The Gokyo Valley Everest Base Camp Trek is an exciting challenging adventure with the most interesting route to the roof of the world. If Everest Base Camp is on your bucket list but you want it to be packed with more challenges, bigger hikes and more massive rewards then the Gokyo Valley Everest Base Camp Trek will suit you.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to see two very different trekking regions. One filled with top lodges, a unique Sherpa culture, and breathtaking views of the world’s highest mountains. The other, remote, tranquil, with glistening lakes, incredible views of 8000m peaks and the largest glacier in Nepal.
Challenging trekking conditions and hikes to the highest lake system on the planet it culminates with an epic summit of the Cho La Pass, 5420 m, before trekking the final two days to Everest Base Camp. You’ll also have an early morning hike up “black rock”, Kala Patthar, to take in sunrise views of Everest before the start back to Lukla.
See different villages on your descent down the Khumbu Valley, including the spiritual and cultural capital of the region, Tengboche, and another night in the Sherpa capital of the world, Namche Bazaar. If you’re interested in spending more time in the Khumbu Valley to learn about its unique culture while visiting smaller villages and monasteries we can personalize your journey with several options.
Arrival day in Kathmandu
Altitude: 1400m B/B
Fly to Lukla (35 mins flight) and trek to Phakding 3-3.5 hrs trek
Altitude: Lukla- 2800m, Phakding-2650
The excitement begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and Tenzing/Hillary Airport, named after the first two men to summit Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. It’s a short 35-40 minute flight to Lukla where we’ll meet the rest of the crew that will accompany us on the trek. We begin walking from Lukla with a descent to Cheplung while enjoying views of beautiful Mt. Khumbila. We further descend to Phakding where we’ll stay the night enjoying our first dinner and sleep at our guesthouse on the Everest Base Camp Trek.
Trek to Namche Bazaar 6-7 hrs trek
Altitude: 3440m B/L/D
After a breakfast of perhaps eggs, toast and coffee or Tibetan bread with jam and tea we continue the Everest Base Camp Trek through blue pine and rhododendron forests reaching the Benkar Valley. There are expansive suspension bridges to cross over the Dudh Koshi River. We check in at the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park to verify trekking permits and stop for lunch at the village of Monjo(2835m). Along the way, we’ll see the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru(6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). We’ll also get our first glimpse of Mt. Everest (8848m). After a well-paced 6-7 hours on the trail we’ll reach Namche Bazaar, considered the Sherpa capital of the world! This will be our base for two nights as we acclimate at the gateway to the high Himalaya.
Namche Bazaar- Rest and Acclimatize
Namche Bazaar is one of the biggest settlements in the Khumbu Valley and the perfect village to spend a rest day. You’ll find amazing scenery and village life that you can capture with images or video for treasured memories and sharing with your friends and followers. There are lots of Internet Cafes, restaurants, trekking shops and souvenir markets. Have a latte and chocolate doughnut while you gaze out at the Himalaya and steeped terraced Sherpa capital.
We’ll have an early rise and a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, potatoes, or toast and eggs, coffee and tea and make our way to the highest point overlooking the village and check out sunrise views, (weather permitting), of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, (some say the most beautiful peak of all), Lhotse, (4th highest mountain in the world), and Nuptse. We can also visit the National Park headquarters and Sherpa Museum for insights into the culture and life of the biggest ethnic group of the Khumbu Valley.
After a lunch of vegetable chow mein, burger and fries, pizza or dal bhat with extra helpings of rice and lentils, we’ll continue our hiking and acclimatization exercise walking to Khumjung Hillary School, the institution originally funded by Sir Edmund Hillary’s foundation. If time permits and the group agrees, we can also walk to Khumjung village at 3790 meters. We’ll explore the traditional Sherpa settlement and visit the monastery that has on display what they claim is a scalp of the mythical Yeti or abominable snowman.
Namche Bazaar to Dole 6 hrs trek
After breakfast, we’ll leave climbing up the village and following the regular flat trail with everyone else until we get to Sanasa where we leave behind the more busy direct trail to EBC and follow the Dudh Kosi River into the Gokyo Valley. We’ll pass through the tiny village of Kyangjuma with spectacular views of Ama Dablam.
There are lots of steep stairs to climb before we reach Dole. Tonight we can have a big meal of Dal Bhat, momos, pasta, or whatever else you feel like, keep warm by the stove and get a good sleep. This is definitely a more challenging trek than the standard Everest Base Camp route. It’s especially important to drink plenty of water and hot tea to stay hydrated as your body acclimates to the higher elevation.
Trek to Machermo 4-5 hrs trek
Let’s start the day with a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, eggs and toast with hash browns, or fresh Tibetan bread with coffee or tea. We’ll have more climbing today, gaining in almost another 500 meters in total. Machermo is in a flat valley at the edge of the Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest in Nepal. On the way we’ll get some amazing views of Thamserku, 6608 m, Kantega, 6782 m, and magnificent Cho Oyu, 8188 m, the 6th highest mountain in the world. The trek is not too long today so if we have time we’ll check out the free lecture on altitude sickness at the medical clinic in the settlement, usually hosted by one of the volunteer doctors.
Machermo to Gokyo 3-4 hrs trek
We have a relatively short walk today before reaching the final settlement of Gokyo. Today we’ll enter the lake region, the highest freshwater system in the world. Cho Oyu is in full view as we near Gokyo. Tibet is on the other side of the 6th highest mountain in the world and the landscape here is similar, a barren tundra, absolutely breathtaking.
We’ll have lunch at the lodge after which we’ll have a little walk around Gokyo Lake enjoying the peace and solitude of this Shangri La of a region.
At Gokyo- Hike to Fifth Lake 5000m and its surroundings 4-5 hrs hike
Altitude: 5386m at Gokyo Ri & 5000m at 5th Lake
We’ll get a good hike in today with a trek to Fifth Lake with some of the most dramatic views of Cho Oyu and Gyachung, the highest mountain between Cho Oyu and Everest at 7952 m. The Gokyo Lakes are considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists. Every year approximately 500 Hindus take a holy bath in the lakes during the Janai Purmina Festival, usually taking place during the month of August. After our amazing day hike we’ll settle into the lodge for a big dinner and some hot tea while keeping warm in the dining hall in front of the stove. Get to bed early so you’re prepared for our early morning hike up Gokyo Ri.
Morning hike to Gokyo Ri 2-3 hrs trek; At 10 AM trek to Tragnag 2-3 hrs trek Altitude: 5386m at Gokyo Ri & 4700m at Tragnag
Hiking up Gokyo Ri is strenuous but worth the effort as this is your opportunity, weather permitting, to see 4 8000 meter peaks, Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu all from one spot. From this viewpoint you’ll also see the immense Ngozumpa glacier. After our morning hike we’ll descend down to the lodge for breakfast before making our way to Tragnag. Along the way we’ll get a closer look at the largest glacier in Nepal. We’ll get to bed early so we’re well rested for our start, before sunrise, of our crossing of the Cho La Pass.
Trek to Dzongla via Cho La Pass 7-8 hrs trek
Altitude: At Dzongla 4,700m & Chola Pass 5363m
This is one of the toughest days of the trek. We’ll start before sunrise for our long hike up the steep Cho La Pass that takes us back to the Khumbu Valley. The views from the top of the pass are nothing short of spectacular looking out to the Gokyo Valley on one side, the Khumbu Valley on the other with the unmistakable Ama Dablam. Our steep ascent is followed by a slower descent back down to Dzongla, a small trekking settlement. Some hot tea is in order upon arrival at our lodge while we order our dinner.
Trek to Gorekshep 5-6 hrs trek
After breakfast, we start heading for Gorakshep, with the amazing peaks of the Khumbu all around us. Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, Pumori, and Everest along with the massive Khumbu Glacier. We’ll stop in Lobuche for a break before moving on to our destination for the night, Gorekshep. If you have a local sim card you should have strong enough bandwidth, at least 3G, so you can get in touch with family or friends, and share some photos on Facebook or Instagram.
Day trip to Everest Base Camp & Explore its wonderful surrounding 4-5 hrs trek
Why go to Everest Base Camp? After today you’ll be an expert at answering this question!
Our ultimate goal of reaching Everest Base Camp is only a few hours away. We start the day early with a filling breakfast, coffee or tea, then hitting the trail, rising over several moraines. We are now climbing at elevations over 5000 meters so the work becomes tougher.
We’ll keep a steady pace not moving too quickly as we pass through rocky trails viewing Everest and it’s sister peaks with the great Khumbu Glacier below. Spotting the Everest Base Camp yellow sign that points in our direction of movement further heightens the excitement of reaching our goal.
Eventually, we will descend into the amphitheatre of Everest Base Camp, celebrating our victory with pictures and enjoying the moon-like landscape below the roof of the world. We may even see large expeditions, depending on the time of year, that are preparing for Everest summits. We enjoy a celebratory dinner and savour the moment of our amazing journey before a well-deserved sleep.
Trek to Kalapattar 5545m and trek down to Periche 4250m 7-8 hrs trek
Altitude: At Kalapathar 5545m/ & Pheriche 4250m
What’s it like to climb Mt. Everest? You’ll never know unless you try it yourself but after today you will know what it’s like to climb to 5545 meters and have a spectacular view of the highest mountain on the planet.
We wake up very early, before sunrise to make our way to the highest point we’ll reach on our Everest Base Camp Trek, Kala Patthar, meaning “black rock”, at 5545m. This is the best view of Everest in Nepal without actually climbing the mountain itself. You’ll recognize this grand view of the roof of the world as it’s the same profile of Everest seen on the Nepali rupee notes.
As the sun rises an almost dance of ice and fire illuminates the anvil-shaped peak. After enjoying the special moment with the “Mother Goddess of Earth” we descend Kala Patthar and make our way back to Gorakshep for a hot filling breakfast. Then we start making our way back down the Everest Base Camp trail to Pheriche enjoying the snow-capped peaks along the way feeling our new sense of accomplishment.
Trek to Namche 5-6 hrs trek
We have a long day of trekking-descending through rhododendron forest and juniper to Tengboche enjoying the views of Everest and Ama Dablam crossing the Dudh Koshi River via suspension bridge finally arriving at Namche Bazaar to spend the night. We’ll enjoy another wonderful meal of either traditional Sherpa food, Western burgers or pasta and perhaps a delicious slice of apple pie. We are descending so if you choose we think it’s OK now to have a beer or glass of wine to celebrate.
Trek to Lukla 6-7 hrs trek
Another long day of trekking has us setting out early from Namche Bazaar on a steep descent through forests and the richer air of the lower elevations. We stop at Monjo briefly where we’ll check in with the National Park office before arriving at Phakding, a rest stop and breakfast refuelling. We are now in the last few kilometres of the trail feeling tired but exuberant that we are nearing completion of one of the greatest treks in the world.
Back in Lukla, the start of our Everest Base Camp Trek, our last night in the Khumbu Valley is spent celebrating our victory with dinner and perhaps drinks including a taste of the local “moonshine”, raksi!
Fly to Kathmandu 35 minutes flight
We rise early in preparation for our flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, we’ll be picked up and brought back to our hotel where we can relax, before taking a walk around Thamel and picking up some last minute souvenirs and gifts of local crafts and textiles. That night we’ll enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner at a nice restaurant where we’ll reflect on our amazing journey and share our best and funniest moments with each other.
Departure from Kathmandu
We will transfer you to Tribhuvan International Airport.”We only part to meet again”.
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John Saboe, Trek Leader John Saboe is an adventure traveler, entrepreneur. Podcast host-“Far East Adventure Travel”-iTunes, broadcaster/live streamer. I’ve trekked in 4 regions of Nepal and explored Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan National Park, and Bardia National Park. I’ve also visited the […]