Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes is probably the best high-altitude trek in the world, combining a large part of the classic Everest Base Camp trek route with the relatively unexplored wonders of the Gokyo Lakes region

Gokyo Lakes Mount Everest

Everest Base Camp via Renjo Gokyo Lakes Three Passes | Are you looking for something similar but different to Everest base camp? While the standard trek to Everest base camp tour is one of the most spectacular routes in the Himalayas, along paths lined and carved out by multi-hued prayer flags, prayer wheels and Mani stones, nothing compares with the incredible Gokyo Lakes on the circular route to Everest base camp.  This trip is one of the most spectacular alternate routes in the Everest region and much less trekked than the route to Base Camp.

Gokyo Lakes trek is a beautiful hike to the famous turquoise lakes of Gokyo with magnificent views towards Everest and Cho O\yu. Not only is the Gokyo Lakes to Everest Base Camp close the worlds highest mountain (8,850m) it is also home to the friendly Sherpa people, picturesque villages, colourful festivals and monasteries. 

The hike to Everest base via the Gokyo lakes, Cho La and Renjo passes gives you the grand tour of the famous Khumbu Valley. There are 6 lakes in total in and around Gokyo, most go as far as the 5th one which is what I did but you can visit lake 6. It also gives you a chance to if you climb Gokyo Ri (easy, highly recommended), from where you see Cho-Oyu (8.200 m). 

The lakes are beautiful as well as the surrounding mountains, including of course Everest. This is a strenuous trek leading to the high altitude Lakes called "Gokyo" and over the Cho La at 5,420m making a circuit of Tawache (6,367 m) and Cholatse (6,440m) Peaks. Emerging into the valley above Lobuche the trail continues up to Kala Pattar with an optional hike to Everest Base Camp with amazing views of Nupse, Lhotse and Everest.            

everest base camp cho la trek profile
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best time to climb

The hike can be done throughout the year, however, Autumn (Sep - Nov) is often considered to be the best season for hiking in Nepal with a great climate and several festivals. although it is a little colder than Spring, the skies tend to be much clearer. Spring, (March - May) is the next favourite and also main summit season for Mt Everest. During spring time, the Khumbu valley erupts with beautiful rhododendron flowers. June to August is monsoon season so the route is quiet. During November and December it is cold but again, some travellers find it worth visiting during this period, as there are fewer tourists. 

travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple.

Gokyo Lakes to Everest Trek Overview

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu 
Day-2: Guided Sightseeing in Kathmandu 
Day-3: Drive Kathmandu (1,310m) - Rammechap - Flight to -Lukla (2,840m) Trek to Phakding (2,610m) 
Day-4: Trek Phakding to Namche (3,440m) (5-6 hrs). 
Day-5: Acclimitisation at Namche 
Day-6: Namche (3,440m) Thame (3,800m). (4hours). 
Day-7: Thame (3,800m) Khumjung (3,790m). (4hours). 
Day-8: Khumjung (3,790m) Dole (4,200m). (4hours) 
Day-9: Dole (4,200m) Machhermo (4,410m). (3-4hours) 
Day-10: Acclimatisation or optional hikes. 
Day-11: Machhermo (4,410m) - Gokyo (Third Lake at 4,750m). (7hours) 
Day-12: Everest Gokyo (4,750m) Leisure 
Day-13: Trek Gokyo Lakes to Cho La Pass (5,169m) 
Day-14: Cross Cho La (5,420m). Trek to Dzongla (4,730m) 
Day-15: Trek to Lobuche (4,930m) 
Day-16: Lobuche (4,930m) Gorekshep to Everest Base Camp to Gorekshep (5,140m) 
Day-17: Gorekshep (5,140m) - Kala Patthar (5,545m)- Lobuche (4,930m) 
Day-18: Lobuche (4,930m)- Dingboche ((4,410m) 
Day-19: Dingboche to Tengboche (3,860m) 
Day-20: Trek to Namche (3,440m) (4 hrs).
Day-21: Namche to Phakding (2,610m). (3-4 hours). 
Day-22: Phakding to Lukla (2,840m) (3 hrs). 
Day-23: ​Flight: Lukla - Rammechap. Drive to Kathmandu (1,310m). 
Day-24: Free at leisure 
Day-25: Transfer to airport. Final departure.

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everest Gokyo cho la BASE CAMP itinerary

Cho La gokyo trek map

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu

Arrival and transfer to Hotel.

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing

Guided sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.

Day-3: Drive Kathmandu to Rammechap. Flight to Lukla). Trek to Phakding (2,610m).

We drive away from Kathmandu around 02h00 for Rammechap to catch the flight to Lukla. 

Our early morning hike to Everest Base Camp begins with a flight into Lukla - is a lifetime experience, in itself. The airfield is on a slope and the difference between the two ends of the runway is about 460 meters! You will land on an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After meeting with guides and porters and a short break for tea we hike away from Lukla towards Everest base camp for a few hours along the Dudh Kosi River to the village of Phakding   2,610m. Once you have trekked through the small village of Ghat (2550m), Phakding is a short walk away.                

Day-4: Phakding (2,610m) Namche Bazaar (3,440m).

 After leaving the village of Phakding the path takes us through a magnificent forest of rhododendron, magnolia trees and giant fir trees alongside the Dhud-Kosi river through small villages like Bekar and Monju. You will crisscross over the river a few  times on high suspension bridges until you eventually come to the Sagarmatha Check Point where your permits needs to be checked. The climb then starts with a downhill trek down to the river and then all the way back up again to Namche.                      

The trail heads up through blue pine forests and as you climb there are rhododendron trees which bloom in Spring  time. The trail heads up through blue pine forests and as you climb there are rhododendron trees which bloom in Spring   time. Namche is the largest Sherpa village and is the unofficial capital of the Khumbu, gateway to the high Himalayas. This relatively small town is a bustling tourist zone and  trading hub literally is perched on a sloping hill. It is surrounded on all sides by mountains, from Thamserku to Kongde Ri.  Trekkers heading to Mt. Everest, Gokyo, Island Peak and many other destinations for both trekking and expedition, have at  least two nights  stopover in Namche to acclimitise.

Mani walls everest Gokyo

Day-5: Namche Bazaar (acclimatisation 3,440 m)

We will spend time here on short treks to acclimatise. Although it says acclimatisation, this means you need to walk for the principle of climb high and sleep low, meaning we gain altitude, then descend again to sleep low, enabling our bodies to better adjust to the altitude before we continue our ascent. A slow and steady pace with adequate time for acclimatisation is key to a successful trek. So hike up to Everest View hotel for just that, a view of Mt Everest, assuming the weather is clear.

Day-6 Namche (3,440m) Thame (3,800m). (4hours).                  

Our hike is moderately easy and very pretty, as we head to the Sherpa village of Thame 3800m.

Day-7 Thame (3,800m)  Khumjung (3,790m). (4hours). 

After an early morning visit to the Thame Monastery, we trek to the serene Sherpa villages of Khunde 3890 m and Khumjung 3790m, where Sir Edmund Hillary established his first  school and hospital.

Day-8 Khumjung (3,790m)  Dole (4,200m). (4hours)                  

Now break away from the main trail to Mt. Everest, climb high on a ridge and then descend to the village of Phortse. From Phortse the trail leads through forests to Dole.

Day-9 Dole (4,200m)  Machhermo (4,410m). (3-4hours) 

This morning we head on a steep but beautiful climb through pine, fir and rhododendron forests to Lhabama and Luza, before we arrive at Machhermo (4410m). The settlements of Lhabama and Luza, are temporary high altitude villages where the herders live when they bring their cattle up to high summer pastures during the warmer months.

Gokyo lakes glacier

Day-10: Acclimatisation or optional hikes.                  

Day-11 Machhermo (4,410m) - Gokyo (Third Lake at 4,750m). (7hours)                  

Our first day at high altitude will be upon us. The valley opens wide as the trail passes through Pangkha. The climb to the first of the lakes is steep but the trail levels off towards the second lake at 4750 meters.

Day-12 Everest Gokyo (4,750m) Leisure

Time to explore the area around the Gokyo lakes or rest, or hike up the ridge above the camp for spectacular views of the Everest trinity: Nuptse 7879 m, Lhotse 8511 m, and Everest 8848 m, as well as Makalu 8463 m looming to the east and Cho Oyu (8153 m.) to the north.

Day-13 Trek to Cho La (5,169m)                  

This will be the longest and hardest of the Gokyo Lakes Trek. The trail crosses the southern portion of the Ngozumpa Glacier then climbs steadily to a campsite on the 5169m  Cho La Pass.

Day-14 Cross Cho La (5,420m). Trek to Dzongla (4,730m)                  

A steep and challenging climb awaits us, as we head over rock, snow and perhaps ice with superb views of the glacial valleys of Cho Oyu and Everest. Camp will be at Dzongla 4730m.

Day-15 Trek to Lobuche (4,930m)  

After a morning of rest, we will hike above Tsholo Lake and join the main Everest trail near the end of the Khumbu Glacier.

Day-16 Lobuche (4,930m) Gorekshep (5,140m) 

The trail from Lobuche follows the side of the glaciers lateral moraine. This section provides good views of the Everest and Pumori from Gorek Shep and Kala Pattar.   You will then hike to base camp and return (6 hours)

Day-17 Gorekshep (5,140m) - Kala Patthar (5,545m)-   Hike up to Kala Patthar (5,545m) return to Dingboche. 

After climbing Kala Patthar for early more sunrise views across Everest, you retrace your steps to Gorekshep, down to Lobuche and then head to Dingboche (4,410m)

Day-18: Dingboche to Tengboche (3,860m)

We have a relatively easy walk along the Imja Khola with a visit to the Gompa at Pangboche, before climb up to Tengboche Monastery.

Day-19: Tengboche to Namche (3,440m)

We head down on a long descent down the right flank of the Dudh Kosi valley to Namche.

Day-20:Namche to Phakding (2,610m)                  

We continue down along the gorge of the Dudh Kosi to the village of Phakding.

Day-21: Phakding to Lukla (2,840m)

We walk through town to the little airstrip of Lukla

Day-22: Flight: Lukla - Rammechap. Drive to Kathmandu (1,310m). 

Day-23: Leisure. 

Day-24: Departure.

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Base Camp Everest Frequently Asked Questions

What is the height of Everest base camp?

Everest Base Camp elevation is 17,600 feet (or 5,380m) but  considering it takes 8 days to reach that altitude from 2845m or  9,383 feet (or 2,845m) it is quite an altitude gain. Climbers also have the chance to climb Kala Patthar for sunrise or sunset view and can go as high as 18,514 feet (5,659m)                    

How difficult/challenging is this trek?

In general if you are happy walking for 5to 6 hrs a day with a light day pack then you should be fine so long as you are fit in advance. Trekkers should be comfortable with occasional rough terrain, but expect long steep climbs. Some days could include ascents and descents of 500 metres or more. Most walking is done in the morning and afternoons are for relaxing. One thing you can’t train for is altitude and that can prevent people reaching base camp where there is 50% less oxygen compared to sea level. The secret is to acclimatise well and to do so you need to take a slow pace, a good itinerary, ascend to altitude slowly, rest, eat good food, sleep well and drink plenty of fluids.

How long does it take to hike Everest base camp?

The trek takes 14 days from Kathmandu to Kathmandu if you fly into and out of the mountain airstrip of Lukla and take the normal route to base camp. You should allow 2 or 3  days on top of this for travel days to reach Kathmandu and to get over jet lag and to explore the city. There are other Everest Base Camp route options for the trek such as Jiri, Saleri and Phaplu which are all beautiful, less travelled and take longer.

What are the tea houses like?

The rooms are all generally basic.  The higher elevation rooms do not have toilets, and some facilities only have squat toilets. Lodges at lower levels may have attached private bathrooms.  There is no heating and electricity is often solar and on only for a few hours in the evening. Rooms have a bed, pillow and a thick blanket a small light.

When is the best time or months to trek to base camp Everest?

The best time to visit Everest Base Camp is either side of the late May to mid-September monsoon season. Late September to November and February to May are the main trekking months with fairly stable conditions, good visibility and temperatures at Base Camp getting up to about -6°C. Base Camp gets busy during late April or early May with climbers preparing for their attempts on Everest’s summit. Although late Nov-Feb are extremely cold, around -15°C by day and much colder at night, clear skies are present with quieter trails.

Can I charge my camera batteries and mobile phone during the trek?

Yes, you can charge your batteries and mobile phones in every place by paying extra at the rooms do not have charging facilities. The price of charging may vary in different places. It is wise to bring your power bank which you can charge in Kathmandu and use it in the higher area as charging batteries in the higher area is quite costly.

What are the meals like on the trek?

You can choose the food from the menu and it depends on the places. You can also choose local dishes and continental/Chinese dishes. However, food is cooked by the basic local lodges so the variety and flavour differs from one place to the next.

Do I need crampons for the Cho La Pass?

The short answer is that it depends on the season but at the end of the day it is better to have them, than not to have them. You also do not need specialised ones, simple "yak teeth" type crampons will do which can be bought in  Namche for about $10.

How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

Most people think Everest Base Camp is higher than Kilimanjaro but surprise surprise, it is not. Base camp of Everest (or rather Kala Pathar – the little hill you climb up above base camp) is actually 5545m, whereas Kilimanjaro summit is 5895m.

People also think it is a tougher hike than Kilimanjaro, but Kilimanjaro is actually regarded as tougher by those who have done both.

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How will the altitude affect me on Everest trek?

This is a really difficult one to answer directly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly.                  

What is the weight limits for the plane to Lukla?

The flights to Lukla have a limit of 10 kilograms per person of checked luggage and 5 kilograms per person in hand luggage.  They weigh all bags and will charge you if your bags are overweight.

Where can I get climbing Insurance for Everest Base Camp?

If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp, Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click here