Luza -> Gokyo – beautiful mountain world and evening talks

15. April 2024



The morning started beautifully again with blue skies, clear views and a lovely atmosphere. I quickly set off on my own – and promptly took a small diversions, but it didn’t matter because it was so beautiful. I passed the inhabited farmstead where the man was already sending his yaks back into the mountains. And as always, I took most of the photos right at the beginning of the day.


















It was a very beautiful mountain path that wound its way higher and higher above the valley. You came across people, but it was by no means too crowded.










I was very happy.










But then, strangely enough, it changed with me. I started to feel a bit cold and my bronchial tubes started to hurt. First of all, I had a cup of tea in this lodge village:










When the sun is shining, solar works quite well. But unfortunately it was usually over by midday. But it wasn’t that late yet, so I continued.








The path leads up this valley to the end of the “white ribbon” and then round the corner at the top.




And then around the corner began Gokyo Lakes. There are 2 before you get to the lake where you spend the night (further up the valley would be 3 more lakes). The lakes were covered in varying degrees of snow/ice. We met a Nepali walking alone who was on his way to his new job in Gokyo as a cook/baker in the biggest bakery in town. Such a long way to start work.














Gokyo is a lodge resort run by people from the village of Khumjung. They all run similar lodges except for one – he has invested a lot of money and built a big fancy hotel with a fine bakery. My lodge owner didn’t like that. She was a very nice woman who I really liked. She started to warm up the oven early. She used up a whole sack of dried yak dung that evening. There are people from the villages who collect the yak dung and then sell it to the lodges. A sack costs NRP 1500 (= 11 euros). If each lodge uses one sack a day, you need quite a lot of yak dung. It is not worth carrying wood up here.


Apart from me, there were only 2 Indians in the accommodation. We had a lively conversation and I met one of them again for breakfast in Kathmandu afterwards. They travelled up this valley and then east over the Cho-la to Everest Base Camp. Both were from Pune and were trekking for the first time. They had prepared themselves well with sport, taking 1/2 a tablet of Diamox daily since the start and analysed their bodies. For them, the tour was a sporting challenge that they wanted to master, not just the joy of the mountains like me. So they enjoyed the mountain world too, but observed everything more technically: how best to walk through the rocks, how often to take a break, how quickly to climb, how to do it with the spikes on the snow, how to cope with the big challenge of the cold, etc. They really enjoyed the challenge.


There are a lot of Indian groups and individuals here whose main goal is Everest Base Camp. It’s a sight that you should have seen once in your life. I didn’t want to go there because of the hype. It seemed to me that there were two quite different approaches to the mountains, one of which I can’t really understand. Of course, I’m also happy about conquering heights and routes, but the main motivation is always “beautiful mountains”. These other people mostly made me grumpy (especially in their large numbers) and I also found their approach rather stupid in principle. On the other hand, the Indians I met were really happy and positive about their achievements, so I thought to myself: who am I to judge?


Why, for example, these Indians don’t trek in India: not only because of the Everest Base Camp sight, but also because in India you usually have to sleep in tents and that is one difficulty too much and unthinkable.


In any case, this tour gave me plenty of food for thought about mountain tourism. And apart from some mountain pleasures, I felt more like a grumpy curmudgeon.


The guide of the Indians was also a special type. He was from the Langtang (Helambu) and went to a boarding school for orphans. But as far as I understood him during the conversation, he wasn’t an orphan at all (I had once read an article that orphans are much better at generating donations – e.g. for schools. Problem: there aren’t that many orphans in Nepal (and other countries with many donation organisations). He was a Sherpa and because most of them have very similar or the same names, they should have given themselves new names at school. He wanted to be called Asman (instead of Dawa Norbu) and this was so often used that it is now officially on his identity card. After school, he was very interested in the army. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass the entrance exams for the Nepalese army. He then wanted to apply for the Foreign Legion, but somehow that didn’t work out either. Then the conversation turned (once again) to Hitler. He claimed that Hitler had said that if his army had been made up of Nepalese Gurkhas (instead of sissy Aryans), he would have won the war! I could read about that! (There is a bit about this on the Internet) Anyway, his army dreams came to nothing and so he became a guide – because he knew the area at the time and knew English.


And how was I doing physically? Badly. I had actually developed a good case of bronchitis, my nose was snotty and I often felt cold and weak. My eyes were also far from well healed. So what now? The plan was to go west over the Renjo Pass and make a round trip. You usually stay two nights in Gokyo to climb the Gokyo Ri, but I didn’t feel like it. I asked Tenji to get me a porter for the pass day. No, no way! He’s carrying my backpack! It wouldn’t be a problem in terms of weight – but it would be very unwieldy. We argued back and forth for a while, but he stood firm: he’s carrying.


Gokyo is at 4,860 m, the pass at 5,360 m – I would somehow manage the 500 metres in altitude. My oxygen measurement was fine. 5.30 am is light enough and that was our target start time.