Mel and Sandra's Retirement Travels travel blog









Thursday 6th. April Day 38 (Annapurna Circuit Day 10)

It was 4.05 when we woke. Today was the big day when we were to cross the Thorong La pass. Breakfast over and we were on the climb by 5am It was still dark and we were wearing all our warm gear and I have our only lamp. The track zig zags upwards through scree for the first hour to High Camp and we had thought it just like climbing up Hollow Stones towards Scafell and Scafell Pike col yesterday when we saw it in daylight, except for the altitude of course. It soon became light and we arrived at the high camp in fifty minutes for tea - gosh it was steep! The next section is easier climbing, but most of it contouring slowly upwards across steep snow fields - and I very steep - Sandra loaned me her walking poles as I was a little unsure crossing some of them but I did feel marginally safer until two yaks carrying French girls from the Exodus group tried to nudge their ay past me on the most exposed part of the groove. It was a long way down and very icy! After rounding the spur we again contoured, this time up the side of a moraine and onto the ridge. Following the top of the lateral moraine in deep snow the track continues climbing to eventually reach a small tea house where the two French girls were sat on their yaks absolutely frozen. No wonder, sat still like that for two hours! The path continues up and up over any small hillocks eventually reaching the pass and yet another very tiny tea house. Here we purchased three cups of hot lemon - the most expensive in Nepal but at 75 rupees it was nothing considering where we were. What an exhilarating feeling - it was 8.50am and we had done it (3 hours 50 minutes to the top). The usual photo shots were done and then began the long descent to Muktinath. This is the longest descent in hell, you drop 1700 metres on the way through a mixture of snow fields and wet scree for over two and a half hours until you meet the first lodge. If anyone reads this account - whatever you do, do not even consider attempting the Annapurna Circuit in a clockwise manner. It's would be the most boring difficult ascent in hell - it goes on for ever and then it goes on again. The final fifty minutes descent into Muktinath is pleasant enough and we booked into the Mona Lisa where we new there would be hot showers. That afternoon we walked a little back up the track to visit a monastery and temple which was renowned as a joint Hindu Buddhist centre with many shrines within its extensive white perimeter walls. There is here one shrine with over 100 water spouts and a flame of natural gas. W didn't see the flame because there were prayers taking place at he time. The evening was somewhat a blur as we all got together for a few! Beers and it was after 9pm when we retired - a seventeen hour day! Our guide quietly consumed a quarter bottle of brandy that we had bought him and there was much music and dancing by the guides.

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