The final push on the Everest Three Passes trek departs comfortable Goyko in hopes of clearing the final of the Three High Passes; The Renjo La Pass.
In all honesty, this pass is the easiest of the lot, assuming that you are following this guide in an anti-clockwise direction. However, this is still a 5345M alpine pass in the highest mountain range in the world, and completing it is still an incredibly fulfilling experience.
So what’s the reward? A glorious decline back to Lukla, quickly losing all of the hard-earned altitude you’ve accumulated over the past two weeks!
If you’re hiking this clockwise, then the Renjo La Pass will be your first pass, requiring 1000M + of elevation gain in a single day. While still possible, this may result in an increased risk of AMS.
This guide should not replace a proper map and should be a complement to individual research and preparation efforts.
Don’t miss: Guide to Picking Trekking Travel Insurance (no altitude caps)
DAY 16: THE RENJO LA PASS
TREKKING TIME: 6 HOURS TO LUMDE
ALTITUDE: 550M ASCENT 650M DESCENT
RENJO LA ELEVATION: 5345M
SLEEPING ALTITUDE: 4350M
After climbing Gokyo Ri, and spending an optional day or two recovering in beautiful Gokyo, it’s finally time to tackle the final pass of the Three High Passes trek; the Renjo La.
Three Passes: Independent Trekking Ebook
Since internet connectivity is limited in the Khumbu, I’ve written a comprehensive trekking guide to the Three Passes which you can download as an eBook for use on your mobile, tablet, or e-reader.
Gokyo to the Renjo La Pass
Again, remember to depart early for the best chance of clear conditions on the pass. You can expect around three hours of trekking before gaining the pass.
Following the same trail to Gokyo Ri from Gokyo, walk alongside Gokyo Lake, following the flank of Gokyo Ri before climbing steeply to the base of a ridge wall.
The final section is a winding push to the Renjo La pass, which is steep and often piled with snow. The path is fairly clear, especially when carved out of the snow by sherpas and other trekkers.
Views from the Renjo La
After gaining the pass, you are treated with an awe-inspiring landscape that stretches from Gokyo to the Ngozumpa Glacier to the giant peaks of Nuptse, Lhotse, Cholatse, Makalu and of course, Everest. The Cho La is also visible from the Renjo La pass, serving as a humbling reminder of the vast, beautiful, yet unforgiving terrain traversed on the journey so far.
The Descent to Lumde (Lungden)
After wiping away the tears of victory, it’s time to throw the rucksack back on and muster the energy required to descend back to Lukla to complete the Three High Passes Trek.
Of course, the vast distance that makes up this last section is usually covered over 2-4 days. The good news is that most of the trekking from this point on is a gentle decline. You will undoubtedly feel revitalized by the change in slope, combined with the benefits of increasingly denser oxygen as you descend.
But first, you will need to descend down the sheer, icy route of the Renjo La. This section can get very slippery, so if you have microspikes or crampons, now would be a great time to use them.
This path is easy to find, however again, is very slippery. Great care should be taken to avoid falling.
Soon after, you will reach the Angladumba Tso, which is a small alpine lake below the pass. From here, you’ll feel like a superhero as you cruise down the wide, rolling path to another lake; Relama Tsho, before turning into the Renjo Khola valley.
The final section before reaching Lumde is a steep descent down into the valley, switching back and forth beside large rocky outcrops.
There are several lodges in Lumde to choose from, so take a pick. Alternatively, some trekkers choose to carry on further, even to Thame if you have the energy. Feeling fresh and rejuvenized (perhaps due to the much-missed oxygen), we continued to the next village; Murulung. We stayed at the Riverside Lodge, whose very welcoming owner is the son of a sherpa man who had summitted Everest on several different occasions.
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Day 17: Descending to Thame (or Namche)
TREKKING TIME: 3 HOURS TO THAME, 7 HOURS TO NAMCHE
ALTITUDE: 530M DESCENT TO THAME, 900M TO NAMCHE
SLEEPING ALTITUDE: 3800M (THAME), 3440M (NAMCHE)
The final few days of the Everest Three High Passes trek following the Renjo La Pass traverse is a long, looping descent to Lukla. Since this entire section is essentially down-hill, you can choose your trekking itinerary freely without much risk of AMS, depending on your energy.
Continuing down the Bhote Koshi Valley and into the Langmuche Khola valley, the track connects several small villages before reaching Thame. Highlights include Thambuteng and Thame Teng.
It is possible to stay in most of these small villages. However, most trekkers either choose to spend a night at Thame, or continue on for a few more hours to Namche Bazaar like we did.
Looking to Step it Up?
Check out my guide to climbing Mera Peak (6476m), Nepal’s highest trekking peak (non-technical). This is a great entry-level summit in the Khumbu requiring no prior mountaineering experience.
Day 18 – Returning to Lukla
Of course, this final section can be broken up into several days. However, feeling fresh, we decided to skip Thame, stay in Namche Bazaar, and then continue all the way to Lukla on the final day (18).
The descent from Thame to Namche is very peaceful, and I’m sure that you will notice how sensitive your senses are in a response to the prolonged deprivation of the sights and smells of plants and trees. The smell of forest flowers and pine needles beneath your boots is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and it’s as if more life returns to the track with every kilometer you descend.
You will have no trouble finding the route back to Namche Bazaar, as villagers make the commute on a daily basis to visit the market and to conduct other necessary business in the unofficial capital of the Khumbu.
If you stayed at Thame the day prior, then spending a final night in Namche is a great option. Alternatively, you can continue on the same route back down to Phakding or even Lukla that you came up on day 2.
Day 19 (or 20) – Fly to Kathmandu
Arriving back in Lukla is an overwhelming experience. After having been welcomed into the sherpa culture and humble mindset and having treated your eyes to the most powerful mountain peaks in the world for nearly 20 days, it’s easy to feel a little bit emotional.
As you sit in beautiful Lukla, perhaps sipping on a hot coffee as you wait for your return flight, take the moment to really appreciate where you are and where you have been. The Three Passes trek was truly one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences of my life so far, and one that I’m sure after having completed, you’ll share with me a deep sense of pride and admiration.
The truth is, as I finish this guide a few months after leaving, I feel an overwhelming urge to return to those mountains and to be apart of that simple, humbling life once more. So, as you take that final sip, no doubt longing for the comforts to come, dare to push those thoughts to the back of your mind one final time, and truly live those final moments.
More Photos from the Renjo La
I hope this guide will be a useful resource for your trekking adventures over the Renjo La on the Three Passes Trek. Here are some more photos from the last few days to inspire your journey.
Keep Reading the Everest Three High Passes Trekking Guide
That’s it for the Three High Passes days 16-20 guide including the Renjo La pass!
This is the final Three Passes trekking guide on my blog. For more resources, don’t miss this Three Passes itinerary for a run-down on everything you’ll need to know before heading out.
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 1 – 3
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 4 – 6
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 7 – 9
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 10 – 12
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 13 – 15
- Everest Three High Passes Trek Day 16 – 20