Gokyo Lakes – The Mythical 6th
You’ll never make it there and back in one day! The glacier will eat you alive! Tibetan Snowcocks will claw out your eyes and use your body for warmth like a Tauntaun!
The valley to the immediate west of the path to Everest Base Camp, at the bottom of which sit three beautiful lakes and the trekkers’ paradise that is Gokyo village, is marketed widely by Nepalese trekking agencies for its 5 famous lakes. The map though, indeed every map I consulted, showed one more lake just a little past number five, sitting pretty on the intersection of three glaciers. Only one person I could find in Gokyo, though, seemed to know much about it. All other responses consisted mainly of “its too far” or “it doesn’t exist” or “leave me alone, who are you?!”.
This being established, I’ll leave the pictures and descriptions of Gokyo’s Five Lakes to the blogs of lesser men. I present here, for your dual pleasure and enlightenment, Lake Six.
The scenery en route is grand, as every walk near the Gokyo lakes must be. Though a ‘trail’ exists on the side of the mountains and past the 5 lakes, the harder but more picturesque walking is on the lip of the glacier itself. With the creaking and cracking of glacial ice as your constant aural accompaniment, the miles melt by in a stream of soaring scenery on the slippery scree slope of the glacial moraine.
Several groups reported having turned back towards Gokyo after having seen this rock, just past the 5th Lake, and assumed it impassable without technical equipment. These groups were wrong. Skirt between this Guardian and the edge of the glacier, and the 6th Lake is nearly yours.
Beyond the Guardian Rock a new view (of a new glacier!) opens up, with 6th Lake at the end of a valley covered in snow that looks untrammeled except by boulders that could (and may?) be fresh from the slopes of the surrounding peaks.
Just south of the lake itself, and I mean this in all seriousness, is the most beautiful mountain in the world. Let the ignorant masses have their Ama Dablam. My mountain, either unnamed or unknown to my mapmaker, is more beautiful without doubt. And she is all mine. I haven’t put a single picture of my mountain on the internet… and don’t intend to start now. Moving on.
Gokyo’s 6th Lake, honestly, is itself not all that impressive. I didn’t even bother to go down to the shore of the lake itself, more interested in sitting and staring up at the mountains and down at the glaciers as I melted snow (white… no yellow to be seen) for water and rested for lunch.
On the way back to Gokyo, much to my delight, I passed one small tent at the base of a large hill between 4th and 5th lake. Next time I go to Nepal, I’ll be camping in this very spot. My mountain awaits!
I visited Gokyo and the greater EBC area independently, but I seemed to be the exception. You can arrange guides in Kathmandu or Lukla if you’ll have some spare time, but if you need to arrange a trek to the Gokyo Lakes in a hurry check out the options on GetYourGuide.