7 April Ledar to High Camp
MI: Away at 7:00 this morning try and beat the rush for the 110 beds at high camp. We saw a few people leaving while we had breakfast but we were one of the first few groups on the trail. Nice steady gradiant for the first hour, where we crossed slips and a wooden bridge then a short rest and strip down, as the sun had finally hit us, at a teahouse after a short climb up from the river.
The next 30 minutes we skirted around scree slopes, where a sign warned about slips, and arrived at Thorong Pedi, at the end of the valley. Paused for a lemon tea to allow the porters to catch up and muster up some energy for the 400m ascent to High Camp.
The climb was steep but John and I, and Chris and Harm formed two assault teams, travelling at our respective sort of comfortable paces. The legs have no problem it's just the lungs struggle to keep up. After 40 minutes we arrived at High Camp, the first people to arrive for the day, before 10am.
It did cross my mind that maybe we would have a relaxing day with not many people around, hoping most would choose to stay at Thorong Pedi, but that wasn't to be. Throughout the day there was a constant flow people up the hill, the 110 beds filled and floor space in the dining room for a round 20 also taken. All before 2pm. Add to that around 60 guides and porters, the place is jammed full.
A number of people were sent back down the hill to find accommodation which would have been gutting, not only because they would need to redo the arduous ascent again early the next morning, but by this time it had also started to snow. On the positive side they would have been well acclimatised for a good nights sleep lower.
We did brief acclimisational walks of around 50m up hills on either side of the high camp. Amazing 360 vista of close and distant peaks, valley river disappearing into the distance, Thorong Pedi almost vertically below us, and Thorong La with the saddle we cross dipping well below its peaks. We very much feel 'in' the Himalayas.
Unbelievably a mountain biking group also arrived at the high camp, pushing their bikes up from Thorong Pedi, and they'll have another 600ish metre uphill push again in the morning. We wondered if this part of their dream biking tour in Nepal made the promotional magazine!
The conversation in the dining room was dominated by what time people were leaving in the morning. The wind gets up around 10am and it was suggested that you cross the pass before then. It is only a 3.5hr walk to the pass sowe decided to leave at 5:30. It seems we may be one of the last groups out ofthe camp with many leaving at 4 or 4:30am, in the dark. It's minus 3 degrees outside as I write this at 7:20pm so imagine it will be rather brisk at 4!
Four large yaks have parked themselves outside the front of the dining room entry door, they're beautiful animals up close. I tried to move in for a selfie with one but the shaking of the head and ringing of the bell around its neck made me jump back!
I'm expecting to report on a toilet disaster in tomorrows blog as our litterally s***ty outhouse has a narrow squatting platform, which is wet and already started to freeze. Awkward squatting on narrow icy surfaces ..... I wonder who's going to make the blog after an incident in the bog?