The Gokyo route to Everest base camp is the favourite base camp trek with all the team at Kandoo. Avoiding the crowds on the main route and including the ascent of Gokyo Ri and the crossing of the Cho La pass both of which are really fantastic.
The trek starts with a rollercoaster flight into Lukla: make sure you sit on the left for your first great views of the Everest region. The landing at Lukla can be a white knuckle affair but the pilots are incredibly skilful dropping the plane down onto a short steep runway.
Once your crew is assembled you start your trek passing through Sherpa villages with well cultivated fields. The trail is generally downhill for the first day but day two starts with a long hard climb to Namche, a surprisingly large town where you can enjoy an Illy coffee and even a chocolate brownie!
After Namche you divert from the classic route heading up the Dudh Koshi valley through Dole and Machermo before finally reaching Gokyo. There are 5 lakes here all of which are iridescent turquoise. Besides the lakes themselves the highlight of Gokyo is the ascent of Gokyo Ri, just behind the village which provides unbelievable views of Cho Oyu and Everest.
From here the trek takes you down to Tragnag before crossing the Cho La pass, one of the three great passes in the Khumbu region. Dropping down from the pass you rejoin the main base camp route walking up to Gorak Shep.
You will visit base camp itself in the afternoon leaving the early morning session next day to climb Kala Pattar (5554m) for a breath-taking view of the highest mountain on Earth. Having climbed Kala Pattar you descend again to Dingboche and over the next two days retrace your steps to Lukla to relax and celebrate.
Sleep at Everest Base Camp (Private Only)
For all private trekkers we are able to arrange an overnight stay at Everest Base Camp during the main climbing season from March through May. This is a very unique experience for trekkers as they get to join the campsite of an Everest expedition team and can walk all the way up to the crampon point on the Khumbu icefall. For more details, just contact one of our team!
Upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu, you will be met by one of the Kandoo team, who will drive you to your hotel. Once you've checked in and settled, your guide will brief you about the upcoming trek and you can ask any questions you may have.
The flight to Lukla only takes 45 minutes, but you'll never forget it. The Himalaya is amazing when seen from the air, and the landing on Lukla's airstrip is exciting, to say the least.
Once all the trekkers and crew are assembled, we'll head up the Dudh Koshi valley on our way to Phakding.
We will continue in the footsteps of the classic Everest explorers, crossing and re-crossing the river several times on high suspension bridges, each an adventure in itself. On the way we'll pass Monjo and then enter Sagarmatha National Park.
Once inside the Park the going gets fairly steep until we hit Namche itself. Namche Bazaar is the chief trading centre of the region, and well worth a ramble. Our advice is to stock up on snacks here, especially baked goods. It may also be your last chance for a real latte until your return trip!
Namche sits on a hillside between two steep ridges, and offers excellent short acclimatisation excursions which will help prepare you for the higher altitudes, 5 km above sea level.
The Everest View Hotel is one of our favourite destinations for these treks, as the view from the terrace is amazing, and they serve an excellent afternoon tea. Once back in Namche you can relax or do a bit more shopping. It will be back on the trail in the morning.
The route to Dole offers some of the most amazing scenery of the trip. Climbing one of the ridges just outside of Namche allows us to see both Everest and Lhotse, and not long after we can stand above the Dudh Koshi valley and see Ama Dablam.
The direct trail to Everest is downhill from here, but we will turn uphill to cross the Mon La and pass Phortse Tenga on our way to Dole.
Again we'll be following a valley steadily uphill, this time in a rhododendron forest. The vegetation gives way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases, and we'll pass a great many Yersa, or summer settlements, where yaks are pastured in the warm summer months.
Over the course of the morning we'll be treated to views of Cho Oyu, Thamserku and Katenga, and arrive in Machermo for lunch and a rest.
As Machermo is nearly 4500m in altitude, it is best all around to take another day to get used to the thin air and lowering temperatures.
Short exploration hikes are encouraged, and there is an excellent spot just above the village where we can see Cho Oyu towering another 3.8 kilometres above us and the mountain-rimmed Ngozumpa Glacier.
You should be well-rested now, and ready to see the lakes.
We'll pass through Pangka then work our way down the edge of the Ngozumpta Glacier. The trail becomes steep here, until we come into sight of the turquoise waters of the first glacial lake.
After passing the second of the lakes, we'll cross the path that we'll take later en route to Lobuche and later Everest. The village of Gokyo is on the shore of the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. This is one of the most scenic locations in the region, with the peaks of Cho Oyu and Gyachung in the distance.
Day nine starts before dawn. An hour's steep climb will see us to the summit of Gokyo Ri, where we will have a chance to take one of the best pictures of the entire trek. Everest, Lhotse and Makalu will all be visible in the early morning sun (weather permitting, of course!)
After a lunch break, we'll cross the Ngozumpa Glacier, passing the second lake again, on our way to Tragnag.
Another early start today! We'll work our way up the valley, crossing a high ridge and lateral moraine before coming to the rocky terrain of the pass itself. Again, this is one of the highest points on the trek, so take care, and pace yourself.
The pass itself is stunning, especially from the highest point. Keep your camera in an outer pocket!
On the way down from the pass we'll cross a small glacier which may be covered in snow, looking out on Cholatse and Ama Dablam most of the way.
Day eleven sees us rejoining the main Everest route, passing through Pheriche and Tengboche before reaching Lobuche.
Today we'll follow the Khumbu Glacier all the way to Gorak Shep, where we will break for lunch.
From Gorak Shep, it is on to Everest Base Camp itself, at 5364 metres above sea level. The trail winds along the crevasses in a constantly changing path, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.
The route back to Gorak Shep will avoid the glacier, and grant amazing views of the South Col and the Khumbu Icefall.
We'll set out for Kala Pattar quite early, and see another of the best vistas in the Himalaya from its top, including views of Everest's summit and the Khumbu icefall from far above.
In the afternoon, we'll set out on the return trip to Dingboche.
We'll follow the Imja Khola river downhill to Pangboche, where we will cross it. Then it is a gentle climb through rhododendron forest into Tengboche.
After a break to explore the monastery there, we'll descend to Namche.
Our last day of real trekking follows the Dudh Koshi all the way back to Lukla.
Expect a celebration of the successful trek with all of the trekkers, guides and porters in attendance. There is a local drink called chang for the adventurous, or western style bottled beer for those who miss the familiar. Either way, it is a great end to the adventure of a lifetime.
After a hearty breakfast, you'll fly back to Kathmandu with the rest of the trekkers, for a well-earned rest at your hotel
After one last night at your hotel, we'll drive you to Kathmandu airport and see you onto your return flight.
All that's left is to start bragging about your adventure!
This is a tougher trek than the standard EBC trek and gives experienced hikers a good challenge. No technical climbing is required, but there are several high passes to cross over and the days are long. A good level of fitness is required.
Route itineraries can vary slightly, however the average total distance covered whilst trekking is 136 miles or 220 kilometres.
Simply breathtaking. Not only do you get the valleys, rivers, suspension bridges, towering mountains and alpine forests of the EBC trek, you also get the stunning Gokyo Lakes that shimmer blue in the bright sun, reflecting the surrounding mountains like perfect mirrors.
Yes. The Gokyo Lakes trek is very popular and we recommend booking at least 3 months in advance. This also gives you a good amount of time to prepare.
The best period to trek the Gokyo Lakes is during the dry seasons - March to May and September to November.