AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 3,800m Climb: Descent: 870m Time: 4hr Daily Cost: 3,530 rupees ($37/£22) + 1,750 rupees ($18/£11) on extras We slept until late and only came down for breakfast around 8:15am. We’d washed some of our clothes the night before and they weren’t dry yet, so I’d been on the roof hanging them in the sun. Annemarie wasn’t feeling too good either, another bad stomach and lots of time on the toilet! At breakfast we said goodbye to Marco. He was getting a Jeep to Jomsom then flying back to Pokhara to spend a week there. He’d travelled with us for 11 days and we were sad to say goodbye. We would miss him. After breakfast the clothes weren’t dry, so we took our time getting ready and we didn’t leave until 10:15am. We had a choice of which way to go. Back up the valley for a long climb to Jhong, then come back down and past Muktinath to Kagbeni. Or we could visit the Gompa (monastery) of Jharkot just south of Muktinath then continue down the road to Kagbeni. Because Annemarie wasn’t feeling good we picked the easier option. The road/path from Muktinath to Jharkot was dusty. The area around us was more desert like. It looked like Tibet. The monastery at Jharkot was hundreds of years old. It was brightly painted inside and looked good. We looked around for a few minutes then went up into the roof to look at the surrounding area. It really was like a desert. A faded yellow colour with a few green patches of field near the river which runs down the middle of the valley. We left the Gompa and walked down the road. The wind was picking up fast and very soon there was an almost continual head wind blowing up the valley with gusts which must have been 40mph. It whipped up the dust too making the route annoying. Worse were the Jeeps. This road was busy and the Jeep drivers drove fast! The Jeeps blasted down the road, horn beeping whilst driving like a mad man, creating huge clouds of dust behind them. This section we weren’t enjoying so much. Then the most surprising sight. Deep in the valley was a large patch of green. It was Kagbeni, a few hundred metres below us and surrounded by green fields. An oasis in the desert! Between us and Kagbeni the road had to navigate a drop of about 200m. It did this with a set of long switchbacks. The path took a more direct route, it went steeply down the hillside. We skidded on the loose stones with...

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Altitude: 4,540m Climb: Ascent: 1040m Descent: 1620m Time: 7hr 15m + 1hr 30m lunch Daily Cost: 6,660 rupees ($70/£41) We woke at 5am and got dressed for the day. We’d spent a few days thinking about what to wear for the pass. The sun would only just be rising so it’ll be cold and the pass is at 5,400m. We’d read about strong and bitterly cold winds on the pass. Annemarie had been thinking about wearing her thermals for the day. I decided that based on the weather from previous days, where in the sun it’s very warm, I’d risk going up with no thermals, and in fact no more clothing than usual. My Berghaus trousers are wind proof and great for anything from 0°c – 35°c, so I’d be wearing them, along with a t-shirt, fleece and wind proof/waterproof coat. Annemarie agreed and wore pretty much the same. We went for breakfast at 5:30am and sat with Marco and Marc. The dining room was almost empty. Marc had gone up past High Camp the day before with his bike and left it at the first tea shop, which is about 45 minutes past High Camp. The lodge owner had suggested this to make the crossing of the pass a little easier. Marco and Marc’s breakfast arrived, but nothing for us. Finally, we asked where our breakfast was and we were told it was coming. I have no idea why any lodge asks people to write the time they’ll have breakfast on the order pad, everywhere we’ve been has made breakfast when we arrive. It’s never ready at that time we ask for nor waiting for us. Anyway, this made us late. By the time we’d eaten, finished packing, last minute preparations and a few photos it was 6:15am. The view of Annapurna III as the sun rose was excellent. We set off up the steep slope. Marco set off about 10minutes before us and so was ahead, Annemarie seemed to struggle a little but still caught up with Marco and Harry who had left a little earlier. I felt far worse than I had been the day before, much more out of breath. We still made good time to High Camp. We struggled up and thought we were going very slowly, but in just 45 minutes we had made it. I had to take off my fleece, I was already feeling very warm. We took a few photos to celebrate then continued. The section immediately after High Camp was terrifying. A long, steep slope down to the right and we had to make our way over a narrow...

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