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Take 16 days to complete this stunning trek to Gokyo lakes, Kala Pattar & Everest Base Camp with a crossing of Cho La.

Departure: Kathmandu
Duration: 16 days
Best season: October-December; March-May
Trek Grade: Demanding (altitude; 2 peaks)


This is the ultimate challenge to the ambitious trekker. This trek takes to you to the foot of Mt. Everest and will see you traversing the challenging 5420m Cho La (pass). You will have the opportunity to trek to the summit of both Gokyo Ri, at 5340m and Kala Pattar, at 5554m. Both peaks will afford magnificent views of the highest mountains in the world, including Mt Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and many more.

Your trek includes a visit to Everest Base Camp which will allow you to have a closer look at the spectacular Khumbu Icefall.

This trek requires you to be moderately fit but not necessarily a highly experienced trekker. Sometimes the fittest people come down with altitude sickness problems from going up too fast, so we make sure we take our time and pace our ascent! Considering the snow condition over Cho La, the trek may not be advisable during mid-winter and monsoon period.

BRIEF ITINERARY

Day 01: Flight to Lukla & Trek to Phakding [2656m]
Day 02: Trek to Namche [3450m]
Day 03: Rest day in Namche
Day 04: Trek to Dole [4084m]
Day 05: Trek to Machermo [4410m]
Day 06: Rest day in Machermo
Day 07: Trek to Gokyo [4750m]
Day 08: Rest day - Ascent of Gokyo Ri [5483m]
Day 09: Trek to Tragnag [4690m]
Day 10: Trek to Lobuche [4928m]
Day 11: Trek to Gorak Shep [5184m]
Day 12: Trek to Everest Base Camp [5375m] & Return to Gorak Shep
Day 13: Trek to Pangboche [3985m]
Day 14: Trek to Namche [3450m]
Day 15: Trek to Lukla [2800m]
Day 16: Fly to Kathmandu

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Flight to Lukla & Trek to Phakding [2656m]
A spectacular flight and hair raising landing on a steep mountain runway brings us to the start of our trek at the village of Lukla [2800m]. After meeting the crew, we head up the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail to our first camp near the river at Phakding.

Day 02: Trek to Namche [3450m]
From Phakding, we cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve this fragile mountain environment. We then ascend quite steeply to Namche and along the way, if the weather is clear, catch a first glimpse of Mt Everest in the distance. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market - a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La. Camp is near the bazaar at Namche.

Day 03: Rest day in Namche
Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops as well as a magnificent outlook. It is an ideal place to spend a rest day, acclimatising to the new altitude before heading off towards Tengboche. Options for acclimatisation walks include a visit to Khunde Hospital which was set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or a one hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for the sunset view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the town.

Day 04: Trek to Dole [4084m]
Today is a spectacular day in terms of scenery as we follow the main trail north out of Namche. A short climb to a crest reveals a wonderful view towards Everest and Lhotse. We follow this main trail for a while longer, passing many traders selling Tibetan handicrafts, to a crossroads high above the Dudh Kosi. The trail to Everest drops down the hill but we turn off here and climb to cross the Mon La (‘La’ means pass) before reaching Phortse Tenga. From Phortse Tenga, the trail climbs steeply to Dole, through rhododendron and birch forest festooned with hanging mosses and lichens.

Day 05: Trek to Machermo [4410m]
From Dole we climb steadily along the side of the valley, where the rhododendron forests give way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases. The trail passes many summer settlements [yersa], which are used when yaks are taken to these pastures to graze in the summer months. Ahead of us are excellent views of Cho Oyu, while back down the valley are the peaks of Kantega and Thamserku. This is a short day and we will arrive at Machermo in time for lunch.

Day 06: Rest day in Machermo
We are now approaching 4500m, so we will stay at Machermo for an extra day to acclimatise. There are plenty of possibilities for exploration around the camp and just above the village there is an excellent view encompassing Cho Oyu [8210m] and the mountains which flank the Ngozumpa Glacier.

Day 07: Trek to Gokyo [4750m]
Rested, we head for the lakes at Gokyo. We follow a very scenic path to Pangka and then descend slightly, following one of the melt-water rivers which flow down the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier. We climb a steep rocky incline into the valley by the side of the glacier, passing the first of the holy lakes. We soon arrive at the second of the lakes, crossing the path which heads across the glacier to Cho La - our route to Lobuche and Everest, later in the trek. The third lake is known as Dudh Pokhari and on its eastern shore is the settlement of Gokyo. Walking by the side of the lake, the scenery is magnificent with the summits of Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang reflected in its emerald green waters.

Day 08: Rest day - Ascent of Gokyo Ri [5483m]
Gokyo Ri looms above the village on the northern edge of the lake and we leave camp just after first light, following a steep path up the hillside. As we climb, the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu slowly come into sight and the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri itself, is one of the finest to be had in the Everest region - some say it is even better than that from Kala Pattar. For those who still have some energy, there are more good views to be had by dropping back down to the main path and following it north to the fourth and fifth of the Gokyo lakes, the latter being about three hours from Gokyo.

Day 09: Trek to Tragnag [4690m]
Fit and acclimatised, we leave Gokyo to cross the Ngozumpa Glacier. We descend to the second lake and drop down onto the glacier. The route across the glacier is marked by cairns and is generally quite well defined. We climb off the glacier by a small dwelling known as Tragnag and follow a shallow valley to our camp by a small kharka (summer grazing pasture).

Day 10: Trek to Lobuche [4928m]
An early start is necessary today, as not only do we have to cross Cho La, but we also have to make the long descent to reach Lobuche. Continuing up the valley, we cross a ridge and an old lateral moraine, before beginning the rocky scramble to the pass. From the pass there are excellent views, across to the Rolwaling Valley in the west and Ama Dablam to the south east. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier [often snow covered] which is fairly straightforward. There are more excellent views of Ama Dablam and the forbidding north face of Cholatse as we descend to the pastures below. The way to Lobuche contours the grassy slopes above a lake, the Tshola Tsho, to join up with the main Everest trail from Pheriche and Tengboche. The trail flattens out and follows the valley on the west side of the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche.

Day 11: Trek to Gorak Shep [5184m]
To reach our next objective, Kala Pattar, the trail continues to follow the valley beside the Khumbu Glacier, and offers superb views of the surrounding mountains, especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. We stop for lunch at our camping place for the night, Gorak Shep. Later in the afternoon, when the sunset colours begin to appear on Everest, we make our way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Khumbu, Kala Pattar [5549m]. As the light begins to fade we stroll back to our camp at Gorak Shep and have an early night in preparation for our trek to Everest Base Camp the following day.

Day 12: Trek to Everest Base Camp [5375m] & Return to Gorak Shep
For the trek to Everest Base Camp, a very early start is required. It takes several hours on a trail across the Khumbu Glacier which weaves its way between almost translucent ice pinnacles and past seemingly bottomless crevasses. At Base Camp, there will hopefully be an expedition 'in residence' and there are great views up into the Khumbu Ice Fall, where there is often some climbing activity. On the return leg, we can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu Ice Fall and the route to the South Col. We then return to Gorak Shep.

Day 13: Trek to Pangboche [3985m]
It's downhill most of the way today, past Lobuche to Duglha and Pheriche. The Himalayan Rescue Association have a trekkers aid post here which is interesting to visit. After lunch we head on down to the lovely twin villages of Pangboche. New Pangboche is where we’ll stay and Old Pangboche is home to the oldest monastery in the Khumbu, founded in 1667, which houses relics said to be the skull and hand of a yeti.

Day 14: Trek to Namche [3450m]
We continue to follow the river and, after crossing it, climb back up through birch and rhododendron forest to Tengboche and its famous monastery. There are magnificent views from here and Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku are just a few of the Himalayan giants which can be seen. From Tengboche we descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi at Phunki Tenga, where there are water driven prayer wheels, before making our way back to Namche.

Day 15: Trek to Lukla [2800m]
Our final day's trekking follows the Dudh Kosi back down to Lukla. This last evening in the mountains is the ideal opportunity for a farewell party with the sherpa guides and porters, where we can sample some chang, try Sherpa dancing and look back on a truly memorable trekking experience!

Day 16: Fly to Kathmandu
We take an early morning flight back to Kathmandu.

IMPORTANT NOTE
Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is Adventure Travel in the mountains, we cannot guarantee it. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of fellow travellers can all contribute to changes. We will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but an easy going nature will be an asset!

 

 

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