best high-altitude trek in the world to Gokyo Lakes
Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes is the circuit trek which combines the Gokyo, Chola Pass and Renjo La pass with the Everest base camp Trek.
Everest Base Camp via Renjo La connects the Gokyo region to a less visited area that includes villages such as Lungde and Thame While the
standard trek to Everest base camp tour is one of the most
spectacular routes in the Himalayas, along paths lined and carved out by
flags, prayer wheels and Mani stones, nothing compares
with the incredible Gokyo Lakes on the circular route to Everest base
camp. The trek offers amazing view of many Himalayan high peaks like Mt. Everest (8848m.), Lhotse,
Makalu, Amadablam, Kanchenjunga, Nuptse, Mt. Pumori and many more as
well as explore the beautiful Gokyo valley with its many sacred lakes.
Gokyo Lakes trek is a beautiful hike to the famous turquoise lakes of Gokyo with magnificent views towards Everest and Cho Oyu. Not only is the Gokyo Lakes to Everest Base Camp close the worlds highest mountain (8,850m) it is also home to the friendly Sherpa people, picturesque villages, colourful festivals and monasteries.
The hike to Everest base via the Gokyo lakes, Cho La and Renjo passes gives you the grand tour of the famous Khumbu Valley. There are 6 lakes in total in and around Gokyo, most go as far as the 5th one which is what I did but you can visit lake 6. It also gives you a chance to if you climb Gokyo Ri (easy, highly ecommended), from where you see Cho-Oyu (8.200 m).
The lakes are beautiful as well as the surrounding mountains, including of course Everest. This is a strenuous trek leading to the high altitude Lakes called "Gokyo" and over the Cho La at 5,420m making a circuit of Tawache (6,367 m) and Cholatse (6,440m) Peaks. Emerging into the valley above Lobuche the trail continues up to Kala Pattar with an optional hike to Everest Base Camp with amazing views of Nupse, Lhotse and Everest.
The hike can be done throughout the year, however, Autumn (Sep - Nov) is often considered to be the best season for hiking in Nepal with a great climate and several festivals. although it is a little colder than Spring, the skies tend to be much clearer. Spring, (March - May) is the next favourite and also main summit season for Mt Everest. During spring time, the Khumbu valley erupts with beautiful rhododendron flowers. June to August is monsoon season so the route is quiet. During November and December it is cold but again, some travellers find it worth visiting during this period, as there are fewer tourists.
The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for
1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less.
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple.
Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu
Day-2: Guided Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Day-3: Drive Kathmandu (1,310m) - Rammechap - Flight to -Lukla (2,840m) . Trek to Phakding (2,610m)
Day-4: Trek Phakding to Namche (3,440m) (5-6 hrs).
Day-5: Acclimitisation at Namche
Day-6 Namche (3,440m) Thame (3,800m). (4hours).
Day-7: Acclimatisation day
Day-8: Trek from Thame to Lumde 4370m/4-5 hours
Day-9: Trek from Lumde to Gokyo 4790m/7-8 hours, via Renjo-La 5360m.
Day-10: Gokyo (4,750m) Leisure
Day-11: Trek Gokyo Lakes to Cho La Pass (5,169m)
Day-12: Trek from Thangnak to Dzongla 4830m/6-7 hours, via Cho-La Pass 5368m
Day-13 Trek to Lobuche (4,930m)
Day-14: Lobuche (4,930m) Gorekshep to Everest Base Camp to Gorekshep (5,140m)
Day-15: Gorekshep (5,140m) - Kala Patthar (5,545m)- Lobuche (4,930m)
Day-16: Lobuche (4,930m) to Tengboche (3,860m).
Day-17: Trek to Namche (3,440m) (4 hrs).
Day-18: Namche to Phakding (2,610m). (3-4 hours).
Day-19: Phakding to Lukla (2,840m) (3 hrs).
Day-20: Flight: Lukla - Rammechap. Drive to Kathmandu (1,310m).
Day-21: Free at leisure
Day-22: Transfer to airport. Final departure.
Arrival and transfer to Hotel.
Day-2: Guided Sightseeing
Guided sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley.
Day-3: Drive Kathmandu to Rammechap. Flight to Lukla). Trek to Phakding (2,610m).
We drive away from Kathmandu around 02h00 for Rammechap to catch the flight to Lukla.
Our early morning hike to begins with a flight into Lukla - is a lifetime experience, in itself. The airfield is on a slope and the difference between the two ends of the runway is about 460 meters! You will land on an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After meeting with guides and porters and a short break for tea we hike away from Lukla towards Everest base camp for a few hours along the Dudh Kosi River to Phakding 2,610m. Once you have trekked through the small village of Ghat (2550m), Phakding is a short walk away.
Day-4: Phakding (2,610m) Namche bazaar (3,440m).
After leaving Phakding the path takes us through a magnificent forest of rhododendron, magnolia trees and giant fir trees alongside the Dhud-Kosi river through small villages like Bekar and Monju. You will crisscross over the river a few times on high suspension bridges until you eventually come to the Sagarmatha Check Point where your permits needs to be checked. The climb then goes downhill to the river and then all the way back up to Namche. The trail heads up through blue pine forests and as you climb there are rhododendron trees which bloom in Spring time. Namche is the largest Sherpa village and is the unofficial capital of the Khumbu, gateway to the high Himalayas. This relatively small town is a bustling tourist zone and trading hub literally is perched on a sloping hill. It is surrounded on all sides by mountains, from Thamserku to Kongde Ri. Trekkers heading to Mt. Everest, Gokyo, Island Peak and many other destinations for both trekking and expedition, have at least two nights stopover in Namche to acclimatise.
Day-5: Namche bazaar (acclimatisation 3,440 m)
We will spend time here on short walks to acclimatise. Although it says acclimatisation, this means you need to walk for the principle of climb high and sleep low, meaning we gain altitude, then descend again to sleep low, enabling our bodies to better adjust to the altitude. A slow and steady pace with adequate time for acclimatisation is key to success. So we hike up to Everest View hotel for just that, a view of Mt Everest, assuming the weather is clear.
Day 06: Namche (3,440m) to Thame (3,800m).
A moderately easy and beautiful walk to the Sherpa village of Thame 3800 m, situated at an important junction along the old primary trade route to and from Tibet via the Nangpa La pass. The trail leads west past a large array of prayer flags and Mani stones - some of them very picturesque. After the village of Thomde the trail descends to the river and makes a steep climb to Thame.
Day 07: Acclimatisation day
On this day you will do an acclimatisation trek
Day 08: Trek from Thame to Lumde 4370m/4-5 hours
In the morning after breakfast, we climb over the moraine and gently climb to Lumde following a route used for centuries by the traders who ferried salt and grains across the Nangpa-La into Tibet until reaching Marulung which takes about 4 hours. Then trail then continues uphill to Lumde for another an hour. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 09: Trek from Lumde to Gokyo 4790m/7-8 hours, via Renjo-La 5360m.
A long day starts early in the morning. The trail ascends steeply until reaching Renjo-La which offers spectacular views. From here you can see the roof tops of Gokyo shining in the distance alongside the shore of the lake. The trek takes about 4 hours and we then trek all the way down to Gokyo, arriving after about another 3 hours. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 10: Gokyo
Early in the morning we hike to Gokyo-Ri to watch the sun rise over the snowy peaks. The trail is steep and rocky until reaching Gokyo-Ri after about 2 and half hours. We will spend a day here looking around the area
Day 11: Trek from Gokyo to Gokyo-Ri 5360m to Thangnak 4700m/2-3 hours.
Today we continue on our trek passing the Ngozumpa Glacier until reaching Thangnak. We have lunch and stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 12: Trek from Thangnak to Dzongla 4830m/6-7 hours, via Cho-La Pass 5368m
Early in the morning, we start our trek. The gradually ascends through another steep rocky pass which is very hard going, to bring you to Cho-La after about 4 hours. Once at the top the trail descends until reaching Dzongla. It takes about 2 and half hour. We have lunch and stay overnight at Lodge.
Day 13: Trek from Dzongla to Lobuche 4910m/3-5 hours.
Today, we start our trek to Lobuche which will take about 3.5 hours. It is on today’s trail that we will join up with the classic trek to Everest
Day 14: Lobuche (4,930m) - Gorekshep (5,140m). (5 hours)
The trail from Lobuche follows the muide, a geographer's name for the trough at the edge of the glaciers lateral moraine. A tributary glacier has piled another moraine across the trail which has to be crossed, giving a good view of Pumori. This section of the trek provides good views of the Everest group and Pumori from Gorek Shep and Kala Pattar
Day 15: Gorekshep (5,140m) - Kala Patthar (5,545m)- Lobuche (4,930m).
Hike up early in the morning to Kala Patthar to see the stunning views of Mount Everest. If you feel physically fit, optional hike to real Base Camp of Everest (5,200m) can be made. Return back to Gorekshep or Lobuche for the overnight stay.
Day 16: Lobuche (4,930m) to Tengboche (3,860m).
Trekking to Tengboche we leave behind the Trekkers Aid Post at Pheriche 4240 m. A western volunteer doctor, supported by The Himalayan Rescue Association is stationed here and offers treatment and consultation to trekkers. Continue down the valley to the less altitude. Get into the valley to Tengboche, home to the famous Tengboche Monastery, spiritual center of the Khumbu. Your hard work will be adequately compensated for by views of Mt. Amadablam and on clear days views of Mt. Everest and it surrounding peaks. Amadablam means "Mother's Charm Box" and is named after the little box that Sherpa women wear around their necks. Camp Overnight.
Day 17: Tengboche (3,860m) - Namche (3,440m).
The trail then descents the right flank of the Dudh Kosi valley to Namche. The descent is long but, more takes you to the famous Sherpa habitat. Camp Overnight.
Day 18: Trek Namche to Phakding (2,610m). (3-4 hours).
Down along the gorge of the Dudh Kosi to the small village of Phakding. Overnight Camp or Lodge.
Day 19: Phakding to Lukla (2,840m) (3 hrs).
Trek further to the mountain airstrip at Lukla to catch your return flight to Kathmandu. Weather permitting your trekking crew might prepare a farewell treat for you. You would be expected to join in the singing and the dancing! Overnight Camp or Lodge at Lukla.
Day 20: Flight: Lukla - Rammechap. Drive to Kathmandu (1,310m).
Fly to Kathmandu, with remainder of the day free. Hotel Overnight.
Day 21: Free day in Kathmandu.
Day 22: Final Departure.
Transfer to International terminal of Kathmandu Airport for the Final Departure.
End of services
Everest Base Camp elevation is 17,600 feet (or 5,380m) but considering it takes 8 days to reach that altitude from 2845m or 9,383 feet (or 2,845m) it is quite an altitude gain. Climbers also have the chance to climb Kala Patthar for sunrise or sunset view and can go as high as 18,514 feet (5,659m)
In general if you are happy walking for 5to 6 hrs a day with a light day pack then you should be fine so long as you are fit in advance. Trekkers should be comfortable with occasional rough terrain, but expect long steep climbs. Some days could include ascents and descents of 500 metres or more. Most walking is done in the morning and afternoons are for relaxing. One thing you can’t train for is altitude and that can prevent people reaching base camp where there is 50% less oxygen compared to sea level. The secret is to acclimatise well and to do so you need to take a slow pace, a good itinerary, ascend to altitude slowly, rest, eat good food, sleep well and drink plenty of fluids.
The trek takes 14 days from Kathmandu to Kathmandu if you fly into and out of the mountain airstrip of Lukla and take the normal route to base camp. You should allow 2 or 3 days on top of this for travel days to reach Kathmandu and to get over jet lag and to explore the city. There are other Everest Base Camp route options for the trek such as Jiri, Saleri and Phaplu which are all beautiful, less travelled and take longer.
The rooms are all generally basic. The higher elevation rooms do not have toilets, and some facilities only have squat toilets. Lodges at lower levels may have attached private bathrooms. There is no heating and electricity is often solar and on only for a few hours in the evening. Rooms have a bed, pillow and a thick blanket a small light.
The best time to visit Everest Base Camp is either side of the late May to mid-September monsoon season. Late September to November and February to May are the main trekking months with fairly stable conditions, good visibility and temperatures at Base Camp getting up to about -6°C. Base Camp gets busy during late April or early May with climbers preparing for their attempts on Everest’s summit. Although late Nov-Feb are extremely cold, around -15°C by day and much colder at night, clear skies are present with quieter trails.
Yes, you can charge your batteries and mobile phones in every place by paying extra at the rooms do not have charging facilities. The price of charging may vary in different places. It is wise to bring your power bank which you can charge in Kathmandu and use it in the higher area as charging batteries in the higher area is quite costly.
You can choose the food from the menu and it depends on the places. You can also choose local dishes and continental/Chinese dishes. However, food is cooked by the basic local lodges so the variety and flavour differs from one place to the next.
The short answer is that it depends on the season but at the end of the day it is better to have them, than not to have them. You also do not need specialised ones, simple "yak teeth" type crampons will do which can be bought in Namche for about $10.
Most people think Everest Base Camp is higher than Kilimanjaro but surprise surprise, it is not. Base camp of Everest (or rather Kala Pathar – the little hill you climb up above base camp) is actually 5545m, whereas Kilimanjaro summit is 5895m.
People also think it is a tougher hike than Kilimanjaro, but Kilimanjaro is actually regarded as tougher by those who have done both.
This is a really difficult one to answer directly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly.
The flights to Lukla have a limit of 10 kilograms per person of checked luggage and 5 kilograms per person in hand luggage. They weigh all bags and will charge you if your bags are overweight.
If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp, Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click here