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Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

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Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby jmatthys » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:18 pm

Has anyone in SP land been on the Gokyo Ri trek? My trip is planned for early May. I have some questions about getting a flight to Lukla. Is this difficult to do, is it hard to get a flight in early May? Also I have some itinerary questions, for instance, I am thinking I can do the trek to Gokyo Ri and back to Lukla in 8 days, does this seem reasonable to those that have been??
Thanks all
- Jake
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby John Duffield » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:54 pm

Yes.

I've done it. Eight days is short, but doable if that's all you'll do. The flight to Lukla is a wild card. Subject to weather, number of trekkers etc.

The Gokyo Lakes are lovely. The views of Cho Oyu and the Glacier to die for.

Image

1st night Phak Ding, 3 nights Namche A night at Dole or thereabouts and you'll be at Gokyo. Two hours to summit.

It's rated Intermediate. You want something serious, cross the Glacier.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby jmatthys » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:42 pm

Great stuff John, thanks for the info. Believe me, I'd love to get into some more serious adventure, but i'm limited to 10-11 days in Nepal. I did some research and Gokyo seemed like some great views and good elevation that would fit into my time frame. My only worry is the flight to and from Lukla holding up the trip, but like you said, it seems like a crap shoot. What time of your did you go? Were there a loads of tourists waiting for flights?
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby John Duffield » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:20 pm

jmatthys wrote:Great stuff John, thanks for the info. Believe me, I'd love to get into some more serious adventure, but i'm limited to 10-11 days in Nepal. I did some research and Gokyo seemed like some great views and good elevation that would fit into my time frame. My only worry is the flight to and from Lukla holding up the trip, but like you said, it seems like a crap shoot. What time of your did you go? Were there a loads of tourists waiting for flights?



I went in March. Lots of snow. Below freezing at night..

We waited about half a day at KTM for them to start the flights. They wait for the weather window in Lukla and then process a few hundred people and shoot the flights off about 5 minutes apart. The day before was totally NG.

The day after we arrived back at KTM, there was a Maoist strike. No flights. People sitting in Lukla were in a dilemma. Walk the old way via Jiri? Wait? This is the type of trip you may need a little date flexibility.

edit: View, looking East from Gokyo summit. The top tip of Everest, would be visible if panned slightly to the right.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby radson » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:34 am

John gives good advice, I have walked to gokyo twice now, once in sep '05 and the other march '10. As per John, a lot of people are spending 3 nights now at namche to aid in acclimatization. Personally I think this really helps but everyone is different. It is really easy to get altitude quite quickly on the gokyo side, more so than to gorak shep, so you need to be careful. The HRA post at machermo (or dole, I can't remember) has excellent afternoon tutorials on AMS.

Flights to and from lukla are indeed a crap shoot. Weather in May though is considered reasonably stable so best of luck. May be best to take your time to perfect your clear weather landing dance as opposed to the more traditional rain dance.

Also a pic a little bit further around from john's pic
Image
Looking at Everest from Gokyo Ri by radson1, on Flickr

..and one more thing. A heap of info can be found at lonely planet's thorn tree forum on the Nepal branch.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby jmatthys » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the previous advice, I've booked the tix and have 11days in Nepal. I have a few more questions...

1) the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. I will be looking to get this flight on May 9th. Should I hire a travel agency to book my flight before I arrive. Seems that since I have a tight time frame, booking in advance would be wise?? How have others booked flights? I read that some guest houses will book for you, any experience with this?? Will May be too busy to book the flight the day before??

2) Footwear.... I will be travelling to Thailand and Vietnam for two weeks after Nepal, so I don't really want my hiking boots taking up precious space in my pack. I know... I know...I know that renting boots sounds like a horrible idea (blisters/comfort/etc). At this point I'm just wondering if it is even possible? I've read that renting mountaineering boots is no problem, but I don't need those. Anyone have insight into renting hiking boots?? Would the trail be clear enough in May that I could get away with using a sturdy cross trainer (which i could also utilize in the rest of the trip) with some gaiters to do the hike.
Thanks
- Jake
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby dmiki » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:36 am

If I recall correctly, you can even do most of the hiking in sturdy sandals (if you feel comfortable with the idea), so I guess trainers should be OK. However, we had snowfall in Gokyo (in October). And some of the terrain up Gokyo Ri was quite slippery/unstable, so hiking boots would be a good idea.

Another idea for the timeframe you are looking at, if you are not fixed on Gokyo Ri: the Langtang/Gosainkund/Helambu area. No flights, 'just' a 1-day bus trip from Kathmandu to get to the trailhead.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby Cloudwalker757 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:10 am

There are no problems booking a flight to Lukla the night before or even the morning of the flight. Ask for Mandi at Tara Air in the domestic terminal. The trekking season is winding down by May. The airlines don't really follow a schedule and launch roughly as many planes in a day as they have people wanting to go, weather permitting. Nepalis pay about 1/3 of the foreigner price and will be bumped if a foreigner buys a full priced ticket. Happy Trekking.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby jmatthys » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:07 pm

I wanna thank everyone for all the helpful advice on this thread. I leave in two weeks and have a few more questions

1) rental gear for Gokyo Trek. I am travelling on to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam after trekking so I would like to rent some gear in Thamel rather than hauling my own gear to these other destinations and taking up space in my pack
Heres is my rental list. These seem like standard items, just wanna make sure
    sleeping bag
    down jacket
    hiking poles

2) also would like to run my proposed schedule past those that have made this trek.
    Day 1 - Lukla to Namche 11,200ft (I know that this is a long day but I have done similar hikes (from 7,500 to 12,000+) in the local hills every weekend for the last 6 weeks and camped at this elevation or higher 2 of these times with no AMS symptoms
    Day 2 - Acclimate in Namche (hike up to Everest Hotel or something)
    Day 3 - Namche to Dole 13,418ft
    Day 4 - Dole to Machermo 14,468ft
    Day 5 - Machermo to Gokyo 15,583ft
    Day 6 - see the lakes, possibly go up Gokyo Ri, return to Dole
    Day 7 - Dole to Lukla (again, I know that this is a long day, but I am an experienced hiker and have made similar descents)
I know that the above is an aggressive schedule, but this allows me 3 mornings in Lukla to catch a flight back to Kathmandu. This Lukla to Kathmandu flight is hanging over my head, its the crux of the trip if you will, so I want to allow a 3 day buffer. If I get delayed in Lukla if fouls up the flight to Thailand and has a domino effect on the rest of the trip, hence the aggressive schedule for Gokyo. So for those who have been, do days 3, 4 and 5 seem reasonable?? Also, is a 3 day buffer for the flight from Lukla to Kathmandu adequate? I know I can't control weather and we can barely predict it, but 3 days seems like due diligence on my part, any more of delay due to weather is just crappy luck.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby radson » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:10 am

I walked from Gokyo to Namche in 6 hours, the distance is not far. Personally I think your acclimatization schedule is extremely unreasonable. On your 5th day you plan to sleep at almost 5,000 m. I think that is kind of nuts but hey...you may be one of those statistical outliers that can do it.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby jmatthys » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:24 am

Thanks for the input Radson,
Sounds like I may need to re-examine my plan. Do you think allowing 3 days in Lukla to get a flight on the way out is overkill. Maybe I could trim a day their and spend it on the way up. Getting to Gokyo isn't a must, just someplace to go, I can always turn around if I start to feel ill.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby radson » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:27 am

Mate, it's crystal ball gazing when it comes to flights. I have never had to stay an extra night in Lukla but I have had to stay an extra night in Kathmandu. I do think yes that 3 nights in Lukla is an unlikely scenario and you would be better served using at least one of those nights as an additional acclimatization night in Namche or Machermo.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby AndyJB444 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:20 pm

This is good info, and if I can piggy back, how is the "language-barrier" especially as you move higher up towards Gokyo?
Do most tea-house owners speak a little english to communicate that I'd like a bed for the night, food, or water?

I don't know Nepalese, but I'm great at charades and drawing! :)

Thanks!
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby radson » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:19 pm

Most tea house owners speak sufficient to great English, with probably some German and Japanese as well.
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Re: Advice on the Gokyo Ri trek

Postby dmiki » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:33 pm

So how did your trek turn out?
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