Gokyo Lake falls under one of the fascinating trekking destination in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The trail of some rugged landscapes and off beaten paths through Namche, Dole, Machhermo and eventually onto the Gokyo valley are worth your time.
Home to the glistering Gokyo lakes, the trekking path also provides you with fantastic views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and their surrounding giants. Gokyo lake trek difficulty is a moderate trek even though you will reach at the height 4,700 to 5,000m during the trek.
It is necessary to understand the challenges and complexity of the trek before you take this as an option. It is essential to learn how to overcome them for a safe journey as with great views comes great difficulty.
The trek to Gokyo lake is moderately difficult. As it requires walking about 5 to 6 hours, you need to be in good shape and stamina for this trek, excluding the acclimatization days. The rugged trails, steep terrains, and high passes prove to be more burdensome when the altitude increases.
The big problem here will be the altitude as you will be staying at elevations higher than 3500m for many days. You also have to trek to a height of around 5000m and more for about four times during the trek. The air here is quite thin, and altitude sickness can affect many individuals. Breathing can be quite tricky even for the unaffected people, and the long trekking days adds more trouble.
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Factors that make Gokyo Lake Trek Difficult
The duration of the Gokyo lake trek differs according to the trek package you choose. But on average, the trek lasts around 15 days. The trek requires around 5 to 6-hours of the walk and covers a distance of 10 km a day on average.
The overall duration and the long trekking hours of the trek can cause several challenges on your way to Gokyo if you have not trekked in such high altitude conditions in the past. However, you will have an acclimatization and resting period to cope with exhaustion and altitude sickness.
More extended trekking packages make the trek more comfortable as the trekkers get more rest. The more extended tour package will get you adequately acclimatized for the trek. If your package is shorter, there will be long walks, and that can be quite hectic.
Weather and Temperature
The weather in the mountains is unpredictable as it changes significantly without any warning. You can notice the change in the climatic conditions every hour. The frequently changing weather can make your trek more difficult.
Navigating issues caused due to the snow-covered trails., especially if you are travelling without a guide. Rain and Snowfall, falls under significant difficulty during your trek to Gokyo Lake.
Besides the weather, the temperatures can also add difficulties in the trek. Due to the rapid fall of temperature in high elevated areas, you might face more pressure during the trek. And if you happen to travel, in winter, the weather becomes freezing and intolerable.
To overcome these problems, you have to choose the best season to trek to Gokyo Lake. The best time to trek is during the spring and the autumn time. The spring falls around April and autumn in October.
The temperature in April and October is similar during the day, i.e. 15 to 12 degrees centigrade and the temperature at night drops to -5 to -10 degrees. With proper hiking gear and warm clothes, the temperature should not be a problem.
During Spring and Autumn, you can find clear skies and unobstructed mountain views. The magnificent views of the landscape also provide some promising photographs and memories.
The total distance covered in Gokyo Lake trek is 92kms in total. The default time to complete the trek is from 15 to 18 days. Some people can also perform the trek in fewer days; it all depends on your strength and stamina.
We will be travelling along a less-travelled path as the trek begins from Lukla. The trail could be quite challenging and difficult, but the terrain path is not the same throughout the journey. You might have to only walk on smooth roads for some days.
The steep trails and high landscapes can offer you a challenge at higher elevations even if you are an experienced hiker.
During a high altitude trek, it is quite common for anyone to have altitude sickness. It is hard to get accustomed to the rapid change in altitude. The journey to Gokyo Lake trek starts from Namche after a flight from Kathmandu.
The rising altitude means the oxygen levels and air pressure decrease to a bare minimum. Hence, the rapid change in elevation can cause altitude sickness in a lot of trekkers.
You can get symptoms like nausea, insomnia, diarrhoea, and appetite loss in Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS). If not treated properly, the AMS is a severe condition as it can turn fatal.
There are some mild symptoms like headache, nausea, or dizziness that can happen due to the change in altitude during the trek. Descend to a lower altitude and stay hydrated if you observe these types of symptoms. You can also rest for a day or two. You might sadly have to forfeit the trek if the symptoms worsen. Some symptoms such as confusion, difficulty breathing, or losing consciousness are severe. If these symptoms are observed, one must immediately be transferred to a medical institution and taken to a lower height.
Stamina is a must since you have to walk through the rugged paths and steep terrains every day for at least 5 hours. Travelling to elevations above 5000m with thin air and tough terrains can be quite tricky and challenging. Thus, having good physical endurance to complete the trek is a must.
Training before the trek is helpful during the actual trek. The trek becomes much more comfortable and faster if physically prepared for the trek.
Walking, Jogging, Bicycle rides, or even sprinting down the stairs can be helpful during your Gokyo lake trek. Activities like that help to increase your stamina and get you pumped up for the trek. Doing squats at home can also help you to strengthen your legs.
Flexibility is another factor that helps you increase your stamina. You can practice some basic stretches at home, or you can also perform yoga. These activities help your muscles to relax and be more flexible, which gives you more strength and stamina during the trek.
Weight and Luggage
Gokyo lake trek is a longer trek, so heavy luggage can create trouble. Heavy bags might be a hassle and drain you and your stamina down since you will be travelling for many hours every day for a long duration. Make sure to choose only your essentials as it would be easier to carry, and it would be even better if they are all lightweight.
The essential things you should carry while trekking to Gokyo Lake is trekking clothes, sturdy trekking shoes, rainproof jackets and pants. Insulating jackets, gloves, sunglasses, water bottles, caps, extra Batteries, flashlight, toiletries and some necessary medications such as sprain ointments, painkillers, and bandages can also be helpful.
Measures to Cope With the Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
There are ways to reduce the difficulty of the Gokyo lake trek despite the problems. Some ways to make your trek simpler and enjoyable for even a novice trekker are given below.
- For beginners choosing the favourable seasons is a must. The clear skies, the pleasant climate, and stable temperature during this trek will get you to travel with fewer complications.
- Consider taking a licensed guide and porter with you if you are new to this trek. You will have no problems navigating through the unfamiliar trails and the burden of carrying your luggage while walking also vanishes if you have a company while trekking.
- Carrying unnecessary items in your luggage makes it weigh more which will diminish your stamina and create unwanted fatigue. Make sure you have included all your necessary things the next time you pack for the trip, but don’t overpack!
- Taking enough acclimatization days during your trek will help you get over the altitude sickness. In this way, you get acclimatized to the surroundings and the chances of getting AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) are reduced.
- If you are performing some physical exercises before the trek can be helpful, you can complete the trek with greater efficiency if you have enough strength and flexibility to your muscles.
- Drinking enough water and fluids keeps you hydrated, cool and fresh. It is also one way to the chances of getting altitude sickness as you progress to higher elevations.
Ways to Reach Gokyo Lake
You can reach Gokyo lake in different ways. It depends on your schedule and interests on the route you want to take while going on a Gokyo Lake Trek.
Jiri to Everest base camp via Gokyo Lake is one of the most challenging and most extended treks in the Everest region. It is not a standard route but the best way to explore the Everest region at once. Spring and autumn are the best season to trek in these routes.
What makes your journey more beautiful?
Birds, wild animals, blooming rhododendrons and spiritual Buddhist monasteries make your journey more exciting and beautiful. You can also enjoy the tranquil beauty of EBC, Kalapatthar, Namche Bazaar and Gokyo Lake itself. You get the best memory of your life when the fantastic views combined with spirituality and Sherpa culture.
Another way to go on a Gokyo Lake Trek is travelling through the Dudh Kosi valley river that brings you towards the bustling market town of Namche Bazaar which has a great atmosphere. It is also a great place for soaking up the outstanding mountain scenery. As you move further into Khumbu valley, you can observe the awe-inspiring views of the biggest mountain in the world.
After trekking to Gokyo, you can also extend your trek to Everest Base Camp to get a close-up view of Mt. Everest. You can trek down to the stunning Tengboche Monastery, Khumjung village and finally back to Lukla.
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Essential Tips to Overcome Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
- The major difficulty you can face during the trek is altitude so acclimatizing, and resting plays a massive role in completing your trek successfully.
- Getting used to the trails and doing regular exercises before the trek can help you a lot during the long duration trek.
- Choosing a proper season also plays a vital role. So if you are a beginner, you can go on this trek during Spring and Autumn.
- If it is difficult for you to trek, you can also customize your days of the trek according to the resting days that are needed.
- Hiring a guide can also help you navigate properly and might make it easier for you to trek without distracting your ways.
- Finally, having a positive attitude and staying calm is the key for every journey.
Gokyo lake trek is one of the most exciting treks of Nepal. You can experience the endless natural beauty that you will forever cherish. The breathtaking views of the trails and the serene turquoise lake are what makes your journey unforgettable.
However, the long duration of the trek requires 5-6 hours of walking which makes the trek most difficult. So, having proper physical fitness and mental health is the key to making your journey more comfortable. You can complete the trek successfully with appropriate packing and preparation.