Mountains in the Everest Region are served in many flavors. There are of course the high peaks, and then there are the tough, the easy going, the photogenic and the sacred. Hell, there is even one reputed to contain a door to heaven for the pure of heart.
Of all the sacred peaks, the Khumbila is the most important one and is the protector deity of the entire Khumbu region. Other sacred peaks are Everest/Chomolungma, Taboche, Kangtega, Thamserku, Pumori and Pokalde.
The high peaks of the region include such giants as Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. Pumori, Baruntse, Nuptse and Gyachung Kang also deserve special mention in this category.
Toughness and beauty however are both very subjective notions, beauty because it is in the eyes of the beer holder and toughness because it depends upon the route taken, climbing style (and no we am not talking tiptoeing and tap dancing here), season and supplemental oxygen use. Hell, even the trip to Base Camp could be graded tough if you did it in shorts and without shoes. Inspite of such subjectivity, We will take the risk and go ahead with the list. We all have a soft corner for top something lists after all, no matter how meaningless they might be.
Among the beauties, it would be hard to not include the pleasant contours of Ama Dablam or the perfect pyramidal outline of Pumori. We also find the horse head and radiating shoulders of Kangtega rather attractive, but it might be just me.
Now grading the toughness of mountain is a minefield in its own right, liberally booby trapped with romanticism, nostalgia, smugness, hubris and money especially in the case of Everest. But we trekkers needn’t concern ourselves with the details here. Despite what armchair mountaineers will have you believe, let me put it out there that Everest is tough. Sure it would be just a pipe dream for most people if it weren’t for the glamorous ice doctors and the humble kitchen crew, but it isn’t hard to imagine that it is still a rough walk even with bottled oxygen. Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Thamserku are other peaks which are respected for their difficulty.
If you are feeling a little bit more adventurous than the viewpoint at Kala Patthar, you might consider scrambling to Pokalde, Island Peak, Chukung Ri or Mera Peak for that “I’m on the top of the world” experience. Okay ‘scrambling’ was a bad choice of word as it does involve extra permits, full mountaineering gear and some climbing skills.