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Everest - A Trek to Gokyo Lakes

Day To Day Itinerary

DAY 01: Arrival to Kathmandu and Transfer to hotel (overnight in hotel).

You may have free time during the day depending on what time you arrive. A briefing will be given by our trekking leader in the late afternoon. He will discuss our trekking program in detail. The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will ask if the travellers want to have a group dinner (optional and at the traveller's own expense) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.

DAY 02: Fly to Lukla (2840m/9318ft) and trek to Phakding (2610m/8563ft). Total Walking Time 3 hrs; Total Ascent 120m; Total Descent 250m.

After breakfast, we head to the domestic airport for a scenic flight to Lukla. After an adventurous 40 minute flight above breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Hillary Airport at Lukla. Here we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek. We take it easy on the first day to accllimatise.

DAY 03: Trek from Phakding (2610m/8563ft) to Namchey (3440m/11286ft). Total Walking Time 5-6 hrs; Total Ascent 1150m; Total Descent 100m.

We follow the Bhote Koshi through the beautiful pine forest and pasture land, along the valley with small Sherpa settlements. We cross the Bhote Koshi and climb steeply switching back trail to get to the large Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar. It is the Sherpa people’s capital spread in the shape of a horse-shoe and the gateway to the Everest. The trading market of the village has changed since the early days to cater for tourists more than the historical salt trade from Tibet. Village is culturally rich with Sherpas in Tibetan life style and prevailing Buddhist religion. On the way, view of Everest (8848 m) and Lhotse (8511 m) come into sight. Mt. Thamserku ( 6648 m) and Kwangde Ri (6624 m) loom along the east and west of the village. The sacred mountain Khumbila (5707 m) dominates the skyline along the west. You get to experience the thrill of walking on many suspension bridges, one of which is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge.

DAY 04: Rest in Namchey (3440m/11286ft) for acclimatisation. Options available to hike in the area. Total Walking Time 5-6 hrs; Total Ascent 550m; Total Descent 150m.

This is the first of the two scheduled days for acclimatization. Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest days instead of being idle. One option is to trek to Thame (3800m) for view and Sherpa village/culture. In Namche, you find ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday.

DAY 05: Trek to Khumjung (3780m/12402ft). Total Walking 4-5 hrs; Total Ascent 450m; Total Descent 850m.

Today's journey starts with a climb up to the famous airstrip at Syangboche. Just above the airstrip is the Everest View Hotel, a deluxe hotel with great views of the highest mountains on Earth. Trekking up for about 2 hours and then leveling off until we reach the village of Khumjung. The Khumjung valley surrounded by the snowy peaks of Kondge and Thamserku and the sacred peak Khumbila, hosts a well known monastery that houses a yeti scalp. We also visit Hillary School which is at the same site. Another set of busy and colorful monasteries, lined with prayer flags and prayer wheels, are braced along the slopes high above this traditional village.

DAY 06: Trek from Khumjung (3780m/12402ft) to Tangboche (3860m/12664ft). Total Walking Time 5-6 hrs; Total Ascent 650m; Total Descent 650m.

There is a famous monastery here. It was re-built with the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary after it was destroyed by fire in 1989. The most notable peaks seen from here are Kantega, Ama Dablam (perhaps the most beautiful peak in the region) and, of course, Mount Everest.

DAY 07: Trek from Tangboche (3860m/12664ft) to Pangboche (3930m/12894ft). Total Walking Time 6-7 hrs; Total Ascent 650m; Total Descent 520m.

We continue our journey today with beautiful view of Mt. Ama Dablam and few monasteries before reaching Pangboche. Pangboche is the highest year-round inhabited village. It also has an old gompa, rich in history.

DAY 08: Trek from Pangboche (3930m/12894ft) to Dole (4200m/13780ft). Total Walking Time 6-7 hrs; Total Ascent 520m; Total Descent 250m.

We continue to get outstanding view of Ama Dablam on our way to Dole which is a charming Sherpa village.

DAY 09: Trek from Dole (4200m/13780ft) to Machermo (4470m/14665ft). Total Walking Time 4.5 hrs; Total Ascent 270m.

Today, we start by climbing steadily along the side of the valley, where small and thorny bushes give way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases. The trail passes many summer settlements, 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.

DAY 10: Trek from Machermo (4470m/14665ft) to Gokyo lake (4790m/15715ft). Total Walking Time 4 hrs; Total Ascent 340m.

Today we head for the holy lakes at Gokyo following a very scenic path to Pangka from where we descend slightly, following one of the meltwater rivers which flow down the west side of the Ngozumba Glacier. The walk offers spectacular views of the incredible ice face of Cholatse and is easy until we reach a steep rocky incline into the ablation valley by the side of the glacier and get to the first of the holy lakes. Then the trail flattens out and we soon arrive at the second of the lakes. The third lake is known as Dudh Pokhari and on its east shore is the summer settlement of Gokyo. Walking by the side of the lake, the scenery is magnificent with the summits of Cho Oyo and Gyachung Kang reflected in its emerald green waters.

DAY 11: Trek in the morning to Gokyo Ridge (5360/17585ft). Upon return, have breakfast and trek to Machermo or Luza. Total Walking Time 8 hrs; Total Ascent 610m; Total Descent 1010m.

This day early in the morning we have a steep climb up to the top of Gokyo RI. There are stunning views of the Gokyo valley, the massive Ngozumpa Glacier and an incredible panoramic view of the whole Khumbu mountains range, such giants as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Cho-Oyu and Gychung Kang.

DAY 12: Trek from Machermo ( 4470m/14665ft) to Namchey (3440m/11286ft). Total Walking Time 7 hrs; Total Ascent 400m; Total Descent 110m.

DAY 13: Trek from Namchey (3440m/11286ft) to Lukla (2840m/9318ft). Total Walking Time 7 hrs; Total Ascent 320m; Total Descent 1050m.

The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast following Dud Koshi and its tributaries the trail becomes more level and natural. Although we are travelling the same route down, we feel completely different views. We snap a mixture of open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance snow covered peaks. We feel the Sherpa villages' impressive faith in Buddhism and culture of prayer stones and prayers flag while we walk through the villages. On arrival in Lukla, we have plenty of time to relax, stretch those sore legs, and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. Its a celebration time of a fantastic trek and a safe one.

DAY 14: Fly to Kathmandu. Afternoon free for sightseeing and shopping.

DAY 15: Free day for sightseeing and shopping.

DAY 16: Final Departure.