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Home » Highlights and Challenges of Trekking to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes

Highlights and Challenges of Trekking to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes

hiking to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that combines spectacular scenery, fascinating cultural experiences, and the excitement of hiking across one of the world’s most renowned mountain ranges. This route provides an alternative to the standard Everest Base Camp (EBC) climb, adding the picturesque Gokyo Lakes and the difficult Cho La Pass to the itinerary. Here’s what you can expect throughout this fantastic journey.

Overview of the Trek

The climb to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes is a difficult and rewarding adventure that usually takes 18 to 20 days. The path takes you through a variety of landscapes, including lush valleys, thick woods, alpine meadows, glacial moraines, and high-altitude passes. This trek’s highlights include the emerald-green Gokyo Lakes, panoramic views from Gokyo Ri, the exhilarating Cho La Pass, and, of course, arriving at Everest Base Camp.

Preparation and Permits

Before embarking on the expedition, careful planning is required. Physical fitness is essential since the journey requires lengthy days of trekking at high elevations. Cardiovascular workouts, weight training, and stamina-building activities are advised in the months preceding the walk. In addition, make sure you have proper hiking gear, such as strong boots, warm clothes, a high-quality sleeping bag, and a trustworthy backpack.

The journey requires many permissions, including the Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and the TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card. It is critical to obtain these permits before beginning your travel.

Starting Point: Lukla.

Most trekkers begin their adventure by flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, a tiny town located on a mountain with a famously short runway. The flight itself is an experience, with breathtaking vistas of the Himalayan range. Once in Lukla, the journey begins with a very simple walk to Phakding, allowing you to gradually adjust to the altitude.

Namche Bazaar

The path runs from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, the Khumbu region’s primary trade hub. Namche is a dynamic town that combines traditional and modern elements. Shops, restaurants, and internet cafés may be found here, along with breathtaking views of Kongde Ri and Thamserku peaks. Namche is an excellent site to acclimatise, with a suggested two-night stay to acclimatise to the altitude. During the acclimatisation phase, you may go on a short climb to Everest View Hotel or visit the Sherpa Culture Museum.

Trek to Gokyo Lakes.

The trail departs Namche Bazaar and diverges from the typical EBC route, heading towards the stunning Gokyo Valley. The journey to Gokyo Lakes is less busy and offers tranquil scenery. Before arriving in Gokyo, the trail goes past communities such as Dole and Machhermo.

Gokyo is a lovely town located on the banks of the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. The Gokyo Lakes are a collection of six magnificent turquoise glacier lakes revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. The reflection of snow-capped peaks in the lakes’ crystal-clear waters is breathtaking.

Gokyo Ri: A Panoramic View

The climb to Gokyo Ri, a vantage point with panoramic views of the Everest area, is a highlight of the Gokyo Lakes journey to Everest Base Camp. The hike is steep and difficult, but the views from the summit are worth it. From Gokyo Ri, you can view four of the world’s tallest peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu, as well as the huge Ngozumpa Glacier, the Himalayas’ longest glacier.

Crossing the Cho-La Pass

The trip continues with the passage of the Cho La Pass, a high-altitude pass that connects the Gokyo Valley to the classic Everest Base Camp path. This leg of the journey is difficult and needs a high degree of fitness and acclimatisation. The ascent to the pass requires crossing rugged terrain and even slippery areas, depending on the weather. The views from the summit of the pass are breathtaking, including close-ups of nearby peaks and glaciers.

Joining the traditional EBC route.

After passing through the Cho La Pass, the track descends to join the conventional Everest Base Camp route at Dzongla. The trip continues to Lobuche and Gorak Shep, the final stops before reaching Everest Base Camp. The last stretch to EBC is a difficult journey through glacial moraines, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the base camp is unsurpassed. Standing at the foot of the world’s tallest mountain, surrounded by towering ice formations and the Khumbu Icefall, is an incredible experience.

Kala Patthar: The View of Everest

While Everest Base Camp provides a close-up perspective of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, the greatest views of Mount Everest come from Kala Patthar. This spectacular vista is a short but strenuous walk from Gorak Shep. Early dawn is the greatest time to climb Kala Patthar because the rising light creates a golden glow over Everest and the neighbouring peaks. The panoramic views from the summit are stunning, with Everest, Nuptse, Pumori, and Lhotse dominating the horizon.

Descending to Lukla

After reaching Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar, the journey returns to Lukla. The descent is faster than the ascent, but you must pace yourself and maintain your health. The ride back allows you to think on the great experiences and places you’ve seen. Once in Lukla, you’ll fly back to Kathmandu, where the adventure ends.

Accommodation and Food

Teahouses, which are small huts with limited facilities, provide lodging along the hike to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes. Rooms are often twin-sharing, with shared bathrooms. While the amenities are minimal, they offer a warm and comfortable spot to stay after a day of hiking.

Food in the teahouses is diverse and plentiful, with menus featuring a mix of native and Western cuisine. Dal bhat (a typical Nepali lentil and rice dish), momos (dumplings), soups, noodles, and different fried or boiled foods are popular meals. To keep your energy levels up, remain hydrated and eat a high-calorie diet.

Health and Safety Considerations

Trekking at high elevations has several health concerns, most notably Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Symptoms of AMS include headache, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. To reduce the risk of AMS, acclimatise correctly by taking rest days, rising gradually, and remaining hydrated. If symptoms continue, descend to a lower altitude and seek medical assistance as needed.

Weather conditions in the Everest region may be unpredictable, so be prepared for any sort of weather. Bring clothing suitable for cold, windy, and perhaps wet weather. Layering is essential for adjusting your apparel to different temperatures.

Cultural Experiences

The hike to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes provides valuable cultural experiences. The Khumbu area is home to the Sherpa people, who are recognised for their climbing abilities and great hospitality. Along the route, you’ll be able to visit monasteries, stupas, and prayer wheels, learning about the local Buddhist culture. Interacting with local locals and learning about their way of life adds depth to the journey.

Environmental Responsibility

As a hiker, it’s critical to reduce your environmental effect. Follow the Leave No Trace principles by removing any litter, keeping on existing routes, and respecting local animals and plants. To decrease plastic waste, purify your own water rather than purchasing bottled water. Supporting eco-friendly teahouses and local businesses promotes sustainable tourism in the area.


Trekking to Everest Base Camp via the Gokyo Lakes is a wonderful trip that combines breathtaking natural beauty, cultural richness, and physical hardship. The route provides a unique viewpoint on the Everest area, bringing you along less-traveled trails and allowing you to enjoy both the tranquilly of the Gokyo Lakes and the excitement of traversing high-altitude mountains. With adequate preparation, care for the environment, and appreciation for the route, this walk has the potential to be a life-changing experience. Whether you are an expert trekker or a passionate explorer, the trek to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes will leave you with enduring memories and a strong feeling of accomplishment.