There was a 350.org environmental demo in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, and I took a photo of it. It’s followed by a couple of videos with photos from the whole Nepal trip that were posted on YouTube to wrap up the Nepal leg of the t25y journey. Next stop is Cuba.
In Tengboche I went to a Buddhist prayer meeting, with the temple open to trekkers.
Flying Lukla to Kathmandu
Lukla was like returning to modern civilisation, with bars full of happy trekkers, pub games and rock music.
The flight from the ‘most dangerous airport in the world’ was smooth, and there were great views of the snow-capped Himalayas to the north as we flew through the valley seen earlier in the trek, and then over flat plains to Kathmandu.
I think Lukla is just beyond and inside the third ridge on the right as you view. The trek path led all the way across the mountains on the right side of the photo, and then it was up to Namche Bazaar.
The plane flies out of the ridge, and then back down the valley, before turning right to Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Swayambhunath Monkey Temple
Back in Kathmandu, everybody said the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple must be visited, so I did. It was really nice, and had lots of cool and funny holy monkeys around the place.
It is the most important pilgramage site for the Newars, who are the indigenous people of the Kathamandu valley.
The next day was another relaxing one, and I just walked to the other side of the third lake, where there is a kind of beach. The first photo is looking back at the Gokyo lodges across the lake.
Gokyo to Pangboche
The next day I started the return journey; returning on the route of the outward trek until Phortse Tanga. Then it was a left turn to Pangboche, where I overnighted at a lodge run by a Sherpa who had climbed Everest several times. There were photos of him on the peak in the dining room.
The first photo below is of sunrise on the mountains in the morning. Looking up what mountain it is I today, nearly five years later, realised it’s the Everest range from the other side to Gokyo.
Can you spot the horse in the second photo?
The third photo is looking back at Pangboche, with Ama Dablam to its side, and the Everest range behind it.
Tengboche to Lukla
The first photo below also looks back at Ama Dablam and the Everest range, but from Tengboche, where I overnighted.
The final photo is from Lukla, which is either the trek beginning or end, or both, if you fly Lukla-Kathmandu-Lukla.
The day after climbing up Gokyo Ri I walked up to the last two lakes, which were jade rather than turquoise. There was another view of Mount Everest along the way (photos 1 [right side as viewed, looking smaller than Cho-Oyu] and 3 [above Makalu]).
Between the track and Cho-Oyu / Everest was the Ngozumpa glacier: the longest glacier in the Himalayas.
Mount Everest Photos
I had stomach problems in the morning, but was determined to climb Gokyo Ri (5,357 metres, 17,575 ft) to complete the Jiri to Gokyo 100-mile trek, and see Mount Everest. My description of climbing Gokyo Ri is mixed below with photos, and there’s a video from the summit at the end.
Climbing Gokyo Ri
The sunrise looked stunning as it lit up Cho-Oyu on another beautiful clear morning, so I went out to take a photo.
I left at about 7am. Stepping-stones crossed the stream running down from the north. I made it most of the way across, before putting a foot in the water. It could have been worse: a trekker I later met had fallen back into the water!
The lake looked amazing at the start of the climb, with the sun dipping a copy of Phari Lapche into it, mixing the water between blues and greens, and framing it with the real mountains and an illuminated Gokyo Ri.
It was a steep climb from the start, and I missed the downhills I’d begun to resent earlier on the trek. However, any difficulties were outweighed by the stunning scenery being unveiled.
Looking back down the mountain, from one side of Gokyo Ri to the other, the scenery was one continuous arc of astonishment: the planet’s highest peaks shone under the sun framing turquoise lakes and a moonscape glacier.
And then I could make Everest out! It was an amazing feeling to see the highest point on Earth, and fulfil the main objective of the trip.
I reached the peak after about three hours, completing the mission part of the trek. It was certainly all worth it, with an amazing 360 degree panorama viewable from amongst the prayer flags and cairns. There was also a small Buddha statue there.
The fourth Gokyo lake was visible to the north: it was jade rather than turquoise. Small brown birds flew around freely, and looked quite tame when they landed.
Walking down was nice, although a little sad to know it was all over, and the rest of the day was spent relaxing and savouring.
Gokyo village (4750 metres, 15,583 ft) is basically a few guest houses on the banks of the third Gokyo lake. It was the end destination of the trek, about 100 miles from its start point in Jiri. Towering above the lake is Gokyo Ri (5,357 metres, 17,575 ft), which provides excellent views of Everest.
Trekking into Gokyo
My camera batteries were low, so I only took one photo after reaching Gokyo, so I could take some on Gokyo Ri the next day. That photo of a Tibetan Snowcock follows my description of arriving at Gokyo’s third lake, and the end of the sun for the day:
The third lake was not far away, and it was a delight to see it on the track’s left at about 1pm. I washed my face in the water, and threw a stone in to celebrate. Gokyo Ri towered above the lake to the north. The village was straight ahead, on the eastern edge of the lake.
Some mist started coming off the lake at about 3.30pm, and more cloud drifted down from the north. The sun started setting above Phari Lapche and Chadoten mountains just after 4pm, and disappeared behind thick cloud over the mountains at about 4.30.
Alpine snowdrops lit up the ground, mirroring the sunny clear sky. Then, ten days into a Jiri-Gokyo trek, the first Gokyo lake came into view.
Gokyo Lakes Nepal Photos
It was great to reach the first Gokyo lake, and I built a cairn amongst many.
The fourth photo is of Cholatse, with its distinctive steep northern face.
I climbed over a couple of rocks to get the fifth photo of Gokyo’s second lake from its southern end. On its northern edge are the orange tents of a climbing group. Cho-Oyu is in the distance, as it is in the second photo.
My Stockholm article from the Norway – Sweden trip that ended the twenty-five years of travel featured in this blog, and started off this blog, has now been published on travelthruhistory.com. The main article in this month’s issue of the website is about Kathmandu, Nepal.
Kathmandu to Gokyo
My Nepal journey started in Kathmandu. I took a bus to Jiri and trekked for about a week to the Everest national park. I had now reached Machhermo, a day away from the target destination of Gokyo.
A night trip to the outside toilet revealed a clear sky full of stars. Moreover, the mountains were silhouetted, and I tried to take a photo of them.
Machhermo Photo and Video
The sunrise lighting up the mountain peaks in the morning, above frosty fields of yaks, inspired a video:
Machhermo to Gokyo Photos
I also took some photos, posted below, starting with Machhermo Peak from the village in the morning.
The second photo looks back down the valley, with Thamserku and saddle-peak Kangtega in the middle distance.
The steep sided mountain in the third and fifth photos is Cholatse. Its southern neighbour is Taboche. A hiker passes a yak herd in the fifth.
All five of those mountains are between 6000 and 7000 metres. Everest is about 8800 metres.
The fourth photo is of the Dudh Koshi river, running through the valley.
It was a few hours of enjoyable walking to Gokyo, and the next blog will feature photos of Gokyo’s lakes as the destination is reached.
The Norway third episode of the Channel4 Scandimania television series started off in Bergen and then travelled to Voss and Bergen by train like Marc Latham on his Norway-Sweden journey that ended his twenty-five years of travel and started this blog. It’s available from the link above, but just in the U.K. I think.
Dhole to Machhermo
After two nights and a day in bed, I managed breakfast before setting off on the last full day of trekking from Jiri to Gokyo. I went straight to the toilet afterwards, but the sickness had mostly passed, and I didn’t need the toilet again.
My previous travels had told me it was just mild food poisoning, with a lunch stop between Namche and Dhole the likeliest source. The first night had been feverish, while the next day and night were just tiredness and recovery.
Machhermo Altitude Centre
After an initial incline the day’s trek was quite steady, with great views over the valley below and up to the mountains above them.
Arriving in Machhermo (4400 metres) around noon I went to an informational presentation put on by the medical centre about avoiding altitude sickness at 3pm.
It was an entertaining talk, and they tested a full room of trekkers for oxygen saturation. Everyone was okay. A new medical student had been helicoptered out that afternoon with altitude sickness!
Everest View Trek Photos
The first photo below was from the previous day’s trek, between Namche and Dhole. The colours reminded me of the U.K., and the autumn underway there.
The mountain at the end of the valley in the lower photos is Cho-Oyu, which is the sixth highest mountain in the world. It marks the border between Nepal and Tibet/China. I didn’t know that at the time, or that Gokyo was before it.
I think it is Machhermo visible below the hikers in the last photo.
Leaving Namche Bazaar (3400 metres) at dawn it was quite a steep short hike up the mountain above and then down to green-roofed Khumjung. From there Ama Dablam was visible. It is widely regarded as the most beautiful of the Everest park mountains, and I agree.
Ama Dablam reminds me of the sphinx. The first three photos below are of the mountain and Khumjung.
Namche Bazaar to Dhole
From Khumjung it was another tough climb over the Mong-La pass, before a downhill to match, and then a steady up and down walk to Dhole (4040 metres). Some of it was through forestry.
After finding a lodge I started feeling ill after ordering food! I was bed-ridden with stomach and sickness problems for the next day.