Adventures / Wild Hikes

Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit: 2018/2019 Season

Trek through the rich scenery of the Gokyo Lakes to reach world-famous Everest Base Camp. 16 days.

Experience true mountain beauty, Sherpa culture and the achievement of climbing to base camp of the world’s highest mountain. This trek from Gokyo to Everest Base Camp offers one of the most adventurous routes out there, as you hike the rugged Himalayan terrain and traverse the Cho La Pass (5330m), with the view of Everest always in touching distance.

For later 2019 and 2020 dates, check out Everest and Gokyo Lakes Circuit.

This unforgettable adventure includes:

  • 14 days of trekking the Himalayan mountains
  • 2 days of acclimatisation and exploration of Sherpa villages
  • 15 nights of accommodation along the trek
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Kathmandu
  • Flights to/from Lukla
  • Local, professional English-speaking guides
  • Assistant leader on 4:1 basis
  • Porter on 2:1 basis
  • All meals during the trek
  • Welcome dinner in Kathmandu
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • Transfers to/from Kathmandu city
  • Airport transfers

Perfect for: Those who want to tackle a tougher alternative trek to Everest Base Camp, complete with astounding views at every turn.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • International airport tax
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Visa Fee
  • Travel Insurance (incl. Helicopter Evacuation)
  • Tips for guides (optional)
  • Late check out in hotels

This trip will run with a maximum of 8.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

We choose to include all the meals and hot drinks while you are on the trek. Although this isn’t industry standard we think starting each day sorting a bill isn’t exactly ideal - and this means that the guide can ensure we are getting the best freshest produce available. Groups sometimes choose to eat the same dish which also means less cooking so fewer trees felled to fuel the fire!

Having all meals included certainly doesn’t mean a lack of variety. Breakfast is usually either hot porridge, muesli or Tibetan bread served with an omelette or boiled eggs. The menus in the teahouses are very similar at every stop and there will usually be a choice of traditional Nepalese dhal bhat (a mixed plate of lentils, rice, vegetables and pickles - delicious and healthy!), Nepalese dumplings (momo’s), mixed noodles, pasta and even pizza. Although meat is available at some teahouses, we suggest you ask your guide for their advice re consumption as it tends to depend on how far it has travelled as to whether it is a safe option.

Absolutely, just make a request when booking.

You’ll hike from 4 to 7 hours a day, averaging around and gradually ascend from 2610m to 5550m. While the trail is generally good, there are some more challenging uphill sections of the journey.

Much of the trek is within the capabilities of people with average fitness who are keen trekkers. Still, it is important to note that trekking at altitudes above 3000m/10,000ft is more demanding on the body than walking at low elevations.

When you trek in the mountains, there always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. We would expect most trekkers to feel some mild symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, sleeplessness, heavy breathing) when over 3500m. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms of altitude sickness so if any more serious symptoms are noted, there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or a rapid descent if needed. All of our trips have been designed with altitude best practice in mind so acclimatisation days have been built in and our experienced guides follow advice to ‘walk high and sleep low’.

There are 3 different seasons for trekking in Nepal:

Winter (Dec-Feb): Despite being seen as ‘off-season’ this is often the best time to trek in Nepal. The nights can be very cold (down to minus 20ºC) but the trails are quieter and the mountain views are often at their best due to the clear sunny skies.

Pre-Monsoon / Spring (March-May): Temperatures rise significantly in Spring and flowers are in full bloom in the lower lands. Although it can still drop below freezing at night, the daytime temperatures tend to sit between 10-15ºC.

Post-Monsoon / Autumn (Sept-Nov): This is the most popular time to trek in Nepal with sunny and mild days generally. It can get cold and windy at higher altitudes however skies are usually clear.

Of course, mountain weather is notoriously hard to predict and snow can be expected on any trip so come prepared.

Although most teahouses have the option to buy bottled water, we advise against it to reduce the use of plastic in the mountains. You will instead be provided with cold water that needs treating. There are a wide range of products available these days which are more effective than traditional purification tablets - some trekkers like to use UV handheld devices such as a Steripen but other options are available (just check the performance in freezing conditions). You can also buy boiled water if you would rather.

Yes, of course. We work with some of the best leaders in the industry. Every single one of them is government licensed.

In order to ensure guides’ high standard of performance, the host provides them with top-notch in-house training that covers, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, advanced wilderness first aid, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen system, mountain rescue and incident management.

All of our trips include a porter per every two trekkers. They will carry up to 15kg of kit so your overnight bags and spare clothes will be transported for you (7.5kg per person). You will only need to carry a ‘day pack’ with essentials in (extra layer, snacks, water, suncream, camera etc).

Your host recommends packing the following:

  • 1 rucksack/duffle bag for the porters to carry with your overnight kit
  • 1 day pack as above (approx 30ltr) with waterproof cover
  • 1 waterproof jacket
  • 1 pair waterproof trousers
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 pair lightweight trekking trousers
  • 1 set of thermals (merino is ideal)
  • 2 trekking t-shirts/shirts (shoulders covered)
  • 1 mid-layer (fleece or similar)
  • 1 pair trekking boots (must be worn in)
  • 1 pair lightweight trainers for evenings
  • 1 pair waterproof thick gloves
  • 3 pairs thick walking socks / 3 pairs lighter walking socks
  • 1 warm wool hat
  • 1 buff or similar
  • 1 sunhat or similar
  • Spare underwear

Kit

  • 4 season down sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Trekking poles if needed
  • Travel towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Hand gel
  • 2 x 1ltr water bottles
  • 1 x headtorch
  • Suncream
  • Water purification tablets/system
  • Small biodegradable bags to take toilet tissue off the mountain/to camp each day
  • 2 x passport photos for trek permits

On some trekking days/acclimatisation days there will be some downtime at the teahouses. A pack of cards and a book may come in handy here.

A metal SIG bottle can be useful to fill with hot water before bed and used as a hot water bottle.

There is a weight restriction on the flight to and from Lukla of 10kg checked baggage plus 5kg hand luggage. It is not a problem for you to check in 1-2kg more than this as long as you are happy to pay an excess luggage charge (approx. £1 per kg). Some items may be left in the hotel in Kathmandu if necessary.

Please remove all unnecessary packing before you leave home and ensure you take all plastic off the mountain to be disposed of in Kathmandu.

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Location

View map

Mount Everest is one of the most famous and awe-inspiring mountains in the world, capturing the excitement of mountaineers and trekkers alike since the 1920s. Combining the breathtaking scenery and unique Sherpa culture with the overwhelming sense of achievement from following in the footsteps of famous climbers, the Everest Circuit trek is one of most unforgettable and sought after adventures going.

Kathmandu is famed for its World Heritage sights which include the holiest Hindu temples and one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world. Despite the 2015 earthquake which brought devastation to parts of the city, the heart of Kathmandu is as intoxicating and exciting as ever.

Start point

Kathmandu Airport - anytime

Your adventure begins at Kathmandu Airport (KTM) with your private airport transfer. Private transfers are included, so you’re free to book any flight. Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area and will take you to your hotel. You’ll meet your trek leader and fellow adventurers for dinner later that evening.

Finish point

Kathmandu Airport - anytime

At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Kathmandu Airport in time to meet your return flight. You’re free to book any flight.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrival and overnight in Kathmandu

Once you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), your host will pick you up via private vehicle and drop you at your hotel. After checking in, you will have a 5:00 pm pre-departure meeting with the guides to run through the final plans and arrangements for the upcoming trek.

You’ll finish your first day with a team dinner to get to know everyone before you fly to Lukla tomorrow!

Day 2: Kathmandu - Lukla

Your trip starts in Kathmandu, a hub for trekkers and mountaineers, but we recommend arriving the day before as your flight to Lukla Airport leaves early this morning. You’ll fly on a 19-seater otter plane, with scenic views across the Everest region, reaching Lukla airport which hangs on a 2800m cliff - a breathtaking and (sometimes) thrilling journey!

Upon arrival at Lukla, you will meet the other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding along the Dudh Kosi River and spend the night in the village. The first day’s trek is relatively short to introduce you to the typical trek day.

Day 3: Phakding - Namche

Your day will begin walking through the beautiful pine forests and along the track to the Dudh Koshi River. One of the (many) suspension bridges is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge with a wonderful viewpoint of the gleaming Mt. Thamserku (6618 m).

You’ll continue through the last village of Jorsale before a challenging 3-hour uphill climb to Namche Bazaar. Here, you will get your first glimpse of Everest…

Day 4: Acclimatisation and Exploration in Namche

Today will be your first acclimatisation day in order to acclimatise to the altitude and the thin air. But don’t think we’ll leave you to get bored. Instead, you’ll hike to a hill just above Namche in the morning which offers views of Mount Everest as well as a panorama of the Khumbu Himalayas. The afternoon will be free to relax or explore Namche before dinner.

Day 5: Namche - Phortse

Gradually the trek will reach heights above 4000m as you chase the main trail towards Phortse (3680m) and the Mon La Pass (3900m), which offers amazing views of the Dudh Koshi River.

Upon arrival in Phortse, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a local monastery as well as a local powerhouse.

Day 6: Phortse - Dole

After breakfast, the trek begins with a steep climb out of the rhododendron forests and into the settlements of Tonga and Gyele (3960m) which offer marvellous views of the Khumbila and Tawache mountains.

As the gradient increases, it is important to walk at a leisurely pace, so the hikes will be much shorter. This does mean that you’ll have plenty of time to explore your overnight villages and immerse yourself in the Sherpa culture.

Day 7: Dole - Machhermo

As you ascend higher and higher, the jungles you’ll become used to will blend into alpine and juniper forests, interspersed with yak pastures and summer settlements.

By lunchtime, you will arrive at Machhermo, where you will be able to explore the valley and take in the amazing views of Cho Oyu.

Day 8: Machhermo - Gokyo Valley

The morning views today will be of the deep-seated Khantega Gorge, overlooked by Cho Oyu. You will descend to the river bank where the hike will continue along the vast Ngozumpa glacier until you reach the Gokyo Valley.

Day 9: Exploration around Gokyo Valley

The Gokyo Valley has everything you could want from a high mountain trek; beautiful hikes along gorges, alpine valleys and glorious lakes, while all the meantime surrounded with stunning scenery. That being said, you’ll want one full day to explore the heart of the Himalayas, including a hike to a viewpoint of Mount Everest.

Day 10: Gokyo Valley - Tragnag

Your morning will be spent trekking to Gokyo Ri (5463m) where you’ll be able to see the peaks of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and Makalu. So charge up those cameras!

When you’re ready to leave the viewpoint, the trek will continue to the small highland hamlet of Tragnag, which lies at the bottom of the Cho La Pass - tomorrow’s goal.

Day 11: Tragnag - Cho La Pass - Dzongla

The hike to Cho La Pass involves a steep climb and a glacier on the Eastern side but offers such magnificent panoramic mountain views, it will feel well-earned. You will continue on to Dzongla where you will spend the night.

Day 12: Dzongla to Gorak Shep

As our goal is in touching distance, you will reach Gorak Shep, a highland camp which acts as the gateway for trekkers heading to EBC. The camp itself offers fantastic mountain views, framed with flying prayer flags.

Day 13: Gorak Shep - Everest Base Camp

Today is the day to reach Everest Base Camp. With the goal so close, your guide will navigate you through the Khumbu Glacier and leaves you with only the awesome, humbling South Face beyond. With the last climb, we will reach Everest Base Camp and spend some time to reflect and enjoy it.

You’ll be able to inspect the Khumbu ice fall, visit ice and glacier areas around the EBC and of course, fill your camera memories with jaw-dropping photos. You may even see the camps of climbers preparing to summit Everest.

Once you’re ready, we will continue back to Gorak Shep (5364m) where you will spend the night before beginning our decent.

Day 14: Gorak Shep - Kala Patthar - Pheriche

After lunch, you will ascend to Kala Patthar (5550m), the highest point of our trip so far, for its views of Everest and many other mountains. You will be able to watch the sun set before heading on down to Pheriche, where we spend our overnight.

There is the option here to spend an extra night in Gorak Shep, but descending down will minimise the risk of altitude sickness.

Day 15: Pheriche to Namche

And so down to Namche (3440m).

As you trek lower, you will cross suspension bridges before entering the jungles again. Your guide will take you to Tengboche for its magnificent views, before steeply declining into Phungi Tenga (3440m), and then on another few hours to Namche, where we will stay for a night of celebrations.

Day 16: Namche to Lukla

Today, we begin our final descent into Lukla (2860m). On the way, we will trek through the forest of rhododendrons and pine until we reach the Sherpa village. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to say a final goodbye and thanks to the local team staff before we move on to Lukla.

Day 17: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

Today will be our last day at Khumbu region as we fly back to Kathmandu after our mountain journey. Back in Kathmandu, you can spend some time reflecting on the trek and doing last-minute souvenir shopping in Thamel.

We meet up for some beers and dinner in the evening to celebrate a successful completion of our trek.

Day 18: Last day in Kathmandu

Enjoy a lie and breakfast in at your hotel. You can spend your last day exploring the city or take the transfer back to the airport, and back to reality.

Note: The actual itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, special events, etc.

Accommodation

Generally, most adventures to Nepal are based in remote areas where the accommodation will be basic. On the trek you will stay in ‘teahouses’ - these are mountain lodges that tend to have a communal dining area and basic toilets. The bedrooms are almost all twin-share however there may be the odd night where a triple room will be used in peak season. There’s no heating so your warm sleeping bag is needed. Wifi is often available for a small cost, and many places offer hot showers for a small surcharge. There is usually the option to also pay a small amount to charge your goods so pack an adaptor if needed.

In Kathmandu, you’ll stay in a centrally located tourist hotel so can expect an en-suite room with air-con and wifi included. The hotel is located in the heart of Thamel, close to the main shopping area and the heritage sites.

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