Gokyo Lakes Trek: Freshwater Lakes of Ngozumpa Glacier

Gokyo lakes trek is the best variation route to the traditional Everest Base Camp trek. The Gokyo lakes trek takes place in the Khumbu region of Nepal and takes you through secluded valleys, stunning glaciers, pristine turquoise lakes and views of the tallest mountains in the world. The Gokyo Lake trek lies on the head of Dudh Koshi Valley and gives you added bonus of visiting the six oligotrophic Gokyo lakes.

Top of Gokyo Ri

Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lakes are the main highlights of the trek. There are many lakes in the region of Gokyo. Thus the area has been classified as a Ramsar wetland conservation site. Six popular lakes are called the Gokyo lakes and are the major tourist attraction in the area. The unique turquoise colour of the water that resembles the sky itself is picturesque wonder of nature.

The Gokyo lakes sit at an altitude of 4,700 meters to 5,000 meters, one of the highest freshwater systems in the world. In September 2007, an area of 30 square miles around the Gokyo lakes was designated a Ramsar site.  

Among the lakes, Gokyo Cho is the main attraction lake with an area of 42.9 hectares. The village of Gokyo sits at the eastern shore of the Gokyo Cho. Gokyo Cho is also called Dudh Pokhari. Thonak Cho is the largest among the Gokyo lakes. Other lakes are Gyazumpa Cho, Tanjung Cho, and Ngojumba Cho.

The Gokyo lakes are glacier-fed freshwater lakes. The lakes get water from seepage of Ngozumpa glacier, a stream from the Renjo Pass and a stream from Ngozumpa glacier. Researchers believe the lakes may be connected at depths through underground seepage water.

The Gokyo lakes sit just below the Ngozumpa glacier, the largest and longest glacier of the Himalayas. The freshwater system is naturally vulnerable to the outburst of Ngozumpa glacier. If a natural burst does happen to the Ngozumpa glacier, the Gokyo lake water system will cease to exist.

Gokyo Ri (Gokyo Peak)

Gokyo Ri, commonly called Gokyo Peak is a high peak located in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas. The peak stand at an elevation of 5,357 meters to the west of Ngozumpa glacier. You can climb to the top of Gokyo Ri to get a panoramic view of the Gokyo Valley and the Himalayas. Four mountains above 8,000 meters are seen from the Gokyo Ri. Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu are vivid in front of your eyes from the top of Gokyo Ri.

The Ngozumpa glacier lies on the western base of Gokyo Ri, and the Gokyo valley settlement sits below on the southern face of the peak. Gokyo Ri is popular as the alternative viewpoint of snow-capped mountains instead of Kalapatar and Cho La pass.

Gokyo Ri is famous as a trekking peak amount of tourists and mountaineers. Tourists take an extended trip to Everest Base Camp so they can trek to the summit of Gokyo peak and witness the artistic view of Gokyo valley, turquoise lakes, and towering majestic mountains.

Gokyo Trek Basic Itinerary

The Gokyo trek is a 15 days to 20 days trek in the Everest region of Nepal. The trek takes you to Lukla airport through flight, and then you trek towards Phakding and Namche Bazaar, the hub of Khumbu region.  You then trek towards Lhabarma, Machherma, and Phang (4,470 meters). On the route, you will witness Sherpa communities, their cultures, traditions and daily lifestyle in the high altitude environment. The next destination is Gokyo village, situated at the banks of Gokyo lake.

Here on, you can ascend the Gokyo peak and get a feel of neighbouring mountains and Gokyo valley. After summiting the Gokyo Peak, you can choose not to retrace the same way back to Lukla and opt for a route that takes you through the spectacular Bhotekoshi Valley and the Renjo pass.

Renjo Pass is one of the three high passes of the Everest region. The pass sits west of the Gokyo Valley, and few travellers traverse through the path. Renjo pass gives you another dimensional view of the Everest region and the Gokyo lakes. After crossing the Renjo pass, you visit the Renjo lake, another offspring of the Ngozumpa glacier. You descend along the Bhote Koshi reaching Thame and completing a circle circuit to Namche Bazaar.

Everest Base Camp Via Gokyo Ri

Another enthralling option after the Gokyo Lakes trek is to continue to the Everest Base Camp. Many tourists add Gokyo Lakes trek as a side trek en route to Everest Base Camp to avoid the busy, tourist-packed route to the Everest Base Camp. After summiting the Gokyo Ri, you cross the Ngozumpa glacier to reach Dragnag. You outreach the next village, Dzongla by passing through an Everest high pass, Cho La pass(5,420 meters).

Then you join the Everest Base camp trail in Lobuche and head towards the base camp. On your return, you follow the traditional path and visit a religious place, Tengboche and the several monasteries in the village, including the Tengboche Monastery. Then you will trek further to Namche Bazaar, Lukla and then fly back to Kathmandu.

Best Season for Gokyo Lakes Trek

The best time to trek in the Gokyo region of Khumbu is in pre-monsoon and post-summer season. The pre-monsoon time of the year sees the most greenery in the Gokyo valley. March, April, and May is the best season to view rhododendron blooms in the hills. September and October months are ideal for trekking as the sky is clear and the wind is dry in the region. During these months, the sky remains clear and will provide you with the lavish scenery of the greenish hills, pristine lakes, and mesmerising mountains.

Monsoon season is the worst season to go trekking to the Gokyo lakes. The visibility in Gokyo at monsoon is very low with constant fog and blizzards halting the views. The settlement of Gokyo is among the highest settlements in the world. Many people traverse down to lower altitudes like Namche in the winter season. We do not suggest to go trekking at Gokyo lakes and Khumbu region in the winter season.

Difficulty of Gokyo Lakes Trek

If the predominant Everest base camp trail is an easy grade trek, then the Gokyo Lakes trek is also an easy trek barring climbing the Cho La pass and passing through the Ngozumpa glacier. Travelling to the Gokyo lakes and returning is not tricky, but if you wish to continue to Everest base camp from Gokyo peak, the trek gains a certain level of difficulty.

The ascend of Gokyo peak is of normal trekking difficulty but crossing the Ngozumpa glacier and traversing through Cho La pass requires specific technical skill and expertise. This particular section of the trek requires a guided assistance of guides and porters who cross the path on a daily basis.

Overall, the Gokyo lakes trail is of moderate difficulty compared to the Everest Base Camp trek and offers significantly more in terms of views and artistic beauty of the Khumbu region.

Do you need to Acclimate

You land at Kathmandu at an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level and reach heights of above 5,000 meters in a matter of days. Yes, you do need to acclimate to adjust to the changes in elevations. The trekking itinerary consists of acclimatising days in several locations to help you adapt to the high altitudes and thin air.

Gaining altitudes quickly in a day-to-day manner will arise symptoms of altitude sickness, even more, if you are accustomed to living in lower elevations. Trekking in the Khumbu region needs patience and discipline. If you hurridly trek to higher altitudes, you may have to descend to dissipate altitude sickness symptoms. The best way to trek is slowly and acclimatising to the climate and altitude.

The trek duration can vary if you need more time to acclimatise to the altitude. The trek duration can increase if bad weather hit the region, strong enough to disrupt the trails.

Trekking Gears for Gokyo Lakes Trek

Bags: Duffle bag for porters to carry and Daypack for your personal belongings

Shells:  Top and Bottom waterproof shells to keep off wind and rain

Clothes: Inner Layer, Jumper, Jackets, Hats, Gloves, Tshirts and trousers to keep warm

Feet: Comfortable boots with good sole and ankle protectors, Light shoes for evenings at Camp

Sleep: Sleeping Bags to cover yourself up when sleeping in Tea Houses

Drinks: Hard Plastic Water bottles(Non-Throwable), and Water Purification System

Medical: General Med Kit, Bandages and Antiseptic

Trekking instruments and Miscellaneous: Sunglasses, Sunhat, Creams, Trekking Poles, dry bags, cameras and books  

You can add other items as per your needs and personal preferences. Make sure you don’t carry excessive items. Even a book or a water bottle can be a burden when traversing through altitudes as high as 5,000 meters. Make sure you carry only the things that you absolutely need on the trek.

For any further information regarding Gokyo Lakes Trek, the trek routes, and destinations on the trek message us your queries on our contact page.

You can also check up on other travel packages and details of other treks and destinations in our blog.

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