Well after leaving Nashing Dingma and heading up towards Chalem Kharka in fine weather we were, once again clouded in as the day heated up and the wet jungle released it’s moisture. It was however only convective cloud build up and it didn’t actually rain until the evening.All Hail; the power of covering our tents with Tarps – everybody was warm and dry.
We woke to a rest day (read that as a 800m height gain day for acclimatization) with perfect morning weather which gave us a the chance to wash our cloths, set up our solar charging systems and generally relax before climbing up to 4300m from 3600m for an acclimatization walk. Hard going for our first jaunt above 3600m.
It was good though, everybody got the chance to breath hard, learn how to walk slowly and in one case, experience a mild bout of exercise induced AMS. If you’ve never experienced AMS before it can be a slightly scary experience but a good rest, drinking plenty of fluid and (trying) to sleep will see you through and by the next morning all was well.
We’ve left the sub alpine forest below us and are now walking through the low alpine environment. There are only low bushes, moss, ground hugging flowers and rocks. Walking along the ridge lines is also exposed to any wind, so even if you aren’t feeling cold it’s a good idea to cover up. This also includes your hands as dried out fingers and nail beds can crack easily are very painful and take a fairly long time to heal.
We climbed to a height of 4550m before dropping down to Panch Phokari -a fantastic campsite in a horseshoe valley with a large waterfall at it’s head. We also wandered past a number of high altitude lakes. They look very inviting to swim in, however most lakes here are sacred and swimming in them is generally frowned upon – not to mention that they would be very very cold!
As we are camping at 4300m, everybody is well wrapped up in their down jackets and there is even talk of zipping up sleeping bags! Tomorrow we’ll drop down back into the Hinku Valley and make our way to the town of KHOTE which is the official entrance to the Barun Makalu National park. This means a visit to the parks office to have our permits inspected again. We’ll also rejoin our climbing equipment which went the fast way to Khote from Lukla over the Zatra La.
Till next time!