Where is Gokyo Ri and Sagarmatha National Park?
The Gokyo Ri, or Gokyo Peak, is a 5,357-meter peak in the Khumbu region of the Nepalese Himalayas. It is located on the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier, which is the largest glacier in Nepal and is considered the largest in the entire Himalayas. Gokyo (4,750 m), at the foot of Gokyo Ri, is a small hamlet with some stone houses and one of the highest settlements in the world. From Gokyo Ri you can see four 8,000-meter peaks: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu, and the Gokyo Lakes are in the area.
Where is The Gokyo Lakes Trek?
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a good alternative to the Everest Base Camp Trek. It leads up the valley west of Everest to the village of Gokyo and to the five sacred lakes on the moraine next to the Ngozumpa glacier. This spectacular two-week climb, which is almost as high as the Everest Base Camp Trek, offers breathtaking views of Everest, but the trails are less crowded and quieter. You will pass traditional Sherpa villages where you will be served local food. The trail follows the Dudhkoshi River to its source - a series of emerald green lakes. Gokyo is a Sherpa village located next to the largest of these lakes. From Gokyo, we ascend to Gokyo Ri (5360m) from where we have a magnificent view of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu, Cholatse and Taboche.
While the Everest Base Camp Trek includes Kala Patthar at 5545m, the Gokyo Valley Trek offers Gokyo Ri at 5360m. Here there is an epic viewpoint that offers the kind of view over Everest normally reserved for balloonists or mountaineers.
What is so Special about The Gokyo Lakes?
The Gokyo Lakes are oligotrophic lakes in the Nepalese Sagarmatha National Park, located at an altitude of 4,700-5,000 m above sea level. These lakes are part of the highest freshwater lake system in the world and comprise six main lakes, of which Lake Thonak is the largest. The Gokyo Lakes are considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. About 500 Hindus take a sacred bath in the lakes during the Janai Purnima Festival, which is usually held in August.
An average of 7,000 tourists visit Gokyo Lakes annually, which is worshipped as the home of the snake god Nag Devata; on the western shore of the lake is a temple of the Hindu deities Vishnu and Shiva. The belief that birds and wildlife in this area should not be harmed has traditionally protected the fauna. The village of Gokyo at 4,790 meters above sea level is an important center in the region. The site is a two days' hike uphill from Namche Bazaar.
Which treks lead me to Gokyo Ri, to the Gokyo Lakes and into the Gokyo Valley?
There are several different ways to see the highlights of the Gokyo region. You can do a specific Gokyo Ri Trek or Gokyo Lakes Trek, but you can also do the Everest Base Camp Trek in combination with the Three High Passes. Or you can simply make an extension of the Everest Base Camp Trek and add the Gokyo Lakes to the mix.
What is the Best Season for Gokyo Ri in Sagarmatha National Park?
The Everest region, like the rest of Nepal, has 4 different seasons. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. The months from February to May, before the monsoon, and from October to December, after the monsoon, are the most popular for trekking tours to Everest base camp and the Gokyo Lakes.
What needs to be said is that each trekking season has its own excitement and atmosphere for trekkers, but if you want some assurance about weather conditions during the trek, make sure you stick to the high season. You can also hike to Gokyo in the winter months, but you will need to revise your packing list and prepare for temperatures well below -15 Celsius.
What is a Good Itinerary for the Gokyo Ri Trek?
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are several ways to see Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes. In this blog post, we will only focus on everything Gokyo, so we will share with you a program that does the same thing. The Gokyo Valley Trek of Alpine Club of Himalaya offers enough time to acclimatize and enjoy the highlights of Gokyo Ri and its surroundings.
Day 1: Fly to LUKLA (2800m/9187ft); trek to PHAKDING (2610m/8563 ft) 2-3 hours trek; 200m descent, 50m ascent
Early morning flight from Kathmandu International Airport to Lukla Airport and trek to Phakding. Descending above farmlands we pass through Sherpa villages of Chheplung, Ghat and Sano and Thulo Gumela and shrines and monasteries of Drangdrak Gompa and Pema Choling Gompa with breathtaking views of sacred mountain Kumbila and sister summits Kusum Kanguru peaks.
Day 2: Trek to NAMCHE (3420m/11221ft) 5-6 hours/1000m ascent, 100m descent
Heading for the Namche Bazar, we cross through the hamlet of Zamphute and Tok Tok to see dazzling Thamserku glistening in the sun that stays all the way with us in most of our trek. Passing through the scenic Sherpa villages of Benkar, Chumoa and Monjo, we reach Utche Choling Gompa on a bluff abutting the Dudhkoshi river and further we make our way between the bluff to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park, a UNESCO declared world heritage site.
Completing halfway to Namche Bazar, we head for the second half of the march that would likely to take more time due to steep climb at the end. Crossing through the last village of Jorsale, a steep stepped path leads us to an amazing high bridge over the Dudhkoshi River gorge and just before this bridge, the Dudhkoshi is met by its tributary, the BhoteKoshi. Beginning the final steps uphill slowly we reach heights of Namche from where we can have first look at Mt. Everest, peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge and finally after about 1.5km/0.9mile) we reach Namche Bazar.
Day 3: Acclimatize at NAMCHE
We have an acclimatization day at Namche Bazar. To help our body better adapt to the high altitude, we can take short walks or climb few hundred feet during the day to have a look in the villages, houses, terraced fields and snowy mountains of Kwangde, Khumbu peak, Thamserku, Kusum Kanguru and the village’s big weekly event, the Saturday market to have fun mingling with the crowds and watching men and women in traditional attire.
Day 4: Trek to PHORTSE THENGA (3680m/12074ft ) 5 hours
Today, the trail climbs steeply out of valley through rhododendron forest, juniper and large conifers start to appear as the elevation increases making trekking beautiful in spring. The trail passes through Yak Kharka and summer settlements. The views of Khumbi La and Tawache are magnificent throughout the day.
Day 5: Trek to MACHHERMO (4410m/14469ft) 5 hours
The trail climbs a ridge for an excellent view both down the valley to Kangtega and up towards Cho Oyu and descend to a river and again climbs steep to the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpa glacier. We reach at Machherma by early noon.
Day 6: Trek to GOKYO (4750m/15585ft) 5 hours
Today the trek takes us at one of our final destination, Gokyo. We will make this camp our base for 2 nights as we will have couple of hiking and sightseeing trips around Gokyo. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Explore Around GOKYO
We spend this day in Gokyo strolling around the lake and hike north to other sacred lakes and return back to Gokyo for night stay. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Day 8: Trek to GOKYO RI (5360m/17586ft) & Back to GOKYO 5 hours Gokyo Ri is the highlight of the Gokyo valley Trek and is an epic vantage point for the mountain views. We start the climb early in the morning. The path to the peak crosses the stream at the north end of the village and climbs for two hours to a cat’s cradle of prayer flags at the top of the hill. From the summit, there are panoramic views of Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cholatse and Taboche, with the Ngozumpa Glacier cutting across in front like a massive tear in the landscape. We walk down to Gokyo for the night stay.
Day 9: Trek to DOLE (4090m/13419ft) 6 hours
Following the same trail down, we make a descent to Dole.
Day 10: Trek to NAMCHE via KHUMJUNG 5 hours
Descend to Namche Bazaar via typical Sherpa village of Khumjung. Leaving the mountains behind our descent continues back to the town of Namche Bazaar.
Day 11: Trek to LUKLA 6 hours
Finally, we return to Lukla following the Dudhkoshi River, where the trek ends.
Day 12: Fly back KATHMANDU
From Lukla Airport we fly back to Kathmandu. This is a leisure day which can be utilized buying gifts and souvenirs for your friends and family. In the evening you will be invited to join FAREWELL reviewing great photos and share experiences of the trip.
Do You Have a Good Gokyo Trek Map?
The following map goes along with the Gokyo Valley Trek as offered by Outfitter Nepal.
What Permits Do I Need For Gokyo Ri and Sagarmatha?
For trekking to Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes in Sagarmatha National park, you need the following permits:
TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System):
This permit is important for every trekker wishing to trek in Nepal. From theAnnapurna Circuit to the trek to Poon Hill, all trekking routes require this permit. This costs NRS 2000 per person. This equals about 17 USD or 15 EUR. Alternatively, your trekking company arranges you a location permit in Lukla which costs around 20 USD.
Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit:
For entering the Sagarmatha National Park, the park that is home to Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri, you need to obtain an entry permit. This permit costs 30 USD + government tax.
All permits are arranged by your trekking provider.
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How Safe Is Sagarmatha National Park?
Safety is of the utmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our hikes and trekkings low. Trekking companies and their guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions.
They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment. First aid kits are available on all guided treks and hikes. If you are worried about safety in terms of criminality, then don't worry. Crime is basically non-existent in the Everest Region.
Training for the Gokyo Ri Trek
If you live anywhere else other than the Himalayas, it will be hard to get your legs ready for higher altitudes. After all, it doesn’t get much higher than Nepal. This is why we have to be clear upfront: Unless you have hiked at a higher altitude before, it will be difficult to get a 100% ready for your adventure. If that sounds bad to you, then comfort yourself with the fact that there is absolutely no need to be 100% ready.
You are not climbing K2 or Mount Everest and not running a mountain race. This is trekking. In fact, you are actually supposed to take it easy. Taking it easy is a rule of thumb when you want to prevent altitude sickness while out in Nepal. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, once you are out there on the trails, you have to stick to your own pace. But of course, the fitter you are, the more you can enjoy your days. Get fit!
Should I Hike More?
One solid approach to get the hang of what you do is to rehearse. The best practice for climbing is climbing. Seeing that you are keen on a multi-day trekking experience, we accept that you enjoy walking. Awesome, do it more. If you are fortunate to be encompassed by some hills or even mountains, the time has come to see them all the more frequently. When? In the event that you are new to this, we recommend beginning a half year the start of your trek, essentially going for 60 minutes (or two) climb seven days. When you get the hang of it, after around three weeks, you will have an ideal opportunity to reinforce your power. Convey a pack of 10 to 15kg and include a more drawn out climb of three hours to your week. On the off chance that this way of life is different to you, you will before long receive the rewards of this moderate exercise.
What Are The Health Benefits of Gokyo Treks?
There is more you can do to get ready for your Everest Base Camp Trek but the above basics will definitely help you on your way. You can focus on strength exercise, you can simulate altitude with altitude masks. There's a lot you can do.Check this blog post if you want to read more about getting fit for your Gokyo Lakes Trek.
How Do I Diagnose AMS During Gokyo Ri Trek in Nepal?
Symptoms of AMS start to show within a few hours after arrival at high altitude and include nausea, shortness of breath, headache and inability to exercise. An overall feeling of fatigue will take all the joy away that you were experiencing until things got bad. You may struggle to fall asleep, experience dizziness and you could be suffering from a severe headache. You may also lose your sense of coordination, have trouble walking and have a tight chest. If things progress to HAPE or HACE, you might get confused, have a shortness of breath at rest and you will likely be unable to walk at all.
The higher the altitude, the more severe your symptoms can be. If you have watched Everest the movie, you know what we are talking about. But those guys were climbing and you are, fortunately, only trekking. There is a number of scoring systems for determining altitude sickness. Guides are trained in these systems and are experienced in immediate treatment. Although many people will experience some symptoms of altitude sickness, it doesn’t have to escalate. When aware of the symptoms, you can do a lot to make sure you stay healthy at high altitude.
How Do I Prevent Altitude Sickness During My Gokyo Lakes Trek?
The following rules of thumbs can help you to prevent altitude sickness happening to you. They can also help to get the symptoms under control.
Have a full medical checkup and tell your practitioner what you are up to. Purchase medication recommended by your doctor. If you plan to be trekking with children, make sure you take their preparation just as carefully.
Become the Fittest Version of Yourself
Exercise about 3 to 6 hours a week with a backpack of 10kg to simulate an average day out in the Himalayas. Check out this blog post and find out how you can train for trekking in Nepal.
Listen to Your Body
Your body tells you when it needs rest. Listen to it carefully. Be aware of the symptoms of Altitude Sickness and talk about it. Let your friends, your guide, your porters know how you feel and press pause when your body wants you to. Don’t let things get worse.
Climb High, Sleep Low
An unwritten law for trekkers and climbers alike is to climb high but to sleep low. That’s why those mountaineers on Everest take a long time to get to the peak, they go up and down a few times before they push for the peak. They climb high, but they sleep low. That’s why you sometimes see a descent in the middle of your itinerary. This is being done to ensure you that you acclimatize carefully after having tackled elevation.
Eat Plenty and Hydrate More
Do you like food? Great. Eat as much as you can and eat even more. The same goes for drinking. No, you silly, not for alcohol. Hydration! Eat and drink as much as you can. Don’t skip a meal, even if you are not hungry.
Check What Comes Out
One way to gauge your fluid intake is to check your urine. Do you have to take a wee break more often than usual? Great. Keep up the hydration game. No? Then drink more.
What About The Flight From Kathmandu to Lukla for my Gokyo Trek?
A 25-minute flight from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) takes you to Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA), named after the famous pioneers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The airport is known to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world. That fact makes the flight particularly interesting. In the past flights were irregular and flight schedules were when the weather was rough, hard to count on. However, as more airlines are no offering flights on this exciting route, things have improved a lot compared to the days in the 90s and 00s.
Check the below video to get an impression of your upcoming flight to Lukla.
What Are The Teahouses on the Gokyo Ri Trek Like?
Tea houses are small hotels known as Bhatti. Them being small hotels, you can expect a certain level of comfort. Yes, you can, but just know that comfort is a relative concept. They are comfortable to the extent that you have a place to sleep and that you can enjoy home-cooked meals. That’s right, tea houses are run by local families who have opened their houses to trekkers passing by.
Because trekking in Nepal has become so popular in recent years, more and more tea houses have opened their doors and the concept has improved over the years. The more popular your route, the better the quality of your tea house is. Hence, the teahouses on the Everest Base Camp Trek are of good quality. Quality meaning that you can expect flush toilets, hot showers and in some cases wireless internet. The use of these amenities is at an extra charge. On popular routes, it is even likely that you will stay in a building that has been built with the sole purpose of serving as a tea house.
What To Pack for Gokyo Trekking?
- Duffel Bag
- Rucksack with Rain Cove Daypack
- Hiking Boots
- Sandals or Shoes
- Hiking Socks
- Trekking Poles
- Inner Socks
- Thermal Baselayer
- Fleece Pullover or Jacket
- Light Weight Thermal Tops
- Waterproof Jacket
- Sports Bra for Her
- Hiking Shorts
- Hiking Pants
- Waterproof Pants
How To Book my Gokyo Lakes Trip?
There are several websites where you can book your Everest Base Camp Trek. Important to consider is that the cheap providers are probably not very good for their staff. The income is relatively low in Nepal and some organizations like to exploit this.
At Bookatrekking.com we try to make a selection of providers who have everything in order, take good care of the staff and nature. However, they are obliged to indicate their lowest price on the internet.Here you will find all our offers for the Gokyo Lakes Trek.
If you have any questions about theGokyo Lakes Trek, why don't youget in touch with our trekking experts? They are keen to help you out! If you want to find out all you need to know about trekking in the Himalayas, don't forget to read our long-read article about Nepal walking holidays!
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