Updated post January 2020 with photo of bridge at Dughla.
Too Many Bridges or Bridge Love
Love them or not, the Everest Base Camp Trek has many bridges to cross. The first one is scary and they get easier to cross as you go. For the personal trainer it was Bridge Love. He stood in the middle of the bridges looking over the edge enjoying the wind and the rush of water underneath. He put on his documentary maker’s hat and strolled across filming, making his commentary against the roar of the water underneath. One time he threw the camera at me and asked me to video him crossing the bridge. Not my idea of fun especially when he started jogging on the bridge while I was on it filming.
Yes bridges weren’t my favourite part of the trek. I remember the first bridge at Chheplung, being nervous and very glad when I was on the other side. It does get easier as there are quite a few bridges and then you cross them again on the way back down to Lukla.
Looking at the famous bridge at Namche from any angle is enough to make you gulp. When you are there in person it will give you an adrenalin rush. The high bridge at Namche Bazaar is the big Mumma and featured in the film Everest. The first challenge, is getting up to the crossing point.
The bridges are not all the same. Most are cable stayed steel suspension bridges usually festooned with trekkers’ welcome or goodbye cream sashes. Then there is the funny boxed bridge at Thado Kosi Gaon. That’s the one with the umbrellas in the photo below.
The bridge before Dingboche across the Khumbu Khola within metres off the two tributaries meeting. If you trek to Everest Base Camp via Pheriche then you will have another bridge to cross instead. After that there is a small bridge at Dughla.
The traffic on the bridges is one way. You don’t want to be one the bridge if there are a whole lot of yaks or donkeys. Porters carrying big loads will wait for the bridge to be clear or people will wait. You take turns and common sense prevails. I can imagine traffic jams if the track was really busy but both times we trekked in the Khumbu it was a slow season, in 2015 because of the earthquake. If it is not busy then sometimes people will pass in opposite ways together.
Bridges on the Everest Base Camp Trek
- Thado Kosi Gaon (box bridge)
- At Phakding (suspension)
- At Tok Tok (small new stainless steel bridge)
- Near Bengkar (suspension)
- At Jorsale (suspension)
- Bridge to Namche Bazaar (suspension)
- Bridge before Tengboche (suspension)
- Bridge to Phortse (instead of going via Tengboche) (suspension)
- Either one before Periche OR one before Dingboche (depending on your route) The one at Dingboche is pictured here.(top photo)
- One small bridge at Dughla not suspension
Each time I have been to this area it has changed slightly or I learn something new through experience. In 2018 when we trekked to Gokyo and back to join the main EBC trail at Dughla I discovered that horrible bridge at Dughla which scared me to death in 2015 has been upgraded for want of a better term.
The older bridge from the Dughla side required a big step up and over to the bridge which for someone who is short was a bit scary. So I was relieved to see that it had been changed. This bridge was the only one quite like it in 2018.