everest base camp trek macchermo to gokyo

Machhermo to Gokyo – Day 8 – Trek to Everest Base Camp

It’s Day 8 of our trek to Everest Base Camp, today we’ll head from Machhermo to Gokyo.  It’s an altitude gain of 320 meters today to get to Gokyo at 4790 meters.  The landscape changes significantly today, we trek through the snow, over boulders, and alongside a river.  We’ll spot the glorious Gokyo Lakes, although they’re covered in snow and we stay in our first tea house of the trek so far.

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Everest Base Camp Sign

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Machhermo to Gokyo Logistics

If you’re interested in the details of how far we trekked each day and what the altitude gain is, here are those details.

Machhermo to Gokyo Distance

The distance between Machhermo and Gokyo is 4.2 miles or 6.8 kilometers.

Machhermo to Gokyo Altitude Gain

The altitude of Machhermo is 4470m, and the altitude of Gokyo is 4790 m.  Today we gained 320 metres in altitude.

Machhermo to Gokyo Time Trekking

It took us 6 hours to walk from Machhermo to Gokyo.

Machhermo to Gokyo Map

Everest Trek Day 8 map

We’ll head up over the ridge – and it’s a steady ascent we’re told.  If we don’t say “Yeah, Yeah” out loud we certainly use the words in our head.  Once again Nepal has graced us with a most glorious day.

Leaving Machhermo Camp

We’re into a rhythm now – the 0630 wake up, with black tea, and washy water 10 minutes later.  Breakfast at 0730 and we’re heading off by around 0815.  Unless the wake-up call is 0530, which we get surprised with occasionally.  Not, though today.

And while we might set off with gloves, hats, and several layers, it’s warm enough to dry clothes and towels on the back of our day packs.  The layers gradually come off as we start to get warmed up.  You can find out what we brought with us for this 18-day trek in our Trek Gear List.

Trek from Machhermo to Gokyo

The Landscape Changes

We’re starting to leave behind the glorious towering snow-covered peaks.  It’s now a brown and grey landscape spotted with snow.  It’s not unpleasant, but it’s certainly not pretty or stunning, but simply stark and unforgiving.

Brown landscape on way from Machhermo to Gokyo

The trekking is relatively easy.  The ascents are gentle and the dry stone walls – that we first saw in Khumjung and Khunde are spectacular in their style.  There’s never a flat stone, I’ve never seen walls made of round stones before.

Stone walls from Machhermo to Gokyo

The shaped stones appear to be saved for buildings and the flat stone roofs are incredible with the size of the stones.

Stone roofs on route from Machhermo to Gokyo

Machhermo to Gokyo Trail

We’re following the route of the river and the roar of the sparkling clear glacial water rises up the valley to greet us.   Our route now heads upwards.  The steps that look as though they were made for giants tax my lungs more than my legs.

Giant steps on route from Machhermo to Gokyo

Then, crossing a small metal bridge, we’re on the Nepali flat again.

Bridge on way from Machhermo to Gokyo

It’s back to a gentle ascent and the snow.  It’s old snow and there is a trail most of the time.  There are holes too and occasionally we drop through.

Route through the snow on way from Machhermo to Gokyo

We’re walking with Lalit today – he has three of us – Nigel, Michael, and me.  Michael’s got over most of his gastro problems but is crippled with agonizing abdominal pain.  We’re stopping often so he can crouch low to the ground and gain some relief.

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Lalit the Sirdar guiding us from Machhermo to Gokyo
Lalit – our Sirdar

Today we Trek with the Boss – our Sirdar

Lallit is our “Sirdar” – that’s the Nepalese term for “boss of all the team”.  It’s Lalit who’s responsible for the porters, the cooks, the Sherpas, and even Ramesh, our lead guide.  He liaises with the lodges, when we’re not in tents and rearranges accommodation when our schedule changes.  He’ll be busy over the coming days.  And of course, he encourages us along.  He carries day packs and cameras when we can’t and pushes us up hills.

Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lakes

Here on the flat we start to walk past the first of the Gokyo Lakes – but they’re mostly still frozen over, there’s no stunning azure blue to reflect the local wildlife and scenery, it will be a few days before that happens.

Snow covered Gokyo Lakes

While pilgrims have headed to this area for decades, it’s relatively new to the trekking community, which is why the tea houses and lodges we’ll see when we reach Gokyo all look much newer than the ones we’ve seen on the trail so far.

Porter resting when carrying load of Wood

And building continues – with all materials having to be walked or yakked in – each time I see the porters carrying crippling loads of wood, that we agree none of us could even lift at sea level, I’m glad I’m staying in tents most of the time, and I feel slightly guilty that where I’ll stay tonight – the lodge, the bed, the mattress all had to be carried in on someone’s back.

Porter carrying load of Wood

We were warned when we set off that it might be chilly as we walked up this valley – but warmed by the thought that the World Expeditions team would be meeting us with a hot drink.  And it arrived as promised – with one of the kitchen team, toting the huge kettle that is ever present and cups.    Hot mango juice has become a firm favorite that we’re presented with whenever we arrive at a lunch destination.

Kitchen team arrive with warm mango juice

It’s a sunny dining room that greets us in Gokyo  – Michael goes to the Porter Rescue Point and comes back feeling a little better, with pain relief.

Sunny dining room at Gokyo

We’re in Room 101

It’s a leisurely warm lunch and we have our room assignments. We’ve been relegated to room 101.

Room 101 at Gokyo Tea House

It’s toasty with a glorious view.  It will be cold once the sun goes down – we consider that there might be more insulation in the tents than in the lodges, but for our first lodge it’s a wonderful introduction- reviews had indicated that we weren’t going to enjoy the lodge nights, so we’re pleasantly surprised.

View from Gokyo teahouse
View from Room 101

Nepali Toilets at Gokyo

There are indoor toilets too.  Flushing is manual, and we have to break the ice on the water tubs in the middle of the night, but at least we’re not crunching over the ice to get to it.

The provided warm toilet seat cover brings back memories of our first Mongolian toilet, no one admits to using this “Mammoute” here either.

Toilet seat cover at Gokyo teahouse

Hiking to the Ngozumba Glacier

After lunch, once again there’s an optional hike, and this really is stressed as optional, not “optional”.  It’s a scramble up the rocky hillside behind the lodge that we’re in, to the lateral moraine of the Ngozumba glacier.

The Ngozumba glacier is reportedly the largest in the Himalayas.  It’s 36 km long and sits at the foot of the world’s sixth highest mountain – Cho Oyu.

Ngozumba Glacier at the foot of Cho Oyu

I am stunned to silence.  This is incredible.  I’ve been on glaciers in the US, Canada, France and Switzerland, but this is from another world.

Ngozumba Glacier near Gokyo

Views above Gokyo onto the Ngozumba Glacier

There have been marvelous views, there have been incredible peaks, vistas and landscapes that I’ve never seen the like of, but standing here on the moraine of the glacier is like nothing I’ve experienced before.

Views above Gokyo onto the Ngozumba Glacier

It stretches as far as I can see.  It’s grey and dirty in one moment. Sparkling white another.  Translucent alien blue the next.

And when the wind drops, the group stills and silences, and there’s the heart-stopping sound of a resounding crack as she continues her sorrowful slow journey to the Spillway lake, where she’s slowly melting.

Read a Day by Day Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Our day by day guides to trekking to Everest Base Camp include step by breathless step guides.

Essentials for an Everest Base Camp Trek

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Travel Tips for Exploring Nepal

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