Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
The trek to the sparkling, untarnished blue and green waters of the Gokyo Lakes is one of the most memorable sights in Nepal. Comprising the highest freshwater lake system in the world, at around 5,000 meters, the Gokyo trek is one of the refreshing treks in Nepal. The Gokyo Lake Trek is ideal for those who want to trek in the Everest region but has a shorter time duration. It is an alternative trek to the base camp of Everest with plenty of stunning views of Everest as well as overnight stays in the iconic town of Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu Region. Gokyo Lakes are mesotrophic lakes in Sagarmatha National Park, at an altitude of 4,700–5,000m above sea level. It is the world’s highest freshwater lake system containing six main lakes. Out of six lakes, Thonak is the largest.
The lake has been designated as a Ramsar site as well as being sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. The route to the Gokyo Lake Trek is less busy than everyone else chooses to go for the Everest Base camp trek. However, this trek is stunning in its way. Despite few visitors, this trek has a significance of its own. It affords the trekker an insight into local village life, impressive views of icy rivers and stony, glacier debris, snow-capped mountains, and of course the dazzling turquoise waters of Gokyo Lakes themselves. On the other hand, one can visit the 5th and 6th lakes sitting at a high alpine bowl at the foot of Cho Oyu, the world’s 6th highest mountain.
Trip Highlights of Gokyo Lake Trek
- Walkthrough the peaceful, off-the-beaten paths of the Everest region to reach Gokyo valley.
- Stunning view of sunrise/sunset view at Mount Everest and other neighboring peaks from Gokyo Ri (5357 meters). Unspoiled and crisp Gokyo valley.
- Dive into the scenario of the dazzling glacial lakes, especially during the afternoon.
- Explore one of the biggest glaciers in the Khumbu region- the Ngozumpa glacier.
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
The Gokyo Lake trek is one of the most fascinating treks in Nepal’s Khumbu region. The trek takes you through the trail of some rugged landscapes and off-beaten paths through Namche, Dole, Machhermo, and also to the Gokyo Valley. Gokyo valley is home to the shimmering Gokyo lakes. With fascinating views of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, this trek is highly recommended for travel enthusiasts who seek adventure. Despite being a trek with high altitude, the Gokyo lake trek difficulty is moderate. However, the rewarding view comes from the strenuous difficulty.
The trekkers must know the challenges and complexity of the trek before opting for this trek. This trek is highly rewarding in case you are completely into nature. However, the trek to high altitude is always challenging no matter which destination you choose. Certain things depend upon the trek themselves like physical stamina. This trek requires walking about 5 to 6 hours, excluding the acclimation days. Similarly, rugged trails, steep terrains, and high passes are more burdensome.
On the other hand, altitude can be another difficulty while trekking to high altitude. As you will be trekking at an altitude around 3500m to the highest of 5000m. The air at this altitude is quite thin resulting in altitude sickness. Even for experienced trekkers, breathing can be quite tricky, and the long trekking days add more trouble.
Duration of Everest Gokyo Lake Trek
The trek to Gokyo is the perfect trek for those who wish to avoid the busier trails in the Everest region but still gain stunning views of Everest. The trek takes you to the Sherpa village and yak pastures. Emerging into the stunning Gokyo Valley with its bSherpaul lakes, we ascend Gokyo Ri. It is the place for the finest views of Everest and surrounding peaks including Cho Oyu in Tibet. The trek to Gokyo takes from 13 days to 15 days. Or if you wish to explore more you can add up some days as well. However, the trek to the Himalayas is always challenging and rough but the scenario is blissful. Undeniably the trekking is at its best in the Everest region.
1: Arrival in Kathmandu
1400 m / 4593 ft
2: Fly to Lukla/ Trek to Phakding
2651 m / 8697 ft
3: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
3438 m / 11279 ft
4: Acclimatization day
3700 m / 12139 ft
5: Namche Bazaar to Dole
3680 m / 12073 ft
6: Dole to Machhermo
4470 m / 14665 ft
7: Machhermo to Gokyo
4800 m / 15748 ft
8: Morning trip to Tokyo to
5,357 m / 17575 ft
9: Gokyo to Dole
4110 m / 13484 ft
10: Dole to Namche Bazaar
3438 m / 11279 ft
11: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
2860 m / 9383 ft
12: Lukla to Kathmandu
1380 m / 4527 ft
What Makes Everest Gokyo Lake Trek Difficult?
Altitude is one of the major difficulties in the Gokyo lake trek. The highest elevation of this trek is Gokyo Ri 5,357 above sea level. However, if you want to explore Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar, you need to ascend to 5,545m. The starting point of this trek is Lukla at 2,860m, which is sufficient enough for some trekkers to cause altitude sickness. The rapid rise in altitude may cause the problem of altitude sickness. Besides, the trek passes through Namche Bazaar (3,438 m) – Dole (3,680 m), Macchermo (4,470 m), Gokyo valley (4,800 m), and finally to the Gokyo Ri (5,357 m). The altitude gain is high, where acclimatization is necessary to adjust with the increasing altitude.
The increasing altitude should be taken carefully or else it can be life-threatening due to elevation-related problems. The increase in altitude decreases the level of oxygen. So, trekkers may find difficulty in breathing. Therefore, anyone can be a victim of altitude sickness due to the less air pressure and the low oxygen content in the air at higher altitudes. There is no age limit and physical fitness for Altitude sickness. It can happen to anyone. The mild symptoms can be slight headaches. However, if the symptoms worsen into difficulty in breathing, nausea, vomiting, fever, collapsing then one should immediately stop the trek and should rest.
Weather in the Himalayan region is one of the most unpredictable factors. It changes significantly without any warning. There is a change in the weather and climatic conditions every hour. Likewise, unpredictable weather adds more difficulties to your journey. Also, to a high-altitude trek to an Everest region, weather can be one of the difficult factors of the trek.
At an altitude of 4763m above sea level, Gokyo valley has a tundra climate, meaning that even in the warmest months, the temperatures are very low. So, when trekking to this region, one must be well prepared. Another nuisance during your trek can be the rain and snowfall. Sometimes the trail is covered with snow due to heavy snowfall which can cause navigating issues.
The temperature tends to fall rapidly in highly elevated areas, and especially in winter, the weather becomes freezing. Therefore, it will be a challenging journey. The trekkers can opt for spring and autumn for the trek. The average during the day falls between 15 to 12 degrees centigrade in spring which is similar to October’s temperature. In the nighttime, the temperatures drop to -5 to -10 degrees. However, it does not pose much trouble if you carry proper hiking gear and warm clothes. The spring and autumn offer you the wonderful view of clear blue skies with unobstructed mountain views.
Remote and Rugged Trails
Another one of the difficulties that the trekkers have to face during this trek is remote and rugged trails. The journey to the Himalayas became much more challenging because of the rough and remote trails. One has to ascend and descend for hours almost every day. Walking through up and down terrain with rugged trails you have to complete the trek within a certain time limit. Starting too late in the morning may cause trouble in the trek as the weather in the Himalayas is always changing.
The remote Gokyo lake trek passes through the beaten trails. The treks become more difficult with the steep trails. Even for the people who are experienced, one finds the trails challenging. The rough trails with narrow roads are hard to complete. Passing through dusty surfaces, the trail moves up and down a lot. However, the trekkers should be physically and mentally prepared for the trek. Physical fitness, stamina, and endurance are all essential for the difficult terrains of this Gokyo Lake trek.
How Should You Train for Everest Gokyo Lake Trek
Trek to Gokyo is challenging but it can be done comfortably with proper training and equipment. Training for the Gokyo lake trek should include aerobic conditioning, elevation training, and strength endurance training. Aerobic training will teach the body to work hard even when there’s less oxygen at a high altitude. It will strengthen your muscles to better handle the elevation gain. The trek to the Everest region itself is challenging as many people take it as a marathon. A physical challenge is required here while the trek is tough, it is not impossible. With the right training, the right pace, and some good preparation, one can make their way successfully to the Gokyo lake trek.
Hiking to Nearby Areas
The best way to get ready for the trek is to keep a habit of hiking. Whether it is a short or long hike, make yourself comfortable in hiking. Increase the physical stamina and get ready to explore the best of the Gonyo lake trek. Find some local trails, hike through your town, or just get out and walk. Also, get used to long walks. Learn how far you can push yourself. Start small and make a habit of walking for 5 or 6 hours with minimal breaks. Once you’ve done a few all-day hikes, you will have a good idea of how your body will react and how to manage a Gokyo lake Trek.
Another way you can train your body is by acclimatization. Your body is new to the temperature where you are hiking. And definitely, the amount of oxygen is relatively low with the increase in temperature. However, Don’t hurry for the trek. Finish it within a limited time. Acclimatize when needed, as acclimatization is the best way to keep your body away from altitude sickness.
Stay hydrated and watch over your Nutrition
Food and water are the basic essential needs of everyone’s life and same with the people who are in the trek. The intense trek to the high altitude will need extra nutrition and hydration. So stay hydrated and get enough nutrition. Let your body push yourself into the new environment and get enough food and water. Avoid the food and drinks which will slow down your trek. Keeping your body healthy is one of the best training you can do to complete the trek. The body with less energy and immunity is likely to catch altitude sickness. So, drink a lot of water and enjoy every nutrition that you get on your journey.
Get your gear ready
Getting your gear and needed stuff ready is another training that you will be doing within yourself. Your boots play an important role in the comfort mesa of your trek. So get your trekking boots early and break them in. See if the boot you are wearing is comfortable or not as you will be walking for a long distance during this trek. On the other hand, carry a comfortable backpack. Don’t force things that are not needed. Carry the necessary item and try to make your backpack small so that you will feel comfortable during the journey.
Altitude Sickness in the Everest Gokyo Lake Trek
Altitude is one of the factors that bring faculty to the Gokyo lake trek. As the highest altitude in the Gokyo Ri trek is 5357m at Gokyo Ri, there is a high risk of altitude. The starting point of this trek is at Lukla at 2860m, which is itself sufficient enough to cause altitude sickness to some trekkers. The trek then continues to Phakding and Namche (3438 m). Then ascends hp to Dole (3680 m), Macchermo (4470 m), Gokyo valley (4800 m), and finally to the Gokyo Ri (5357 m). However, the gaining in altitude is something that should be taken carefully. The fast gain in altitude without any civilization can cause altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness starts anywhere up above 2500m. So one should never ignore the symptoms of altitude sickness. The symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, feeling dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, and especially shortness of breath. Besides, vomiting, fainting, and nausea are severe symptoms of altitude sickness. If taken lightly, there may be a risk of life. So, if any of these symptoms are seen on any trekker it will be better to stop trekking or back down to a lower altitude. Besides, anyone of any age group, physical fitness, or gender preferences can be a victim of altitude sickness.
Some Measures to Cope with Altitude Sickness
- Altitude sickness is severe but curable as well. With patience, slow trekking, proper acclimatization, and a balanced diet, we can cope with altitude sickness. Here are some of the measures to cope with altitude sickness.
- Trek gradually with a slow pace
- One of the major ways to control altitude sickness is taking the trek slow and steady. Gokyo Ri at 5357m is enough altitude to make you feel short of breath. So instead of hurrying for the trek, take a bit more extra time and enjoy the trek with a healthy body. Following the itinerary, they are made to consider a way to cope with altitude sickness. When trekking to the Himalayas, it is always the best idea to listen to the guide and do the slow trek with a few days of acclimatization.
- Increase your food and water intake
- The next thing we can do to prevent altitude sickness is to take care of our food and drinks. With the new environment and temperature, our body needs healthy nutrition. So, take care of what you eat and drink. Try to avoid the thing which causes your stamina to go down. Avoid drinking during trekking days. Take enough protein carbs and fats that work as a strength of your body. The food is easily available on your way. The taste may be new to you but they are full of nutrition providing you energy for the next day’s walk.
Consult a physician and take medication
The next thing you can do to avoid altitude sickness is consulted with your physician and take medication if needed. It is always necessary to do things at the right time. So before starting the trek to high altitude, consult with your physician if the trek is suitable for you or not. It is even more necessary if you are taking some medication and at the same time want to do the trek. So, the best thing will be to consult or talk with your physician before starting the trek as there is a saying that Prevention is better than cure.
When is the Right Time To Trek the Region?
The best season for the Gokyo Ri Trek is during the Spring season and Autumn season. The spring starts from March and lasts till May in Nepal whereas Autumn starts with September and lasts till November. There is a minimum rainfall making the trail comfortable. Besides, the view is astonishing during this season. The majestic peak of the Himalayan can be seen without any hindrance of weather.
The clear blue sky, green landscapes, pasture land, terrain, and the lake itself are major attractions of spring and Autumn. Trekkers can enjoy the lush green vegetation of Tokyo, especially in the trail region at lower altitudes during spring.
Moreover, the weather is suitable for the trek. As winter is cold and during the rainy season the trail becomes slippery and tough for the trek. So, during the suitable temperature and weather as well as the astonishing view of the entire landscape, autumn and spring are the best time for the trek to Gokyo lake.
What to Pack for Everest Gokyo Lake Trek?
Parking plays one of the major roles in making the trek comfortable. So, be well prepared about packing. Carry the things which are most needed and avoid packing unnecessary things as far as possible.
As for clothing, you need to pack extra t-shirts, one down jacket, waterproof and windproof jackets, thermal tops, undergarments, leggings, hiking trousers, special trekking boots, shoes, and shocks.
Include toiletries needed in your backpacks such as towels, toilet papers, soap, hand washing, and other things according to your needs.
Don’t forget to carry your First aid box and medicine if you are taking any. Carry extra anti-headache pills, aspirin, band-aids and first-aid tape, high-quality bandages, knee pads or knee bandages (mandatory), cold medicine and painkillers as well as some antibiotics.
Carry your accessories like mobile phones, headset watches, and other stuff if they are needed. Handle it with care.
Carry your important documents more carefully. You may have a passport, photos, and any documents that are needed for the trek. So, handle it with care.
Essential Tips for Everest Gokyo Lake Trek
- Acclimatize and rest properly
- AAcclimatization is one of the basic and major tips to follow when trekking to high altitudes. Proper acclimatization minimizes the risk of altitude sickness. Moving too fast with the increase.in temperature can lead to altitude sickness. Therefore, move slowly to acclimate with the increase in temperature. Take a day’s rest, start hiking or even explore the surrounding villages. That will adjust you with the rising elevation.
- Train Properly
- Train both mind and body properly. Be physically and mentally prepared for the trek. Train your body before starting the trek. Home to the nearby villages, get engaged in some sorts of cardio and weight training, increase your stamina so that later on you won’t be facing any problem while trekking. Likewise, it is equally important to train your mind as well. be mentally prepared for the trek. Don’t think that it is going to be easy just because you are well trained and have physical stamina. Without mental well being the trek will be much harder. Therefore, train your body, mind, and soul and get ready to explore the Gokyo lake in the Everest region.
- Avoid Winter and early spring season
- Season, temperature, and weather equally play important roles in the comforts of the term. When you are trekking at a high-altitude place like Gokyo lake, it is always a good idea to avoid winter. Winter is very harsh at high altitudes. Sometimes due to heavy snowfall, the trail is blocked. The night may be unbearably cold and the trail may be covered with snowmaking it hard to trek. So, it will be wise to choose spring over winter when trekking to high-altitude trek in the Himalayas.
- Customize your trek with additional days
- Customize the trek with additional days if necessary. Sometimes due to altitude sickness or other major problems, the trek takes more days than expected. So be well prepared for all the problems that are coming your way. Instead of finishing the trek within 14 days, add an extra two days to finish the trek more healthily and satisfyingly.
Hire a Guide and Porter
Hiring a guide and porter is equally important when trekking to Gokyo lake. The trek can be done alone but it will be much more challenging than you’ve ever imagined. There may be problems with trails, direction, accommodation, and carrying an extra backpack all by yourself. Therefore, hire a local guide who will be able to manage your accommodation, stay active during emergencies, and lead you with direction. Similar to the porter, they help to carry your extra backpack and take the burden off your shoulders. Their role may be small but the most important one is your comfort.
Stay calm and positive
Everyone is well aware that trekking to high altitudes is challenging. So, stay calm and positive. It will be harder, as you have to walk the rough trail for more than 5 hours a day for every single day. You will feel tired and energy less at the end of the day but still have to go with the journey the next morning. So patience, calmness, and positiveness are needed here. As the view will make you forget all your trouble and add extra refreshment to your journey.
Excited about the trek? Then here is the detail on the trek.