The day’s plan originally was going to be limited to a 2.5 mile climb to the town of Machermo where we’d spend the day relaxing and acclimatizing to the altitude. Going from 13,000 feet at Dole to 14,650 at Machermo is normally a pretty decent change, especially for folks who aren’t used to altitude. Once we got to Machermo around 10:30 in the morning, Ian and I were feeling great and had pretty much no desire to waste the rest of the afternoon snoozing or wandering around yak herds. It took a little bit, but we were able to convince our guides to take a risk and head all the way up to Gokyo for the afternoon.
By far this was the most scenic day of the trip so far. Most of the way up we were following one of the melt water rivers from the Ngozumba glacier. Straight ahead there are incredible views of both Cholatse and Cho Oyu peaks. The hiking was pretty easy, with a nice gentle altitude gain until we hit a steep rocky incline that marked the shoreline of the first of the five holy lakes. We walked past the first two, and when we came to the third we finally found ourselves approaching the village of Gokyo, which was going to be our home for the next two nights. 15,500 feet was definitely a challenge for sleeping but that’s what a good book on a kindle is definitely for.
Max elevation: 15663 ft
Total climbing: 4600 ft
Total Time: 06:37:11