Gokyo lakes & Renjo La pass
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 7:06 PM Last Post By: suusvn
Dec 3, 2012 4:51 AM
Gokyo lakes & Renjo La passHi everybody!
We have made up our minds to do the Gokyo lakes trek including Renjo La pass on 19-29 Dec (thanks to everybody who helped in the process of making this decision in this thread http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2272189&messageID=20551129#20551129)
Our planned itinerary is as follows:
D1 - Flight to Lukla, trek to Bengkar or Monjo
D2 - Monjo to Namche (3450)
D3 - Namche - rest/ acclimatization
D4 - Namche to Phortse Tango (Aprox 3800m) (stay at Himalayan view - recommended by Rob)
D5 - Phortse Tango to Gyele (4110m)
D6 - Gyele – Phang (4550m)
D7 - Phang - Gokyo (4790m)
D8 - 4th, 5th & maybe 6th lakes - back to Gokyo
D9 - Gokyo - Thame via Renjo La pass
D10 - Thame to Lukla
D11 - Lukla --> KTM
I would appreciate your input on the following:
1) Is it worthwhile to try to save a day by doing Lukla - NB in one day and then spend this day to explore Thame on D10 instead of rushing to Lukla? Would it be realistic to do Lukla-NB in one day? Would it be save as far as acclimatization is concerned?
2) I understand that D4-D6 are rather short ones. Any recommendations for side treks/ things to see while ascending to Gokyo?
3) Any recommendation what to do on D7 upon arrival to Gokyo? As far as I understand from reading the forum, it is not recommended to climb Gokyo ri or go to the north of the valley on the arrival day due to acclimatization considerations.
4) I have read that Diamox helps with acclimatization. Could anybody advise on practicalities of taking this drug. When should one start taking it (in our situation would it be KTM, Lukla, NB or even further into the trek)? What is the recommended dose (I have read it's 2x125 mg - is that correct)? Under any circumstances should the dose be increased/ decreased? What are the most likely side effects? I understand that Diamox does not hide AMS symptoms - is that correct?
5) Any advise on nice lodges on the way :) ?
Edited by: ksimona
Dec 3, 2012 5:16 AM
1) It is possible to get to NB straight from Lukla but some people do have some discomfort from the acclimatisation process; headaches, lack of sleep. A small number of people might get more seriou AMS symptoms and need to descend.
2) Have a leisurely lunch at Mong La - it has great views of Ama Dablam - before going to Phortse Tenga which is down by the river. Maybe visit the clinic at Macchermo and explore the valley beyond.
3) The key point about safe acclimatisation is the sleeping height. In my view, it's OK to explore and go higher but if you feel unwell descend to Gokyo. Avoid being goal orientated and climb Gokyo Ri regardless of how you feel.
4) Maybe read the info from Himalayan Rescue Association, no personal experience.
5) I didn't stay at any stand out lodges though the one we stayed at in Gokyo had a good vibe and decent food choice.- sorry, the name escapes me at the moment but it's the large lodge up the hill away form the lake.
Dec 3, 2012 8:55 AM
2Day 4: Consider staying at Mong La, it is a short day form Namche, but the evening & morning views are fantastic, and what is more important, it is much higher than Phortse Tenga (Tenga = bridge, tango = dance from Argentina), where there are practically no views. Thus it would help the acclimatization. Rfom Mong La it is only 30 minutes to Phortse Tenga.
What comes to hiking Lukla-Namche in one day it is quite easy if coming trail hardened from Jiri or pre-acclimatized from plane, but not all that easy for tenderfoots fresh from the plane. If your plane lands early, like before 9, you can try it, but if would not be wise to base your whole itinerary on that idea. If you can make it, fine, if not, no big deal.
Day 9 is a long one, many trekkers use 2 days for Gokyo-Thame. Just that it would not surprise you.
Dec 3, 2012 9:52 AM
3Would second the point above about staying at Mong La, great place to spend a night.
A very good lodge at Thame is 'Thame View Lodge'. Great showers, food & rooms. Best lodge on my Gokyo/Renjo trek last month.
Thame to Lukla on Day 10 seems a pretty long day. Thame to Namche is a lovely walk, same to spoil it by 'rushing'.
As I was not feeling great I gave Gokyo Ri a miss, reasoning was that going over Renjo La gives you a very similar view, if you are short of time worth bearing in mind.
5th Lake is a must in my mind. Great day out. I didn't venture as far as 6th lake, would make for another long day (or very early start).
Dec 3, 2012 1:36 PM
44) You have the correct info for the Diamox doses, 125 mg. twice/day, starting 2 days prior to being at higher altitude, so for you, you could start the day you fly to Lukla, or the day before (although with flights you never know what day that will be).
Side effects are mainly tingling in extremities or other body parts, which is transient while taking it and goes away once you stop. It's a mild diuretic so may increase urination, but I've never found that. When I take Diamox I can really notice an increase in my breathing depth and I don't constantly wake up short of breath during the night.
Taking Diamox is a personal choice. In the past I have had problems at altitude and now I would never go into high mountains without it. Other people may be better at acclimatizing and not require it.
I took it twice/day for the first time when in Tanzania to go up Meru and Kilimanjaro. That was a very expensive trip, and I didn't want to go more than once, so I did all I could to be successful the first time I went, and that included taking Diamox. However, for Meru and Kili the altitude increases each day are typically higher than in Nepal (1000 m./day).
If you do decide to take it, you should try it at home for a couple days first to make sure that you have no adverse reactions.
Have fun on your trek.
Dec 3, 2012 1:50 PM
5Not good, I am afraid. Done this several times and you are rushing it. Helicopter pilots do a routine rescue flight for people who follow this sort of intinerary. It may not happen to you but........You need to read this
Days 1 and 2 are fine. Monjo better than Phakding cos its higher. It is possible to do Namche from Lukla in one day but exhausting and potetially dangerous - no lodges at all beyond Monjo if you get exhausted/sick. 2 nights at Namche is a minimum, doubly so if you are not spending a night at Lukla. Consider 3 or at least the third night at the slightly higher Khumjung.
Phortse Tenga is 3600 if I remember correctly which makes it a possible alternative to a 3rd night at Namche, BUT, you will jump 500 metres to Gyele, which is near the limit of ascent - 300 a day is better.
Further problem is that I am not sure the lodges between the standard stops of Dole/Machermo/Gokyo are going to be open. Others may have info on the exact dates but going in the first week of Jan they were all closed. I walked from Gokyo to Thame 2 years back because I had to - Lunden was closed. Took me 10+ hours.Character forming........
Thame to Lukla is again theoretically possible but I would estimate another 8 hours and the descent will kill your knees.
A lot depends on your level of fitness. This itinerary sounds dodgy unless you are very experienced. It leaves no time for twisted ankle or diahorrea ( never could spell it)
Diamox works, but never take advice from a bloke you dont know on a TT post. Personally I use 125mg every 12 hours starting one day ahead. There is a lot of info on the indiamike.com site in the Ladakh postings
Dont want to sound negative, you may be fine, but its looking too tight.
Dec 4, 2012 12:52 AM
6Thanks for everybody's advice (especially for the concerns raised, as I find them especially helpful).
The trip is not going to be too much goal oriented - if we see that we do not feel well, we will descent the same way back from Gokyo (instead of passing Renjo La), if we see that we are up for the challenge - we will do do Renjo La. We have a few buffer days in KTM after the trek. However, since it is our first time in Nepal, we also wanted to visit some landmarks. However, if we love the trek much more than KTM, we will cut the days from KTM :) So everything is flexible and I will definitely have your suggestions in mind! Thanks again.
Dec 4, 2012 4:58 AM
Dec 4, 2012 11:59 PM
8Diamox is doping. It is not very different from EPO for cyclist, it allows you to achieve a preformance that you can't do naturally.
If you consider yourself a sportsperson and you consider trekking as a sport, you should certainly not take it. Personally, it is totally out of the question. I perfer to stop and turn back if I feel sicj or too weak.
Dec 5, 2012 5:08 AM
9Since trekking is not a competitive sport, and there is no prize money to be had, it would be a shame for someone with a love of high mountains not to be able to experience them safely just because they were worried that they were being impure. Diamox is a tool that can help people enjoy the mountains and have wonderful experiences.
What a waste it would be for someone to spend a couple thousand dollars, travel halfway across the globe, and not be able to fulfill their dream because they were concerned that they were doping, and turning around so they wouldn't feel they were cheating. Cheating whom??? You may feel you are cheating yourself but you would be cheating yourself of a wonderful experience.
I went twice to Denali in Alaska. The first year I also thought Diamox was cheating and that it should be saved for emergencies. I spent most of my 2 weeks on the glacier not sleeping due to the fact that I was constantly waking up feeling short of breath. I did a bit more research after that, got over myself and the following year took Diamox 125 mg. at suppertime, slept like a baby and felt 100 times better than the first time.
Some may argue for purity. I prefer being able to experience more of the world. To each his own.
Dec 5, 2012 3:05 PM
10Second the above, I am extremely competative in other fields of life but the mountain is always bigger than you are, in any competition it will always win, so drug usage is irrelevant to that. Its the 'with or without oxygen' argument for climbers. I trekked for 15 years in Ladakh and Nepal without it on the same basis as 'willemspie', going over 5700 passes, carrying it only as an emergency drug and never using it.
4 years back i test-drove it at 4700 meters when i felt rough, knowing that it was an easy stagger down if I got worse the next day. I had such a great night's sleep, I have used it ever since. i view it not so much as performance enhancing, as normalising. Using it I can avoid the 'going up the hill feeling bad' syndrome.
4700 meters +, if not altitude adjusted fully, is like a night on the town with no prospect of a 'Full English', the papers and a pint of tea on Sunday - what is the point of wanting to barf when you have paid more than a month's wages to get to the point of barfing with a spectacular view?
There is a slight enhancement of performance, but in reality all it does is enable you to do what you could at sea level when you are at altitude - if you cant cut it for 4 hours in sleet in Scotland or the Appalachian Trail then diamox is not going to help in the Himalayas. I certainly dont beat the locals up tha trail, even with a dosage - but the main argument for it is better sleep. No more fighting the sleeping bag for 8 hours and waking up feeling like next door's had a party all night. Purity is a tenable perspective, I understand why the Reinhold Messners of this world dont use oxygen, most of us cant compete at that level - I know an Everest summiteer who swears by itand he's managed what I will never aspire to do.
Dec 5, 2012 6:36 PM
11I agree with the last two posts and I also would like to share my experience with Diamox although I would suggest you do not take our words for it and do your research. There's plenty of good information on Diamox and you should ready extensively on both pros and cons of taking it.
I started taking 125mg every 12 hrs the night before flying to Lukla. On my second day in Namche, I stated feeling every symptom of mild altitude sickness- headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping- so as advised by a doctor, I started taking 250mg every 12 hrs. It helped me a lot but as contrary to what a lot of people believe, Diamox DOES NOT mask the symptoms of altitude sickness. It helps you to produce more red blood cells but in no way does it hide the symptoms. I had altitude sickness every time I would ascend, and I was careful not to ascend more than 300m each day, being very conservative and going very slowly. The symptoms would usually last for a couple of hours when I arrived at a higher place but by dinner time I would fine and next day I was ready to keep going. I was able to get to Gorak Shep but then I ended up having both HACE and HAPE and Diamox did not help me anymore so I had to descend 600m in the middle of the night.
Keep in mind that Diamox has diuretic effects so if you start taking it, you should drink even more water than you normally would and that was probably my biggest mistake- dehydration.
Also, the side effects like tingling and blurred vision are totally normal and should not be the reason to stop taking it.
My boyfriend who was with me also started taking Diamox at the same time and you can even argue that he didn't need it or that because he took Diamox, he didn't have any altitude sickness, not even the slightest headache, and he never took more than 125mg. He also didn't experience any side effects of Diamox. We had completely different experiences. I was totally fine up to when I crossed the 5000m line in Gorak Shep and if I ever go back there I would definitely take Diamox again, increasing the dosage (up to 250mg every 12hrs) if needed.
I was going to do the trek counter-clockwise so I never got to see the Gokyo lakes and I haven't been to where you're going but I can tell you that at higher altitude almost everyone has got a cough so I would strongly advise you to bring some cough drops and be very careful with the cold winds "burning" your throat. It can be painful.
Dec 5, 2012 7:06 PM
I was wondering if you were trekking alone or with a guide. I am looking for a trekking partner, and would be very happy to join you on your trek. I will be back in Kathmandu the 18th so maybe it is a little precipitated to get the permits (how many time does that take?) or flight, but that would be my very own problem. What do you say, would you mind some company?
Thank you very much,
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