5/28/2008 to 6/4/2008 | Nepal

Trekking in the Everest Region V: The Renjo La, Bhote Valley, and back to Jiri

The previous day’s phenomenal weather at Knobby View was not a fluke but rather the beginning of a trend.  The sky was yet again spectacularly clear the morning we hiked westward over the Renjo La (5417m/17,772 ft pass) from Gokyo to the neighboring Bhote Valley.  From the prayer flag strewn top of the Renjo La were incredible views of Everest to the east, with Gokyo and its blue lake lying below.  To the west, the rugged peaks of lining the Bhote Valley completed the panorama.  After spending nearly an hour enjoying the view from the top, we hiked down through the Bhote Valley to Thame, the village at the mouth of the valley known for its monastery.

To the west of Thame another valley curves up to the Tashi Labtsa, a 5755m/18,881 ft pass which leads to the Rolwaling Valley and an alternate path back to Jiri, a route which intrigued us both.  However, being ill-equipped for a serious mountaineering pass such as the Tashi Labtsa, we heeded the words of my guide book to the region which stated fairly unambiguously, “it would be insane to try to cross the Tashi Labtsa by yourself.”  With yet another great day of weather, rather than begin the walk back to Jiri, we decided to spend another day in Thame and take a day hike up past the yak herding settlement of Tengpo which lies at the foot of the Tashi Labtsa, thus getting a taste of the scenery without actually crossing the pass.

After a second night in Thame we started back to Jiri, with the requisite midmorning stop in Namche for apple pie and a re-supply of Snickers bars for trail back.  My worries about monsoon rains and brutal heat along the trail back to Jiri were unfounded, and we actually experienced less rain than when I hiked in a month ago.  The afternoon clouds kept the temperatures down, while the previous month’s rains had made the valleys green with fresh vegetation, making the retracing of the path back to Jiri a rather pleasant hike, despite the endless up and downs of the trail.  I was nevertheless elated when we reached the top of the final pass before Jiri, having finished the last of many climbs, it was finally, and truly, “all down hill” from there.  We reached Jiri 5 days after leaving Thame, concluding my 30 day trek in the Khumbu, as well as my 24 day streak without a shower.

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