What a day. We were nine and a half hours on the trail for a trek that would normally have taken six hours. Why so long? Snow. Lots of it.
Snow covered many sections of the often steep trail. We left Pedi at 7:15 under an indigo sky. The temperature was slightly below freezing. The previous afternoon the temperature had been above freezing. As a result the snowy sections were icy. Put a sheet of ice on a 70 degree angle and add a precipice below and there is a perfect storm for a scary situation. Some of the icy sections were gradual ups or downs across 60 degree slopes. Frozen foot prints from the day before often provided a reasonably secure place to step. Some of the trail descended steeply and the foot prints were more like slide marks. This happened on a slope that was about 65 degrees. It was terrifying because the slope just kept on going and a fall would have been fatal. To add to my angst – I have vertigo. I’m really not sure how I did it but somehow by listening to Tendi’s calm reassurance I did. Michel was somewhat alarmed but he’s a calm guy and just stepped carefully while trying not to think of the consequences of a slip. My overactive imagination could help but consider the consequences of that slip. We crept along up and down. I was alway relieved when there were some bamboo groves below us.
Dawa took some excellent video of some of the trickier sections. I will try to acquire copies and post. Warning – they aren’t pretty.
Michel is caught on one, answering the question, “how are you?” With a forced grimace and replying “I’m fine. can’t you see the smile on my face?”
The trail conditions today were the toughest I’ve ever experienced in Nepal. I’d have been happier on several occasions if we’d had crampons and rope. At one point Dawa joked that this was like being on Everest with no rope. No snowsuits or oxygen or ladders either – but regardless – it was an adventure that tested our mettle.
The fog rolled in at about 10:30 which chilled the day and took away our views. We trekked for a while,in very light drizzle but just after we arrived at Magingoth – 3250 metres, rain started in earnest.
We’ve now had dinner the beer (Arna) was excellent the momos were by far the worst ever. I think they may have been raw. Any way we were too damned hungry and tired to make a fuss and we ate them. God knows what havoc they will play on our digestive systems.
We’ve decided our group name is “Without Rope.” Awesome.
Time for bed, it’s now 7pm. Pathetic.
Good night from beside the wood stove in Lama guesthouse in Magingoth.
Guess we need to stagger down the hall to bed….now where’s my headlamp so I can find the way….