AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 3,540m Climb: 480m Time: 2hr 20m Daily Cost: 4,460 rupees ($46/£27) This was another short day of walking. The altitude gain meant it would be dangerous to go any further. Many people go past Yak Kharka (our destination) and on to Letdar which is a further 300m ascent. The health recommendations for ascending when above 2,800m is to sleep no more than 500m higher than the previous night. A warning ignored by many guides and tour companies and even ignored by the Lonely Planet Trekking Nepal book. At a 480m ascent, Yak Kharka was as far as we felt safe. At the Tilicho Hotel the breakfast was again massive and really good. Coffee, seabuckthorn juice, hash brown, baked beans, toast, etc. It was raining outside and we were in no rush to go out into the rain, so we took our time. Luckily by the time we were ready and paid the bill it had stopped raining. On the way out of the village we both bought some gaiters to keep the bottom of our trousers dry should it start raining heavily. We looked at crampons too. Our experience at the ice lake made us worried about needing good grip on the pass. But the crampons were $60 which made the decision to not bother an easy one. As we reached the end of the village the sun broke through the clouds and the temperature rose rapidly. This meant a quick stop to take off our coats. Less than 5 minutes later we stopped again to take off our fleeces. This is part of the routine of trekking. Having to stop often and take off or put on layers. Either the temperature changes, or an uphill slope leaves us hot, or getting cold going downhill, or a bit of shade. It was quite cloudy and all the mountain views were obscured by the low clouds sitting on each peak. Also we’d seen a lot of people heading out of Manang on the path towards Yak Kharka. Knowing there wasn’t many decent lodges or rooms and considering the lack of good views we decided we’d walk fast today. We hadn’t really pushed ourselves on the trek to see how fast we could go and for how long. So a brisk, short walk was the plan. We left Marco just outside Manang and went on ahead. We were above the tree line now so the landscape had become a little bare. Grass, scrubland and rock dominated. Before long the ground had a layer of snow, although the path was still clear. The walk itself was pretty uneventful. We passed a...

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Altitude: 3,470m Climb: 70m + 1,100m Time: 15m + 7hr breaks Daily Cost: Combined with next day We woke early and decided we’d made a mistake staying in this lodge and that we should pack our stuff up and leave to go to Manang straight after breakfast. We had planned to go to the ice lake from Bragha because we had read the trail was much easier from there, rather than trying to follow the trail from Manang. Plus the trail from Manang was supposedly steeper and more difficult. The weather had also confused things more because there was now a layer of snow on the ground, which made going to the ice lake seem doubtful. The ice lake is at 4,600m above sea level and would be a 4hr and 1,100m climb from here, so whatever weather was in Bragha would probably be worse at the lake. I left the lodge immediately after eating. The aim was to get a room arranged and also tell Marco not to walk back down and meet us. This plan failed about one minute after I left Bragha I met Marco. We decided we’d all go to Manang to the lodge Marco had stayed in the night before. It sounded quite nice. From there we would plan the rest of the day. The walk to Manang was short and we quickly got a room (the lodge had three floors and probably 30 rooms and we ended up in the room next to Marco). We asked Harry what it would be like going to the ice lake and he said it was doable. I quickly ordered a club sandwich to take away and then we were ready for our outing. We walked across a few fields and the floor of a valley, then climbed steeply up the side of the valley. The snow was on the bushes but the path was mostly clear. We thought the edge of the valley was bad, but it got worse as we climbed up the steep slope leading into the unknown. We stopped a couple of times to get our breath back and allow our heart rate to get back to normal, but for the majority of the time we just plodded on slowly, onwards and upwards. The sun had been shining at the bottom but after a couple of hours the clouds were now blocking the sun, but the effort of the uphill climbing kept us hot. By now the path had disappeared under the snow and we didn’t know where the route up was. Harry thought he knew but it soon became obvious that he...

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