The Gokyo Lake Trek is an incredible off-the-beaten trek in the remote landscapes of the Everest region. This high altitude trek is quite challenging and will test you to the core. You will pass through steep trails in the foothills of the Himalayas to arrive at the pristine Gokyo Lakes.
Although there are no technical climbing sections in this fantastic trek, the long walks on steep terrain can get physically taxing and strenuous. The trek is especially challenging for beginners. Hence, a good training routine with cardiovascular and aerobic exercises will help you immensely along the trail.
Gokyo Ri (5360m) is the highest point of the trek and the climb of Gokyo Ri is a highlight of the trek. From the Gokyo Ri summit, you can observe the picturesque views of the entire Everest Himalayan range of mountains. The breathtaking sunrise and sunset over the glistening lakes will overwhelm you.
The view of the snow-capped mountains including Everest, Cho Oyu, Cholatse, Taboche, Lhotse, Makalu, and others is the prime attraction of the trek. The quiet trails along the virgin landscapes of the region will enchant you. You will also pass through the difficult Chola pass, which is one of the highest passes in the world.
Read further to know more about the Gokyo Lake trek difficulty and other related information about the trek. You can also apply the essential tips provided below to reduce the difficulty level of the trek significantly.
What Makes the Gokyo Lake Trek Difficult?
Altitude and Altitude Sickness
This trek in the Gokyo lakes moves above the altitude of 4000m. The high altitude trek increases the risk of altitude sickness among trekkers. Altitude sickness is one of the significant challenges of the trek.
The high altitude trek has rapid ascents that can cause altitude sickness in most trekkers. We will start our trek from the low altitude of Kathmandu (1400m) and arrive at the maximum altitude of Gokyo Ri (5357 m) during the trek. Hence, the sudden rise in altitude in just a span of a few days will trouble trekkers.
You will have difficulty in breathing due to low oxygen levels and air pressure in these high altitude conditions. Symptoms like headache, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are quite common during the Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It can turn fatal if not treated in time.
You will need to descend or even quit the trek in severe conditions. There is also the facility of emergency evacuation or airlifting if necessary. You should avoid alcoholic beverages during the trek as it contributes to altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can happen to anyone as there is no age limit, physical fitness, or gender biases.
Remote Landscapes and Tough Terrains
This stunning trek passes through the remote landscapes along the off the beaten trails. The steep trails in the remote region add difficulty to the trek. The trail moves up and down a lot in the dusty surfaces.
Moreover, a good training routine will help you tackle the remote landscapes of the region. You will gain good physical fitness, stamina, and endurance through training which will help you to tackle the difficult terrains.
Long Distance Walks
The trek to the Gokyo Lakes is a long-distance trek that makes the trek more difficult than other treks in the region. This also increases the per day walk duration during the trek. This trek in the Gokyo Lakes has a total distance of 92 kilometers and takes around 10 or 11 days to complete in general.
You will have to walk around 9 to 10 kilometers every day that requires 5 to 6 hours of walk a day. The walking hours also depend upon the trekkers, their walking speed and capacity. Therefore, the long-distance of the trek makes it quite challenging. You can add several acclimatization days for a more relaxing, trekking adventure.
The weather conditions of the high mountains are quite unpredictable. Even in peak seasons, the cold temperature and harsh winds can affect your trek in the mountains. The trek is also possible in the off-seasons but the risks are even more.
Moreover, the chances of landslides and avalanches are high in these seasons. Thus, the weather conditions are an essential factor that affects the difficulty of the trek to a great extent.
Heavy luggage is a burden during the long-distance trek. Carrying a heavy load and trekking is not easy. Hence, you should only pack those stuff that is extremely important and not overpack for the trek.
Moreover, you should hire a porter if necessary. A porter will help you carry your stuff and reduce the trek difficulty by a significant amount. This way, you can focus on the trek entirely and enjoy it thoroughly.
Duration of the Trek
This majestic trek takes around 15 days on average. You will need to trek for 5 to 6 hours and cover approximately 10 km daily. Trekkers usually find the long duration of the trek quite challenging. The high altitude trek is especially tricky for those who have not trekked in the region before.
With regular acclimatization and hydration, you can tackle the problem of altitude sickness with ease. If you want proper acclimatization, you can take an extended package. Longer package means short walks and relaxing stays.
Hence, these were the various factors responsible for Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty.
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty Due to Weather
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty in Peak Trekking Seasons
The peak trekking seasons for the trek in Nepal is Autumn (September to November) and Spring (March to May). Gokyo Lake trek difficulty in the peak trekking season is as follows:
Crowded trails: The trails of this stunning trek remain crowded in the Autumn and Spring season. If you are someone who loves to trek in solitude, then you might face some challenges along the trek.
Accommodation and food: Since there are a limited number of teahouses along the trail, it will get tough to find suitable accommodation. Hundreds of trekkers will trek the beautiful trails in the peak seasons. Therefore, you need to book your accommodations and meal facilities early.
Unpredictable weather: The weather remains unpredictable even in the peak seasons. You will need to check the weather forecast before the start of the trek.
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty in Off-Season Seasons
The off-season for the trek in the region is Summer (June to August) and Winter (December to February). Gokyo Lake trek difficulty in the off-season is as follows:
Gokyo Lake Trek DIfficulty in Summer (Monsoon)
The Summer (Monsoon) season is hot, humid and comes with heavy rainfall in the region. The trek in the summer monsoon season is challenging because of the following factors:
- Wet and slippery trails: The trek gets incredibly challenging in the region due to the wet and slippery trails caused by heavy rainfalls.
- Leech infested trails: The trails get infested with leeches during the summer monsoon season. You should carry table salts and insect repellents during the trek.
- Hot temperature: The hot temperature in the lower regions will make the trek challenging. Hence, you need to hydrate regularly as hydration helps you tackle altitude sickness.
Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty in Winter
Winter trek in the Gokyo Lakes is the toughest. Some of the trek difficulties during the trek are:
- Extremely cold weather: The weather is extremely cold in the high altitude region. Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri get frozen entirely. You need to wear and carry warm gear for the trek. Besides that, snowstorms, avalanches, and other hazards are quite common in winters.
- Snow-covered trails: You will have to trek in heavy snow as the trails get covered in the snow especially in the higher altitudes. You should carry snow boots along with crampons.
Some Measures to Tackle Altitude Sickness
A slow and steady walk
The slow and steady walk is the primary key to trekking the Gokyo Lakes. Trekkers should only gain an altitude of around 600 feet in a day after crossing 3,000 feet in altitude. This process allows you to acclimatize and rest properly during the trek. You can cope with altitude sickness with ease if you follow this step carefully.
Carry medication for altitude sickness
You can also carry medicines for altitude sickness along the trek. One important thing to note is that you should consult a practicing physician before taking these medications. You should not take medication on your own. Anti-nausea tablets like Diamox are quite common among trekkers in the region.
Eat a balanced diet
A regular and balanced diet helps you tackle altitude sickness. Trekking is a strenuous activity that will burn your calories faster during the trekking adventure. A healthy meal containing carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and whole grains is therefore essential during the trek. You should also drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated and tackle altitude sickness.
When is the Ideal Time for the Gokyo Lake Trek?
A favorable trekking season minimizes the difficulty of the trek. Autumn and Spring is the ideal time to trek in the high Himalayas. Choosing the right time for the trek reduces the difficulty of the trek by a significant amount.
The months of September-November (Autumn) is the peak season for trekking in Nepal. Moderate temperatures and less precipitation is the highlight of the trek in this season. You will also get the breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains.
The Spring months of March-April provide beautiful trekking environments with scenic rhododendron forests. You will get favorable temperatures that are perfect for trekking with less precipitation.
The trek in the winter months of December to February is quite challenging. The monsoon treks in the months of June to August comes with the risk of landslides and avalanches. Besides that, the trails also get infested with leeches. But with proper preparation, you can complete the trek in the off-season as well.
How Should You Train for the Trek?
The Gokyo Lake Trek requires intense training, especially for the first time trekkers. A basic level of fitness is essential to complete the trek with ease. The training should include cardiovascular exercises, including hiking, cycling, swimming, jogging, and others.
This process improves your stamina and fitness levels. You should also focus on the leg exercise to build strength, stamina, and endurance for the steep climbs. The training exercises should start at least two to three months before the trek. You should also train with a backpack and weights if you do not wish to hire a porter.
Moreover, you should start this process with light weights, and then you can gradually increase the weight of the backpack. Hiking in rocky terrain and slopes will help you during the trek as well. In addition to physical training, you should also keep a positive attitude. Mental preparation and stability are crucial during the trek.
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Packing List for the Gokyo Lake Trek?
The packing list for the trek depends upon the season of the trek. Another critical factor to remember is that you should carry clothes in layers that allow you to add or remove layers of clothing based on the weather. Some of the items that you should pack for the trek are as follows:
- Short-sleeved trekking shirts
- Long-sleeved trekking shirts
- Trekking pants
- Lightweight sweaters
- Trekking jackets
- Trekking boots
- Insulating jackets
- Fleece lined jacket
- Woolen cap
- Rainproof pants
- Pair of Gloves
- Rainproof jackets
- Toilet Paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitary pads
- Anti-nausea medicines
- Anti-diarrhea medicines
- Cold and cough medicines
- Anti-leech spray or ointment
- Solar Chargers
- Extra Batteries
- Power banks
- Sleeping bag
- Hot and Cold water Thermos
- Water Bottle
- Travel Permits
Five Essential Tips to Reduce the Gokyo Lake Trek Difficulty
1. Acclimatize and hydrate regularly
Acclimatization is a necessary process during this high altitude trek. In a more extended trek itinerary, you will get to acclimatize and rest regularly. It helps you adapt to the high altitude conditions quickly.
You will be hiking and gaining some elevation even in the acclimatization period. Besides that, you need to hydrate regularly to help in the process of acclimatization.
2. Hire a Guide and Porter
You can also hire a guide and a porter to minimize the difficulty level significantly. A guide will help you with exploring the landscapes of the region. On the other hand, a porter will help you carry heavy luggage. A porter-guide works both as a guide and a porter in the region.
3. Train Properly
Training is another essential part of the trekking process. You can include cardiovascular and aerobic exercises in your training regime. You should start your training regime for two to three months or at least two weeks before the trek. This process will increase your stamina, strength, and endurance.
4. Customize your trip
You should customize the trip to reduce the difficulty by a significant amount. An additional set of days helps you in case of flight delays and even cancellation due to bad weather. You can also complete your acclimatization process in the extra days.
5. Remain positive during the trek
A positive mindset will help you immensely during the trek. It will help you complete the trek with ease. Hence, you must remain positive during the trek.
The Final Say
The bustling atmosphere of the Sherpa settlements including Namche bazaar will make you fall in love with the place. You can also explore the rich cultural heritage of the region and the incredible hospitality of the Nepalese people.
You will have to walk for around 5 to 6 hours a day during the trek. A basic level of fitness is essential to complete the trek. Overall, the Gokyo Lake Trek difficulty is quite challenging but with proper preparation, you can complete the trek with ease.
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