AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 4,020m Climb: 520m Time: 2hr 10m Daily Cost: 4,960 rupees ($52/£31) This was going to be another short day. The altitude meant it would be a bad idea to go any further. High Camp is only 45 minutes after Thorong Phedi but it’s another 300m to climb, which would be a dangerous altitude gain. High Camp is only safe to sleep at if you’re coming from Letdar, which would have been dangerous to reach from Manang because that’s about an 800m gain. As far as I can tell the only people who do Manang – Letdar – High Camp are those who have been to Tilicho Lake or those who disregard the advice on altitude. Almost all the trekkers we met were in the second group. Altitude doesn’t affect everyone the same, so only a few people get ill, hence why people feel safe and ignore the advice! The night before the huge British group had received a prep talk from their guide. It was mostly the usual rubbish you get from guides, a list of figures of the mountains and heights (all guides do is set an itinerary and list mountain heights). But he’d announced the breakfast time. Armed with that information we made sure that we had breakfast after the group, giving them plenty of time to eat and get out. Why did I hate the group so much? Well, they were incredibly loud and because we could understand them it was harder to block out the words, every other word was LIKE, so nothing they said had any substance, just a bunch of likes strung out into a sentence, they said lots of stupid things, but mainly it was because groups (well the guide or leader) acts like the group owns the place! They tell people to move so the group can sit at the table, their food is the priority for the kitchen and all other trekkers have to wait, tables sometimes have reserved signs on them. This is why we either stay in lodges where there’s no groups or if we accidentally (or have no choice) end up on a lodge with a group we do our best to avoid them. They really are annoying! As we ate breakfast the group assembled outside and headed off up the path. The weather was in our favour yet again. Blue skies and the sun was shining, although the air temperature was pretty low. It had snowed late in the afternoon and well into the evening the day before, now in the morning sun it looked great. The path was a bit muddy from the melting...

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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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