EBC Day 15 – Lakes of Gokyo

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Ngozumpa Tsho

The fifth lake, Ngozumpa Tsho, is half way between the fourth lake and Cho Oyu Base Camp, and just never seemed to appear each and every time I would expect it to. I caught myself getting exasperated after I rounded each hill and corner, and wondered why I was starting to get a little impetuous. The words "It's not about the destination; it's about the journey" then came to mind, and so I began to slow down a little and to just enjoy the walk for its own sake. Time then seemed to pass by more smoothly and the day's walk became far more rewarding. As soon as I rounded the last hill and finally saw the lake, I was greeted by a savage gust of wind and had to literally take a few steps back in order to stay upright. The gusts of wind were absolutely brutal and seemed to have a life of their own. I would hear them coming, with a sound akin to heavy rain approaching, and would almost get knocked over once again when they arrived.

Where the third and fourth lakes had been a vibrant turquoise, the fifth had a frozen, silvery sheen. This made the lake a contrast of sorts, as the drab colours made everything feel somewhat lifeless; whereas the noises around the lake made it seem like everything was alive. The sounds of the frozen lake were strange and otherworldly, and included: creaking, like old doors being opened very slowly; shattering, like glass plates hitting the ground; clanging, like metallic pipes being hit together; cracking, like dead trees splinting as they toppled over; and groaning, as if there was someone writhing in agony.

Gokyo's  5th Lake, Ngozumpa Tsho

The 5th Lake, Ngozumpa Tsho, with Cho Oyu (elevation : 8188m) peaking out on the top right

Gokyo's  5th Lake, Ngozumpa Tsho

Cairns overlooking the 5th Lake, Ngozumpa Tsho; the peaks of Gyachung Kang (elevation : 7952m) and Chakung/Hungchi (elevation : 7029m)

I lingered for a while, watching a snow spindrift blowing off the peak of Cho Oyu (elevation : 8188m), the sixth highest mountain in the world, before making my way up to the viewpoint atop the moraine beside the fifth lake.

Cho Oyu

Snow spindrift blowing off Cho Oyu (elevation : 8188m)

Next (Day 15) : The Ngozumpa Viewpoint
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