Why Everest Gokyo Ri is a better trek than Everest Base Camp
Trekking to the Everest base camp may be the main reason for you to choose this trail. Everest Base Camp trek is on the bucket list for everyone. But, frankly, it is better to keep your sight on the lesser visited Gokyo Ri part of the trail. Not only do you see grander views of Everest from the top of Gokyo Ri, the trail has infinitely more variety.
First are the five terrific alpine lakes on the way. Then the eight thousander Cho Oyu stands right in front of you at Gokyo. There’s more. At 17,500 ft on top of Gokyo Ri, look up and see four of the 14 eight thousanders in the world (Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu). Look down and see the Ngozumpa glacier – the biggest glacier in the world! I am not even getting into the Everest Base Camp side of the trek. Suffice to say, you are getting the best of both trails!
If you do the Everest Base Camp-Gokyo Ri circuit you have done justice to trekking in the Everest region! For anyone trekking in Nepal for the first time, this trail is infinitely more rewarding.
Day 1: Reach Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and is a tourist hub. It is the gateway to Nepal Himalayas and stands at the elevation of 4,600 ft. While the city endured a lot of damage during 2015 earthquake, it remains a fascinating place to explore.
Take the first flight out of Kathmandu to Lukla, where your trek begins.
Day 2: Reach Lukla. Trek to Phakding
- Altitude: 9,300 ft (Lukla) to 8,600 ft
- Time taken: 4-4.5 hours, 9 km
- Trek gradient: Easy. Gradual descent throughout.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
Lukla is a tiny village with an airstrip at the end of the valley. This airport is called the most dangerous airport in the world for its short runway and the drop off in the end. Landing and taking off in Lukla is an adrenaline pumping experience. A simple thing like cloud covering a mountain ridge can shut this airport down!
You begin trekking as soon as you’re out of the airport. The trail to Phakding is mostly descending. After a small forest trail in the beginning, you will walk through Nepalese villages surrounded by a lot of vegetation.
Day 3: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
- Altitude: 8,600 ft to 11,290 ft
- Time taken: 7 hours, 10 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial level walk for 30 minutes followed by an undulating trail for a few hours. Steep climb to Namche hereafter.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
Namche, where you’ll be headed today, is the capital of the Khumbu region. Start your day early as there is a long day of trekking in store. The trail goes up and down as you gradually gain altitude. You will mostly be trekking through forests.
Monjo village is the mid point of today’s trek. There is a 3-4 km steep climb through forests just before the Swiss suspension bridge over Dudh Kosi river, which is the lifeline of the Khumbu region.
Highlights of the day include entering the Sagarmatha National park, spotting the Kongderei and Thamserku peaks, and getting your first Everest view point.
Day 4: Acclimatisation day at Namche Bazaar
Today, you’ll do an acclimatisation climb to Everest View Hotel and come back down to Namche for lunch.
Namche Bazaar, which is a pitstop for trekkers and climbers going to Everest Base Camp, is worth exploring. You can shop here for souvenirs or even trek gear.
You can also hike to the Sherpa Cultural Museum from where you get great views of Everest and Ama Dablam. The museum details the history of the region with a peek into the lives of Sherpas. You will see photographs from Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s climb as well as maps detailing all hiking trails in Nepal.
Day 5: Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga
- Altitude: 11,290 ft 12,000 ft
- Time taken: 6 hours, 8-10 km
- Trek gradient: Moderate. 4 km level walk followed by a steep ascent for around 2 km. Descent all the way post lunch.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
The trail climbs out of Namche and descends to Khumjung village. Khumjung is a Sherpa village with 40-50 houses. From Khumjung, the trail climbs up the stairs and hugs the sides of the mountain. It diverges from the main Everest highway at Sanasa, after Khumjung. Up to Sanasa, you will be trekking through forests, after which you reach a village.
You’ll be able to see Tengboche monastery from here. It is said that Tenzing Norgay spotted this monastery from the summit of Everest.
The trail then climbs to Mong La, a vantage point, where you’ll have lunch. From here, you descend to Phortse village.
Day 6: Phortse Thanga to Macchermo via Dole and Lafarma
- Altitude: 11,290 ft 14,600 ft
- Time taken: 5-6 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascent for 3-4 hours followed by a gradual descent for 20 minutes.Ends with gradual ascent all the way.
- Water sources: Start with carrying 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
The trail starts from behind tea houses in Phortse Thanga, through dense rhododendron forests. This section will remind you of the Goechala trek in Sikkim. The trail relentlessly climbs and at this altitude, you’ll feel the climb. From the forests, you eventually reach meadows and small grass lands.
You’ll see Cho Oyu massif, the sixth highest mountain in the world, ahead. This is an additional treat on this trail!
Lafarma, at 14,206 ft, is the first settlement that you reach. Macchermo is 75 minutes ahead.
Macchermo can get really cold – especially in the autumn season.
Day 7: Macchermo to Gokyo
- Altitude: 14,600 ft to 15,744 ft
- Time taken: 6-7 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Level walk for about an hour followed by gradual ascent for 3-4 hours. Last 1 hour on boulders.
- Water sources: Start with carrying 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
The climb is not much today but the sights are a treat. You will now walk among big mountains – the tallest in the world!
Gokyo Lake 1 is around 2 hours 40 minutes out of Macchermo. Behind the Gokyo settlements, you can see Cho Oyo dominate the background like a white wall. To the left of the settlement is the trail to Gokyo Ri at 17,575 ft. You get one of the best views of Everest range from here.
The tea house where you’ll halt at the end of today’s trail is situated around Gokyo Lake 3.
Day 8: Gokyo to Thangna; excursion to Gokyo Ri
- Altitude: 14,600 ft to 17,575 ft (Gokyo Ri); 15,580 ft (Thangna)
- Time taken: 4 hours to Gokyo Ri and back; 3 hours to reach Thangna
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Steep ascent to Gokyo Ri. To Thangna, short steep ascent followed by 1.5 hours glacier walk. Gradual ascent after this.
- Water sources: Start with carrying 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
Start the day by climbing Gokyo Ri. Though the mountain looks small, it will take 2 hours for you to reach the summit. From here, you will see the largest glacier in the Himalayas – Ngozumpa – flowing down, and the big mountains in front. You’ll also get a beautiful view of the Gokyo lakes behind you.Don’t forget to get photographed with Everest!
After an early lunch, head out to Ngozumpa glacier. You need to cross over this to get to Thangna, at the base of Chola Pass. Ngozumpa glacier is an unstable section of the trek that is prone to rockfalls so make sure you follow your guides. This is a beautiful glacier which is moving constantly, but you don’t feel the movement.
You’ll take an hour and a half to cross the glacier. Thangna is a mostly flat walk from here.
Day 9: Rest day at Thangna
Thangna is located at the foot of the Cho-La pass at an altitude of 15,580 ft. This is your rest day.
Day 10: Thangna to Dzongla via Cho-la pass
- Altitude: 15,580 ft to 17,604 ft (Cho-la pass) to 15,900 ft (Dzongla)
- Time taken: 9-10 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. 4-5 km gradual ascent followed by 1 km of gradual descent. 1-1.5 km of trekking on boulders followed by 1 km glacier walk. 1 km steep descent on boulders easing off into a gradual descent.
- Water sources: Start with carrying at least 2 litres of water. No water sources till you cross Cho-la pass.
Start your day early for Cho la Pass. It is going to be a long day.
Cho la Pass is right behind Thangna. The ascent, which is quite a climb, has a lot of rubble and scree. The descent is tricky with a snowed out glacier and boulders. Stick to the right of the glacier and follow the guide strictly. Don’t venture on your own. Depending on the situation of the ice, crampons will be used.
After the boulder patch which is hard on your knees, it is a steep descent to Dzongla.
You’ll see Ama Dablam’s front view on this day. What a different side to this beautiful mountain!
Please note that the teahouse at Dzongla has no Wifi.
Day 11: Dzongla to Labouche
- Altitude: 15,900 ft to 16,200 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Level walk throughout.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water; you will be covered
The 3 hour walk to Labouche is mostly on a flat trail but you will be walking at quite an altitude. You’ll come across a junction where the trail splits to Pheriche and Labouche. Take the left. Views of Ama Dablam will accompany you till this point.
Around 90 minutes before Labouche, you’ll meet trekkers going on the traditional Everest highway. Helicopter sorties are commonplace here. You’ll cross Dughla/Thukla where there are memorials of mountaineers who died climbing Everest.
Day 12: Labouche to Gorakshep (Excursion to EBC)
- Altitude: 16,200 ft to 16,900 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours to Gorakshep
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Short, steep ascent followed by 1.5-2 hours of boulder walk. Ends with a gradually ascending trail.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You’ll find teahouses on the way to Gorakshep.
It takes about 3 hours to reach Gorakshep, which is a very busy place. You’ll see the terrain change as you approach the place. There are a lot of trekkers coming in. You’ll see Everest Base Camp on the trail to Gorakshep.
After early lunch at Gorakshep, set off for EBC. Make sure you carry your day pack since you’ll need water. The climb is fairly moderate, though the moraines are slippery and the ridge bordering Khumbu glacier is very windy.
Everest Base Camp provides a very unique experience since you’ll see potential summiters. The climbers’ tents look striking against the backdrop.
Day 13: Climb Kala Pathar; Gorakshep to Pheriche
- Altitude: 16,900 ft to 14,070 ft; Kala Pathar is at 18,200 ft
- Time taken: 8-9 hours
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Gradual descent all the way to Pheriche.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water; you can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
Start early for Kala Patthar so that you reach in time to watch the sun rising over the peaks. The trail to Kala Patthar is well defined and will take you 2-2.5 hours to reach. The last section is steep.
From the summit, you’ll get great views of Everest, South Col – the traditional route to Everest summit. You will even be able to identify Hillary step.
There are great views of Lhotse, Makalu, the Khumbu glacier and icefall, and of the entire Everest Base camp. Pumori is straight ahead from the summit.
After spending some time at Kala Pathar, return to Gorakshep and start for Pheriche immediately after breakfast. Retrace the route back to Labouche, from where it’s another 3 hours to Pheriche.
Pheriche is a village situated above the Tsola river. It is extremely picturesque and surrounded by mountains. There is a hospital in Pheriche, which was specially set up for the benefit of trekkers, and is currently run by the Himalayan Rescue Association with the help of volunteers from all over the world.
The Ama Dablam Base camp is 4 hours from here.
Day 14: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar
- Altitude: 14,070 ft to 11,290 ft
- Time taken: 8-9 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. 3 km gradual ascent to Tengboche. Gradual descent here on with a final stretch of steep ascent.
- Water sources: You can refill your water bottles at tea houses on the way.
This is the traditional Everest Highway. You’ll meet a lot of trekkers from around the world while walking on this trail.
Take a break to explore Tengboche Monastery, which is on the way. This has great views of the Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam.
You are back to walking along Dudh Kosi. From Tengboche, there is a steep descent to Phunki Thanga where you’ll have lunch.
You’ll see prayer wheels connected to a water turbine on the way. The water turbine ensures the wheels move clockwise. The climb from here to Namche is steep.
Day 15: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
- Altitude: 11,290 ft to 9,300 ft
- Time taken: 7-8 hours
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous descent to Phakding for a few hours followed by gradual ascent to Lukla.
- Water sources: You will find tea houses on the way to refill your water bottles
Descend down to Lukla on the same trail that you used to go up. Stop at Phakding for lunch.
You will reach Lukla in about 7-8 hours
Stay overnight at Lukla
Day 16 & 17: Buffer
Day 18: Lukla to Kathmandu
Take the early morning flight out of Lukla. It will take you about 45 mins to reach Kathmandu. Depart from Kathmandu.
Travel and Buffer Days
Weather plays a very big role in the running of this trek: Flights to Lukla are a fair weather friend. A cloud covering a mountain ridge can shut down the entire airport!
Note: In a situation if all flights on 22nd October April don’t take off or some do and most don’t, then we will not start the trek on the 22nd. We will push it to the 23rd. This means we are going to be cutting a day off the trek. We would be utilizing our buffer day even before the trek has started. It’s not a good thing but we have to be prepared for it.
On your return, you may face a similar situation. You have ended the trek at Lukla and find the airport shut. Keep a day in Kathmandu as a buffer for your return international flight.
- On the trek we have kept two buffer days. This is to account for any weather related delays or if a team is tired and needs an extra day to push to a camp. Suppose we do utilise the buffer day then you’ll have to pay us Rs. 3,700 per day (INR) + 5% GST for the buffer days. The money will be collected by your trek leader only if we use the buffer days.
- On the brighter side, there are 2 rest days in addition to the buffer days for acclimatization. We will use them on the Gokyo side. Usually at Namche Bazaar and Gokyo. But this is tentative. Your trek leader may change the rest days depending on how the team is doing. On the EBC side we have not kept any rest days — that’s because we have reached our maximum altitude and we are going to be descending. The flip side is that you may find a camp extremely beautiful and want to spend an extra day. That may not be possible. However, if the whole team agrees then you can use a buffer day for this.
Next, your flight booking: Book your tickets online at taraair.com.
Kathmandu to Lukla: 22nd October
Lukla to Kathmandu: 7th November
How to get fit for Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri trek
Everest Base Camp has been graded as a difficult trek. On most days, you are trekking for 7-8 hours and you sleep in altitudes over 15, 000 ft. You trek to an altitude over 17,000 ft four times in this trek: the Gokyo Ri summit (17, 575 ft), Chola Pass ( 17, 782 ft) , Everest Base Camp (17, 600 ft) and Kala Pathar (18, 513 ft). The altitude and the long days makes this trek arduous.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
On EBC Gokyo Ri trek, you are trekking an average of 7 hours each day at very high altitudes. This requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to get to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, get to 10 km in 60 minutes. Your aim should be to cover 10 km in 60 minutes once a week and 7 km in 40-45 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.
Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each
This is an important area you need to work on. From Macchermo, you’ll start feeling the altitude. The terrain, when you walk among big mountains, isn’t too friendly. There is a lot of moraines on the trail to Everest Base Camp, boulders to navigate on Chola Pass and unstable glacier to cross. For this, you need to strengthen your legs. For a trek like this, you must strengthen your core muscles.
Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light for over 14 days of trekking, can become a strain. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Also consider HIIT training regime for a trek like this one.
What to take on Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri trek
Each passenger on the Kathmandu – Lukla – Kathmandu flights is allowed only 20kg of luggage. Make sure you pack accordingly.
- Trekking shoes: The Everest Base Camp trail with it’s climbs, boulders, moraines requires you to have a shoe with good sole grip and high ankle support. You can watch this video to help you choose the right trekking shoe.
- Backpack (40- 60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps and supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
- Daypack (20 litres): Mandatorily carry a day pack if you are offloading your backpack. If you are carrying your backpack, you can carry a very light, folding daypack or just make do with your almost empty backpack for Gokyo Ri and Kala Pathar climbs as well as on excursion to Everest Base Camp.
- Four warm layers: Oct/Nov tends to be cold. The extreme altitude makes the whole affair very cold. Carry three sweaters and one padded jacket.
- Three trek pants: Three pairs of pants should suffice for this trek. You can layer this with a pair of thermal inners on Chola Pass day as you set out by 6 am.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sunburns on the neck and arms. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals: Carry thermals for use at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow on Chola Pass, so carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is more harsh in high altitudes and will zap your energy. So carry a suncap to protect yourself.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof/resistant, wind proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woollen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woollen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a lunch box and a spoon. You need this just for the Chola Pass day.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexamethasone – one strip
- Nifedipine – 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ – 6 tablets (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
Click on the images below to see them full screen
Here are some photographs by Arun Nayak
Here are some more photographs by Christopher Immanuel
Trek fee: Rs. 54,950/-*
*GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (Tea houses)
- All meals – vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (flight charges to and from Lukla)
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 7,900 plus 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Insurance and helicopter rescue charges
- Phone or any other batter charging costs ( The tea houses provide these services at an extra cost, but they are pretty high)
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Buffer day costs if utilized. INR Rs 3,700 plus 5% GST per day.
- Anything apart from the inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
The cancellation charges are as under.
- Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
- Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
- Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Lukla to the end at Lukla
3. Stay: Stay is arranged in twin/triple sharing rooms in tea houses. The rooms will be clean basic rooms with cots, mattresses and sheets. The tea houses have shared bathroom/toilet facility with running or bucket cold water.
4. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 7,900/- plus GST @5%. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
5. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
6. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
7. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
8. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted. Payment can be done only after you have received an email confirming your position on the trek. An email containing a link that allows you to make the payment online will be sent to you within 12 hours of your registration.
Note: We do not work on weekends so all registrations done on the weekend are confirmed only on Monday.
9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
10. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
How safe is Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Ri trek?
The Everest Base Camp trek is a difficult one. One of the reasons it is a difficult trek is that there are huge altitude gains. You touch over 17,000ft over four times in this trek and sleep in altitudes over 14,000 ft. There are very high chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness. In addition to the altitude, you also have long days on rugged terrain and you need to be extremely fit to manage this over many days.
At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
But we strongly advocate the statement, ”Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the EBC trek. Anyone who wants to register for the EBC trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually, especially something as difficult as EBC.
2. Acclimatisation day at Namche Bazaar and rest day at Thangna
The third day’s trek to Namche Bazaar involves a an altitude gain of over 2,500 ft. This is also a long day, and will be followed by days of steady climb. It takes time for the body to acclimatise to this altitude. So we have an acclimatisation day at Namche Bazaar, so that your body gets a day’s rest before exerting further. Often, rest can be the biggest boon on high altitude treks to avoid AMS.
Thangna, where you reach on Day 8, is preceded by 4 days of difficult climbing and also an excursion to Gokyo Ri which takes you above 17,000 ft. To help your body to recover from this, and also prepare for the days ahead, we have a rest day at Thangna.
3. Monitoring health on a trek
On the EBC trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek.The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
4. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
5. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. You are likely to require these at Chola pass, depending on the ice/snow conditions. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much scree or moraine. You need to be extremely while crossing the Ngozumpa glacier which is prone to rockfall and on the Chola Pass day, where there are crevasses. Trekkers are instructed not to cross the guide at all cost.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
6. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the EBC Gokyo Ri trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
First thing you should know is that EBC Gokyo Ri is a Very High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 18,200 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, lack of easy exit points, unfriendly terrain and extreme altitude gain.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek such as EBC. AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS
On the EBC Gokyo Ri trek, as you approach Machermo (14,600 ft) you should watch out for AMS symptoms. If you are fine for a couple of days after doing Gokyo Ri, you are most likely acclimatized and should not face further trouble. However, if you aren’t feeling too well after doing Gokyo Ri, then the next 3 days – Dzongla, Labouche, Gorakshep – are also danger campsites if you carry on with the trek.
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.
The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. In addition to that, the acclimatisation day at Namche Bazaar and the rest day at Thangna helps trekkers get enough rest before gaining more altitude.
If you face any of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, don’t take them lightly. Report them to your trek leader immediately.
If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.
Especially on the EBC trek, AMS is very common. While AMS can be treated with medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Exit points on the EBC trek
There are no exit points on this trek. You will have to retrace your steps back to Namche Bazaar in case you need to descend.
Nepal, in general, has an excellent trekking infrastructure. Evacuation can be done by helicopter, if need be. However, these are expensive.
from Phortse: $2800
from Gokyo: $3200
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. Namche Bazaar has the closest medical centre. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
You can insure your trek privately with some of the insurance agencies in Kathmandu. Below are the details from one insurance agent we spoke to.
Personal accident: $3 per day
Medical insurance: $4 per day
Search n rescue: 7% of total of the helicopter rescue fee
Payment in advance or assurity of payment by the client accepted by keeping their passport on hold. Visit www.shikharinsurance.com for more details. Group insurance is only for Nepali citizens and not for foreigners including Indians.
for Search and Rescue: 4000$
for personal accident: 20000$
for medical claim: 10000$
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.
If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
1. How do I get the TIMS card permit required by the Nepal government for this trek?
The trekking permit that Indiahikes procures for trekkers covers this. You are not required to apply for this separately.
2. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?
Trekkers will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek. Rooms in the tea house will be shared with fellow trekkers.
3. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?
Yes, Indiahikes trekkers are usually provided with tents and sleeping bags. However, since EBC Gokyo Ri is a tea house trek, these will not be required.
4. What will the temperature be like during the months of April and October?
Day temperatures will be around 15-20°C in April and a few degrees lower in October. Night temperatures fall to -5- -10°C.
5. Which are the best seasons for the EBC Gokyo Ri trek?
There are 2 seasons for this trek – April and October.
6. When will there be snow on this trek?
You will most likely start encountering snow from Day 6, en route Macchermo. Apart from this, you will be walking on glaciers on a few days between Days 8-13.
7. What will we do if it rains?
If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. Your trek leader might take a call for the group to stay back at a place in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, in which case, we will use your buffer days.
8. At what time should we reach Lukla?
Reach Lukla in the morning on Day 1. Once the entire group assembles, we will start immediately for Phakding, which is a 5 hours trek from Lukla.
9. How will we get back to Lukla?
The trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla, on Day 18, will be on the same route that we started. Do not book your flights to Kathmandu or onward from there before Day 18 since we will use the buffer days in case of bad weather or any other emergency.
10. Will backpacks, raincoats and other equipment be available for rent?
Indiahikes does not rent any equipment for this trek.There are several websites that rent out trekking equipment. Please ensure that you have all the equipment required before arriving on the trek.
11. Is this a good trek for a first timer?
Everest Gokyo Ri is not a beginner’s trek. This is a difficult trek which demands at least a couple of prior high altitude trekking experiences combined with very high levels of fitness.
12. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?
Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.7,900 + 5% GST. You will need to inform us in advance if you wish to offload your backpack. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision.
13. Can I keep extra luggage at Lukla and collect it from there after the trek?
Yes, Indiahikes will arrange for a cloak room where trekkers can keep their luggage. Please note, you are only allowed to carry 20 kg luggage on the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and return. Please do not leave any valuables behind in the cloak room.
14. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?
Everest Gokyo Ri is a difficult trek and requires high levels of fitness. Minimum age for eligibility is 15 years, and prior experience of high altitude trekking is a must. You can take your child along if s/he meets these requirements.
15. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?
Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. All your meals will be at tea houses. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.
16. Who will be there with us on the trek from Indiahikes?
An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides and porters will be with you throughout the trek.
17. What are the washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?
Since you will be staying in tea houses on all days of the trek, you will have access to concrete toilets.
18. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?
You will have access to drinking water at the tea houses where you stay. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. On most days, you will be able to refill your water bottles at tea houses that we pass on the way. Days 10 and 11, Thangna to Dzongla and Dzongla to Labouche, are the only ones when you’re unlikely to find water sources.
19. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?
You will have mobile connectivity till Dole. However, you will also have internet connectivity in tea houses at all locations except Labouche. Tea houses allow you the use of electricity charging points at an additional cost, which can be quite high.
All major Indian networks such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea work on international roaming wherever there is mobile connectivity. Alternatively, get a local SIM of N Cell or Nepal Telecom.
20. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?
You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend a pair of water resistant shoes. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters.
21. Why is the trekking pole necessary?
A trekking pole provides stability and balance, and helps reduce fatigue. We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao
22. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?
Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.
23. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?
Almost all days of the Everest Gokyo Ri trek involve 7-8 hours of trekking. A few of these days also include excursions such as the one to Gokyo Ri on Day 8, EBC on Day 12 and Kala PAthar on Day 13. These are all at very high altitudes and can be very demanding. You can take a look at the trek itinerary for more details.
24. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?
At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.
Follow this guide:
Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.
The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.
A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.
Take a look at this video for tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.
25. What all do I need to carry on the trek?
Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.
26. Why does the itinerary have so many buffer and rest days? Can I plan my onward travel from Lukla by excluding all of these?
The first rest day that you encounter is on Day 4 at Namche Bazaar. This is at an altitude of 11,290 ft. Beyond Namche, you will be continuously trekking at very high altitudes for almost 10 days. Hence, we’ve built in an extra day here to help your body to acclimatize and get sufficient rest before proceeding further.
The second rest day is at Thangna – Day 9. This is preceded by a very long day where you cross 17,000 ft to see Gokyo Ri. The next day involves trekking for 10-11 hours, where you again touch 17,604 ft to cross the Chola Pass. This rest day is required to help your body to be prepared to take up this challenge.
The 3 buffer days are included because the weather in the mountains can be extremely unpredictable. It might so happen that you are not able to trek at all on a particular day because of this. Sometimes, your flight might not land in Lukla on Day 1 if it’s cloudy, so a buffer day gets used up right in the beginning.
Hence, we strongly recommend that you factor in all of this while booking onward tickets from Lukla and Kathmandu.
27. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?
All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.
28. What are the places of interest that I can visit after the trek?
After the trek you can spend time exploring tourist attractions in Kathmandu. Please note that this is a suggestion and Indiahikes does not make any arrangements for the same.
29. How much currency can I exchange at one time and where can I do this?
You can exchange up to INR 10,000 at one time. You can do this at the airport. The other place you can do this is a Thamel in Kathmandu. There isn’t much difference in the exchange rates offered at the airport and inside the city.
How to get to base camp – Lukla
Lukla is a small town with an airstrip that drops off to the valley. Being the start point of Everest highway, the town caters to the needs of tourists/ trekkers/climbers. It is 136 kms away from Kathmandu and is accessible by 35 minute flight from Kathmandu or a 7 day trek from Jiri. You have 3 options to reach Lukla.
Delhi → Kathmandu → Lukla
Fly in to Kathmandu. There are daily flights to Lukla from Kathmandu. Flights into Lukla are weather dependent. A cloud covering a mountain ridge can shut down the entire airport! Which is why it is important you book the first flight out Kathmandu and factor in buffer days in the itinerary. Book from Yeti Airlines or Tara Airlines.
Take a flight to Bagdogra in West Bengal. It is a small, military airport near Siliguri. From Bagdogra, head to Paani Tanki. You can cross the border here to reach Kakkarbhita in Nepal. From Kakkarbhita, take an evening bus (Rs.1,200 for Non A/C and Rs.1,600 for A/C) to Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a 12-14 hour journey from here. Take a flight to Lukla from Kathmandu.
Bagdogra → Kakkarbhita→ Kathmandu→ Lukla
Gorakhpur → Kathmandu → Lukla
Take a train to Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. From Gorakhpur, cross the border and take a bus to Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, get a flight to Lukla.
Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking with Indiahikes
“The trek was excellent. It was the finest that I have ever done. It is an amalgam of all the treks that I have done. The terrain was beautiful – with and without vegetation. There was intense camaraderie and the group gelled so well. It was a dream come true to see Mt. Everest from so close. I must tell you that the crowd here is of different genre and the people who actually come to trek to EBC have a religious fervor and the place attracts people like to Mecca. In the entire trip I didn’t hear anyone using loudspeakers or making noise – even when celebrating. It is a different world and makes you realize the value and etiquette of a trek. The entire route is so neat and clean that one dare not throw any litter and toilet etiquette was astounding . The Trek leader Chetan and Mahi were absolutely fabulous as they were friendly and mixed so well with the group that they literally became part of the trekking team rather than being masters of the batch. They have a fabulous sense of humor and were always attentive to the needs of the members of the team. Facilities are excellent and totally class apart from Indian Treks.” – Mrigank Mauli, batch of October 2016
“It’s truly a Himalayan classic. It combines the best of many treks, eg. The thrill of Chola pass crossing like Rupin, 2 steep summits of Kala patther, Gokyo ri that compare to the challenging climbs of stok, beautiful Gokyo lakes like the great Lakes trek, walking on ice after Chola pass like on Chadar all complimented with grandstand views of the mighty Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu for company. Seeing and visiting an Assamese expedition tent at base camp is a moment I cherish that no other trek really offers!!! The feeling of being on an international route and meeting trekkers from around the globe is unique! Am glad that the far superior and less crowded trail of Gokyo is clubbed into the traditional Everest highway walk!!! It’s a trek worth every moment for a physically fit trekker! The days simply flew by!”-Arun Nayak, batch of April 2016
“The trek was very well planned. The trek leader Gurdit was THE man for such a trip, difficult to find faults with him. Places chosen for halts were excellent so was the food available in those places. Good trek although it lasted for only 3 days in my case. I would recommend Indiahikes because it takes care of planning leaving participants to enjoy hassle free treks.” – Mohan Motto, batch of April 2016
“Our trek leader Gurdit, assistant trek leader Mahipal, guide Vishnu and all the porters were very helpful, knowledgeable and accommodated all our requests on the trek which made me personally enjoy the trek.
I would recommend IH because of the professionalism of the staff, better facilities on the trek and personalised experience.”-Rohith NJ, batch of April 2016
“The trek went off very well as we had a small group of fit people who would always be ready to start the day with a smile .The trek lead Gurdit is approachable towards changes and firm about his own rules . The terrain through Gokyo Rii was tough but we managed very well and enjoyed the route completely . I would suggest that you should now come up with more treks as it is so convenient to trek around in Nepal.”-Dr Sunita Kolke, batch of April 2016 batch
“I liked the trek very much. At first I thought our trek leader was too easy-going, but over the days with his agreeable nature he won everyone. We had a very good team dynamics. Our trek leader showed responsibility and true leadership qualities. I loved the trekking experience. I will do more trek with Indiahikes in the future. Indiahikes is responsible and deliver on what they promise.” –Amitabh Virmani, batch of April 2016
“Great experience. Very well managed – especially considering that Nepal is a relatively new area for Indiahikes. Gurdit is not only a really nice guy but also did a great job as trek leader – I appreciated his approach whereby he would take suggestions and feedback from team members and incorporate those in the itinerary. Mahi did a great job of assisting Gurdit and supporting those at the rear of the group. The food and lodging arrangements were generally good. Also enjoyed the camaraderie of a great bunch of trekkers. Would also like to appreciate Tularaj, the assistant guide, who was always cheerful and eager to help. I also appreciate the importance they give to safety (including AMS). With Indiahikes I feel I am in safe hands.” – Jasjit Singh, batch of April 2016
“The trek was amazing. As every Himalayan trekker dreams of summiting Everest, I too dream conventionally. But, this trek route planned by Indiahikes, could not have been so content for my soul and bringing me so close to Mt. Everest. The route of this trek, allows to view so many 8000ers around. Some being so beautiful, feel like watching them at different hours of the day to get different shades of them. Trek leaders Gurdit and Mahipal were really good at handling the group as well as the trek. Saw them expressing emotions such as happiness, excitement except anger or unhappiness. Gokyo lake was magnificent place to be at. I can now think of planning some more treks or summits for few more years due to the route covered by Indiahikes. I am already thinking of Ama Dablam, Annapurna and some more. Thank you Indiahikes for such a memorable meet with Himalayas.”-Bharat Dulani, batch of April 2016