11/29/2009 to 12/3/2009 | Nepal

Return to Gokyo

Essentially being thrown unexpectedly back up into the Everest Region I wasn’t really sure what to do.  I did like the Gokyo Valley last time I was in the region (see original Gokyo post) so I had decided to return there, since there were still a few places in the valley I hadn’t been.  My start towards my destination was less than speedy hampered by a hint of a hangover cause by my previous night’s excesses with the chang at Maila’s place.  I did mange to get within a 3 hours hike of Gokyo before calling it quits for the day, making for a relatively easy walk to Gokyo the following morning.

While the morning weather during my first trip to the Everest region of Nepal had been mostly good the afternoons had been cloudy without exception.   This meant that I never had optimal views of Everest since all views of the highest mountain in the world from the Nepal side are to the east.   On this occasion, excluding my cloud covered arrival in Lukla, the skies had been clear from sun up to sun down.  I took advantage of the clear afternoon on my arrival to Gokyo and hiked up the 5357 m (17,575 ft) Gokyo Ri, my third accent of this view point the first two having been disappointingly cloudy.  In this case the third time was “the charm” and I was rewarded with an incredible sunset view towards the trio of 8000 m peaks, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu.

My next day in Gokyo I headed up to the 6th lakes at the base of 8201 m (26,906 ft) Cho Oyu, sometimes referred to as Cho Oyu base camp though no one climbs it from this side, the route via Tibet being much easier.  On my last trip I had only made it up as far as the view point between the 5th and 6th lakes known as “Knobby View” what I still consider the best non-climbing view point in all the Kumbhu (see panorama picture from Knobby view)).  I nearly hiked it again as I walked back from the 6th lakes but instead opted for something new, a climb up “Frostbitten Fingers” the gnarled rocky out cropping between the 4th and 5th lakes that looks like its name.  While you’d have to be suicidal to attempt the true summit without ropes and climbing gear the “first finger” is not too tough of a climb.  The reward for this climb is a perhaps one of the most complete trekking views of Everest in Nepal with most of the upper half of the mountain visible including the South Col which links Lhotse and Everest and is the location of the last camp where Everest climbers start there summit bids.

Having done the two hikes in the Gokyo Valley I had not yet done (Frostbitten Fingers and 6th lakes) I decided to head back via Maila’s place in Deboche, but not before picking up a stomach bug that kept me running to the toilet all night which made the trek down to Deboche the next morning more exhausting than it should have been.   I took a rest day at Maila’s in Deboche to recover before hiking down to Lukla the following day.

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