The Gokyo Cho La Pass Everest Base Camp Trek is more technically advanced than some of the other treks in the area – and therefore more adventurous!
It encompasses all the ‘usual’ sights in the area, such as Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, Gorak Shep, and Everest Base Camp, but also includes a visit to the Gokyo Lakes by crossing the high altitude Cho La Pass (5,330m).
There are some long days of 8 to 9 hours but the majority are 5 to 6 hours in length. This is a stunning trek for those with stamina and a sense of adventure.
Flying in and out of Lukla ensures the maximum amount of time is spent in the mountains. However, acclimatization is a must and this is done in the famous Namche Bazaar, from where it is possible to take a short, but steep walk to Syangboche for your first close-up of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku.
On this excursion, you can also visit Khumjung Village and the Khumjung Hillary School, started by Sir Edmund Hillary to give back to the Sherpa people.
This trek takes you through Rhododendron and pine forests, across a waterfall, and through high pasturelands, past chortens, and fluttering prayer flags.
Coming close to the Ngozumpa Glacier trekkers are awarded for making the narrow and steep climb when they reach three of the Gokyo Lakes with their turquoise, clear water.
A highlight of this trek is the steep climb up to Gokyo Ri (5,357m) to view Mount Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Makalu. This climb provides you with both stunning mountain views and acts as acclimatization for the long day ahead to cross the Cho La Pass.
In order to cross the pass before the winds set in, it is necessary to start the day very early, around 4 or 5 am. It’s a tough day with the top of the pass being at over 5,300 m. Part of the trail is over ice, making it a real once-in-a-lifetime achievement!
This feeling of achievement continues as the trekking route goes on to Gorak Shep, Everest Base Camp, and Kalapatthar, also known as Everest view point.
This trek certainly has its challenges such as long and strenuous walking days but the rewards more than make up for it in terms of personal achievement and a unique album of glorious photographs!
Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon our arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Guides who will take us to our hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and trek Preparation
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, we get our equipment checked by our climbing leader, get introduced to fellow participants, and discuss our trip at Himalayan Guides’s office. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03 Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding
During the 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (9,186ft), we enjoy one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating on a hillside surrounded by high mountainous peaks. At Lukla, a gateway destination from where our trek begins, we meet our other crew members and begin packing and arranging with them. From Lukla, we start trekking. At one hour’s gradual descent, we will be at a Cheplung village from where we have a glimpse of Mt. Khumbila (18900 ft), a sacred mountain which has never been climbed. From Cheplung, we then gradually descend until we reach Phakding and spend the night.
Day 04 Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Walking through a beautiful pine forest, we follow the trail north up the valley of Benkar. We then cross Dudh Koshi River and go on passing Chumoa to Monjo, the entrance to Everest National Park. Then after crossing a suspension bridge, we pass Jorsale village and walk alongside of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. A steep ascent brings us to the prime heartland of Sherpa village – Namche Bazaar. At one hour’s distance to reaching Namche Bazaar, if the weather permits, we can view the sights of Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 05 Acclimatization Day - Namche Bazaar
There are plenty of things to do around Namche Bazaar, and we can spend a day here acclimatizing. Namche Bazaar is the main centre of the Khumbu region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, and a colorful market. Our guides can take us to explore the real charm of Namche Bazaar. Hiking to Sagarmatha National Park rewards trekkers with a sunrise view and the views of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kongde and so on. If we are interested in a day hike, we trek to Khumjung village (12401 ft)-a beautiful village with a Sherpa settlement. In exploring Namche Bazar, we observe traditional Sherpa life, Khumjung Hillary School, and enjoy flora and fauna found at such altitude. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 06 Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga
We climb the Khumjung hill and descend to the east of the village down the broad valley leading to the Dudh Koshi from where the route turns north. There are two trails and our guide will choose the best option for us to follow. There is a chorten on the ridge top at 3973 m which descends from Mt. Khumbila (5761 m). We visit Mohang, the birthplace of the re-incarnated Lama of Rongbuk Monastery of Tibet who is believed to have introduced Buddhism in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks down a sandy slope to the Dush Koshi. We stay overnight in Phortse Tanga, near the river.
Day 07 Phortse Thanga to Machhermo
From Phortse Thanga it is an uphill climb to Machhermo. We walk on a trail alongside a rhododendron forest and pass through a waterfall before reaching Tongba Village. We continue our uphill trek and pass through Dole, Labarma and Luza villages before reaching Machhermo. There is a Chhorten right before the Luza village. Throughout today’s journey we will be walking alongside the Dudh Koshi River. Overnight in Machhermo.
Day 08 Machhermo to Gokyo
We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and also up towards Cho Oyu (8153 m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Phangkha, where an avalanche in 1995 killed 40 people. We then descend to the riverbank before climbing onto the terminal moraine of the Ngazumpa Glacier on a steep trail. Upon crossing an iron bridge over a stream, the trail levels out as it follows the valley past the first lake, known as Longpongo, at 4690 m. At this juncture, we get a chance to observe lama footprints on a stone. At the sight of the second lake, Taboche Tsho, we become mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water sparkling in the sun. Little ahead of the second lake, we reach the third lake, the two linked by a surging stream. Gokyo village stands by the third lake and Cho-Oyu Mountain as a backdrop sets an amazing spectacular sight here. After lunch, we explore around the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. Overnight in Gokyo.
Day 09 Gokyo Valley: Acclimatization Day - Optional Hike to Gokyo Ri
We will hike to Gokyo Ri, a small peak above Gokyo village, in the morning and savor the fantastic views of the entire Khumbu region. As we ascend, the views become even more fantastic and we can see four of the seven highest peaks of Nepal, Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Reaching the fourth lake, Thonak Tsho we take pleasure in the lake’s serene beauty after which we trek back along the retracing trail to the third lake. We may take an additional hike up to the fifth lake, Ngozumba Tsho if time permits and depending on our physical conditions. From here, the view of Ngozumba glacier, the longest glacier of the Himalayas, is so fascinating. Overnight in Gokyo.
Day 10 Gokyo to Thagnak
If we did not climb the Gokyo Ri the previous day, we can do that today. Climbing to the top of Gokyo Ri is demanding as it is steep and takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top. But the scenery of Gokyo village, on the edge of third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier, is magnificent. We are surrounded by panoramic mountains like Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, Kangtega, Taboche, Cholatse, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Changtse, and Pumori. The sight of sunrays kissing Everest which towers over all the surrounding peaks is astounding. We trek through the Ngazumpa Glacier to the mountain on the other side. Next, traverse along the edge of that mountain and then meander into Thagnak. It will be a short hike today with an afternoon of rest which will prepare us for long hiking days and elevation gain to come.
Day 11 Thagnak to Cho La pass to Dzongla
Today is going to be one of the toughest days of the trip. The Cho La pass is not itself difficult, but it is steep and involves a glacier traverse on the eastern side. We need to be careful as the trail is vertical and the rocks glazed by ice may cause trouble by making the trail slippery. The trail from Phedi climbs through a ravine and a rocky trail. While trekking through the side of a frozen lake, we reach at the top of the pass decorated with prayer flags. The pyramidal Ama Dablam presides over a range of mountains on the south even as Cholatse soars to the west and Lobuche East and Baruntse rises sharply to our right. We need to pass through some crevasses before we reach Dzongla Village. The village provides great views of Cholatse, Ama Dablam, Lobuche mountains along with the Pheriche Village far below.
Day 12 Dzongla to Lobuche
This will be a very short trek so we have a lot time to relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We climb down from Dzongla and walk through a grassy trail while enjoying the view of Lobuche Peak. The trail curves through the wide river bed before reaching Lobuche. We can spend the rest of day taking a rest which will help us prepare for the next day’s long trek. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 13 Lobuche to Gorak Shep , visit Everest Base Camp
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come across the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. The path from here can be misleading; hence, it is important that we follow our lead Sherpa diligently. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp. Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, we see tents of mountaineers that stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view, so it is recommended that we visit Kala Patthar today during sunset. As the setting sun’s rays strike the snow-capped mountains, the resulting scenery is incredible. Therefore, for those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar today instead of the next day please inform your guide and he/she will coordinate accordingly.
Day 14 Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar to Pheriche
We prepare for an early morning departure, amid pre-dawn darkness and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C). Plus, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. But, it is upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to see 360 degree up-close and formidable views of Mt. Everest. We take pictures, enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama, and then return back to Lobuche for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Lobuche.
Those participants who will visit Everest Base Camp today will have an early breakfast to start early as Everest base camp hike takes longer than the hike at Kala Patthar. After returning to Gorak Shep, both the groups will have lunch together; the afternoon is taken to descend down to Pheriche for a good night’s rest.
Day 15 Pheriche to Namche Bazaar
We trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the prayer-flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, our trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through pine forests. In the forest, we may come across colorful pheasants and mountain goats. The path eventually reaches Sansa from where we can enjoy views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptse mountains. We also pass winding trails then through a forest before reaching Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 16 Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk cautiously as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. After our arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of days. Overnight in Lukla.
Day 17 Fly to Kathmandu
We catch an early morning flight to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. After reaching Kathmandu, we can take a rest or do some souvenir shopping. If we want to explore any other areas of Kathmandu, we may do that today. Our guides can help you with both souvenir shopping or sightseeing. There will be a farewell dinner in the evening to celebrate the successful completion of our journey. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 18 Final departure