Gokyo and EBC Trek 15 day Itinerary via Cho la Pass

After completing the Gokyo Lake to EBC via Chola Pass trek without a guide or porter, I have written up our itinerary for this route! This itinerary reflects our exact route and I have made suggestions for alternative night stays and ways to split it up differently.

Best Time to Hike

The best time to hike is from mid March to mid May, and October to November. We started this route on March 14, 2023 and it was a great time to do this trek because there was beautiful snowy landscapes and limited people. The high season starts April 1 for EBC, and we really did notice the influx of trekkers on our last days during our ascent. That being said the weather is more predictable and warmer in April and May, so it depends what you are looking for. We did notice the Gokyo side has way less people in general, so if you are looking for fewer crowds I would recommend doing this section of the trek too

We even had a friend do the hike in January 2023 prior to us, and he lucked out and had blue skies. December and January are cold, but there is a high chance of clear skies and you will find barely any people on the trail.

Planning Our Route

We did the hike on our own, so it took a lot of planning to choose the route. The EBC hike and the Gokyo hike are there and back routes, so we wanted to do a loop and do them both. This way the only back tracking was from Lukla to Namche Bazaar. Gokyo Lake was our highlight coming into the hike rather than EBC, so we chose to do the hike counterclockwise.

Most people do EBC first, but we wanted to hike on a less crowded path during our slower ascent days, so we chose to do the route in a nontraditional way. We also knew the risks of altitude sickness, so we wanted to make sure that we saw Gokyo Lake first in case we could not do the whole hike. Fortunately, we were able to complete the whole route! The only downside with this route is that there is more elevation gain in total, but we were ok with that. We bought a physical map and made sure the online maps were downloaded on our phone. You can buy the EBC and Gokyo map anywhere in Thamel for about $2.

Trip itinerary

  • Day 1: Lukla (2850m) – Namche Bazaar (3440m) ~ 18km (980m gain)
    • Note- most people stay in Phakding (2610m) but we went straight to Namche. We did not feel great walking straight to Namche but we ended up being okay.
  • Day 2: Acclimatization Day
    • Note- We used this day for rest. Most people hike to Hotel Everest View at 3880m and back to help with acclimatization. If you are going to Gokyo first like us you can choose to do Everest View hotel on the way on day 3.
  • Day 3: Namche Bazaar (3440m) to Mongla (3975m) ~7km
  • Day 4: Mongla (3975m) to Machermo (4470m) ~13km
  • Day 5: Machermo (4470m) to Gokyo (4800m) ~ 7km
  • Day 6: Stay in Gokyo (4800m) hike to Gokyo Ri (5400m) ~ 3.6km round trip
  • Day 7: Gokyo (4800m) to Thagnak (4700m) ~ 3.7km
    • Note: on day 7 we hiked up Gokyo Ri in the morning again, since we did not have a view on day 6. We would recommend waking up early from Gokyo and going all the way to Dzonglha over the pass in 1 day.
  • Day 8: Thagnak (snowed in)
    • we got snowed in at Thagnak, so a good reason to allow for flex days. There was just no visibility to do the pass, so it was too dangerous. Many people turned around and went back to Gokyo.
  • Day 9: Thagnak (4700m) to Dzonglha (4800m) via Chola Pass (5420m) ~11km
  • Day 10: Dzonglha (4800m) to Dingbuche (4420m) ~10.5km
    • Note: The normal route is straight to Lobuche here, but we needed something from the pharmacy and heard Dingbuche was nice so we went down. Another reason for flex days
  • Day 11: Dingbuche (4420m) to Lobuche (4910m) ~10.8km
  • Day 12: Lobuche (4910) to EBC (5364) and back to Lobuche ~18km
    • Most people hike to Gorakshep for the night on this day and and day hike to EBC. This allows for the Kalapathar sunrise hike the next morning. We were not feeling well so did not want to sleep above 5000m at Gorakshep so we went all the way back to Lobuche. We chose to skip Kalapathar.
  • Day 13: Lobuche (4910m) to Tengboche (3860m) ~20km
  • Day 14: Tengboche (3860m) to Lukla (2850m) ~ 28km
    • This was a big day so you could split it up and stay in Namche Bazaar
  • Day 15: Lukla flight to Kathmandu ??

Day 1

  • Lukla (2850m) – Namche Bazaar (3440m)
  • Total distance: 18km

On our first day we woke up at 4:00am in Kathmandu to catch our flight to Lukla at 6:15am. It cost us 180usd each and was from the domestic KTM airport. The taxi from Thamel was 500 rupees.

The Lukla flight is considered to be the most dangerous flight in the world due to the number of fatalities and crashes, so we were a little worried. The flight was on time, the weather was good and it all went seamlessly. We were very thankful and relieved!

After landing we marvelled in the amazing scenery, as it was the most beautiful airport I have ever seen. Then we ate breakfast around 7am at a cute sherpa cafe and took off for our trek. We shortly arrived at the permit office located on the way out of Lukla, and bought our Trek Card for 2000 rupees, and then started our ascent. We arrived in Phakding (2610m) around 10:30am and had a tea break. We were feeling good, so we continued on. We stopped in Monjo (2835m) for lunch around 2:00pm, and continued up to Namche Bazaar.

The hike from Monjo to Namche was grueling. It was about 605m over 6km and at this point we were really rethinking our expedited plan. This part of the hike was tough but it brought you over the Hilary Bridge, which is a huge extension bridge over the river valley. We got to the Sagarmatha Park around 5pm, bought our park pass for 3000 rupees and arrived at our teahouse 15 minutes later, just in time to watch a beautiful sunset.

We stayed at Hotel 1884, which was 500 rupees for the two of us in a private room, and it ended up having amazing food. We got Daal Bhat for 750 rupees and it was so good. The best part of getting Dhal Bhat is that it is bottomless, so you can eat as much as you want. Daal bhat usually consists of a curry, pickled veg, rice, and a veg. Our room had a great view, but it was freezing, so we were thankful for our big sleeping bags we brought with us.

Day 2

  • Namche Bazaar- rest & acclimatization day

Namche Bazaar

We used this as a rest and acclimitization day as we went from Kathmandu (1770m) to Namche Bazaar (3440m) in one day. We were definitely feeling tired so we just walked around the city, looked in the cute shops, and sat at some nice cafes that had views.

We were surprised to find several gear stores including a real North Face outlet, a Salomon store, and several other name brand and knock off stores. They had similar prices to Kathmandu stores, so if you forget something you can basically buy anything there. This will also be the last stop for ATMs, and cheaper snacks. This was not the case for Lukla, it was expensive for everything,

If you are feeling well, most people hike to Everest View Hotel and back on this day to help with acclimatization. This hotel is not on the EBC route, but it is on the way to Gokyo, so we decided to see it on our day 3.

Day 3

  • Namche Bazaar (3440m) to Mongla (3975m)
  • Total Distance: 6.8km

We woke up early and left for our hike to Mongla, which was our destination for the night. On the way we stopped at a remote art gallery that was run by a non profit organization called Sagaramatha Next. Their main initiative is waste management and they have featured alot of artists who have used the garbage to create amazing works of art.

After the gallery, we hiked up to the famous Everest View Hotel (3880m). The hotel gives access to trekkers to use their balconies to view Everest. Unfortunately, the clouds covered Everest but we did see views of Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam and Island Peak.

After this we followed the signs for Khumjung, hiked through the village, and continued on to the mountain pass to Mongla. This section was not technically hard, but due to the elevation gain it was hard for us. We were happy to finally get to Mongla, where we stayed at Hilltop Lodge and Restaurant. It was really snowy and foggy so we were happy to seek shelter. It was 500 rupees and it was really pleasant. They had a woodfire in the common room, and the food was really good. The best part of the stay was the free hot water bottles they gave you at night. We hiked for about 7 hours.


Day 4

  • Mongla (3975m) to Machermo (4470m)
  • Total Distance: 13km

Our place in Mongla was on a hilltop and we were excited to wake up to amazing views. However, the morning was clouded over so we didn’t see anything. Our whole day was a bit snowy, cloudy and foggy, so we just focused on the trek.

Mongla sat at about 4000m and the start of the trek brought us down 400m to the river valley. We then walked 400m up again, which brought us to Dole at 4000m. This took us about 3 hours, so we stopped here for a tea and some lunch.

We decided to keep going and walk to Machermo for the night. This took us about 2.5 hours with no stops. This part of the hike brought us up another 470m and the walk was along a beautiful mountain pass.

Day 5

Machermo (4470m) to Gokyo (4800m)

Total Distance: 7kms

We woke up at 6:00am and were greeted with the clearest blue skies, it was amazing! The mountains around us were unreal, and we felt so happy! We had a great breakfast and headed out to start the climb to Gokyo. This day was our first clear day and it was absolutely magical for the whole 6.8km trek.

We passed the first 2 lakes and when we arrived at Gokyo it was prettier than what we imagined. The lake was sparkling blue, and the little town of Gokyo was picturesque. It took us about 4 hours.

We stayed at Gokyo Resort which was the highest teahouse on the hill and it had a dining hall that looked over the lake. We just got the basic room which was only 500 rupees in low season and 1000 in high season. They do have deluxe options with ensuite bathrooms, hot showers, charging stations, etc. but those were out of our price range. The food was good and the staff helped us with information on Chola Pass and the hike up to Gokyo Ri.

We planned to stay in Gokyo for 2 nights, which allowed us to do Gokyo Ri.

Day 6

  • Gokyo (4800m) to Gokyo Ri (5400m)
  • Total distance: 3.6km round trip

Gokyo Ri is one of the mountains overlooking the lake and it is 600m up and 1.8km to the top. We started the hike at 4:30am, and after walking a couple hundred of meters in the dark we realized the sky was very cloudy and it was starting to snow. We decided to go back to bed and we went up in the afternoon.

The weather was ok, but by the time we got to the top it was completely clouded over so we didn’t get a view. The trail was steep and was mostly small switch backs, and their were rock cairns the whole way up. If you are starting in the early morning when it is dark, I would recommend walking over to the start of the trail the day before as it is a bit hard to find in the morning.

We summited Gokyo Ri in the afternoon and we were optimistic that the clouds would pass; however, we did not have a view. We were a bit disappointed but still happy to summit a 5400m mountain. It was about 4 hours round trip.

You can also choose to walk to the 4th and 5th lake while staying in Gokyo. Walking all the way to the 5th lake was a 12km round trip and the weather was not the greatest, so we decided to skip this day hike.

Day 7

  • Gokyo to Gokyo Ri (repeat hike to see view)
  • Gokyo (4800m) to Thagnak (4700m)
  • Total distance: 3.7km

We woke up nice and early and we were so happy to see clear skies! We decided to be crazy and hike up Gokyo Ri again, because we really wanted to see the view. We hiked all this way and the view from Gokyo Ri was what we were most excited for.

It felt a bit easier the second time around and we were so happy that we did it again. The views were probably the best in Nepal. We could see Everest, Lhotse, and several other 8000m peaks, it was amazing. We stayed at the top for over an hour just soaking in the views. It took us about 2 hours up and 1.5hrs to get down.

When we got back we had lunch and hiked to Thagnak, which is the starting point for Chola Pass. It took us about 2.25 hours to get there from Gokyo, and it was about 4km. This part of the trek was pretty wild. We crossed over a glacier for about 2km and it felt like we were on a different planet.

Glacier walk

The hike had a lot of small up and downs, but it was not too strenuous. The trail was a bit hard to follow over the glacier, so I would not reccommend doing this section in bad weather. When we arrived in Thagnak we chose to stay at at Tashi Friendship Lodge. Accommodation and charging was free if we bought dinner and breakfast.

Day 8

  • Thagnak (4700m)
  • Snowed in!

We were planning to hike across Chola Pass, but we were snowed in and had to stay an extra night here. It is not the best place to be snowed in, but it was not safe for us to cross the pass. We went back and forth on whether we should go down and skip the pass, but after some research we found it was best to stay in one spot and hike the next day.

With any trek in the mountains, weather can be unpredicatable, so we were glad that we had some flex days in case of circumstances like this. We would not recommend staying in Thagnak if you don’t have too. It was very cold and the teahouses were not amazing. They used yak poo fire all day and Pat developed a bad cough due to the smoke. If you can walk straight from Gokyo to Dzonglha and skip Thagnak, that would be best. You just have to wake up really early, to do it this way.

Day 9

  • Thagnak (4700m) to Dzonglha (4800m) via Chola Pass (5420m)
  • Total Distance: 11km
  • Elevation Gain: 700m Loss: 600m

Chola Pass

It was a bluebird morning, so we started our hike nice and early after breakfast at about 6:30am. There was about a foot of fresh snow, so it was hard to trek in these conditions, so we wanted to allow ourselves alot of time. The first 4.4km was a steady incline with an elevation gain of about 350m and it was tough at that elevation.

There were brown metal pole markers to help find our way, but we waited for another group to go first so that we could follow their footsteps in the snow. We were warned that there are alot of little creeks and crevasses that are hidden in the snow. so we didn’t want to risk going first without a guide.

You can choose to hire a guide in Thagnak for the day to go over the pass with you. Our teahouse lady let us know that another group was heading out, so we made sure to follow their steps. If there wasn’t another group we would have hired a guide for the day safety reasons. The guide cost 3500 rupees.

Once we got to the pass it looked very intimidating. It was a sharp 350m incline and was very icy and snowy. There was a metal rope that followed the path, but due to the conditions we may have not made it if we did not have crampons. This part of the hike was so hard, and when we reached the summit of 5420m we were all dying.


After resting at the summit, there was a pretty big descent. After the descent there was a glacier crossing that was about 2kms in length. This section was a little sketchy, as there were areas with deep crevasses, but we stayed on trail, followed the markers, and were really careful.

After the glacier it was another 5km or so downhill to Dzonglha. Dzhonglha was beautiful, it was a little village with only a couple of teahouses, and the mountains just soared in the background. We stayed at a nice teahouse. Our shoes and socks were soaked from the hike, so we were just happy to sit by the fire and dry off.


Day 10

  • Dzonglha (4800m) to Dingbuche (4420m)
  • Total Distance: 10.5km
  • Elevation gain: 150m loss: 550m

Near Dzonghla

We were going to head to Lobuche on this day, but due to Pat’s bad cough we decided to head down to Dingboche for the night to get cough medicine and make sure it was not altitude related.

It was a steady 600m descent down and we stopped half way at Thukla, which is a small village with 2 guesthouses and a couple of restaurants. After lunch, we made it to Dingboche and were able to get medicine at a pharmacy.


We stopped at Cafe Himalaya because we heard they had some of Edmund Hilary’s old climbing gear. It was really interesting to see the gear from the first Everest summit, and it was almost worth the hike down. The Cafe also had an oxygen reader, and we both tested our oxygen and found that it was at a really healthy level. Apparently, if it is below 70 you have to go to the hospital and ours was at 94.

Cafe Himalaya

We stayed at Himalayan Culture Home and it was a really good stay. The sherpa who owned the teahouse had climbed Everest 8 times, so it was amazing conversation.


Day 11

  • Dingboche (4420m) to Lobuche (4910m)
  • Total Distance: 10.8km
  • Elevation gain: 600m

Thukla Pass

We felt ready to ascend in the morning, so we hiked back up to Lingboche. We hiked over Thukla pass, and had stunning views. At the top of the pass, a couple kilometers away from Lingboche was a large cemetery. It paid tribute to climbers that had passed on Everest.

Top of Thukla Pass

We spent some time reading the memorials and stones, and slowly made our way up. It took us about 6 hours to get there in total. We stayed at New EBC Guesthouse (1000 rupee) and even met some climbers that were headed to basecamp to summit Everest.

Day 12

  • Lobuche (4910) to EBC (5364) and back to Lobuche:
  • Total Distance: 16.8km roundtrip

Overlooking EBC

This was the day we were heading to Everest Base Camp! We woke up early and I was not feeling well due to the altitude and maybe food poisoning, so we decided to just go to EBC and come back to Lobuche. It would be a long day of hiking, but we thought it would be better than staying in Gorakshep, which sits at about 5200m. Sleeping above 5000m is hard, so this was the best plan for us. This also allowed us to leave our big bag in Lobuche. However, our teahouse lady said we couldn’t hike there and back in time so she convinced us to bring our bag. We listened to her, and dropped our bag in Gorakshep at a teahouse, before the last 3km to EBC. This took us 2.5 hrs. We met other people who had stomach problems after Lobuche, so we would recommend even treating your boiled water there.

The way to EBC was really beautiful from Gorakshep and it was not that hard of a hike, despite being over 5000m. There was a lot of little ups and downs, but for the most part you were walking through rocky terrain with beautiful mountain views. After about 2 hours and 3kms we arrived at EBC. There are great viewpoints from above before you make it down to the infamous EBC rock that everyone takes a picture with. You can even walk 500m or so farther to the actual basecamp if you like!

We really wanted to go into basecamp, but we chose not to because we were not feeling too great. At this time of year basecamp was just getting set up by the sherpas, so there was no climbers there yet.

We ended up walking back to Gorakshep in 2 hours and decided to hike back down to Lobuche so that we could sleep at a lower elevation. This took us another 2 hours. We decided to skip Kalapathar due to our health, but if you are feeling good definitely do this hike and stay at Gorakshep. Our total day was about 9 hours of hiking and we did not find it too bad doing it all in one day.

Day 13

  • Lobuche (4910m) to Tengboche (3860m)
  • Total Distance: 20km, 1000m decent

We had finally finished everything we had accomplished on the hike, and we were feeling happy to go down. Being above 4500 meters for so long is hard on the body, so we were ready to leave the area. Even though it takes several days to go up due to acclimatization, we decided to make it down in 2 days. They were going to be big days, but we were used to long hiking days.


We ascended down passing the small villages of Thukla and Pheriche, and made our way to Pangboche.

Make sure to do the 1km detour to Pangboche as there is a really cool monastery and some great viewpoints.

It was a pretty gradual downhill for the whole day, with a couple of hills here and there during the hike. The biggest ascent was right before Tengboche and it was really muddy and unpleasant to walk in. The trail here was really destroyed by donkeys and mud, wear boots here.

Tengboche has the largest monastery on the trek, so it is a great place to stay the night. You can go into the monastery for free and even watch the prayer ceremonies at 6pm and 6am daily.

Day 14

  • Tengboche (3860m) to Lukla (2850m)
  • Total Distance: 28km

We walked for about 9 hours on this day, and let me tell you it was not easy. It was mainly all downhill. The hardest part was the 500m descent down to the river after Tengboche, that was followed by a 500m ascent. After that big uphill, it was smooth sailing and beautiful views all the way to Namche Bazaar. After Namche, there was a 6km stretch of downhill and then for the last 12km it was pretty easy ups and downs. Just before Lukla there is another 300m ascent, so just make sure you have enough energy at the end for the final push.

Day 15

Lukla (3860m) to Kathmandu flight

We stayed at a teahouse that was really close to the airport and got to the small waiting area an hour prior to our flight. We booked the flights online the night before in Tengboche, and got the 7am flight out. Another reason why we rushed down is because there was a small weather window with clear skies. These flights are notoriously cancelled and delayed due to bad weather, so we wanted to have a good chance of leaving on the day we booked our flight. We booked our flight two days before in Tengboche because they had wifi.

Favourite picture on the hike

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