BlogChoosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest Base Camp trek

Choosing Gokyo valley trek vs Everest base camp trek in Everest trekking region

7 Jun 2019 snowpath

Choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest Base camp trek in Everest trekking region is not easy and can be a confusing for most of the trekker. Usually, for those trekkers who have partial or little knowledge and information on Everest trekking region. It is sad, Gokyo valley being one of the most beautiful trekking valleys, is overshadowed by the base camp trek. Considering the landscape and beauty of the Everest trekking region, Gokyo valley trek is far beautiful comparing to Everest base camp. Not to mention, Everest base camp is a brand which everybody knows about and doesn’t need marketing. Easy sale.

In the first place, it is the desire of individual trekker to step base camp, that makes all the difference. Equally important, being an entrepreneur, it is hard to lose business suggesting Gokyo valley trek over Everest base camp trek to any trekker. Things become more complicated to convince trekker, when he/she is trekking in Nepal for the first time and make inquiries on Everest Base Camp trek in first instance. Trekkers (not everybody) who have completed both the trekking most of the time (not every time) would admire Gokyo valley trek over Everest base camp trek. We believe this article can be useful for trekker in choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest base camp trek in Everest trekking region. In brief, let’s figure out the differences and similarities.

Trekking Itinerary

The trekking itinerary up to Namche Bazaar is same for both the Gokyo valley trek or Everest Base camp trek . After acclimatizing in Namche, for Everest base camp, trekker heads east-north while for Gokyo trek, trekker heads further north from Namche Bazaar. Trek through Tengboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, Gorakshep to reach Everest base camp. Pass by the settlement of Dole and Machhermo to reach Gokyo valley. 15 days to Everest Base Camp and 14 days to Gokyo valley are our standard itinerary for general trekker. However, trekking days can be different depending upon different agency and organizer. As well, trekker can trek to Gokyo valley crossing Renjo-La pass within 15 days via Thame and Lungden. Trekker heads west-north from Namche Bazaar for Gokyo valley trekking through Renjo- La .

Note; A trekker can trek to Everest base camp through Cho-La pass after completing Gokyo valley trek. Again, trekker needs strong desire and mentality to attempt this itinerary.

Landscape After Namche Bazaar

We hope, providing the general info of landscape after Namche Bazar can make easier in choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest base camp trek in Everest trekking region. For Everest Base camp trek, trek through sub-alpine forest enjoying the Himalayan birds and animals especially around Tengboche. Landscape changes after Pangboche, and trekker mostly see small bushes and open meadows. After numerous gentle climbs and crossing open large flat plateau of Pheriche, trekker reaches Thugla. Climbing steep up-hill to the ridge of Thugla, the landscape becomes rocky and barren to reach Lobuche. After Lobuche, trekker mostly trek on rocky path eaten up by glacier to reach Gorakshep, in the foothill of Kalapathhar. Continuing from Gorakshep, trekker can see old alpine landscape eaten by the Khumbu glacier and Pumori glacier. Most of the trekking path is rocky, icy with big boulders along with small water ponds. Most imporatntly, Kalapatthar is windy, rocky black hill at the top of Gorakshep to enjoy the sunrise and close-up view of Mount Everest.

For Gokyo trek as well, there is great chance to spot wild birds and animals around sub-alpine forest of Phortse-thanga. The landscape gradually changes upon crossing Mongla to reach Dole. From Dole landscape changes sharply, specially can see small juniper bushes and open meadows to reach Machhermo in sub-alpine climatic zone. In addition, the landscape becomes more interesting with short climbs and downs with many small gullies. From Pangka, the landscape becomes rocky and barren to reach the Gokyo eaten up by glacier. Passing by two lakes the trekking continues to a settlement of Gokyo by the bank of Dudhpokhari; the third lake. There are six small and big lakes in total. Gokyo ri is a hill top view-point from where trekker can enjoy whole Everest trekking region landscape from single spot.

Scenery/Mountain view

Generally speaking, this is where, choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest base camp trek becomes more confusing. A trekker can spot beautiful near and close up view of Ama Dablam from Tengboche with Mount Everest and Lhotse far at horizon. Small hills around the valley keeps cheating the view of Everest and Lhotse again and again. Trekker can enjoy the actual alpine climatic zone especially after climbing the Thugla ridge. Pumori looks near and beautiful all the way to Gorakshep and futher to base camp. A trekker can see top of Mount Everest occasionally. However, the most irritating part of trekking to Everest Base camp is, most of the view is blocked by massive Nuptse. After all, climbing Kalapatthar, a trekker can see the actual top of Everest very close and beautiful alongside Pumori, Lhotse, Nuptse and many more.

In contrast, for Gokyo valley trek, instead of trekking through deep valley, a trekker mostly climbs through small numerous ridges. This gives an excellent opportunity to enjoy the landscape of Everest trekking region in aggregate. For example, trekker can enjoy the view of Ama Dablam from bottom (along with glacier) to top. The exceptional view of Mount Cho-Oyu directly upfront during the trekking is thing a trekker cannot ignore. Like in Everest base camp trek, small hills keep cheating the beautiful mountain landscape but not for too long. The trekking becomes more fascinating after reaching Gokyo lake. Climbing Gokyo ri, one can see Mount Everest far, but can sum-up Everest trekking region from a single spot.Equally important, hiking around the fifth lake is great way to explore deep Gokyo valley trek.

Difficulty/ Altitude

Uniquely, there is not much difference in choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest base camp trek in terms of difficulty level. Kalapathhar (5600m) is the maximum altitude a trekker gain beside Base Camp (5364m) during the Everest Base Camp trek. Climbing Kalapathhar, a windy hill in early morning is the most difficult part of trekking.

Similarly, climbing Gokyo ri (5375m) is the maximum altitude a trekker gain during the Gokyo valley trek. Exploration around fifth lake in deep snowline of Everest trekking region can be difficult. Not considering altitude, but due to the remoteness and isolation around the deep valley of Gokyo.

Achievement for trekker

Choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest base camp trek highly depends upon what trekker wants to achieve? During Everest base camp trek, achievement of stepping Everest base camp plus enjoying the close-up view of Mount Everest is something trekker can be proud of. In Gokyo valley trek, a trekker can embrace the beautiful mountain landscape of Everest trekking region in total. Exploration of five Gokyo lakes in such a high altitude is nothing less thrilling than conquering Everest base camp.

Final Note: To enjoy the close-up view of Mount Everest, select Everest base camp trek. To enjoy the actual Everest trekking region in total, select Gokyo valley trek. Independently, an author feels Gokyo valley trek is more beautiful in terms of enjoying landscape of Everest trekking region in totality. Write us back if you still are confused on choosing between Gokyo valley trek and Everest Base camp trek. We help you further. As well suggestions from experts are welcome.