[RD] The Everest Basecamp Trek

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by warpus, May 18, 2020.

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  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Apparently the water has that colour because the water is incredibly clear. These are oligotrophic lakes, meaning that there is no life living in the waters, not even algae.

    I thought that something like you were guessing was the cause, but I am not finding any other reference to the colour online other than the above explanation.
     
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  2. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Gokyo

    The small village of Gokyo (4,750m) lies on the eastern shore of Dudh Pokhari (Gokyo Cho).

    We would eat lunch here and then contemplate whether we wanted to climb Gokyo Ri, seen right behind the lake.

     
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  3. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  4. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I see new construction! Their economy is growing!!
     
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  5. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I did find this picture while digging around the web about Gokyo: Bathing at Gokyo Lake


    Bathing-at-Gokyo-Lake-Nepal.jpg
     
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  6. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I believe more people are discovering Gokyo, just like I did, driving up demand for accommodations. There's just so many beautiful images of the lakes online. These days people are also looking for more unique travel destinations, and the classic Base Camp Trek provides that.. but is also quite popular. It's probably also the case of more travel agencies including Gokyo as an itinerary option.

    We discussed swimming in the lake with our guide, but that was a bit of a joke. I believe he said the water would have been too cold for us anyway.. and we were so tired and out of it; seeking out physical activity outside of all the hiking we did wasn't really on the radar
     
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  7. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    I did read that in recent years 7000 people annually visit Gokyu. Seems like a lot for such a small place and one that is very hard to get to.
     
  8. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    It is a lot of visitors, but over the year that works out to about 19 hikers arriving a day. Of course some parts of the year are more popular than others, but you get the idea. Base Camp sees about 35,000 visitors a year in comparison.

    If you think of the region as 4 major valleys all converging near Namche Bazaar, most valleys have a sort of main attraction. The Gokyo lakes are the main attraction in this valley and Base Camp is the main attraction in the valley to the right of that. The valleys are connected by alpine passes. Most hikers do the classic Everest Base Camp Trek and hike up that valley only, returning the same way. The hike we did is basically the next step up from that - by crossing the Cho La pass and turning the route into a bit of a loop. It's the most popular alternative to the classic Trek. So Gokyo sees nowhere near as many people as Base Camp, but there's a significant enough number of people hiking here.. Everyone crossing the Cho La pass and anyone hiking in this valley will want to stop in Gokyo, it wouldn't make sense to hike up this valley and not come here (unless maybe you are studying the glacier, but still)

    If you're wondering what the other variants of this hike are, the next step up would be also doing the Renjo crossing, which is the easiest of the 3 alpine passes to cross. We would have done that a day after Gokyo and then hiked back to Lukla down the left-most valley. We had high hopes at first that we would end up doing this.. but.. the trail kicked our butts

    The ultimate version of this trek would be crossing the Kongma La pass in the east as well, which is the most challenging of the 3.

    I might as well include this map, which shows you all the possible routes:



    In theory there are other hiking options here, such as hiking to Gokyo, crossing the Renjo Pass, and then returning to Lukla. I doubt many people do this though, as the main attraction here is Base Camp. It should really be Gokyo if you ask me, but of course Base Camp has a certain appeal.
     
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  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Lunch with a View

    Our teahouse's common area had an amazing view of the lake.



    We spent about an hour and a half resting here, eating lunch, unpacking, and getting ready for the ascent of Gokyo Ri. At the beginning of the day we were unsure if we'd want to attempt the ascent.. but eventually we all sort of unanimously agreed that we were going to go for it. We were tired but felt motivated to face our next and final challenge.

    I remember at the time a part of me was thinking how nice it would be to just stay here on this comfy couch, maybe buy some pringles, read a book, and enjoy the views from here.. then we'd begin the journey back to Lukla the next day well rested. But another part of me was thinking how epic it would be to climb Gokyo Ri and see all those beautiful views that brought me here in the first place. That part of me easily won the argument, as nice it would have been to sink into these cushions.
     
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  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    That was a great map showing all the routes! Clearly you choose the best one.
     
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  11. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Gokyo Ri Ascent

    After lunch we began the ascent of Gokyo Ri, which would take us from 4,750m above sea level up to 5,357m. This was going to be our final challenge on the trail.



    I am looking towards the east here, back towards the way we came from. Ngozumpa glacier is still out of view, but you can see the mountain range in the backdrop that we had crossed just the previous day.
     
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  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  13. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Very nice pictures!
     
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  14. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  15. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    That looks strange. Like there's a dike holding back the glacier from the village and lake.

    Is there anything supporting the population up here other than tourism?
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    It does look quite surreal, doesn't it..

    I don't think so, it seems that this village pretty much only exists to support hikers. According to wikipedia the inhabitants of Gokyo spend the winter in lower villages such as Namche Bazaar.. although I do know that hiking here in the winter is possible.. so accommodations for hikers must still exist as well, meaning that some of the teahouses and other buildings must remain inhabited and staffed throughout the winter.

    In the end Gokyo (the village) wouldn't exist if people weren't hiking here in such numbers, I don't think, that is a good observation. The locals really do rely quite a bit on people hiking on these trails, it opens up all sorts of jobs and opportunities for the locals. Our guide for instance is right now sitting in his village waiting for the pandemic to pass so that he can get back to work. He told me as recently as a month ago that things were locked down and the local economy was at a standstill, mainly because there were no tourists flying in and hiking on the trails.. So guides, porters, cooks, teahouses, souvenir shops, clothing/gear supply clothes, and all sorts of other businesses have no choice but to wait out what's going on and wait for the tourists to return.
     
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  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Views from the Trail

    Eventually we were high enough to spot another Gokyo lake



    But we weren't at the top quite yet

     
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  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  19. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Views from the Gokyo Ri Summit

    This is what the other side of the summit looks like. I am pretty sure that is another one of the Gokyo lakes that you see down there!





    This was the last big challenge the trail would throw at us.. Knowing that was a great feeling! Sitting up here at 5,360m we felt like we had conquered the trail. We knew that hiking back to Lukla would now be easier, as we'd be mainly hiking downhill. Don't get me wrong, the hiking days would be longer as well, as we'd be able to cover a lot more ground since we weren't hiking uphill. So it wouldn't be easy by any means, but the last 5 days were big challenge after big challenge.. before that were the 2 "rest" days.. Every day you'd face that new challenge with a bit less energy in your tank.. and finally you make it here.. This is the last time we'd be above 5,000m as well, so this felt like a big milestone on the trail. It felt like the climax of the whole trek and we treated it accordingly in terms of the smiles on our faces and what we were feeling on the inside.

    What was also great is the fact that there weren't that many people here. I think we only saw a couple people up on the summit and a person or two climbing up to the top. It really felt like we were on a little expedition in the middle of nowhere, forging our own way, instead of going somewhere where everybody goes. That made the Gokyo Ri summit that much more special for us. Mind you this is also where my friends started insulting me, as a joke, asking me why the hell I decided to include Gokyo as a part of our itinerary. Climbing up here was tough. The alpine crossing was tough too. Who's idea was this anyway?? I took full credit and full responsibility.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
  20. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Ah...ain't no lakes I can see in either picture.
     

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