Climbing Gokyo Ri in the Himalayas

Rate this Adventure Namche Bazar, Namche, Nepal

  • Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Winter


Distance: ~33 miles (there and back again). Duration: 6 days, 5 nights. Elevation gain: ~6,300 ft. No ropes or climbing gear, but solid boots needed. Panoramic and close up views of many of the most famous and tallest mountains in the world. Feeling atop of the world.

Just like me a few months ago, you may have never heard of Gokyo Ri before. While many tourists choose Everest Base Camp as their trekking destination in the Himalayas, this spot is a true gem and a favorite amongst many locals. And while both Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Ri are about the same height (around 5,360 metes or 17,585 ft), Gokyo Ri offers the much greater view. You’ll find yourself atop a giant glacier, surrounded by dozens of the tallest mountains on earth, including Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Makalu and legendary Mt. Everest (all four are above 8,200 meters / 26,000 ft).

This trip starts in Namche Bazar and can be done in 6 days with enough time for proper acclimatization to the altitude.

On the first day you’ll take a phenomenal hike to Phortse Thanga, your first stop to stay over night. Along the way you will take several turns with a broad view of Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam (another iconic peak). You can’t miss the lodge, as the town of Phortse Thanga is just this one house. Be sure to order Dal Bhat for dinner, a delicious and typical Nepali meal with steamed rice and lentils, garlic and curry.

Days two and three take you deeper into Khumjung and at higher altitudes you’ll be walking in only snow. It is important to wear protective sunglasses up here, as the sun gets really strong. I can recommend staying in Dole and Macchermo for these two nights. Be sure to take a lot of warm clothes (Merino wool does wonders and keeps body odor under control) and a good sleeping bag with you, as the lodges usually are not heated. The owners will gladly provide extra blankets, you just need to ask.

The next stop for the night will be Gokyo. The walk here from Macchermo is exceptionally beautiful and worth the trip by itself. Only a few hours separate you from the peak now.

Personally, I got up at 2 am in the morning to arrive at the top in time for the sunrise. And boy, did I both condemn and appreciate that choice! The ascent to the peak is no piece of cake, I must tell you and leaving in the freezing night with only a head lamp to find the way doesn't really make things easier. It took me a little more than 3 hours and every other step I thought "F**k this, I need to get back down." I didn’t. When I finally made it to the top I was rewarded with one of the most memorable sunrises of my life. I stayed up there for about an hour and swapped between taking photographs and just sitting and watching in awe.

The descent was rather easy and pretty fast. You can make it back to Namche within two days if you are an average hiker like me. I stayed in Dole for one night – I’m not sure if this is half the way or not, but it definitely divided the hike back into two equally exhausting walks.

You’ll be pretty beat by the end of this trip, but also one of the happiest people around!

Pack List

  • Solid trekking boots (these are vital!)
  • Both light and very warm clothes (including hat, gloves and scarf)
  • High quality sleeping bag
  • Head lamp
  • A camera, for sure!
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Philip Laskowski

My name is Philip. After university I spent 3,5 months travelling New Zealand in a campervan. This trip has influenced me tremendously and sparked my fascination of the scenic diversity and originality of our beautiful planet. Photography is my vehicle to express this fascination. With my photographies I hope to infect others with this enthusiasm. To me this means to transport not only the physical presence of the motive, but also my own sense of self in the moment of taking the shot.

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