The pass only around a hundred people attempt to traverse

Posted on 07 May 2019

Gokyo was crowded like a Swiss chalet in season, complete with snow outside, but we missed our familiar tents. Unfortunately, the clouds at Gokyo didn't lift, so we didn't climb Gokyo Ri for the view of Everest, but the next day up Renjo La will offer another chance for us to see the world’s highest mountain in its glory.

April 18 saw us climb Renjo La in clear weather, where we were rewarded with a majestic view of Everest. After camping on the other side of this pass, we trekked further down to Thame, a lovely spread-out village, and had a rest day there.

The following day, we began our climb up towards Tashi Labtsa and stopped at a very rocky, cold camp. Brian was tiring of painfully cold toes and fingers and Jasmine was also getting tired of her high altitude cough, but Bill seemed to take everything in stride.

Crossing over Tashi Labsta

On April 22 we trekked onward through moraine to a snow-covered high camp at 5600 metres, with the pass clearly visible above and crossed Tashi Labtsa the following day. We approached it from the extreme right up a steep snow slope, then traversed left to the top with a spectacular view of a pristine glacier on the other side. We felt privileged, as only about one hundred people traverse the pass because of the difficulty.

Descending down gradually through deep soft snow, we arrived at the top of a cliff, leading to a moraine-covered lower glacier below. After many abseils to get down, we faced a short but nightmarish walk through the unstable moraine to a very rocky camp where we were awakened a few times by the sound of avalanches and rockfall during the night - our campsite safely situated away from it.

On April 24 we continued our endless walking through the moraine until, at last, we were off it, but we still faced a long afternoon walk. Down yet another steep soft snow slope and past the end of a lake to a campsite on grass - at last! We were lucky to see a moderate avalanche only a few hundred metres away, with hundreds of tons of snow pouring down a gully from an unseen upper snow field to a fan of snow below. What a phenomenon - that definitely made Brian's day.

We had a short walk to Beding the next day, which is the largest village in the Rolwaling Valley. Here the path became very grand, as we travelled on what felt like endless rock and concrete steps. We continued down the valley on the excellent path, past many lovely tea houses.

The following day, on April 27, was a stark contrast to the snowy landscape we experienced just a few weeks ago. We faced a brutal steep descent in blazing heat to a road at Chhetchhet at 1300 metres, where we camped amid huge steel pipes for a major hydroelectric scheme. Over the past 4 days we had descended over 4000 metres, but it was shorlived as we began to climb again, in the heat, up a dusty road to a camp past Orangdanda. The next day brought more heat and a dustier road, but the threat of a thunderstorm and rain cooled the air, making it a tolerable walk to our pleasant camp which was by a river in light rain … but which soon became a raging thunderstorm.

So that brings us up to date. In just a few days we will be in Kathmandu for our break.

We are looking forward to showers!

Tsering, Jasmine, Bill and Brian.

world expeditions