Goechala La trek is the gateway to various North-Eastern Himalayan ranges, including Mt.Kanchenjunga (28170 ft.), which is the world’s third-highest mountain. Sikkim is a Northeast Indian state and Goecha La is the Pride of Sikkim and is situated in one of the greenest zones of the world, that is; Kanchenjunga National Park. Goecha La is the base camp for the Kanchenjunga Trek too. Rocky terrain, glaciers, stunning Samiti Lake, flora, and fauna, together offer us a spectacular and memorable experience.
Below are the 5 things to know about the Goecha La trek:
Besides being quite a lengthy trek circuit of approximately 90 km, the trail of the Goechala trek too is challenging. One experiences the mighty and at times unforgiving side of Himalayan geography. This complete belt has huge mountains with high altitudes, great width, and sharp peaks. In fact, Goecha La Trek is sometimes also called the ‘big mountains trek.’
Accordingly, the gradient of this trek is a ‘moderately difficult’ one and only experienced trekkers should attempt it. Trekkers should have done at least a couple of high altitude treks of over 9500ft., say something like Roopkund Trek. This trek surely is not recommended for beginners. Going in groups with a reliable trek operator is best for a smooth and safe trek to flow all along.
It’s a round hike from Yuksom to Yuksom. On average, this terrain generally takes anywhere between 9-11 days, depending upon the individual capacity. Add to it the travel time from the city to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway Station. The nearest airport is Baghdogra if using transportation by air. From NJP or Baghdogra, Yuksom is almost 7-8 hours run by road. Usually, it comes to approximately 12 days of total travel.
Season & Temperature
September-December is usually the preferred trek month. This terrain is mostly snowy, but that’s what one is taking so much effort to see. Trekkers might get quite a few rain showers too. The day temperatures are around 13-18 °C and nights chill at 3-5°C.
Goecha La trek is an amazing but strenuous trek in terms of the long distances to be covered and the stiff climb involved in the same. Also, this trek involves much over a week, and accordingly packing the stuff is ideal as it adds to the weight of the backpack. Effectively, one tread for around 15-20 km per day with approximately 15 Kg a backpack. That requires a lot of perseverance and endurance. Therefore, prepare 2 months in advance to this trek. A fully fit and experienced trekker aged over 12 years can take this trek. Endurance & stamina building is extremely critical for this particular hike. One should be prepared to cover 10 km in 1 hour with a 15 kg backpack, on an incline.
Start with jogging daily to maintain fitness. The fitness needs to be at a level that right at the outset of the preparation, trekkers are already able to do 5km in 35 minutes. Then gradually the timing should come down to 25 minutes. Cycling, swimming, and taking stairs with a 12-15kg backpack and without many breaks can help for the same. With lesser oxygen at heights, our heart needs to pump almost double. Therefore, before heading for any high-altitude trek, it is suggested to build your legs & back strength, flexibility, and balance over a minimum of 6-8 weeks.
Leg strength is a particularly important need throughout this Goecha LaTrek. Begin with 3 sets of 8 squats each for the first week, graduating to 3 sets of 15 squats each in the next 3 weeks. Trekkers need to be flexible too to carry all the weight uphill. Adaptable muscles help them before as well as ‘after’ the trek, reducing post-trek muscle soreness. Therefore, take up stretching exercises for shoulders, hips, lower back, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
Things to Pack for Goecha La Trek
40-60 liters of a sturdy and supportive backpack with rain cover, torch, trekking pole, and flexible, durable, & comfortable trekking shoes, preferably waterproof, are a must. 3 warm layers of wool & fleece, 3 full sleeves collared T-shirts, 3 trek pants, 2 dry-fit full sleeves T-Shirts, thermals, and a waterproof jacket should suffice. Sun caps, synthetic hand gloves, woolen scarves, sunglasses, 2 pairs of sports & 2 pairs of woolen socks, and toiletries are other essentials. A couple of cutlery, water bottles, plastic covers, a whistle, and a comprehensive First Aid Kit are a must. Also, carry only the best hiking micro spikes for the trek.
The biggest reason to do the Goechala trek is the grand views of the big mountains that we see. One doesn’t just see one summit — the Kanchenjunga — but 14 other big summits too.
Checkout: More Awesome Content