For those who have just discovered this, the previous posts about my trek through the Everest Region in November 2021:

Kathmandu
Part I: Lukla to Namche
Part II: Namche to Khunde
Part III: Khunde to Pangboche
Part IV: Ama Dablam Basecamp to Dingboche
Part V: Chukkhung
Part VI: Kongma La
Part VII: Everest Base Camp
Part VIII: Cho La

Trekking Nepal Part IX: Gokyo

Day 16: To Gokyo and around the lake
After the endless descent of the day before, we were looking forward to a quick transit to Gokyo, with time and energy to climb Gokyo Ri after lunch. That would allow time on our second day in Gokyo to hike up the valley past Gokyo Lakes 4-6, toward Cho Oyu (the lake at Gokyo itself is Lake 3).
 
The first half mile or so, hiking up the valley between the glacial moraine and the mountain, was quick and easy.

Then we had to cross the Ngozumba Glacier, which meant getting down onto it first.
It wasn't that bad. Kind of like the "trail" down to the beach near our old home in Daly City.

Of course, I wasn't doing it with a giant pack suspended from my forehead, the way Mekh did. (You may remember that the yaks have taken a different route and he is carrying many of the essentials we couldn't fit into our packs). Since Mekh is about the same age as my son, he bounded down like it was nothing.

Crossing the glacier wasn't bad. It did include a bit of route finding for the guides, and some ups and downs past melt holes and lakes.
While the top of the glacier just looks like a pile of gravel, you don't have to go very far down to find ice. This is what a glacier looks like outside of the accumulation zone. The deep melt holes struck me as a bad sign, however.

After a pretty killer climb up the moraine on the Gokyo side, we just sat and enjoyed the sun and the views.
Up valley to Cho Oyu, 8188 meters (26,864')

First view of Gokyo Lake (#3) and the town, as well as Gokyo Ri (on right, with trail going up).

By the time we were in town and had lunch, I decided not to climb Gokyo Ri that day, though it meant giving up the up-valley hike. For one thing, I was tired. For another, the fog was moving in, and I doubted I could beat it to the summit (as it turned out, based on the performance of those who went up, I could have). Instead, three of us decided to do a loop around the lake.
The view from the dining room was good enough I was tempted to stay right there. The next day, some did.

Going around the lake took us to a chorten near the outlet, with a mass of mani stones and prayer flags.

On around the lake, we found that the shady side was not only snow-covered but cold. Who knew? Back in the sun the wind hit us, but we were racing the fog now.
Great views, but you can see the clouds are moving in. The yaks were probably glad to have it cool off. Us, not so much.

By the time we got back, we were ready for dinner. The ones who'd gone up the mountain were even more ready!

I swear they have better varieties of potatoes there than we get. Veg fried spuds were my go-to after veg fried rice and veg fried noodles. Seeing a pattern there?

The next morning I tackled the mountain with my fellow lake-circlers. The previous day's peak-baggers either hung around town and dozed in the sun (or did laundry), or else went off for the 20-km hike up the valley. I kind of envied Alison that one, but maybe not completely?
A rest break halfway up.
 
Taking our time on the climb, we summited about 11, which gave us time to enjoy the views and eat the half-lunch I had insisted we take up, not to repeat my experience on Chukkhung Ri!
At the summit--17,576'. Photo is by Karen Grove, and if you are interested in geology along with your photos, check out her blog at Landscapes Revealed.

Indulge me in a few more summit shots.
Looking back the way we came, with Everest, Ama Dablam, and the Ngozumba Glacier.

The distinctive tilted block of Everest's summit.

Prayer flags decorate every summit and pass. Here with views of Cho Oyu. Climbing that just looks... hard.

Back down in town, I enjoyed a second lunch, then did a little exploration of the village. Most of Gokyo is hotels, but there were some homes mixed in among them.

Not sure if this was a habitation anymore, or maybe just used for livestock or storage.

This inn particularly amused me.
Fitzroy is a mountain in Patagonia. As far as I could determine, there is no Fitzroy in the Himalayas.

Steam rising from the lake indicates that the water is warmer than the air. Let's just say that I still didn't want to rush out and go swimming, though in warmer air I might have done (MUCH warmer air, and not for long. That water was NOT warm--it was just that it was above freezing).

Last light on Cho Oyu

Next time: over Renjo La, and maybe even back to Namche? You never know!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2022
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