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Everest) and brilliant reflection and stunning night sky, etc. make this place a heaven for photography.
Recommended Photography Travel Route
Day1. Lhasa (Arrival, get acclimatized to the high altitude)
Day4.Karta Village（3850m）--Yuba village（3750m）-Shao Lake（4650m）: About 6 hours trek.
Day5.Shao Lake（4650m）-Shao La Pass（4900m）-Jaksam（Orchid Valley）（4000m）: About 6-7hours’trek
Day6.Jaksam（Orchid Valley）（4000m）-Cuolang lake（4320）-Sharlung Pasture（4400）- Tangsum Viewing Platform（4550）: trek around 6-7 hours.
Day7.Tangsum Viewing Platform（4550）-Raga（4250m）-Pethang（4300m）: trek 2.5-3 hours and have a rest for the rest of the day.
Day8.Pethang（4300m）-Ega（4700）-Pethang Ringmo（4950m）: trek around 5-6 hours
Day9.Pethang Ringmo（4950m）-Base Camp of Eastern Face of Mt. Everest（5300m）-Ega（4700m）: trek around 8 hours
Day10.Ega（4700m）- Pethang（4350m）-Raga（4250m）- Tangsum Viewing Platfrom（4550m）:trek about 6 hours
Day11.Tangsum Viewing Platfrom (4550m)- Tsoshutrima (4950m): about 4 hours’ trek
Day12.Tsoshutrima (4950m): have a rest all day and do photography
Day13.Tsoshutrima (4950m)- Langma La Pass (5350m)-Laze Lake (5050m)- Lhundrubling Village-Karta Village
Day14.Karta Village（3850m）-Everest Base Camp（5200m）
Recommended Gears for Travel
warm fleece hat（2）
Breathable and moisture-wicking underwear ( highly recommended)
Down vest and/or jacket
North Face rain Jacket
Waterproof shell toursers/pants
Pro Trekking socks ( 4 pairs)
others necessary gears:
Trekking or mountaineering backpack (preferable with a volume of 80L-100L for yaks to carry)
trekking poles（highly recommended）
thermal water bottle（highly recommended）
sleeping bag（-10to 20 degree as needed, down or synthetic）
Kneecap (to protect your knee when descending from mountains)
headlamp（Extra bulbs & 2 sets of fresh batteries）
sunglasses with UV protection（a must to avoid snow blindness）
lip balm（for the dry climate on plateau）
lightweight thermal gloves
(for injury, altitude sickness, Anti-diarrhea, Antiseptic ointment for cut, bite, etc.)
DSLR kit (camera bags, extra battery, memory cards, multiple lens, camera, film, etc.)
Toiletries ( tooth brush/paste, toilet paper, soap(biodegradable), quick-drying towel, female hygiene products,etc.)
Check other highly recommended tours in Everest Base Camp