A grand photo story on the Everest Base Camp – Gokyo Ri trek

Everest Base Camp is on every trekker’s bucket list. However, diverging from the main Everest highway, is the less crowded Gokyo Ri trail. Everest-Gokyo Ri circuit is a more wholesome trek- taking you to Gokyo and Khumbu region with world’s tallest mountains, Asia’s largest glacier (present in the header image) and six alpine lakes to offer. Our trekker Arun Nayak captures this incredible trail with his images and words.


DSC_2144Landing in Lukla (2,680 m) is the real deal. On a clear day, it will be one of the smoothest landings you’ve ever experienced. Add to it the thrill of sitting right behind the pilot, watching his every move and every dial on the instrument panel. Lukla is a fully manual landing and so entirely dependent on visibility and weather conditions.

All it needs is a phone call from Lukla saying, “all clear” and suddenly the hostesses at Kathmandu (1,400 m) airport are packing you off into the numerous turbo props. Made me think its so easy to hijack these aircrafts. But then, only an idiot would hijack a dozen people who don’t see anything right in living normally!


DSC_2227 (1)Prayer stones and mini stupas with an elegant script are a common place through the entire trek but more so where the villages abound.


DSC_2394The Swiss suspension bridge that eventually gets you to Namche is perched a good 1,000 ft above the tempestuous white waters of the Dudh Kosi. You just can’t help but take a dozen pictures in all kinds of poses on this engineering marvel that is practically the lifeline of Khumbu region.


DSC_2648Namche Bazaar at 3450 m, the headquarters of the Khumbu region. Right from your basic supplies, to supermarkets stocking Snickers, beer and gear, to pubs, to branded trekking shops, to an ATM you have it all here. Spend a day here to acclimatize, walk around and ponder for the rest of the way, how the hell did they get it all there????
When you spared a thought for that, it won’t hurt when you pay a 100 NPR for a bottle of water.

Everest Base Camp- Ama DablamOn treks, you haven’t really photographed, till you’ve photographed at night. Post dinner, a simple suggestion to our trek leader about the possibility of seeing the mountains at night was well received. So, close to 10 pm, we went up back to the museum. At first we saw clouds blocking off our sight, but within minutes, almost as if to serve an audience, they cleared off! In this picture is the most beautiful mountain on the Everest range – Ama Dablam ( 6, 812 m).

Everest Base Camp- Tenzing Norgay stupaThe Tenzing Norgay Stupa is an unmissable landmark on the route beyond Namche. Perched high on a bend on the mountain trail, it’s a great place to catch your breath as you spend some time here enjoying the views and the relentless wind!

Everest Base Camp- Out of namcheOn a clear day, the initial part of the walk out of Namche towards the Everest region keeps your eyes fixated on the Everest (8, 848 m) and Ama Dablam. And here, I actually walked back a couple of steps to click this picture of the Tenzing Norgay stupa elegantly positioned at the meeting point of leading lines formed by the slopes of the Ama Dablam and below a blizzard-infested Nuptse (7, 861 m) /Lhotse (8,516 m).


Everest Base Camp- Towards GokyoThe point where we broke away from the Everest highway onto the Gokyo trail. I did miss the busy international feel of the Everest Base Camp highway at this point, but in hindsight, I’m glad that I did walk this stupendous region!


Everest Base Camp- Cho Oyu

Beyond Dole and later beyond Macchermo, the Cho Oyu (8, 201 m) is your companion till you cross the Ngozumpa glacier two days later. The sixth highest mountain is a huge snow wall and an additional treat on the Gokyo trail, as compared to the standard Everest Base Camp trail.


Everest Base Camp- En route Gokyo

En route to Gokyo from Macchermo, the boulder walk makes you climb levels and at each level you find a pristine blue/green lake of increasing dimension till you reach Lake 3 at Gokyo. It is forbidden to take a skinny dip due to religious reasons and we didn’t even venture to find out if anyone can fish in them. Probably not…


Everest Base Camp- Gokyo Lake

Gokyo Lakes look pretty unassuming from the ground level. As we walked past 3 of them during our walk from Macchermo to Gokyo, I had written them off having seen the splendour of the Kashmir Great Lakes. But then, God also made Gokyo Ri (5, 357 m). And he made sure that every man who goes past these lakes also climbs Gokyo Ri to see how beautiful even his watery creations were. As you climb Gokyo Ri expecting to see the mighty Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu etc,  right behind you, the three blue/green grand lakes seems to dwarf everything around them. Here you can see trekkers climbing up and as they catch on precious breath, get enthralled by what stands behind them!


Everest Base Camp- Gokyo Ri summit

Classic view of Mt.Everest (8, 848 m), Lhotse (8, 516 m) , Nuptse (7,861 m) and Makalu (8,481 m) from Gokyo Ri summit. The Ngozumpa glacier and its ever moving glacial lakes lie in the foreground.

Everest Base camp- Ngozumpa GlacierThe dreaded crossing of the Ngozumpa Glacier – the largest glacier in the Himalayas. It must be around 500 m in width and takes about 2 hrs to traverse. Our leader, Gurdit,  had just one instruction for us… “This area is prone to rockfalls. Get out of this place ASAP.”  For a perspective, look at the progressively diminutive trekkers on the right as they get to the base of the glacier.


Everest base camp- Heading to Chola PassReaching the pseudo Chola pass.. an early morning start meant biting cold as we walked. As you climb up the valley behind Thagna, you see the sun rise ahead of you behind a ridge. You can’t wait to ascend up to sunlight. A fairly steep climb lands you at this perch, making you believe you’ve reached Chola Pass, until you see the Chola Pass ahead of you from where you stand. That climb is another story altogether.


Everest Base Camp- Ama Dablam in frontEn route to Dzongla, you get welcomed back to Everest region by a frontal view of the endearing Ama Dablam. This peak looks so different from different spots on the trek! Now, you’re officially done with the Gokyo region and Chola pass successfully!


Everest Base Camp- Dzongla valleyWhile walking from Dzongla to Lobuche, the valley and the beautiful snow-clad peaks will take your breath away! The blue skies and the myriad cloud formations, and a flat walk skirting the mountain ridge curving out of Dzongla valley, makes for a particularly enjoyable walk.

Everest Base Camp- In everest regionMt Pumori (7, 161 m) , Mt LingtrenTse, Mt KhumbuTse and the Western shoulder of Mt Everest form the cauldron that houses Kala Patthar (5, 644 m), Everest Base Camp (5, 380 m) and the origins of the Khumbu valley. It’s a glorious feeling to walk amongst such big mountains!

Everest Base Camp- memorialJust above Dughla on the Everest highway, you’ll find memorials for eminent mountaineers who gave their lives away on the slopes. Here is a memorial for Scott Fischer.

Everest Base Camp- Mt pumoriMt Pumori – a beautiful name for a beautiful mountain – is now the dominant mountain in sight as you walk towards Lobuche and then to Gorakhshep. Our lead Nepali guide opined that its also the toughest mountain to climb in the Khumbu region.


Everest Base Camp- GorakhshepGorakhshep that now houses extremely busy tea houses with excellent WiFi connectivity at the base of Kala Patthar (the dark hill with trails leading to its top) and Mt Pumori behind.

Everest Base Camp- EBCAs you make the 3 hour walk to Everest Base Camp from Gorakhshep, you reach a point that gives you a birds eye view of Everest Base Camp on the edge of the Khumbu icefall. The Khumbu glacier, the Western shoulder of Everest and Nuptse and the Everest with her customary cloud halo peeking behind it look over the base camp.

Everest Base Camp - EBCWalking to the expedition tents of  Everest Base Camp is very exciting. There is no trail on the extremely slippery and loose moraine. You really don’t want to trouble the mountaineers often sunning themselves outside their tents. Yet you want to walk as far as time allows you to without losing your way in the maze of the tents. But what quietly impresses you is the innocuous but unbelievably dangerous Khumbu icefall seracs standing right next to you. It can be a huge temptation to walk on it, but I refrained from doing so.

Everest Base Camp- View from kala Pathar summitFrom the summit of Kala Patthar (5,643 m), you can easily visualize the entire Everest summit day climb from South Col (7900m) following the Southern ridge, the South Summit, Hillary step and the summit. The ridge leading to the top of Lhotse from South Col is also visible.

Everest Base Camp- Everest SunriseWatching the sun rise from behind Everest, stunning us as we climb up to Kala Patthar.

The sights you see on this trek stay with you long after it is over. The feeling of trekking among world’s highest mountains is beyond superlatives! I couldn’t help but make a silent prayer to get me back on this grand trail again for yet another unforgettable experience.

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24 thoughts on “A grand photo story on the Everest Base Camp – Gokyo Ri trek

  1. This is a superb report Arun! To all readers: I was there with him and I can only confirm every word and picture 😉

  2. Hi ,
    Please tel me when is everest base camp organized and what are its trek cost details, itinerary etc.

    Is there any such Gokyo Ri – EBC trek scheduled to be organized in 2017


    1. Hi Mihir

      Indiahikes will organise the EBC via Gokyo Ri trek in April. The batch is already open and you can go ahead and register for it. https://www.indiahikes.com/everest-base-camp-via-gokyo-ri/

      This is one of our most difficult treks and needs you to be at the top of your fitness game. Please do go through the eligibility criteria before registering. You can have a work with our support team if you have any doubts. 🙂


  3. Hey,
    Thanks so much for this post! I think that these photos are gorgeous! It is so important to stop and take a moment to appreciate nature when going on hikes! Investing in a good camera can be a great option.

  4. Excellent photos and essay, Arun. I have been going to one Himalayan trek per year since the last four, and the EBC is on my mind this year.
    Are you still at BVP?

    1. Hey Doc! BVP now feels like another world having left it 3 years back!! Even I have been doing a trek a year for past 6 years now. The altitude is rising with interest! Did Mera Peak(6476m) this May. Glad to see you liked the pics and the commentary. And if you have to do EBC do Gokyo ri too!( It’s far better) I can’t be more thankful to Indiahikes for planning such a fabulous itinerary.

  5. Hey Indiahikes
    When is the next trek – or the schedule for this trek?

    Excellent blog and mind blowing photos 🙂 .. thanks for sharing your experiences.

  6. hi, I wish to trek the Everest Base Camp this year in Oct. The eligibility criteria says I need to have a prior experience of “+14,000 feet”. Last year I trekked Kedarkantha (12,500 feet). Can I still qualify? Oh yes, I am 45 yrs old. Thanks for your guidance.

  7. April vs. October? What is difference and which one is better? Also, I have the same question as Vijay. I have done just the Kedarkantha winter trek before with India Hikes. And EBC via Gokyo Ri would be my second trek. If I fulfill the 10km in 60mins, it should be good right?

    1. Hi Mahima, I would strongly recommend doing another high altitude trek before going to EBC. Honestly, Kedarkantha is a very easy trek. Even if you do something tougher like Pin Bhaba you’ll find that there’s a HUGE difference between Pin Bhaba and Kedarkantha in terms of difficulty. Further, there’s a massive difference between Pin Bhaba and Everest Base Camp too in terms of difficulty! EBC (the route we take) climbs to over 17,000 ft thrice! It takes the wind out of our fittest trek leaders.

      Having the required fitness is great! But experience plays a huge role in making your trek successful and comfortable. If you’re spending so much time and money on a trek like EBC, I’d advise you to go with everything you can — fitness, preparation and knowledge about the trail.

      As for April vs October, I’d choose October for the clear views of the big mountains of Nepal. The views are rather hazy in April. But if you want a snowy experience, then April.

  8. Dear,
    i have plan to do EBC with Indiahikes during Sept /Oct-2019. I had already gone through the details. I have couple of questions for you.
    1. The flight charge from Kathmandu to Lukla is not included. How much does it cost in indian rupee?
    2. How is the mobile connectivity all through the trail?

    1. Hi Saikat, the flight will cost you a little over Rs.10000 round trip. You can check the fares online. As for the mobile connectivity, it is fairly good throughout the trek, especially at the tea houses. You’ll even find internet on the trail!

      1. Thanx Swathi,

        Gearing up for the trek.
        Can you please share with me how difficult or technical it is going to be to cross “cho-la (pass) ” considering i am about to reach 40 years next year?
        And when the dates for sept / oct-19 are going to be published?

        1. Hi Saikat, crossing Chola Pass is not technical. But it is extremely difficult. You do have to be at the peak of your fitness level to be able to do this EBC – Gokyo Ri trail comfortably. So only if you are at your fittest best, then go for the trek. Your age won’t matter too much if you work on your fitness.

          As for the dates, we’ll have them out by January or February for autumn 2019.

          1. Thanks again…
            yes..i know i need to be in my absolute best both physically and mentally…as per as the trek experience is concerned i have done Goecha-La,(till the actual pass) Tapovan, Roopkund(aborted at Baguabasa because of snowfall), Stok Kangri ( Aborted after reaching the shoulder of the final ridge )

            Do you think I have the experience to give EBC a try ?

          2. Yes, I would say go ahead. Since you know what you’re signing up for, I trust you’ll give it your all. 🙂

  9. Hi,
    Have done kuari pass trek last December with India hikes and planning for EBC this month. One of my friend will also accompany me who is doing first trek. Will it be okay for us to go for the trek if we maintain good fitness level. Please suggest

    1. Dear Deepak

      Everest base camp via Gokyo Ri is a very difficult trek, and you have 3 high altitude passes to cross on this trek.
      It is not a good trek for a first timer at all.
      Due to the trek difficulty level, we have a strict registration process and do not take first timers or those without prior trek experience of a moderate-difficult trek onto EBC.
      Take a look at the Har Ki Dun trek: https://www.indiahikes.com/har-ki-dun/
      It would be a better option for first timers!

  10. Hi Swathi,

    I wish to go for EBC trek in April 2019 ( 6th to 23th ), last trek i did was in May 2018 from Yuksom to Kanchenjunga basecamp ( yuksom – bhakim – sachen – tshoka – dzongri – Bhikbari – HMI instititue – Rathong Glacier ), i found it very challenging but i completed it successfully , since then i preparing for EBC. Will i be eligible for EBC, so that i can register for April 2019.

    1. Honestly, avoid Everest Base Camp as your first trek. You need some Himalayan trek experience before doing this trek, to enjoy it to its fullest. If you’re trekking with Indiahikes, we have a requirement of prior high altitude trek experience and high levels of fitness.