Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 73 - Nepal: Slightly feared for my life crossing the Cho la pass

After finishing the last 2 hours of yesterday's hike in a snow storm,
we set off today to cross the cho la pass from 4830 meters up to 5368 meters and back down to 4700 meters. It was so cold in my room that evening that my camelback and water bottle froze.

Everything I said about the hike up to Everest Basecamp not being too physically challenging does not apply to today's hike. Today required endurance, strength, fortitude, balance, mental focus, and NO fear. We hiked for 5 hours and 30 minutes Total stopwatch time (nearly 7 hours with breaks) in the snow.

It started with nearly 2 hours of straight uphill, including scrambling up steep, snowy and icy rocks. We then walked along a snowy ledge that had enough space for one foot at a time. I avoided looking down the slope to the right. We then hit a short slippery downhill and uphill where we were greeted with another snowy, rocky and gut-wrenching steep mountainside, but this time we were going down it.

View from bottom of mountain we descended

For 2 hours, it required a solid side-step grip of my hiking boot, along with my 1 hiking pole since my other pole broke 10 minutes into the hike.

It was so slippery I could not help but wonder if I was going to slip and crack my head on a rock or slide to my peril down the mountainside. Needless to say, it required a lot of mental consternation.

And composure. Especially when my 1 guide, who was a man of few words, looked up at some falling rock and snow and said, "Hurry. Danger. Potential avalanche."

Here's a video of once we made it down:

And the fun did not end there. We had more snow capped rocks to carefully plod and balance along, followed by more uphill in the snow. A chill breeze would blow by while the sun blared on my head, making me feel overheated on the uphill and cold on the downhill. My lips became a chapped and blistered nightmare.

By the last hill, I resorted to my passing of the time counting technique. I counted to 60 twice, then I would sing a pearl jam song from the Ten album in my head, and then I counted to 60 twice again. Sounds nuts but it pushed me through that remaining finish.

I never was so elated to change into my 'lodge' clothes and eat Dahl baht the whole time oin the mountain.

NEXT STOP: 4 nights near the Gokyo glacier lakes

1 comment:

  1. Glad our old album friend, Ten, is still bringing you comfort. It's still one of my favs too and plays regularly on my Spotify list. :)