Sunday, 25 December 2011

The power of freedom, the power of spaces

Day 9: Yak Kharka - Ledar - Thorung Phedi (6 km)
I was able to move my ass to Thorung Phedi (4420m) today. Even though it was easy walk it was still challenging for me. I expect another week or so to be similar. You are never as powerful as usually when you take antibiotics. I had to walk slowly, but even though it took me 3h. Just like the predictions in the guidebook, so maybe it will not be complete disaster. The only problem was that I was constantly losing my breath and I’m really concerned about tomorrow in that respect. We have to climb 1000m up and next descend 1600. At least weather is still good and sunny.
In Phedi we were staying in Thorung Base Camp Lodge. Cool atmosphere, good music in the speakers (Bob Marley, Tom Waits, Amy, Fat Freddy’s Drop), life music (one elderly guy playing guitar from time to time) and first of all brilliant company. Kristen and Ryan from Canada have joined our self organising crew. We plan to hike together tomorrow.
Speaking about ‘tomorrow’. It was supposed to be the most tiring day during the whole trip (if it was it’s another story). I could barely sleep all night long as I was suffocating all the time. I’m not sure if that was stress (my usual reaction to stress is losing breath) or lack of oxygen in the air, but as we got up at 4.45 a.m. had breakfast, packed out stuff and set off at everything’s seemed fine with my breath and with my strength even (remember the antibiotics that I’m still taking).

Didn't I mention we were in the future?

The usual stuff. Go down to the river, cross the bride and climb again

Just before Thorung Phedi we were crossing huge landslide area

Thorung Phedi

I had only one person in mind when I was taking this shot. It's for you ;-) 

Doris and Brian on the dance floor in the Thorung Base Camp
Day 10: Thorung Phedi - Thorung La - Muktinath (16 km)
The ascent is divided into 3 parts. 1st length to High Camp (4850m) which is told to be the most difficult one as it’s the steepest was rather pleasant for me. I was slowly, but constantly walking up. 2nd bit to the Tea Shop (5030m) was more challenging, but the last part to the pass was just insane. I could barely walk. Very, really very often I had to make breaks. I was really struggling.
At the Tea Shop I had to take Diuramid (Polish equivalent to Diamox) as I must have started to suffer altitude sickness. My head was exploding, I was getting dizzy now and then, I was not hungry at all even though I’ve eaten only apple porridge with honey for breakfast (lack of appetite happens very barely to me, usually when it’s very bad). I’m not sure though if it really helped, but at least I was not dizzy any more.
From the Tea Shop I was almost crawling up. Very slow. But in the end I’ve made to too to the top. I reached Thorung La, the highest point I’ve ever been – 5416m at 10.30 a.m.  We took some pictures there, waited for everyone to arrive (in fact I was among those to be waited for ;-)).
It was cool that there were not big groups at the top. Only we and some individual trekkers. Organised groups usually leave Thorung Phedi at about 4a.m. to have longer time frame and be sure to reach the pass before 10a.m. when the wind starts and it’s very unpleasant up there. But on the other hand that early morning is very cold and walking in darkness is not too pleasant. We were rather lucky with the weather. Even though we got there rather late it was still sunny and calm.
We’ve started to descent about 11 I guess. I always find it difficult to descent but it was not that bad. In fact in the end after we got to Muktinath (3800m) I was less tired than on the day when we were going from Upper Pisang to Manang.  
In Muktinath, to follow the reggae trend, we were staying in Bob Marley Hotel which is described in Lonely Planet as ‘oasis of hedonism’. Additionally they own the hottest shower in the whole Himalaya Mountains range. After of 4 days of having little access to running water it was double awesome experience.
The other awesome thing they had it was the best yak bolognaise gnocchi I’ve ever had. In fact it was the first yak bolognaise gnocchi I had, but even though gnocchi itself was delicious (or was I that hungry?).
On the way up just after High Camp

Is it chamois, or what kind of animal is it?

Between High Camp and Tea Shop, which you can see in the far background

Doris, I and Jacek at the Tea Shop at 5010m

Thorung La - 5416m. I don't look shattered but I was when I got there.

This shot also has very important element

Happy trio at the Thorung La

Polish-American-Canadian team at the top

Be careful with the sun

Chandra and I. He was a guide whom we met for the first time in Chame and we had cool discussion with him. He was a guide of two Israeli girls who in my opinion should not at all reach the pass. Already in Manamg they were all sick and you could see how exhausted they were. To get to the pass they've started at 4 a.m. and reached it with us. Girls were walking - like someone said - like zombies.

Going down

Just another suspension bridge

Praying flags at the entrance to Muktinath. Apparently in Muktinath is one of the most famous temples which is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Nepal for both Buddhists and Hindus.

Fire place in the Bob Marley Guest House

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