Pokalde – Trekking Peak Destination
Visitors to Nepal can rest assured that they don’t have to be mountaineering experts to enjoy the spectacular Himalayas. There are a number of so-called “trekking peaks” which, while requiring a good level of fitness and surefootedness, do not necessarily require mountaineering skills or equipment. One of the more popular of these trekking destinations is Pokalde Peak, located around 12 kilometers southwest of the majestic Mount Everest and east of the Khumbu Valley.
Pokalde Peak may seem relatively insignificant compared to its neighbors, however it offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, with notable mountains visible from the peak including Ama Dablam, Makalu and Pumori. During trekking season Pokalde Peak, also known as Dolma Ri, generally has a very light covering of snow, although temperatures at the base camp are known to drop to 20 degrees below freezing. There are different ways of approaching the climb, each with its own challenges, and the most commonly used route of ascent is via the Makalu side of the mountain.
The first recorded ascent of Pokalde Peak took place in April 1953, with trekkers taking a route via the ridge which adjoins Pokalde Peak with the Kongma La pass at a height of 5535 meters. This same ridge carries on to Mehra Peak, also known as Kongma Tse, at a height of 5820 meters. Although Pokalde Peak can be climbed in half a day, it must be noted that this should only be attempted by a group who is acclimatized and fit, led by an experienced guide. Due to large sections of the trail being exposed to the elements, an excursion up Pokalde Peak should not be undertaken in poor weather. Pokalde also features a short section of challenging vertical before the summit which may be best tackled with a safety rope.
The base camp lies in a valley with a lake, below the Kongma La pass, with the spectacular Kongma glacier located about forty minutes away, offering experienced ice-climbers the opportunity to test their skills. Trekkers can also look out for the elusive Snow Leopard, as its tracks have reportedly been found in the vicinity of the base camp. Pokalde Peak certainly offers an interesting introduction to exploring Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains.