Top Ten Treks in the Nepalese Himalaya

Gokyo Ri, Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha is the local Nepalese name for Mount Everest, and Sagarmatha National Park is the protected land of the Khumbu region around this monolith and its near neighbors, Lhotse (world's fourth tallest mountain) and Cho Oyu (eighth tallest). Most trekkers in this park head up to the more famous (and much more crowded) Everest Base Camp, but there is a magical alternative; from Namche Bazar, the first village inside the park and the first night above 10,000 feet, ponder going due north to Gokyo instead of north-northeast to Everest. The turn-around point on the Gokyo trek is a small community on the shores of a small lake and just over the hill from the awesome Ngozumba Glacier. The hike up the Dudh Kosi valley is just as alluring as the Everest trek up the Lobuche Khola and has just as many services for the self-sufficient hiker. The rewards along the way are also comparable. The big bonus: far fewer people. One of the most challenging days of hiking is the day you pick your way up the gurgling, boulder-strewn southern end of the Ngozumba Glacier. And an incredible side trip takes you across its eerie lunar surface for a night at Thagna. The high point, literally and figuratively, of this route is the day-trip to the top of Gokyo Peak, a rocky, snowless lump looming over a string of high-altitude lakes. From its 17,600-foot summit, the northern and western views to the top of the world are said to be better than those from Kala Pattar, the vista mecca on the Everest Base Camp trek. They are breathtaking. Literally.


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