The Responsible
Adventure Travel Company

Overview

This is one of the most adventurous treks in the Everest Himalayas, leaving the main Khumbu trail to visit the spectacular turquoise, Gokyo lakes before following the footsteps of the yeti over the high route pass of Cho La (5330m) into the Base Camp of Mount Everest.  The trek travels through the homelands of the Sherpa people, where you will experience their wonderful warmth and hospitality.

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Following the Dudh Koshi river valley brings you towards the bustling market town of Namche Bazaar which has a great atmosphere, perfect for soaking up the magnificent mountain scenery.  Awe-inspiring views of some of the biggest mountains in the world provide a dramatic backdrop as you venture further into the Khumbu valley.

After leaving Namche Bazaar the trek ascends the stunning Gokyo Valley to the glacial lakes under Cho Oyu (8153m).  A climb of Gokyo Ri provides breath taking views of four 8,000m peaks; Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Makalu and the largest glacier in Nepal, the Ngozumpa glacier and of course the stunning turqoise Gokyo Lakes.

The return to Lukla follows the route through Everest Base Camp, an ascent of Kalar Pattar for close-up views of Everest, down to the stunning Tengboche Monastery, Khumjung village, Namche Bazaar and finally back to Lukla.

The facilities for visitors are of a high standard, as is the food. We generally offer tea house treks with overnight accommodation in comfortable lodges, but we can also provide tented trips so you can concentrate on immersing yourself in a slow and easy daily routine, with only the elements, the mountains and the quiet character of the people to accompany you. 

From your first enquiry you will have experienced people to talk to in the UK office who will give you an honest appraisal of the Trek. This personal service and warm welcome will also await you in Kathmandu where Pasang Tendi Sherpa from Khari Khola, runs AA Nepal. He has made nine expeditions to Mt Everest and also guides on Aconcagua. He speaks excellent English and will be on hand all the time. He understands that this is more than trekking holiday; this is often a spiritual experience, a pilgrimage to the foot of the highest mountain on earth.

We are passionate about responsible tourism and every aspect of your trip, from transport and accommodation to staff policies, and how we behave on the trek will reflect this. Adventure Alternative was winner of the Responsible Tourism Award in 2009 in the Best Personal Contribution category.

Staff

We run our Everest Base Camp treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang, our other guides include Geljun Sherpa from Bupsa, Tsering Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa.

All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate, who has climbed Everest 5 times. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs.

We give the full recommended wage and are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection. We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier.

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Dates and Itinerary

The Gokyo Lakes trek is an 17 day journey, offering steep climbs to Gokyo Ri, Thorung La and Kala Patthar and a trek to Everest Base Camp for incredible views of the surrounding Himalayas. From Kathmandu there is a short flight to Lukla where the trek continues uphill for 7 days to reach Gokyo Ri, the highest point of the trek. The return to Kathmandu is an 11 day route through Everest Base Camp, an ascent of Kala Patthar, down to Tengboche Monastery, Khumjung village, back through Namche and Lukla and finally to Kathmandu.

You can trek to Gokyo Lakes from March to June, and September to November.

The start dates refer to the arrival date in Kathmandu and the end date refers to the earliest you can book your return flight home for. However you are welcome to arrive earlier or stay on at the end, and stay in our guesthouse in order to spend more time sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Private trips are welcomed and available for groups like schools or charities. We have our own office and guesthouse ready and waiting for any dates you may prefer.

Broad Itinerary

This trek in the Khumbu region of Nepal encompasses spectacular views of many 8,000m peaks including the famous Mount Everest.  The Khumbu region is a magical land full of magnificent mountains and the wonderful ancient Sherpa culture and hospitality.  The trek stays in locally owned lodges or tea-houses which are comfortable and provide a great atmosphere.

Visiting places like Namche Bazaar, a bustling market town set in an amphitheatre with houses spread among the hills, and the beautiful monastery of Tengboche provide vivid memories to be cherished.  The trek includes steep climbs to Gokyo Ri and Kalar Pattar, both of which are above 18,000ft, and offer stunning panoramic views.  Ascend through rhododendron and confider forests to the yak herders’ settlements and sacred lakes of Gokyo and Gokyo Ri (5483m) to relish the views of Lhotse, Makalu, Cho-Oyu, Everest and many more.  Being on the Tibetan trade route you can expect to encounter traders on your way too.

It is important to mention that occasionally flights to and out of Lukla are cancelled or delayed because of bad weather, so it is not a good idea to book an international flight on the same day as the internal flight.

2014 2015
22nd October - 10th November 22nd April - 11th May
21st October - 9th November
Detailed Itinerary
Day Elevation Travel Time Info
1 1400m Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel or Adventure Alternative guesthouse.
2 1400m Rest day and acclimatisation to jetlag. There is also the possibilty of Kathmandu city sightseeing. Trek briefing will follow.
3 2460m 2 hours walking Flight from Kathmandu into the mountains and the town of Lukla. From there a gentle downhill walk to Phakding or Jorsale along the edge of the Dudh Kosi River. Easy, well-used, busy path of porters and yaks, surrounded by forest on the sides of the valley.
4-5 3440m 6 hours walking Uphill to the Sherpa ‘capital’ in the heart of the Khumbu region, Namche Bazaar. Initially follow the valley to Monjo where you enter the National Park, then criss-cross the river a few times and start a long unrelenting path uphill, with spectacular bridges spanning deep gorges. Leave the coniferous forest behind, and arrive at a huge natural amphitheatre with the blue-roofed houses spread around the sides. Namche is the major trading centre of the Khumbu, with Tibetans crossing the high Nangpa La Pass to reach the bustling Saturday morning market. Nowadays there are also many equipment shops, internet, bank, post office, cafes, bars, lodges and hire shops. Rest here for a day and take the chance to visit the Everest Museum.
6 4210m 5 hours walking Walk to Dole (4210m), via an easy path to Sangnasha. Climb uphill until Mong La, where we have lunch. After lunch it is downhill to Phorche Tanga. A pleasant walk through some forest then brings us to Dole, where we stop for the night.
7 4470m 3-4 hours walking Today we head to Macherma, following a quite easy grassy path. You are provided with views of Cho Oyu (8200m) as we climb gradually moving up the river valley passing Lhabarma and Luza to reach our destination of Macherma (4470m).
8-9 5483m 3 hours walking There is quite a steep climb to kick us off, and due to the increase in altitude we spend two nights at the lakes to enjoy the views. On day 9 it is an early start, around 3am to climb Gokyo Ri (5483m) for sunrise. It takes around 2 ½ hrs to reach the summit, and you are rewarded with spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, Ama dablam, Pumori, Thambersku, Khangteka, Tensum Khang Gunnel and Cho La Che before returning to Gokyo Lakes for the remainder of the day.
10 4355m 3-4 hours walking Cross the Gokyo glacier and stay in Thangna at the foot of the Cho-La Pass for the night.
11 5330m 7-8 hours walking Today is another early start, around 3am for a 2 hour climb towards the Chola La Pass (5330m). From here there is a 2 hour descent to ZongLa, with stunning views to accompany you.
12 4920m 3hours walking An easy day with about 3hrs walking on relatively flat terrain, to Labouche, which is alongside the huge Khumbu Glacier. There are many stupas erected in memory of Sherpas who have died on expeditions. Few plants live up here and it will be much colder in the evenings. It is important to walk slowly and listen to your body. Fatigue from lack of oxygen to your muscles is common, but some people may feel nauseous and suffer from headaches. Drink lots of liquid and keep warm, give your body maximum opportunity to recover.
13 5164m 3hours walking From Labouche hike on the glacial moraine to the final settlement of Gorak Shep. The views here are spectacular. Nuptse dominates the other side of the valley, behind which the black triangular peak of Everest is just visible. The giant wall of ice ahead is the border with Tibet. Gorak Shep is the last outpost, a small collection of huts just below a hill called Kala Patthar which is traditionally the finest viewing point for Everest itself.
14 5540m 5 hours walking Trek to Everest Base Camp along the lateral moraine and finally on the glacier itself. Sometimes this route is impassable. Arriving at the small tented city where climbers congregate to climb the mountain is a surreal experience. There is a network of ‘roads’ between the camps, a bakery, and a chance to have a chat with people. Visit the Himalayan Rescue Association, which does an amazing job of looking after climbers.
15 4920m Early morning climb to the summit of Kala Patthar to see sun rise behind the peak of Everest. The climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, into the Western Cwm and up the Lhotse Face to the South Col is clearly visible, with the SE ridge to the top on the right hand skyline side of the summit block. This is a tough walk in the cold and not to be underestimated. Take warm clothing. Back at the lodge for breakfast and a walk back to Lobuje and further if the team wishes.
16,17 & 18 2460m Over three days a descent via Namche Bazaar all the way to Lukla with various options for accommodation. It is possible to stay in different villages, for example Pheriche, Khumjung, Monjo, but the route is the same as the way up.
19 2 hrs Lukla flight to arrive in Kathmandu in the morning and transfer to hotel. Day rest and sightseeing.
20 1400m Depart Kathmandu. If you leave in the morning it is possible to arrive in London the same day.

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Cost

Gokyo Lakes & Everest BC cost: £1,245.00

Includes
  • Airport transfers
  • Internal flights to Lukla and from Lukla
  • Accommodation in Kathmandu for 3 nights - twin/double rooms
  • Accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
  • Three meals per day during the trek, and hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices)
  • Sagamartha National Park Fees
  • Sherpa guides (English speaking, trained in first aid)
  • Porters (1 per member, carries about 15kgs)
  • Staff food, insurance and equipment
Excludes
  • International flight to Kathmandu (~£600.00)
  • Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
  • Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£100)
  • Trip Insurance
  • Visa
  • Tips (~£30)
  • Sightseeing Tours
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
  • Island Peak: £450.00
    Island Peak, 5 day climb: £450.00 (single person supplement £250)
  • Spa Hotel: £60.00
    Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
  • Chitwan Jungle Adventure: £399.00
    This is a trip for those who would like a bit more excitement rather than pampering. We depart Kathmandu by coach and after a couple of hours driving we meet up with your white water rafting crew who will take you on an adventurous trip down river for many miles until you reach the Chitwan Jungle. We then spend the next four days based in a lovely jungle resort. This quaint home from home is our base for river trips in traditional dug out canoes, jungle walks and the highlight; an elephant back safari, which at the end involves jumping in the river with your elephant to give him or her a wash! After all of the jungle fun and activities we then return to Kathmandu by a short flight.
  • Everest Flight!: £160.00
    This is a flight around Mt Everest offering spectacular views of the mountain. This flight leaves daily in the morning and can be undertaken by those who plan to depart Kathmandu for home, on an evening flight following the trek or as an addition to the next two options. The one hour flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east in a fully pressurised aircraft, where one can see magnificent mountains from a height of around 25,000 feet. A must take tour of the majestic Himalayas. It’s an hour of breathtaking scenic beauty of the Mighty Mountains. It is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga – 3rd highest, Lhoste, Makalu, Cho Oyu, to name just a few including the Tibetan plateau. You enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. The clear, non tinted windows offer a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial views of the Kathmandu valley, the high peaks and the landscapes of Nepal.
  • Moving Mountains Village Trek: £350.00
    This is a wonderful 7 days trek extension which starts when you approach Lukla on the way back from Everest. Two days further and off the beaten trail is two villages which our charity had been developing over the last decade. You are welcome to come and see what we've been doing and get involved. This is beautiful trip, like stepping back in time and will introduce to the traditional ways and cultures of the local people.
Not all about money

Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running  cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.

Additionally we plan treks with sufficient rest days and with achievable daily altitude increases which gives good time to acclimatise. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of successfully completing the trek also greatly reduce.

We include professional staff and a porter for each member. We do not operate kitties and we use an excellent hotel in Kathmandu with which we have built up a strong relationship over the years.

We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal.

Insurance

You must have an insurance policy which covers trekking at high altitude and helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation.

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Fitness

Type of Terrain

 The trek is on a well trodden path all the way though this can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way, although some of the hills can be steep and never-ending!

You will meet many people along the way, and also yaks. There is only one rule of the road when meeting an oncoming yak, and that is to always ensure you step to one side, towards the inside of the trail.

Poles are useful but not necessary, depending on whether you have problems with knees and if you have a personal preference for using them. Higher up, the open slopes and moraine may give you added reassurance with a pole, but again the path is quite easy to follow.

The treks highest ascent to Gokyo Ri, is not difficult but occasionally slippery underfoot.

Lightweight hiking boots with a high ankle are recommended for the Gokyo Lakes trek, to protect you against possibly going over on an ankle, but heavy boots will be hot and heavy and cumbersome. Cross trainers are popular, but cold in the morning up high.

Distance Covered

The total distance covered throughout a Gokyo Lakes trek is approximately 100km. Every day the trek starts after breakfast at about 8.30am and there are many opportunities to stop and take photos, or have a cup of tea. The pace is slow and the itinerary allows for acclimatisation and also rest days. At the start of the trek the distances are short but there are hills aplenty, and higher the distances increase but the gradient is more consistent and even.

Height Gained

Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Lukla will take you up to a height of 2866m.  With Gokyo Ri standing at 5483m, Everest Base Camp standing at 5360m and Kala Patthar at 5545m, the Gokyo Lakes trek gains a total of 2679 metres from Lukla and 4145 metres from Kathmandu.

Camps Used

Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Lukla will take you up to a height of 2866m.  With Gokyo Ri standing at 5483m, Everest Base Camp standing at 5360m and Kala Patthar at 5545m, the Gokyo Lakes trek gains a total of 2679 metres from Lukla and 4145 metres from Kathmandu.

Experience Needed

The trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home.

We do recommend that you embark on a good fitness programme at least 6 weeks prior to your trip though, and one that builds up general stamina and specific leg muscle groups. There is nothing like hiking with a rucksack to train, so the best advice is to get out into the hills as often as you can. You are likely to carry about 5 kilos in your day sack so this is a good weight to work with.

If you are going to be using the gym then concentrate on step machines which work on the thigh and calf muscles, and try to build your heart rate up to 50% above resting rate. Any cardiovascular activity is good, but remember that swimming will not train the correct muscle groups so it must be added to other exercises to be effective. Exercise groups like bodypump, Pilates and aerobic are all excellent preparation for a trek like this, especially those which work on core strength, balance and stability.

Adventure Alternative Support

The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.

Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our operations manager in Kathmandu and Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is the organiser, translator, problem solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He will talk to the Sherpa guides regularly on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are on trek.

You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us. In the Khumbu region there is still an opportunity to communicate since most lodges now have satellite phones.

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Gear

Kit List
  • The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night.
  • There is a detailed list via the menu below and to the right but the main points to cover are as follows:-
  • BAGS - Large Duffle bag/Rucksack ~80L (for a porter to carry) + Medium Daypack ~40L (carried by you)
  • SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
  • INSULATION - Warm layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
  • BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to when it gets hot
  • FEET - Comfortable, Waterproof boots to support your ankles over rough terrain. Lighter footwaer to change into in the evenings.
  • SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag to get a good nights sleep at the lodges
  • EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite snacks for during the day
  • WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister
Additional Kit Info

Luggage Allowance on Internal Flights

Please note that standard luggage limits on internal flights are 10kg in the hold and 5kg as hand luggage. You can pay for extra luggage allowance at 120rupees(~0.75GBP)/kg. However, note that the amount that the plane can carry also has a limit! You can of course wear your trekking boots and jacket to help cut down on the weight of your bag. You will also have left any city clothes or extra travel kit in Kathmandu.

Rental Items

Kathmandu has an area called Thamel which is full of hundreds of equipment shops, each one an emporium of new, used, quality and fake equipment all very reasonably priced for rental and buying. You can buy almost anything needed for any trek.

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Why Us

  • All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director and high altitude climber who has made five expeditions to Mount Everest 5 times (link to Gavin clip)
  • We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which support the local economy.
  • We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
  • All the staff in our UK office have been to Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go up for the first time, before you go.
  • We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Nepal in a real way. (include award logo).
  • Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
  • Financial security guaranteed.

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