Destinations // Everest Base Camp Trek Day 6: Lumdeng to Gokyo via Renjo-La Pass

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK DIARY DAY 6

LUMDENG TO GOKYO

KEY STATS

Starting Point: Lumdeng (4,600m/14,450ft)

Finishing Point: Gokyo (4,790m/15,700ft)

Distance: 15km/9mi

Trekking Time: 6 Hours

Accommodation: Yeti Mountain Home

The sound of an alarm at 4:30am is probably the last thing anyone ever wants to hear. Imagine you are bundled up in a super warm sleeping bag, in a building that hardly passes as a shack, temperatures are sub-zero and you are exhausted from five days of trekking through the Himalayas. Layer in the fact that the day ahead is said to be one of the longest and toughest of your trip and that alarm is looking even worse now, right? Welcomes to day 6 of our trek to Everest Base Camp as we head from Lumdeng to Gokyo via one heck of a mountain pass – Renjo La Pass (5100m).

Days like the one ahead require a boost and some proper energy. After fumbling about packing up and getting ready, we met in the communal room of the tea house for a hot cup of coffee and a heaping bowl of porridge. And just like that, we were off to Gokyo.

No lies, the initial part of the trail from Lumdeng to Gokyo was three hours of a steep ascent. It was as if the never-ending trail was putting purposely trying to put us in our paces. Luckily there were a few plateaus that allowed us to catch our breath. It was at these that we were rewarded with fantastic views of the parts of the valley we were travelling from and those that we were heading towards.

Looking up the river valley there were clear paths carved out of the mountain. These were the continuation of those we had seen in prior days that led to Tibet. We began to move away from the river valley and heard further inward towards the jagged mountains. I’ll never forget the moment that it donned on me that we meant to trekking up and over that daunting wall.

It took us three solid hours to get from our tea house to the base of the mountains. We passed through rolling hills and walked on the banks of the Renjo Lakes. As finally arrived and we stood at the base of the rocky wall, I tried hard to make out the path that would lead us to the top.  There were parts of the route that zig zagged up scree pathways as well as winding stone staircases that never seemed to go anywhere. Our Sherpa flew up the mountain and left us in the dust. We on the other hands needed to pace ourselves.

The steep ascent was made that much more difficult due to the increase in altitude. It’s true what they say, every step forward feels like hard work. Combine it with the fact that you are schlepping yourself up steep staircases and trying not to slip on the scree moving under your feet – and you, my friend, have yourself a challenge. The route was unforgiving. I prefer to tackle these parts of treks with slow, steady and consistent steps. It got to the point where every twenty steps forward saw us stopping to catch our breath. It was these moments that allowed us to regain focus to push for the next batch of steps towards the high pass.

The Renjo La Pass (5,345m/17,536ft) has a white flag planted there to allow trekkers from both sides to ensure they are heading in the right direction. Over the course of our hour ascent, that white flag was getting closer and closer. I knew what waiting for us once we arrived at the top of Renjo La PassI used this as motivation to push through the last few flights of stairs and made my way to the top of the Renjo La Pass.

 And man – what a sight to behold. There she was. Mt. Everest – the majestic and powerful. 

I struggle to put into words exactly what I felt in that moment. Combine exhaustion from the four-hour ascent (the last of which whooped my butt), the fact that I’ve never seen a more beautiful snap shot of nature in my life, along with my obsession for all things Everest and I was overcome with emotion. It’s one of those moments where your brain has no clue what’s going on and doesn’t know how to process what it is you are experiencing. While it has only happened a couple times in my life, my brain responds by pressing the cry button. Tears of elation streamed down my face.

You would have thought I actually summited Everest based on my response. In that moment, that may just have been what I felt. It was a moment that will forever be etched in my mind and heart (and Rob captured it on video – see below).

Mt. Everest and the surrounding Everest Range is THE panorama of all panoramas. She sits at the center at staggering 8,850m. Looking to the left you see the likes of Cho Oyo (8,201m), Hungchi (7,036m), Pumo Ri (7,165m) and Gokyo Ri (5,375m). To the right lies Nuptse (7,879m), Lhotse (8,516m), Chomolonzo (7,790m), Makalu (8,485m), Cholatse (6,440m) and Taboche (6,501m). At the base of panorama, sits the turquoise glacial lake of Dudh Pokhari and our resting spot for the evening – the village of Gokyo.

We were very blessed to have been able to see the panorama as clear as day with limited clouds blocking the views. The sun was out, the pass wasn’t full of people and we were happy campers. Seeing heavier clouds rolling in from Pharilapche Peak (6,073m) we knew that it was time to make our way to the village of Gokyo before the weather turned. You definitely don’t want to be on these stretches of the trail with inclement weather.

Suffice it to say that the walk down was easier than the trek up. There were a lot of people passing us making their way to the top of the pass. I felt bad for them considering from the top we could also see the clouds that were rolling in from the distance. This meant that after all of the work to tackle the high pass, these trekkers wouldn’t get the Everest panorama view by the time they got there. That 4:30am alarm didn’t end up being so bad after all. We stopped a couple times to admire the changing view and even propped ourselves up on the boulders to have a bite for lunch.

As we neared Gokyo, we passed the paths leading to the famous Everest viewing point of Gokyo Ri (5,375m). Most people who make their way to the top do so before sunrise – as it’s the best time to get a clear view of Everest before the afternoon clouds roll in. There are also many trekkers who make their way up the Gokyo Valley to these trails as an alternative trek in the region. It’s an opportunity to get panoramic views of verest without going through the High Passes.

After an additional three-hour descent, we made it from Lumdeng to Gokyo and checked into Himalayan Eco Lodge (4,790m/15,700ft). As we sat in the communal area of the tea house to relax and warm up, the clouds rolled in bringing with them significantly cooler air and snow flurries. In the blink of an eye the snow flurries turned into full on snow storm and dropped a fresh load of snow on Gokyo. We all made jokes about being snowed in, but in the back of my mind I was nervous. Heavy snow on these trails would make the upcoming days more difficult. We were set to cross glaciers, traverse on hard, blue ice and haul ourselves over another high pass. All of these are very difficult and dangerous when the weather gods do not behave.

WATCH THE ADVENTURE UNFOLD

LOOKING FOR NITTY GRITTY DETAILS?

Check out the day as recorded by Stava. See the trails taken, overall elevation gains,  trekking times and how fast (or slow) we made it from Point A to Point B.

ENJOY NAMCHE LUMDENG TO GOKYO? CHECK OUT MORE OF THE EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK AT DESTINATIONS // EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK.

38 comments

  • Wow! What an amazing adventure that you’ll never forget. Beautiful pictures too. Such an achievement, you should be proud!

  • Hey Dominic! Excellent writing & awesome pictures – I really like that you posted your trek to ME basecamp experience as a diary, I may have started reading this post here, but I guess I’ll head to the beginning now 🙂

    • Thanks Mario. It was deffo an adventure I would do again. There are 15 total days to the trek – happy reading. 🙂

  • What a brilliant post, love all those pictures and I can see that you were lucky to have a bright sunny and clear day. I would love to do the trek too but need a lot of practice for it, right ?

    • Bright, sunny and clear it was. I would say some of the high passes would be too difficult is the weather went haywire. Practice wise – no. We saw all different types of fitness levels on the trails. I think the key is to set yourself up for success by giving yourself time to acclimatise. The lower levels of oxygen in the air make it more difficult – it isn’t the trail itself. It’s not easy, but deffo something worth doing if you enjoy the outdoors. 🙂

    • Hahah Getting snowed in was deffo a worry of ours. You’ll see in an upcoming post what Gokyo looked like after the weather got crazy. Think winter wonderland! Luckily we were able to get out and continue on through on day 7.

  • This is incredible, literally out of the world. I honestly can’t even imagine doing this but would love to seeing your experience! The views are stunning!

  • Awesome man! These pictures make me wish I was there! Time to start saving for the trip 🙂

    • Appreciate it. The actual permits and trip aren’t that much – so very easy to do. Just need to get there of course.

        • I’d say it comes down to how you want to do the trip. Local company vs. global. Private vs. group. The choices go on. There are tea houses that cost $3 a night and some that cost $300. 🙂 We threw some money at it to have the nice amenities, a private tour and the freedom to move about how we wanted.

    • Awesome that you did the trek as well. I think it’s such a special experience and one that you’ll never forget.

  • Woooooow, this is sooo amazing!! What an item to cross of the bucket list:) Your photos are breathtaking, and I can imagine the real thing would be 1000 times more overwhelming:) Thanks for sharing this, felt like I got a little glimpse of the adventure!

    • Hahah you are right about that. The pictures do only capture a fraction of what it is like being there. Hopefully its the fraction that gets others excited about tackling this adventure for themselves. Thanks for the kind words.

  • It’s a dream of mine to do this. You are seriously incredible! The panoramic views are truly breathtaking and to be able to capture it before the clouds rolled in. Your pics are beautiful. Love the way you write – feels as if I’m there with you.

    • Thanks for following along – glad you felt like you were there. And yes, I felt really bad for those who made it up the wall only to find Everest was covered in clouds. It’s moments like that, that make you appreciate the challenge you are putting your body through. 🙂

  • I have read all your post on Everest basecamp, it would be definitely a delightful experience, everytime I read I feel wow, I am missing out something which I need to do. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us.

    • Thanks for following the adventure along. Trekking in the Everest region is really quite an experience. If you like the posts, you may like being there in person. 🙂

  • Such an amazing location, would love to go there myself one day, the scenery and the overall nature is breathtaking! Thanks for sharing:)

    • I’m still catching my breath and have been back for ages. 🙂 It is definitely a place that you should get to one day – especially if you are finding the worlds beauty. Thanks for following along.

  • your pictures are enough to make me crazy for this trek. I think anybody who loves mountains and treks will love this for sure. Your writing skills made this post more interesting well written.

    • Thanks for the kind words and following the trek along. The pictures only capture a fraction of what it was like in person – you really need to see it for yourself. 🙂

  • Wow! Love reading your experience here and trekking everest base camp is one I want to do in the near future. Love the photos as well. Keep them coming 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words Danik. Glad you are enjoying the EBC Trek Series.

    • Nepal is actually quite reasonable in terms of costs of the trip. I think your biggest expense might be international flights to get there. Deffo take the opportunity to explore this interesting country if you get the chance. Thanks for the kind words.

  • You had stunning weather on this part of the trek. Everest is a natural wonder of the world and you got a perfect view of it. Your pics are super good quality too!

  • WOOOOOOOW, this is amazinnnng!!! This is just one of my ultimate dreams to climb the Everest base camp, I am so jealous right now. haha! Thank you so much for sharing your story. ♥

    • 🙂 Thanks for the kinds words and for following along. It was one of my dreams as well, and super happy I was able to make it happen. Get there – you won’t regret it.

  • This series is really cool, such an interesting read each time. I’d love to be able to do this! The scenery is fantastic too!

    • Thanks for following the series along. It was a great experience – and glad that it makes you want to experience it first hand. 🙂 You wont regret it, trust me.

  • Amazing photography! Trekking Everest was something that I was always intrigued about but I never considered the amount of endurance one should have. Did you do a training regime before going?

  • This is indeed the ultimate experience. The struggle, the determination, the grit, all culminate in a great experience. The moment you set eyes on the magnificence of Mt. Everest, must have been indeed a defining moment. Was riveted to your post till the end,

  • Simply inspiring. I’d love love love to do this one day, its been on my list forever (although, I’ve gotta change my fitness levels first!). Thanks for the excellent photography, awesome tips and great storytelling. You’ve put a smile on my face today!

//Add Your Comment Below