Manang (3,519 meters/11,545 feet) to Yak Kharka (4000 meters) to Thorong Phedi (4,540 meters/14,895 feet):
After a hot milk tea, left Hotel Tilicho at 7:10 wearing my new used crampons. Though a bit flimsy, they seemed adequate enough and necessary as the walk out of Manang was icy.
The view was spectacular back into valley from the top of hill and prayer wheels. Stopped for a tea with Brit and Nathan from Australia.
Leaving then amidst the dramatic scenery of the snow covered Himalayans. This was my third go over Thorong La but I have never seen so much snow. Gorgeous but the morning sun soon gave way to clouds and the going was slow.
Eventually made it to Yak Kharka and took a room at Hotel Mt. Thorong. Nice and quiet, just four of us including Brit and Nathan’s guide Sambos who is quick to smile and laugh. Had a noisy roommate, a little mouse.
The restaurant was across the path from the hotel and we needed to be careful as there was lots of snow and ice as the day faded into evening.
More fresh snow last night made for more dazzling views as the continued in the snow covered valley and mountains. Stopped for a tea in Letdar. There was a group of ten or more porters leaving Letdar with me so I surged ahead to enjoy the solitude.
Crossing the valley floor I knew there was an unseeable river below. The trail then went upward where I stopped at a viewpoint with owner of Thorong Phedi Hotel.
Arrived around 11:00 and talked with Nathan and Brit and American girl. Lunch consisted of 2 plates of dal bhat. Finished the wonderfully quirky book, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.” There was time to go up to the High Camp but the breathing up there is even worse and the toilets are the second worse I have ever experienced trekking. It may be surprising to some that we stop after just a few hours walking but up here it is all about the elevation. Lots of people get sick up here and a few need to be carried down to lower elevations for treatment. For me the antibiotics seem to be kicking in so I am hopeful that tomorrow we will be able to get up the last 1,000 meters to Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters/17,769.
Talked to Nathan and Brit who are semi or professional athletes now understanding how they could carry huge packs and seemed to be strong hikers. Nathan had all kinds of equipment, a laptop, a drone and who knows what else.
We turned in early as the plan was to get up at 4 and get to the Pass before the afternoon winds.
Thorong Phedi’s elevation is 4,540 metres (14,895 ft) so the breathing was a bit difficult, particularly so trying to sleep. A couple of times I woke gasping for air with a shortness of breath.