Part 2

Machharmo (4470m) – Gokyo (4750m) – Gokyo Ri (5330m) – Thaknak (4750m) – Dzungla (4850m) – Chola Pass – Gorekshep (5160m)

Trekking to Gokyo(4800m) ,Gokyo Ri (5330m) and Thaknak (4750m); Hiking day 6 to 8 (12th November, 2016 to 14th November, 2016)

Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between – Maya Angelou

*Photo taken in Machherma (4470m), Khumjung, Nepal.

The wind was really strong when we were on our way to Gokyo. We tried to walk faster when we were in a strong wind spot to escape from it and sometimes we need to turn our back and stand still to defend against these strong wind. We crossed two lakes and finally reached Gokyo Lake!

*The first lake we met when we were on our way to Gokyo.

*Third Lake, local holy lake aka Gokyo Lake!

We bumped into another Malaysian hiking team in Gokyo. They told us that some of the hikers went to EBC previously and so their journey only estopped at Gokyo Ri . We were told as well that a few of them went back to Kathmandu with helicopter. This is not the first time I heard about people travelling back to Kathmandu with helicopter in this mountain valley (similar story from other friends, hikers and bloggers) but it still deepened my worries.

In the evening, we had our coffee in Gokyo Bakery apparently the world highest bakery 4800m (we saw another self-claimed highest bakery later in Lobuche)

*Gokyo Bakery, the world highest bakery

*The precious prepaid Wi-Fi card in high altitude. Only limited to 100mb, and 15 hours for Rs350.

We spent the second day of hiking to the famous Gokyo Ri. My suggestion to the hikers out there in order to conquer this steep elevation is to walk really slowly with consistent breathing and keep your eyes at the trail. Otherwise, if you keep looking at the peak at the far end, it feels like you will never reach the peak! The elevation gained is around 500-600m which took us around 2.5 – 3 hours.

*Hardcore Gokyo Ri.
The view on the Gokyo Ri was super amazing, probably the best among Chola Pass, Kalapthar, and EBC. We spent around 30 minutes on the peak enjoying the view and taking pictures. You can witness the wonderful Himalaya panorama, with the largest glacier in Nepal. Three of the lakes that we passed by yesterday including Gokyo Lake complimentary with four (4) well known peaks over 8000m (Mt Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu)

*Half way through in Gokyo Ri (Peak of Gokyo)

*Nepal longest Glacier “Ngozumpa Glacier” on the left with the three lakes on the right.

*The spectacular Himalayan Panorama

I was slow running a.k.a. fast walking alone when we were on our way down due to the strong wind which caused me to feel really uneasy. I took around 40 minutes to reach Gokyo. (What a big difference in duration compare with hiking up!).

Sometimes the cold weather in such high altitude strike us even and regardless we covered with heavy layers after hiking. This is probably because of the wet inner shirt caused by our sweat. In such case, we have to change to a dry shirt at soonest possible instead of putting more layers. This would be my suggestion for the hikers out there who are planning to venture into this trip

*Another important daily routine is to dry your shirt when the sun is available.

Today is another easy day of our hiking trip (easy in term of distance and elevation). However, we still have to start early to walk through the “Ngozumpa Glacier” in order to avoid the melting ices in the glacier due to the strong sun in the afternoon. (which will resulted in an unstable and dangerous walking trail on glacier)

*Entering the Ngozumpa Glacier

We departed around 7:30am and entered the “Ngozumpa Glacier” five minutes after we left our tea house. I would say that today is one of the dangerous days due to very dry and sandy terrain mix with loose graver and big rock terrain. Sometimes we walked up and down in the middle of the glacier and sometimes we walked at the side of the glacier.

I fell down at least 3 times here but luckily I sustained no injuries. There were a lot of activities going on at the glacier (ice melting, fallen rock), we heard fallen rock sounds around us from time to time.

*In the middle of glacier, we have to hike with extra cautious.

*Another shot of this threatening glacier.

We took about 2 hours to cross the glacier to another side and another 25 minutes of simple flat walking to reach Thaknak. We reached Thaknak before 12pm and checked in to the only lodge in Thaknak, known as Chola Pass Resort. Dil urged us to take some decent rest today as tomorrow will be the most difficult day in the entire trip.

It was another typical afternoon in the high altitude. We took our boots out, sleeping bags, down jackets, and other apparel to place them under the sun for sterilization. Water filtering, clothes washing, big business in the toilet, and others. **The toilet in this lodge is super stinky!

*Chola Pass Resort, rest stop before we cross the horrifying Ch** H** Pass. I mean Chola Pass

*Locals boil hot water with solar energy

I saw some sparkling around my hand when I was preparing to sleep with my cozy sleeping bag. It was really obvious and the light is quite strong. I guess it was caused by static when my hand interacted with the sleeping bag. Anyway, I was too tired to bother as it did no harm to me. I settled myself and fell asleep surrounded by coughing and snoring sounds around the lodge.

Trekking to Dzungla (4850m), via Chola Pass (5367m) and Gorekshep (5160m); Hiking day 9 to 10 (15th November, 2016 to 16th November, 2016)

If someone starts out on a challenging activity, completely confident that they are going to succeed. Why bother starting? Sir Edmund Hillary

*Photo taken in Chola Pass (5367m), Khumjung, Nepal.

We got up before dawn and it was freezing cold! I was really reluctant to come out from the bed until our assistance Gopal knocked our door for few times and rushed us to have our quick breakfast before the enormous and challenging trek via Chola Pass.

We left the lodge around 6am reluctantly. We started to climb a steep hill not long after we departed from our lodge. Part of the river along the trail was frozen. The weather was really cold, even the mud that we stepped on is harden. After around 1.5 hours, we reached the peak of the first hill.

*The first climbing. Freezing temperature, steep climbing, and it was just the warm up of the day!

*View from the first hill. The Chola Pass is the “longkang” between the two mountains on the left.

We continued to hike down and walked towards Chola Pass. The climbing in Chola Pass was really steep and I would say very technical. Frankly speaking, I did not even have the mood to take any pictures when we were on our way up to the hill.

*This is the climb that makes EBC felt like a walk in the park.

We took about 2 hours to reach the Peak of Chola Pass from the bottom of the hill. We took a big break in Chola Pass. Our guide team prepared one egg for each of us and some boiled favoured potatoes and local popcorns. It was some really delicious energy booster.

*Just me having my own sweet time in Chola Pass. It was really warm and cozy up there.

*With a lot of sweat and probably some tears we finally made it to the peak of Chola pass! (5367m)

We continued to hike down to the icy part terrain. We wanted to buy crampon for this part of trail but Dil told us that it was fine. He thought that the icy trail will be around 100-300m but turned out it was around 1km! We had some hard time walking on the icy trail but fortunately we made it out despite that I fell down once.

Dil, Gopal and Krishna (one of our porters) did a really good job here in assisting us to cross the icy terrain by using ices axes to break these ices to open up some walkable ways for us.

*Knock knock and walk walk. Just another typical day in the Himalayan range I suppose.

The distance of the icy trail is around 1km but it took us about 1 hour to come out from the trail and finally going downhill and another 1 hour of flat walking to reach Dzungla (4850m)

*Exit of the icy trail. Such a nice view.

*Dzungla, another remote and lonely place in Khumbu Valley.

We reached Dzungla around 3 o’ clock in the afternoon. It was a really long day compare with our previous days. I can’t help myself but lying on the bed as I was too exhausted. Fallen asleep with the thought of I will be reaching EBC in two day times.

It was already 6 o’ clock in the evening when I was woken up by my friend. I had instant noodle and momo as my dinner, packed my things and went to bed again.

*The spicy instant noodle taste so good after having many days of boring local food. Right side is Nepal famous dumpling known as momo

*Beautiful Snowflake in the morning in Dzungla.

After our typical breakfast normally which includes toasts and eggs at the lodge (by this point of time, you should be very bored with the breakfast but we have no more other fancy choices yet to dig in the all-time available toasts and eggs), we departed to our final stop, Gorekshep, the last village before Everest Base camp.
The trail was pretty easy (after intense training in Chola Pass), we hiked towards the downhill for a while followed by some rolling terrain and reached Lobuche after 2 – 3 hours.

*The trail to Lobuche.

*On our way to Gorekshep.

Lobuche is another common overnight place among hikers. Hikers who are heading to EBC by using classic route will normally stay in Lobuche and heading to EBC straight away on the second day instead of staying in Gorekshep.

*Lobuche valley

We had our lunch in Lobuche and continued our journey to Gorekshep. We reached the glacier terrain after 30-40 minutes of hiking on flat terrain. It took us another 40 minutes to reach Gorekshep.

The famous “Khumbu Glacier” and “Khumbu Icefall” (Everest expedition team has to cross this glacier to reach camp 1 from Everest Base Camp) on the right which can be seen through our way to Gorekshep.

*Gorekshep on the left, Khumbu glacier on the right and Khumbu icefall at the end of the glacier.

Gorekshep was the coldest point that we stayed during the entire trip. The night in Gorekshep was really tough for us as the temperate was -19 Celsius during that night according to Google.

*Gorekshep lodge dining room.

At that point of time, I was pretty much in a contradictory mood. I was really exciting about tomorrow that it will be the day that fulfilled our longing goal. However, it was quite a sentimental moment knowing that our trip is soon come to an end.

*Frozen Ama Dablam mineral water if you still not convince with the freezing temperature.

Please go to EVEREST BASE CAMP VIA GOKYO PART THREE to continue your reading!