Gokyo Lakes are some of the world’s highest freshwater lakes located between 4,700m and 5,000m. They are a system of six high-altitude lakes located in the beautiful Gokyo Valley. The valley is surrounded by the snowcapped peaks of the Everest Region including the Highest Mountain – Everest (8,848.86m). Gokyo Lakes are the major attractions of the Sagarmatha National Park, the highest altitude conservation area in the world. Among these, Gokyo Cho (Dudh Pokhari) is the main lake while Thonak Cho (65.07ha) is the largest one.
People do Gokyo Lakes Trek which is one of the variants of Everest Region Trekking. Almost every avid trekker doing Everest Base Camp Trek wants to experience its natural and cultural prominence. Authentic Sherpa culture, tradition, and lifestyle of the Gokyo Village (4,750m)are the cultural highlight of this trek. Climbing Gokyo Ri (5,357m) and hiking to Cho Oyu Base Camp (4,900m) make Gokyo Lakes Trek more adventurous. An amazing view of the snowy peaks and turquoise lakes is the natural attraction of the beautiful valley.
Gokyo Lakes Trek can be tailor-made by adding Everest Base Camp Trek and Everest Three High Passes Trek as well. However, you may want to know “How hard is Gokyo Lakes Trek?” before thinking of trekking to Gokyo Lakes Valley. To talk about Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty, we need to discuss some key responsible factors for trek grade. Let’s take a quick review of these factors defining trek difficulty in relation to Gokyo Lakes Trek.
Altitude is the main factor defining Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. Gokyo Lakes Trek starts right from Lukla (2,860m) and continues until Gokyo Village (4,750m). Although the trek ascends gradually, it is challenging for the novice trekkers.
If removed Gokyo Ri climbing from Gokyo Lakes Trek itinerary, the entire trek remains incomplete. Similarly, hiking to Cho Oyu Base Camp (4,900m) is another beauty of Everest Gokyo Trek. Hiking to Cho Oyu Base Camp and Gokyo Ri (5,357m) without previous trekking experience in the Himalayas is not that easy.
The main difficulty of Gokyo Lakes Trek is altitude sickness, which is common phenomenon in the place higher than 2,500m.
Total Distance of Gokyo Lakes Trek
The total distance from Lukla to Gokyo Lakes Valley is 57 kilometers/35.4 miles. The everyday trekking distance between these two stopovers can be listed like this:
Lukla (2,860m) to Phakding (2,610m) – 8 km/4.9 miles
Phakding to Namche Bazar (3,440m) – 11 km/6.8 miles
Namche Bazar to Dole (4,200m) – 9 km/5.5 miles
Dole to Machhermo (4,470m) – 12 km/7.4 miles
Machhermo to Gokyo Valley (4,750m) – 8 km/4.9 miles
Trekking Hours per Day
Another factor determining Gokyo Lakes Trek difficulty is trekking hours per day. Normally, you have to walk for about 4-5 hours along the rugged trail moving up and down. Although the distance seems short, it is not that easy for the novice trekkers to walk on the high altitude routes.
Altitude sickness is the common symptom of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) while traversing through the high altitude route. Therefore, even though you want, you may not be able to move your paces as fast as you expect. The shortest time to walk is 3-4 hours while the longest time to walk is 6-7 hours.
Weather and Temperature
Weather and Temperature are the other factor for making Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. The trails of Gokyo Lakes Trek lie between 2,610m and 4,750m except the ones to Gokyo Ri and Cho Oyu Base Camp.
The temperature of daytime is warmer than the other parts of the day because of the sunshine. Most of the times of the day, the temperature goes below zero up to -17 Degree Celsius, especially in the nights.
Generally, the seasons in Nepal are divided into 6 categories; however, regarding mountaineering and trekking in Nepal, we talk about four seasons.
- Spring (March – May)
- Summer (June – August)
- Autumn (September – November)
- Winter (December – February)
Besides these, monsoon season in Nepal plays a vital role in contributing for trekking difficulty. Monsoon ranges from July to Mid-September when it rains in most of the part of the nation even except in rain shadow regions of Upper Mustang Trek and Upper Dolpo Trek.
Sometimes, the trails in the lower altitude of Gokyo Lakes Trek are muddy and slippery making the trek more difficult. The thick clouds and thunderstorms also create hindrances to the Gokyo Lakes Trekkers.
To present the season wise temperature of Gokyo Lakes Valley in the table:
|S.N.||Season||Temperature Ranges||Sunshine Hours/day|
|1||Spring||15 Degree Celsius to – 10 Degree Celsius||7 hours|
|2||Summer||17 Degree Celsius to 5 Degree Celsius||5 hours|
|3||Autumn||20 Degree Celsius to – 10 Degree Celsius||7 hours|
|4||Winter||20 Degree Celsius to – 17 Degree Celsius||7 hours|
You physical fitness condition is also important to measure Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. If you have a habit of daily jogging or any other types of physical exercise routine, you can walk through the rugged steep trail easily.
If you have previous mountaineering and trekking experience, it is plus point to beat Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. Even if you lack this, you can develop this on your own or by joining a training session.
You have to trek for about 5-6 hours every day to cover around 8 km distance in the elevation above 2,500m. This task is very difficult for the trekkers who lack sound physical health and a habit of walking every day
Besides all other factors, whether you are mentally ready or not for the trek measures Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. The trails are rugged, high altitude, and demanding basic skills of trekking in the Himalayas. You are physically fit and have training of trekking as well.
But, if you are not mentally ready to succeed in beating the challenges of Gokyo Lakes Trek, you can hardly do it away. You must be focused on reaching the destination by overcoming all the difficulties that come on the way.
Weight and Backpack
Your own weight and the weight of your backpack is yet another factor to check Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. If you are overweight and you backpack is heavier than maximum 25 kg, you might find it difficult to reach Gokyo Lakes Valley. Crossing the steep rugged trails while carrying more-than-necessary-and-heavier backpack is really challenging.
Therefore, you must know about the weight of yourself and the backpack to carry while Gokyo Lakes Trek. “The heavier the backpack, the more difficult the trek” should be understood while traversing in the high Himalayan regions.
Another responsible factor to measure Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty is your age group. By this, I don’t mean that the your age years determine your age group because people at their 80’s have also reached the Everest Summit.
However, it is easier to beat the difficulty of Gokyo Lakes Trek for adult than for the children and senior citizens. Or, let’s say, an adult can prepare sooner and better for Gokyo Lakes Trek and other adventurous trips in the Himalayas.
How to Beat Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty?
After knowing the factors determining Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty, you might think “How to beat Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty?” It is said that the more challenging the journey, the more interesting it becomes. It is because you develop the measures to beat the challenges from every possible angle.
To beat Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty, we recommend you to consider the following things:
- Book an organized trek with an authentic trekking agency
- Hire a professional and experienced trekking guide and porter
- Book the trek in right season
- Book the trek that has enough acclimatization days
- Customize the trek as per your comfort
- Know all about Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) such altitude sickness, its symptoms, and preventive measures
- Walk slowly and gradually almost every time together with the guide and colleagues
- Be physically and mentally prepared to accomplish the trek
There are a few key factors responsible for Gokyo Lakes Trek Difficulty. Despite difficulty, the rewards of Gokyo Lakes Trek are incomparable to the lifelong memory you get during this trek. Do collect enough information regarding the challenges of trekking to Gokyo Lakes before you book it with a trekking agency.
For this, contact Nepal Trekking Routes to book a tailor-made trek to any region of Nepal. We are always on-a-go to assist you with the best quality services at the most reasonable cost.