Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty

Gokyo Lakes are spectacular landmarks in the remote part of the Everest region. This off-the-beaten Gokyo Lake trek takes you on an adventurous journey. The mesmerizing Himalayan lakes are a hidden jewel of the region. While the Gokyo Lake Trek is not mainstream, it is gaining popularity among trekkers gradually.

This Gokyo lake trek is generally considered a difficult trek as compared to the other treks to EBC. The trails of this trek pass through the high altitude and rugged landscapes. Moreover, the remote region trek requires you to remain physically and mentally fit. Trekkers must come with adequate preparation and training to handle these terrains.

Furthermore, there are other added adventures in the itinerary like summiting the Gokyo Ri trekking peak. Hence, this trek can be moderately difficult for regular trekkers, whereas first-time trekkers will find it quite strenuous. Read on to know more about the Gokyo lake trek difficulty and its other contributing factors. Moreover, you will also get to read about how to reduce difficulty along the trail.

About Gokyo Lake Trek

Gokyo lake trek is immensely beautiful and takes you through the serene landscapes. The Gokyo valley remains located on the premises of the Sagarmatha National Park. Geographically, it lies in the Solukhumbu district in the north-eastern part of Nepal. Gokyo lakes include six lakes ranging from 4700m-5000m. This puts them in a group of highest altitude lakes in the world

Thonak Cho is the highest and largest lake among them whereas Gokyo Cho (Dudh Pokhari) is the main one. The tranquil waters of the water bodies are quite clean and the surrounding environment is quite scenic. There are local settlements of the Sherpas community with rich cultural heritage along the trail.

Gokyo lakes are also of great importance religiously. Both Hindu and Buddhist followers consider the lakes sacred and there is a huge festival gathering on several occasions.

Besides that, there are impeccable snow-capped mountains and other natural diverse landmarks in the lakes’ surroundings.

Everest Region

Gokyo Lake Trek – Outline Itinerary

Day 01 – Arrival in Kathmandu (1300 m)

Day 02 – Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (2651 m)

Day 03 – Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3438 m)

Day 04 – Acclimatization at Namche

Day 05 – Trek from Namche Bazaar to Dole

Day 06 – Trek from Dole to Machhermo (3870 m)

Day 07 – Trek from Machhermo to Gokyo, Hike to Gokyo RI (5357m)

Day 08 – Hike to Gokyo lake, Trek from Gokyo to Machhermo

Day 09 – Trek from Gokyo to Dole

Day 10 – Trek from Dole to Namche Bazaar

Day 11 – Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla

Day 12 – Trek from Lukla to Kathmandu

The above itinerary is from Kathmandu to Kathmandu Itinerary. If you need a leisure day and sightseeing tour in Kathmandu, check our package: Gokyo Lake Trek 

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Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty Factors

Acute mountain sickness

Tackling mountain sickness also known as altitude sickness is another incredible challenge during this trek. There are parts of the Gokyo lake Trek where you need to climb uphill intensely. Trekkers will reach altitudes above 5000 meters during their trip to Gokyo Lake.

The trekkers will remain prone to altitude sickness along this trail. You will ascend through the high altitude in a short amount of time. Therefore, you won’t have the time to adapt to changing conditions.

Hence, trekkers must separate acclimatization days in this itinerary. There is less Oxygen and air pressure in this altitude range which makes the trek even more challenging. The symptoms include insomnia, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, etc.

In case you will get altitude sickness you should descend immediately and abandon the trek if necessary. Another pro-tip is to avoid alcohol during the trek so that you will not get dehydrated. It is the primary reason acute mountain sickness is one of the major factors in this Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty.

Remote landscapes

The trails of the trek are remote which adds adventure but it also increases the difficulty factor of the trek significantly. The off-the-beaten landscapes of the region come with minimal facilities.

There are natural landscapes and narrow cliffs before you arrive at your destination of Gokyo lake. Besides that, the trekkers should also perform training in advance to complete this journey with ease. A high level of stamina and fitness is required to complete this track.

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Food and Accommodation

There are various accommodation facilities during the trek in the form of tea houses. These houses provide you with the basic facilities of meals and accommodation. There are no other luxury facilities and you will have to compromise during the trek due to this factor. In peak season, you will need to share your room with fellow trekkers as there are fewer rooms.

Long Distance Coverage

The Gokyo Lakes trek is a long-duration trek that takes around two weeks to complete. The distance you need to cover is also high when compared to other mainstream treks like the Everest base camp Trek. The trekkers will cover around 8-12 km on a trekking day. Moreover, you will trek for around 6-7 hours. Hence, the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty is generally rated high due to this factor as well.

The facilities of water and toilets are not as good as in cities like Kathmandu. Trekkers should also bring their toiletries during the trek. The varieties of the meal and overall menu are quite limited as most ingredients need to get transported. Facilities of meals and accommodations are quite high due to this factor.

Heavy Backpacks

Trekking with a heavy backpack is another challenge in this Gokyo Lake trek. You will need to carry this luggage and then climb up the challenging terrain. Hence, you can hire porters on these trails to help you with these weights. It will reduce the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty of this trek significantly. They will carry anywhere around 25-30 kgs of luggage which reduces your burden.

Extreme Weather Conditions

The weather in the high-altitude region is always unpredictable. There are high chances of quick weather changes. Since the Gokyo lake is at an altitude of 5000m, you will observe the cold temperatures in the region. Besides that, the off-season is also quite challenging with high landslides and avalanches. Hence, weather conditions are quite a challenge on the trek.

Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty in Different Seasons

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn (September to November) is a peak season for the trek. There are various challenges that you can experience even in peak season as it is still a high-altitude trek. However, weather-wise you will have a great time trekking in the region. Trekkers will experience clear blue skies and moderate temperatures. Furthermore, other difficulties like landslides and avalanches are less as well.

Spring (March to May)

There is beautiful weather all around the region in Spring. Trekkers can trek through nature’s bliss in the region. In these seasons, you will get packed teahouses and accommodation. Hence, if you trek in peak seasons, you will need to book these facilities in advance.

The weather is unpredictable in high-altitude conditions as it can change from sunshine to overcast quickly. Hence, there are quite a large number of trekkers along the trails this season. If you love to trek quietly in peaceful regions, you can trek in the off-seasons.

Off-Season

The off-season in the region is Winter (December to February) and Summer (June to August). In the monsoon season, there are heavy rainfalls that will lead to leech-infested trails. The trekkers can also carry table salts and repellents to tackle this problem on these trails.

Moreover, there are hot and humid temperatures that are extremely challenging to trek. Besides that, trekkers also can get altitude sickness along trails. There are wet and slippery trails which can be quite challenging. Landslides and avalanches are common in this season too which is quite a risk factor.

There are snow-covered trails that you will see in the winter season. Trekkers must wear warm clothes to cover from extreme cold conditions. Besides that, there are special boots, pants, and clothes designed for trekking that will give you ease. Gokyo lakes are generally frozen in the winters. Snowstorms are quite common in the winter season. Hence, for these reasons the off-season Gokyo lake trek is quite challenging.

Gokyo Lake Trek in Nepal

Gokyo Lake Trek Route

Lukla is the main starting place of this trek where you arrive from Kathmandu. It takes around 35-40 minutes to arrive at Lukla which is a tourist town with many hotels. After resting for a while, you will trek to Phakding. From there you will pass through various settlements of the region like Monjo, and Jorsale to arrive at Namche Bazaar.

There you can rest and acclimatize to tackle altitude sickness. There are various cultural sightseeing points in the region including local settlements and the Sherpa museum, that provide you with the best cultural, and exploration opportunities of the region.

Besides that, you can also hike to several hiking points in their region including Khunde, and Syangboche. From where you can observe the snow-capped mountains of the region. You will then trek to Dole on a steep forested trail to arrive at your destination of Machermo. It will take around 5-6 hours to arrive at your destination.

From Machermo, you will hike to Gokyo to the Fifth Lake and explore around before returning to Gokyo. Trekkers can also take on Gokyo Ri trekking peak but it is optional. However, from the summit point, you can enjoy the scenic Himalayas and surrounding landscapes. We will explore the beautiful region and then take incredible pictures before taking them back to Dole.

The trekkers will then trek back from Dole to Namche Bazaar where you can find many restaurants, cafes, hotels, and others. The trail will finally lead you to Kathmandu from Lukla. If you want to trek further, you can also trek to Everest Base Camp before returning to Lukla.

How to Tackle Altitude Sickness in Gokyo Lake Trek?

Gentle Trek

Trekkers should treat this trek as a marathon and not as a race. One key aspect of this trek is to not gain more than 500 m of altitude on any trekking day. These high-altitude conditions require you to trek with proper rests in the middle.

Diamox tablets

“Diamox” tablets are an anti-nausea medication that will significantly help you to tackle altitude sickness. These medicines will help to reduce altitude sickness symptoms. However, you must ensure a proper consultation to take these medicines.

Nutritious meal

A balanced diet along the trek is essential as it will help you with tackling altitude sickness. Since the calories get burned faster in the cold region, you will need a healthy diet with increased intake. It must include a high amount of carbs, protein, fiber, and others.

Regular Hydration

You should remain hydrated throughout the trek with 4-5 liters of water. You should avoid alcohol and alcoholic beverages as they can lead to dehydration and further altitude sickness.

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Tips for Reducing the Overall Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty

Perform acclimatization and drink plenty of water

Acclimatization is also essential for the trek as you will gain a lot of altitude in a short amount of time. The guides will also help you with various points you can acclimatize to during the trek. There is less air pressure and oxygen levels in the region which can lead to acute mountain sickness.

Hence, it becomes necessary for you to tackle altitude sickness through acclimatization and hydration. Hydrating requires 4-5 liters of water during the trek. However, you will trek for some distance even in the acclimatization period. There are various small hiking points in the region where you can hike for some time. Besides that, you should also need to rest well during your trek.

Get a professional trekking guide and porters

You should hire professional guides and porters for this trek in the high-altitude Gokyo region. The trail of this trek passes through some the remote landscapes. Hence, a guide in these terrains will be your best companion. They will help you go on a cultural exploration of the region.

There are various culturally significant points in the region. They will give you complete insights into the region and help you with the translations. There are porters as well who will help you with the luggage. Porter guides are also available who will work both as a guide and porters.

Trek in the peak season

The peak season is highly recommended for this Gokyo lake trek. This is because of the scenic and calm weather. There are favorable weather conditions and temperatures in the region. Off-season treks are known for dangerous weather conditions like heavy rainfall, snow storms, landslides, slippery trails, and other challenges.

There are also extreme cold and chances of avalanches in the mountains. Heavy snowfall with extreme weather conditions is another challenging aspect of the off-season treks. Hence, trekkers should take those treks in the peak season of Autumn and Spring as far as possible.

Establish a good Training regime

Training is without a doubt an integral part of any physical adventure. Moreover, the physical side of the training is quite important. This process should be done before the trek and also include strength and endurance, and mental training.

Choose a flexible itinerary

You can also customize the itinerary of this Gokyo lake trek. You can add your rest and acclimatization days along the trek. This way you will get more time to adapt to this region. It will also reduce the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty by a significant amount. Besides that, you can also get an extra day in case of any weather-related challenges.

Keep a positive attitude

While many trekkers ignore this aspect, keeping a positive attitude and mental stability is essential for the trek. There are numerous challenges that you need to cross before you will land on the majestic beauty of Gokyo lake. With these measures, you will need to complete the trek in these regions.

Training Required for Gokyo Lake Trek

The training regime will help trekkers immensely during this trek in the high-altitude region. It must include various factors like physical and mental training and will help you complete your trek with ease.

Physical training

These physical exercises will help you build the stamina and strength required for the trek. The endurance level of these trekkers will also increase through this training. Trekkers should seek to increase their overall physical fitness for the rugged terrains. Trekkers should complete this training before the trek. You should also train with the help of these backpacks, as a means of preparation.

Cardiovascular exercises

Cardiovascular activities are also essential for the trek which includes activities like hiking, cycling, swimming, jogging, and others. It will keep you flexible along the trek, and help you with breathing in low oxygen and air pressure conditions. You can also hike carrying weights on these terrains.

Mental preparation

Mental preparation or training is another important aspect of the trek. It will help you with preparing for all the challenges in this trek. There are various ways to remain mentally prepared for the trek which include researching about the trek. Keeping a positive attitude and clear motivation will help you reach your destination even in the toughest of conditions.

Gokyo Lake Trek – Packing List

The packing list largely depends upon the season of the trek. However, there are some basic items that you must have on the list which are as follows:

Clothing

  • Trekking shirts
  • Trekking pants
  • Trekking jackets
  • Thermals
  • Insulating jackets
  • Lightweight sweaters
  • Rainproof pants
  • Woolen cap
  • Trekking boots
  • Gloves
  • Fleece-lined jacket
  • Rainproof jackets

Toiletries

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer

First Aid

  • Band-aids
  • Sanitary pads
  • Anti-nausea medicines
  • Anti-leech spray
  • Rehydration salts

Accessories

  • Sunglasses
  • Cameras
  • Power banks
  • Solar Chargers
  • Extra Batteries
  • Water Bottle
  • Sleeping bag
  • Thermos

Important Documents

  • Passport
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel Permits

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Final Say

The Gokyo Lake Trek is a challenging adventure in the Everest region. The trek passes through rough landscapes to arrive at the beautiful Gokyo lakes. These diverse natural landscapes include fast-flowing rivers, glaciers, waterfalls, and others. Mount Everest looks stunning from the various viewpoints along the trail as well.

Moreover, the trek passes through major landmarks of the Khumbu region including Namche Bazaar. There are green forests along the trails including rhododendron, oak, and fir trees. The trails are less crowded compared to the ones going to Everest Base Camp.

Overall, this Gokyo lake trek is a moderately challenging high-altitude trek. Hence, a basic level of fitness along with mental strength is essential for the trek. Moreover, you can minimize the trek difficulty through the various tips mentioned above. Contact us for more info and trip bookings. Happy Traveling!

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