Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty

Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty

Gokyo Lake Trek after Everest Base Camp Trek is the second most renowned Himalayan journey in the mainstream Everest region. This exhilarating Himalayan odyssey leads to the pristine and sacred glacial lakes of the eastern Himalayas, Gokyo Lakes (4,800 meters), which comprise the highest freshwater lakes in the world. Gokyo Lakes Trek, which includes the exploration of the most popular mountain trekking route in the country as well as the remote wilderness of the mainstream destination that is still intact, is, without a doubt, a fascinating exploration opportunity. But, what is the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty?

If you are here, then it means that you are considering this glacial lake adventure and are curious about the overall Gokyo Valley Trek difficulty. Well, rest assured, this journey in the mainstream trekking destination of the country has received a ‘moderate’ label. This exciting Himalayan excursion takes you across a straightforward trekking route, which doesn’t have any technical parts. Thus, trekkers also don’t need any prior trekking experience to take part in this trek.

Although the Gokyo Trek difficulty is not on par with other high-altitude base camps and high pass treks, that also doesn’t mean that this odyssey will be like a walk in the park either. There are obviously several factors that the trekkers have to be careful about, and if not careful, the milder difficulty aspects of this journey can also turn into major obstacles.

Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty- General Trek Overview

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Your standard trekking adventure for the Gokyo Lake Trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu (1,400 meters) to Lukla (2,800 meters) and then a trek to Phakding (2,640 meters). In case if you have an extensive package, it will also include a sightseeing day around the capital before the flight. You will slowly follow the winding up route of the Everest Base Camp Trek and head toward Namche Bazaar (3,445 meters). This vibrant capital will be your acclimatization destination in this trek before heading further.

From Namche, you will then move along the trail leading to the hidden valley and cross Phortse Thenga to reach Dole (4,038 meters). Traversing further admiring the wilderness of this less-traveled route, you will then head toward Machhemro Village (4,470 meters). Your next destination is the main highlight of this trip, Gokyo Lakes (4,800 meters), which is close to Ngozumpa Glacier. The next day, you will do an early morning hike to Gokyo Ri (5,400 meters) to enjoy the epic views of the glacial lakes, valleys, and the Himalayan massifs.

Then, you will begin your descending journey after completing your Himalayan journey. Retracing your steps on the same route, you will trek back to Machhermo, Dole, and Namche to reach Lukla. You will then take a flight back to Kathmandu the next morning, which will mark the completion of your exciting Himalayan journey.

Breakdown of Gokyo Lake Trek

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After understanding the overall journey of the exciting glacial lakes exploration, you might have some faint idea about what you can expect during your trip. Although this journey has been labeled moderate, there are several factors of this journey that you need to be prepared for.

Altitude Gain

From the general trek overview, you now understand the elevation gain factors of your trip. The elevation gain factor is one of the challenging factors of high-altitude adventures because it is related to Acute Moutain Sickness (AMS). The human body starts to show mild symptoms of altitude sickness after ascending over the altitude of 3,000 meters, and if not taken proper care, the scale of severity can increase at higher altitudes.

The same goes for the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty; in this glacial lake exploration, you will begin your journey by joining the mountain trails at Lukla (2,800 meters) and moving along the significant altitude regions over 4,000 meters; you will reach the highest point at Gokyo Ri (5,400 meters). So, the total altitude gain in this trip on the mountain is around 2,600 meters (8,530 feet). Proper acclimatization procedure is an absolute necessity on this trip to avoid any inconveniences related to altitude sickness.

Trekking Distance

Trekking on the rugged terrains of the mountain with loose soil, small rocks, alpine moraines, and boilers is not an easy task. Traversing across such landscapes for long hours is certainly a demanding task and is also one of the challenging aspects of the Gokyo Lake difficulty as well. During this glacial lake exploration, you will need to cover a total trekking distance of 92 km (57 miles). This trekking distance will include both the distance you need to cover heading toward Gokyo Lakes and the return journey back to Lukla.

In an aggregation, you will walk about 5 to 6 hours during each day of the trek on average. The walking hour is based on the standard trekking period of around 9 days, if your trek is shorter, you will need to cover even more distance. Thus, meeting the demands of the rough Himalayan terrain is not an easy quota to fill if your body isn’t prepared for it.

Weather Factors

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If you have previously done high-altitude trekking adventures in the Himalayas, then you understand what this point is referring to. During this trekking adventure, you will traverse across six climatic zones; the weather conditions in the alpine and trans-Himalayan zones, in particular, can be unpredictable at times. The Himalayan region has its own weather conditions and sometimes it can be unfavorable even during the high seasons (i.e., spring and autumn).

As the climatic zones vary, you will also face a diverse range of temperatures in different regions. The lower regions are generally on the warmer side; however, as you ascend to higher altitudes, the morning and night start to get chilly. The winter (December to February) is the coldest season on the mountain, and the temperatures are freezing during this season. On the other hand, even though the monsoon (June to August) season has warm temperatures, the weather conditions are really unstable, and continuous rainfall elevates the overall difficulty level.

Remoteness of the Himalayan Region

Whether it is a mainstream trekking destination or not, what you need to understand is that the trekking adventures in the Himalayas navigate the remote and isolated sections of the mountain region. The same goes for the Gokyo Valley Trek difficulty, this glacial lake adventure, you have to traverse across the remote hidden valley in the Everest region. The lower trekking regions do have do have proper facilities as it is still part of the mainstream Everest Base Camp Trek.

However, as you ascend higher, leaving the mainstream route behind, the services available in the region are on a moderate scale and quite limited. It would be folly to expect the services and amenities to be on par with the popular vacation destinations. The technological, transportation, health, and infrastructural development in the higher regions is on a limited number. So, you will have to make an amend to it and try to cope with the level of services available in this wilderness exploration route.

How to Overcome Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty?

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Although there are several factors that you have to be mindful of during this trip, it is not that the Gokyo Ri Trek difficulty is invincible. With proper preparation and enough training, you will be able to easily overcome any kind of difficulty factors that you have to face during this trek.

Select the Most Appropriate Package

Let’s go an an ascending order to counter and maybe overwhelm the Gokyo Ri Trek difficulty factors. As the major priority of the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty goes to the overall altitude gain in this trip and the risk of altitude sickness, the best way to counter this is to select most ideal trekking package for this high-altitude journey. There are three significant factors that you have to consider while booking a package; don’t just go for the face value.

Factors to Consider

  • Length of the trek
  • Walking pace (check trekking points in each day to understand the pace)
  • Acclimatization days

These factors are crucial for a comfortable trekking experience and for keeping the risk of altitude sickness at bay. You should go for the longer version of packages that have enough acclimatization period than the short ones. Also, you need to be mindful of the pace, taking it slow and easy and giving your body enough time to adapt to new altitude is the best way to prevent altitude sickness.

Physical Preparation

Moving along the list to counter the Gokyo Valley Trek difficulty, physical preparation is another core component that will determine the overall trekking experience. The trekking distance on this sacred lakes exploration is quite major, and the overall trekking distance is long. That means that it is a physically demanding journey where your strength, endurance, and stamina level will be tested. So, the best thing you can do to minimize the physical aspects of the Gokyo Ri Trek difficulty is to make an adequate amount of preparation considering these factors.

You should train for at least 3 to 6 weeks before the trek for an effective result. This way, even if you have basic fitness, you will be able to get used to physical activities. Remember that the rugged terrains of the Himalayas are not the only physically challenging aspects, even millennial tasks are more exhausting as you ascend to higher altitudes where oxygen saturation level is low. So, working on strength/endurance exercises will help you to pull off the physically enduring part of the trip, whereas stamina/cardiovascular exercises will help you move around more easily and properly adapt to the changing altitudes.

Strength/Endurance Exercises

  • Lunge
  • Squat
  • Glute Bridge
  • Plank
  • Deadlift
  • Bicep Curl
  • Dips
  • Lateral Raise
  • Overhead press
  • Upright Row
  • Push Up
  • Pull Up
  • Step Up
  • Leg Press
  • Leg Curl

Stamina/Cardiovascular Exercises

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Jumping Rope
  • Kick Boxing
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Mountain Climber
  • High Knees

Note: You can also consult with a trainer, experienced trekker, or guide to tweak your training program.

Select an Ideal Season

The weather challenges of the Gokyo Trek difficulty shouldn’t be underestimated. If you are planning to set your exploration for seasons like monsoon and winter, you will have to shield yourself from the climatic obstacles of these off-seasons. Taking on the weather challenges head-on while already dealing with mild Gokyo Valley Trek difficulty can be a bit too much for trekking beginners. So, for a comfortable and remarkable experience, you should always consider the high seasons: autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May).

These high seasons have the most stable climatic conditions, and temperatures are also pleasant, which magnificently accommodate outdoor adventures. Spring is known as the season of nature, and lush greenery takes over the landscape of the country. The blooming of flowers is at an all-time high in this season, and it is also the perfect time to explore the Himalayan flora and fauna of the region.

Autumn, which is the most preferred season for trekking in Nepal, is famous for its most stable climatic conditions. The weather rarely degrades in this season, which results in a dry and comfy trekking trail on the mountain. Besides that, cultural celebrations are also at the points during this fall season. Nepal celebrates the biggest festivals in the country, like Dahsain, Tihar, Chhath, Teej, Mani Rimdu, etc, in the autumn season.

Temperature of Gokyo Region in Spring: 4°C to 25°C on average

Temperature of Gokyo Region in Autumn: 6°C to 18°C over average

Pack Right for the Trip

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As we discussed earlier, in this glacial lake exploration, you will traverse across a total of six climatic zones. The diverse climatic zones and the conditions that come along with these zones are one of the factors of the Gokyo Trek difficulty to be on the lookout for. To make sure you have a comfortable experience in these different climatic zones, you need to make sure that you have packed right for the occasion.

Also, packing helpful gear and equipment for the trip will help you overcome the remoteness factor of the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty. Don’t worry, even if you will have to carefully consider packing a wide range of layers and equipment, you don’t have to carry all of it by yourself. You can hire porters to assist you with your luggage; the maximum weight limit per porter is around 30 kg. You can check-out our following packing list recommendation for cross-reference.

Head and Body

  • Sun hat
  • Scarf and cowl
  • Warm hat (woolen or insulated)
  • Lightweight t-shirt
  • Cotton shirt
  • Warm vest or thermal
  • Sweater
  • Breathable comfy jacket
  • Waterproof/windproof outer layer
  • Down jacket
  • Half or quarter hiking pants
  • Breathable trouser
  • Comfortable cotton pant
  • Warm insulated trouser
  • Gloves
  • Undergarments (several pairs)

Feet

  • Trekking shoes (don’t forget to break in first)
  • Sports shoes
  • Both warm and lightweight socks
  • Sandals or crocks
  • Feet gaiter

Personal Care

  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Bio-degradable soap
  • Shampoo and lotion
  • Travel towel
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Body moisturizer
  • Tissue paper and toilet paper
  • Foot powder
  • Body spray or deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent
  • Small mirror
  • Hair comb and nail clipper
  • Shaving cream and razor
  • Female hygiene products
  • Personal medications

Equipment

  • UV protection sunglass
  • Trekking pole
  • Sleeping bag
  • Duffle bag
  • Headlamp
  • Power bank
  • Map and GPS
  • Rain cover for luggage
  • Garbage bag
  • Packing sack with multiple colors
  • Camera and binoculars
  • Water filtration system
  • Thermos bottle
  • Multi-tool knife
  • Ducktape
  • Magazines and books
  • Entertainment options

Note: If you are planning to shop in Nepal for essentials during the trek, do it at Kathmandu; you might not find the products you prefer on the mountain, and they cost more due to the remoteness of the region.

Be Mindful of Nutrient Intake and Hydration

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In a standard trekking package, you will spend about 9 days on the mountain. To handle suck long period of walking exploration, you will need a good amount of fuel. You will have to be mindful about replenishing the lost energy during the long days of walk. If you properly moderate your nutrient intake, then you will be able to maintain an optimum energy level, which you will definitely need to overcome the Gokyo Trek difficulty.

As you ascend higher, due to the lower oxygen saturation level in the atmosphere, feeling the loss of appetite is quite normal as your body doesn’t immediately adapt to the new altitudes. You will have to pay extra attention to your nutrient intake under such circumstances as lack of energy will not only make your everyday trek difficult but it will also put you at the risk of AMS and other sickness. So, you should eat a balanced diet, and if you feel a loss of appetite in higher regions, after taking a few bites, your system will gradually start accepting food.

For hydration, you are recommended to drink 3 to 4 liters of fluid to keep your body water level at balance. During long hours of demanding walking, your body water level will significantly simmer down so it is important to stay hydrated to move around easily. Sufficient hydration will also minimize the risks of altitude sickness as you trek to higher regions. The fluid you drink doesn’t always necessarily have to be water; you can also substitute it for green tea, fresh juice, lemon water, etc.

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Conclusion

Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty or Gokyo Ri Trek difficulty, in general, is not that strenuous and has quite a milder tone. Although the altitude gain and remote terrains can be a bit more challenging factors than others, these factors are present in any remote and high-altitude journey. Even while comparing the Gokyo Valley Trek difficulty to other high-altitude base camps or Himalayan pass treks in Nepal, this glacial lake adventure seems a relatively easier exploration.

But, it will also be wise not to underestimate the journey solely based on that comparison. If you have previously done Himalayan treks in Nepal, this trek might be a piece of cake for you. However, if this is your first Himalayan odyssey, you should prepare adequately, considering the several factors we discussed earlier. The treasured memories you make during this trek, your enjoyment, love for the journey, and overall experience will entirely depend on how well you are prepared for the trek. So, try to make the best out of the journey, prepare considerably, and happy exploration!!

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