Gokyo – Lungden – a pass!

16. April 2024



In the morning it went as planned: at 5.30am Tenji shouldered both backpacks and I shouldered my camera. A word about both nights above 4,000 metres: Does anyone remember the blog about the Annapurna circuit? I complained about sleeplessness on the two nights above 4,000 metres, feeling unwell, with lots of worries and the certainty of descending – which disappeared into thin air after my morning coffee. This time I had thought about something: if coffee is so successful in the morning, maybe it’s the same at night? I had a “luxury bag” that I could put in Tenji’s large backpack. It contained my St. Pauli hoodie (too heavy and big for trekking compared to fleece), which was the best decision as a night top – cosy and with a hood – and a small thermos flask, which I had filled with hot water in the evening. Instant coffee and biscuits came into play when I started to get a headache and feel unwell. And it worked! The headaches went away and the mental worries didn’t even materialise. Of course I was mostly sleepless, but I was also sleepless without coffee at high altitudes.


The lake lay there quietly, we walked along the right-hand side towards the pass. People had already set off in front of us, and at some point the next ones came behind us. My throat and bronchial tubes were quite sore and my legs were pretty weak. Sometimes I toyed with the idea of turning round, but somehow I thought that was stupid and so I continued step by step.














Back there, the sun was just crawling over Mt Everest and we were no longer hiking in the shade.






Here you can now see the path quite clearly: first the zigzag upwards (which was partly steeper than it looks here), then to the left to the snowfield and further upwards. And somewhere much higher up was the pass.






This person with the blue backpack overtook us, but Tenji kept having to call him back on his choice of route because he kept wanting to go the wrong way. He later found other people who he could follow well.


Here you can now see Mt. Everest, the highest mountain massif on the left under the sun, which is Mt. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse.










And after the snowfield, I was fighting for every step and had the feeling that the pass was infinitely high and unreachable. Fortunately, my feeling wasn’t right and at some point I was actually sitting under the prayer flags and shed a few tears of exhaustion again. It was definitely one of the passes where I struggled the most. The Renjo-la is 5,360 metres high, but it was already a bit late for the great view as it was getting cloudy. Tenji didn’t seem very exhausted, he knew how to deal with my emotions better by now and was simply happy that we were now at the top.




Gokyo-view (incl. Everest and Lhotse)


There was also a lake on the other side. There were many steps leading down to it. I was able to walk a little faster there. And after lunch halfway down, I carried my backpack myself again.







After lunch, we met some people who wanted to go up. They looked terribly exhausted and their guides didn’t look too happy either. It was already a bit late and the route was still long. I would actually not have liked to do the 3 passes tour from their pass side – and was now glad to have done it the other way round. The ascent is much harder. Not only do you have to walk more metres in altitude (400 m), but you first have a steeper ascent, then a very long stretch of gentler ascent and then, if you’re so altitude-deprived anyway, you have to climb all the steps really hard.




So I went down steeply and then it became flatter and looked completely different, especially when it was cloudy.










Lungden, a small village at 4,400 metres, was our destination. The lodge there was very popular and a little more crowded. Once again, I got talking to an Indian at the stove. Why were there so many here? Yes, Indian life was changing a lot. They had realised that there was a little more to life besides work and family. Another Indian also remarked that there was now something like “me-time” as a value in India. Although I am only talking about male Indians here, there were also many women – but they tended to be travelling in larger groups directly to Everest Base Camp.

Almost all of them wanted to set off for the pass at 4.30 am or so. When I arrived for breakfast at 7:00, the Indian was still there: digestive problems. Better to wait a day.


I kept coughing and sniffling to myself (actually not the best thing to do by the stove, but it was so cold further away….) and because the lodges are very wafer-thin, I felt even more sorry for everyone that night when I just couldn’t stop coughing.