Renjo La is the westernmost pass of Nepal's Three Passes Trek in Sagarmatha National Park and is generally considered to be the easiest of the three passes (if you don't know what the Three Passes trek is, you can get a full account of it here).
The pass connects the Gokyo Lakes area to the rarely-visited western valley whose name I do not know (but what is undoubtedly home to some more awesome passes leading even further west).
Renjo La Stats
- Height: 17,560 ft / 5,360 m
- Distance: 7.45 mi / 12 km
- Nearest village to east: Gokyo
- Nearest village to west: Lumde
- The western side of the pass is much steeper than the eastern side.
- There is no glacier crossing when going over Renjo La between Gokyo and Lumde.
- The valley on the western side of Renjo La may not have much in the way of people/accommodation/food between Lumde and Thame (depending on the time of year).
- It is possible (if you're fit and ambitious) to hike over Renjo La from Gokyo to Namche Bazaar in a single day.
How Difficult Is Renjo La?
Renjo La is generally considered to be the easiest of the three passes.
This does not mean that the pass isn't challenging, but rather, when compared to the length of the Kongma La crossing or the glacier crossing on Cho La, Renjo La doesn't pose any special challenge to hikers (only that it's 17,560 ft / 5,360 m high).
If you're hiking the Three Passes Trek in the traditional counter-clockwise direction (I would suggest hiking it this way) and you have made it over both Kongma La and Cho La, then you should not have any issues taking on Renjo La. That said, be sure to consider the weather/conditions when attempting Renjo La (or any high-altitude pass) and to give yourself plenty of time to make it over early in the day (before the weather usually turns).
This could be used as a secondary argument as to why the Three Passes Trek is best done in a counter-clockwise direction (i.e. you're approaching all the passes from the east and then descending the western sides), but the primairy argument is that proper acclimitization from the west (in a clockwise direction) would be much more difficult. From Namche Bazaar,
The Route Over Renjo La
If you're staying in tea houses (as most people do), then the shortest route over Renjo La connects the villages of Gokyo and Thame.
If you get an early start and you're ready for a big day, then you could make it all the way down to Namche Bazar via Renjo La from Gokyo (don't let people tell you this isn't possible as I know people who have done it).
Final Thoughts On Renjo La
Renjo La is a challenging but manageable pass at the end (or beginning) or Nepal's Three Passes Trek.
It's my least favorite of the passes on the Three Passes Trek, but that doesn't mean that I don't think it's spectacular (just that I enjoyed Kongma La and Cho La more). The views from the top are well worth your effort and it's a nice escape from the more crowded valleys to the east.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve the information in this post, please leave a comment below.