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Everest & Gokyo Lakes Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Challenge yourself on the classic trek to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes.
It’s one of the most peaceful countries on the planet, so who would have thought that Nepal could also hold one of the world’s most rugged, shatteringly cold and bone-breaking challenges for trekkers and adventurers. It will be tough, but luckily the friendly nature and kind smiles of the Nepalese people will warm your heart in ways that a duck-feathered parka cannot. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is an incredible challenge but it also proves to be very rewarding. The hike heads straight towards some of the most incredible scenery on the planet, including the blue lakes of Gokyo and views of the world’s biggest heavyweight, measuring 8,848 metres – mighty Mt Everest.
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Everest & Gokyo Lakes SummaryAdd to Shortlist
Kathmandu is like an alluring whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells and colours. Almost overwhelming, its charm and history peaks out from the most unexpected places rendering most visitors enamoured.
Enjoy a spectacular scenic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, flying parallel to the Himalayan mountains that border Nepal and Tibet. Explore this small village and in the afternoon begin the trek with a descent towards Dudh Kosi River before joining the main trail and continuing to Phakding.
From Phakding, cross the river and head up the valley while being shaded by blue pine trees. Smell the perfume of the nearby rhododendron forest and take a sneaky peak at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. After lunch, ascend to Namche Bazzar in search of an elusive view of Everest. Stay in Namche Bazaar for a second night to acclimatise to the change in altitude. In the mean time, learn about the Sherpa way of life at the National Park headquarters or relax with a picnic in the beautiful Bhote Khola River Valley.
After a relaxing day, ascend to Khumjung for lunch, where the sacred rocky peak of Khumbilya (5761 m) towers above. In the home of the region’s guardian goddess, pass through beautiful birch forest and continue walking through the miraculous mountain scenery to tonight’s rest spot, Mongla.
Start a slow decent to Gokyo while admiring the glory of Kantega, Thamserku and Ama Dablam. As the vista expands before your eyes, see Cho Oyu (8153 m) and Gyachung Kang (7922 m) to the north, and Taweche (6542 m) and Cholatse (6440 m) across the valley to the east.
Begin with a climb out of the Dole Valley. Take a breath and be surprised by how thin the air is; walking through high-altitude areas is best undertaken at a slow and steady pace. By lunchtime, arrive at Machhermo (4465 m). Take some time to rest and recover, but keep an eye out at all times for the notoriously elusive yeti.
Be on the look out for the colourful Tibetan snow cocks often found in the area. Continue past Nepal’s largest glacier, also the source of the Dudh Kosi River, before arriving at Gokyo. View the incredibly blue and religiously important lakes of Gokyo; tonight’s lodge and a warm cup of tea are conveniently situated close by.
Wake early for a steep morning climb to Gokyo Peak (5360 m) and be rewarded by one of the best panoramas in the Khumba. Everest, Cho-Oyo, Lhotse and Makalu fill the horizon, and the incredible Gokyo Lakes and massive Ngozumpa Glacier lie below. Return to Gokyo for breakfast before journeying back to Machhermo for the night.
Take a leisurely walk through forest where musk deer often lurk on track to the Sherpa village of Phortse. Enjoy some quiet time in this peaceful village, meet some of the locals and indulge in the silent mountain scenery.
Descend upon the exposed trail of Imja Khola before stopping for lunch near a beautiful monastery that once housed a legendary yeti scalp. With a bit of luck, spot a Himalayan tahr (goat) high above the trail in the crags and admire how it traverses the steep rock face. Continue walking to above the tree line on a quest for a spectacular sunset.
Venture up to a chorten for a brilliant scenic view of the dominating skyline. Munch on lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines of the Khumbu Glacier that flow from Everest. Then visit a line of memorial cairns that were built in memory of the porters who died on various Everest expeditions. Follow the valley stream to Lobuje, the rest stop for the night.
After a leisurely breakfast, begin the slow and steady trek to Gorak Shep before continuing on to Everest Base Camp. As always, the scenery is spectacular and if visiting in the trekking season you’re likely to encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment for upcoming exhibitions. With camera to eye, be sure to capture the backdrop and daily happenings of this trekking base. There are no views of Mt Everest from Everest Base Camp, but you can see the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm, or ‘valley of silence’, which is regarded technically as the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain.
Rise early to make tracks for Kala Patar – an amazing vantage point for an awesome sunrise. Surrounded by Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest, this is the highpoint (literally) of the adventure. Snap away with cameras, but know that nothing can really compare to the achievement of climbing to this point. Breathe in the fresh mountain air while soaking up the indescribable vista, and proudly acknowledge the surreal and emotional experience that this fine accomplishment brings with it. Catch your breath back in Gorak Shep, and after breakfast set off for the Khumbu Khola crossing en route for Pheriche.
Head back to Namche Bazaar and if returning on a Saturday watch the happenings of a local market, which attracts Tibetans from the north and Rais from the south. Otherwise check out the informative museum in the national park visitor’s centre and refuel with a warm butter tea and some succulent pastries from one of the bakeries.
Rehash the steps of the past few days while happily breathing in what now seems like an abundance of air. Have the camera handy to capture some last-minute snaps of the incredible surrounding environment.
After a final climb back into Lukla, relax and bask in the accomplishment of completing this challenging trek. Catch a flight back to Kathmandu the following morning.
With the trekking part of this incredible trip over, it’s time to indulge in a little shopping and sightseeing, and perhaps a final dinner with the group before departing Nepal.
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