Trekking to Gokyo and Gokyo Ri, Nepal
On October 6th 2013 a party of 18, from the UK and Kenya, trekked to Gokyo, Nepal over 10 days walking 8 hours daily on average. The trekkers reached an altitude of 5360 meters at the highest point. This is a short insight into their experience.
Very much like the well-known Base Camp Everest trek, we started our journey with an interesting flight into Lukla from Kathmandu. To ensure you get the most exhilarating views of the Himalayas, the best seats are on the left of these tiny 10-seater planes. With our seat belts done up tight we were ready for the bumpy ride!
Landing at Lukla Airport was quite an experience. The plane crosses the last ridge on the approach and then dives down, heading for what seems like an impossibly small landing strip; 400m long and 20m wide! Fortunately for us, the pilots are experts at landing and taking off.
At Lukla (2795m) we met the rest of our crew and started out trek into the Sagarmatha National Park. We passed through a series of Sherpa villages surrounded by cultivated fields growing a range of crops. The surrounding views were stunning; lush green land with brightly coloured flowers, snow capped mountains, clear blue skies and the pleasant sound of the flowing river. This was close to paradise!
After crossing River xxx several times via the basic suspension bridges made of steel panks and wire we began the long hard climb to Namche Bazaar (3480m). We spent a day acclimatising here. Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Khumbu Region, is a fascinating town. Set in the valley, it is a great place to relax and buy any last minute items. We treated ourselves to delicious espressos and chocolate brownies!
On Day 3, we left Namche Bazaar and parted company from the Everest Base Camp route and trekked up the Dudh Koshi valley. We passed through Dole (4130m) and Machermo (4470m) finally reached Gokyo (4770m) on Day 7. Each ascending day was different but beautiful in it’s own way. The vegetation turned from dense evergreen forests to golden red and yellow shrubs and sparse heather to rugged snow capped mountain faces. The walking paths unfolded from lush green carpets to barren rocks smoothed out by the harsh weather conditions. We passed 3 of the 5 most breathtaking lakes on the approach to Gokyo. All were varying shades of turquoise!
Our final ascent to Gokyo Ri (5360m) started early morning on Day 8. It was a clear, sunny but bitterly cold day. Minus 10 degrees with a strong wind! The effort and endurance paid off since this is one of the best 360 degree viewpoint in the Himalayas, offering unchallenged imposing views of Cho Oyu mountain and the Kumbu glaciers.
Over the next three days we backtracked and made our descent back to Lukla, facing snow, sleet and heavy rain. Even with the complete change in the weather conditions, the scenery was spectacular! By the time we got to Kathmandu, almost everyone had lost a couple of inches off their waistline! However, what we lost in weight through the trek, we gained in the tremendous insight into the humble lives of the Nepali people and their magnificent breathtaking land! “What a TREK!”