367. The outflow of Phoksumdo lake on the way to visit the Bonpo monastery on the edge of the lake about a km from the village.
368. The absolutely perfect setting for the Bonpo monastery on the edge of the turquoise waters of Phoksumdo lake.
369. Chatting with the Lama of the monastery beside Phoksumdo lake near the village of Ringmo
370. Bharat walking on a bit of the path leading north from Ringmo village. This bit of the path is on a sheer face and is spanned by logs. It is the pace where Thinley’s yak plunges into the water in the film caravan.
371. Looking back to the precarious bit of path along the edge of Phoksumdo where Thinley’s yak plunged into the water in the film Carvan by Eric Vialli
372. Ramesh doing his Malla King impersonation above Phoksumdo lake. At the far end of the lake is the village of Ringmo. The Bonpo Gompa is off to the distant left in a bay.
373. The rarely visited and pathless NE arm of Phoksumdo Lake. The Lake has three arms, hence the Tibetan name.
374. Ramesh and Dawa in the makeshift kitchen with the drizzle pouring down. We cooked on kerosene and Ramesh could always be relied on to produce a great dalbhat.
375. At the end of Phoksumdo Khola stream we had to follow a gorge with a stream for three hours. The stream had to be crossed frequently. Here is the athletic Santos leaping across with a good 30 kg on his head.
376. Looking back down the lower reaches of the gorge where a few other people can just be seen coming up and negotiating a crossing
377. Gonjok and his horse crossing a snow bridge in the gorge while carrying a policeman’s belongings to Biher. I was later to contact Gonjok in Biher and he helped us.
378. Approaching the top of the Kangla pass 5350m, between Phoksumdo and Shey Gompa. Here is the view SW to Kangiroba Himal, (the mountain not the range)
379. Looking E from the top of the Kangla Pass to the Dansilla Lek range. Beyond these mountains is the Tarap valley from a week ago.
380. Looking back up to the Kangla pass from the north side, before starting the pastoral descent to Shey Gompa.
381. Grazing yak in the valley between the Kangla Pass and Shey Gompa. The pass itself is out of the picture to the left.
382. Shey Gompa from the river in from of it. To the left is the caretakers rooms and some storage rooms. To the right are some of the few houses in Shey Gompa.
383. Shey Gompa. Perhaps the spiritual heart of Dolpo and certainly one of the best known monasteries in the area.
384. The large imposing chorten at Shey Gompa with the all seeing eyes. It was the first structure when one came up from the river.
385. The caretaker at Shey Gompa. He looked after the place with his wife. They had just lost two children in different avalanches in the last years
386. Inside Shey Gompa with the unbound books, paintings and drums used during pujas. The lady is the caretakers’ wife and would walk round the whole compound many times a day.
387. The old unbound books used during the prayers. These are probably photocopies with the originals being too fragile and valuable to use.
388. En route to Bhijer I came across the Lama of Shyamling Gompa, a Bonpo monastery off on a detour to the west of the path.
389. The green corn and barley fields of Bhijer in the sun. Bhijer was like an oasis in the dry scrub covered brown hills. It was green because of the irrigation.
390. Looking down on Bhijer from the ridge to the north of it while en route to Pho. The ridge opposite was the one we came over yesterday.
391. Looking north from the Yambur La Pass, 4813m, between Bhijer to Pho to the Palchung Hamga Himal. The pointed mountain to the right is Damphesail, 6100, on the Tibet border.
392. Looking NW from the Yambur La Pass to the village of Pho. There is a deep canyon with the Dolpo Karnali in it between us and the village though. Tomorrows pass, the Nyingma Gyanzen La, 5563m, is actually one of the highest mountains on the right.
393. The deep canyon which contains the Dolpo Karnali. It was spanned by a single old rickety stone and log cantilever bridge which Gonjok remembers from hs childhood.
394. Gonjok leading his horse across the bridge over the Dolpo Karnali.
395. The green fields of Pho with the old monastery in the midst of them. The village of 10 or so houses lies at the top of the fields and above the beautiful spring, which allows the village to exist.
396. Gonjok leading his horse along the ridge, well above 5000m, towards the Nyingma Gyanzen La Pass further up the ridge. He was very good to his horse.
397. On the descent from the Nyingma Gyanzen La Pass I flushed a herd of blue sheep who scampered off across the craggy buttress with ease.
398. After the decent from the Nyingma Gyanzen La Pass we reached the canyon of the Swaska Khola Valley which we had to follow for two hours up to the pastures of Pung Kharka.
399. The pastures of Pung Kharka and the kharka above were full of grazing yak who had been brought up here to graze on the rich summer grasses watered by glacial streams and the monsoon.
400. At the end of his finger is the fungal stalk of the infected caterpillar which is now dead. It is this tiny sign which all yarsagumba collectors want to see for beneath lies about US$10.
401. The yarsagumba collector and his recently dug up bounty. This fat one is worth about US$13. It now needs to be cleaned with a toothbrush and dried, before being sold to a buyer who visit the collecting grounds frequently
402. En route up to the Yala La Pass and just where the yarsagumba was found. Below is the kharka above Pung Kharka.
403. The steep descent to the west of the Yala La Pass, 5414. The yarsagumba collectors descended with ease in the crocs while we were much more cautious in our boots.
404. At the bottom of the snowfields after Yala la Pass. The steeper snowfields cannot really be seen. The pass is centre right.
405. Yarsagumba collectors’ tents high up the Chayandi Khola valley at about 4800 metres. About 6-8 people will spend a month in these tents looking for yarsagumba all day, before packing up and returning to their villages hopefully with a few hundred pieces each.
406. Santos descending a tricky bit in the lower part of the Chyandi Khola before it got too difficult to follow and a buttress force us up and over a high spur.
407. Looking east back up the Chyandi Khola from the spur between it and the Takla Khola. This descent down the north (left) side of the stream gave us problems yesterday.
408. Looking west from the spur between the Chanandi and Takla Khola streams up the Chhimaru Khola stream valley to our next campsite at the last green. The pass goes up left of the camp and small pointed peak.
409. Bharat crossing the Takya Khola on a fortuitous log which saved us wading the powerful and cold torrent.
410. The view up to the Charygo La Pass, 5150m, from near our campsite. The last section was quite steep.
411. The last section of climbing to reach the top of the Charygo La Pass. The top of the pass was covered in chortens and prayer flags.
412. The view east from the top of the Charygo La Pass. At the bottom is our campsite and in the distance the mountains around Yala La Pass from a couple of days ago.
413. Looking north from the top of the Charygo La Pass to one of the mountains in the Kanti Himal on the Tibet border some 8 km away.
414. Looking west from the Chargyo La Pass down the Chham Khola valley where we are about to descend to Thajuchaur meadow and on to Shilenchaura Kharka to camp.
415. A group of yarsagumba collectors heading home to Jumla after a month in the mountains. This group were all lamas, an ethnic group in Nepal of Bhuddist folk you live in the higher hill regions.
416. The Lamas all heading down the west side of the Charygo La pass. They were heading home to Jumla some 3-4 days hard walking away.
417. Approaching the large lush meadow at Thajuchaur. The meadow had some yarsagumba collectors’ camps, but no herders were based here.
418. Some of the very fertile vegetation just below Thajuchaur meadow. The valley was warm, humid and everything was bursting into summer foliage.
419. As the path descended to Shilenchaur Kharka and the great Mugu Karnali river more and more conifers appeared and the path was a delight until the valley sides closed in and a gorge formed.
420. The gorge just before meeting the Mugu Karnali river was deep and the path steep. The sides of the gorge were lined with conifers were the rock allowed.
421. The returning group of Lamas who were going to Jumla camped beside us. There were about 30 of them in all and they were delighted to be going home. They sang songs round their camp fire for a few hours and Bharat, Ramesh,Santos and Dawa joined them.
422. Crossing the Mugu Karnali on a log and stone cantilever bridge. One slip here on the wet logs and it was all over. These ladies crossing were also yarsagumba collectors on the way home.
423. The four ladies crossing the Mugu Karnali Bridge and now on their way home with their yarsagumba to sell. They were also going to Jumla.
424. Looking down the torrent of the Mugu Karnali as it crashed down the valley towards our previous campsite at Shilenchaur Kharka. About six rivers this size join to form the Karnali, a major tributary of the Ganges.
425. The Mugu Karnali as it leaves the flat valley where Mugugaon village is. For the next 10 km the valley above Mugugaon is a pastoral Shangri-La.
426. One of the rickety houses in Mugugaon with its log ladders to go from one floor to the next. Since I was last here about half of these older houses had been pulled, or fallen, down. There were replaced with stone houses with tin roofs.
11. Lower Dolpo Section. Nepal GHT
330. The hamlet of Tirigaon just upstream from Kagbeni on the west side of the Kali Gangdaki River.
331. The village of Santagaon was the only village in the valley. In the winter the inhabitants moved to the slightly higher, but south facing, Ghok further up the valley.
332. Crossing the Thasan Khola stream as it entered a gorge below our camp. We had to cross this stream a total of four times.
333. The village of Chharka Bhot was medieval and had probably not changed for centuries. Here is the nucleus of the old village situated on a knoll.
334. Looking up the tributary which flowed into the Chharka Khola stream from the old village of Chharka Bhot on the knoll. The tributary was used to irrigate these fields, the mainstay of the agriculture in the area.
335. The houses in the old village were of a solid stone construction and looked like small castles. The walls were topped with scrub wood, much of it collected from the riverbanks.
336. Some of the houses in the old quarter of Chharka Bhot even had castellated towers. These houses were probably centuries old.
337. Sheep and goats were also a mainstay in Chharka Bhot. Here is a returning flock being forced across the tributary towards the old village on the hill where they would be penned in a stone enclosure beside the owner’s house for the night for protection.
339. A flock of sheep and goats being herded through the street of Chharka Bhot to their stone enclosure for the night. Snow Leopard and wolf lived in thhe area and would take animal if not penned.
340. A lady from Chharka Bhot watches and herds sheep and goats as they return from the hillside to the stone enclosures for the night.
341. Crossing the Chharka Khola between Chharka Bhot and Chap Chu. This river also had to be crossed four times.
342. Looking down the Chharka Khola river and the gorge it flowed into. The sheer walls of the gorge forced us to cross the river.
343. Looking back to the kharka herding camp at Chap Chu looking east to the mountains south of Chharka Bhot in the background.
344. One of the many alpines growing in the inhospitable scree fields od Dolpo. These plants had a great tap root anchoring them to the rocky soil and for storing water.
345. Looking NW from Chan La Pass, 5378m over the dry hills and passes to the east of Phoksumdo Lake and Shey Gompa.
346. The curious purple alpine found around 4000m. This one was near Maran on the way to Dho Tarap.
347. The village of Shipcho was just to the east of Dho Tarap. It had an important Bonpo Gompa. Around the village were perhaps some 25 chortens and kamis, some very large.
348. Dho Tarap was a traditional village with flat roofed stone buildings in the manner of small castles. This was the eastern cluster of buildings which made up the village.
349. Our “hotel” in Dho Tarap. The kitchen was downstairs and cramped. Up the log ladder was the gallery which doubled as a bedroom and above that was another log ladder up to the roof used to dry cereals and store things.
350. The monastery on the hill above Dho Tarap. It has a large chorten beside it which in turn enclosed another chorten like a Russian Doll. The monastery was very old and in need of restoration.
351. The statue of Buddha in the monastery at Dho Tarap. It was a Nyingma monastery as opposed to a Bonpo. In other words it was more orthodox than the one at Shipcho which was Bonpo.
352. Looking north up the Tarap valley from the roof of our “hotel” in Dho Tarap. In the irrigated fields are Barley, Corn and Potato.
353. A lady of the Tarap valley crossing the Tarap Khola on horseback. All the ladies had the same hairstyle with fringe.
354. The herders camp at the bottom of the Numala La pass camp. The herders had both chauri cattle, which were milked twice a day, and sheep and goats.
355. A yak caravan driver riding his horse down Numala pass while bringing his team of yak, loaded with wood, over to Tarap from Phoksumdo. (from 2007)
356. The yak caravan with about 100 beasts coming down the east side of Numala La Pass with loads of wood used for building in the treeless Tarap valley. (from 2007)
357. The yak caravan going over Numala La Pass. This is looking from the top of the pass to the east. In the distance behind the yak is the mountain of Dhaulagiri and to the left of it is the sharp ridge of Annapurna. (from 2007).
359. The yak caravan coming up Baga la pass carrying building wood destined for the Tarap valley which is treeless. The view is looking west down the valley towards Phoksumdo. (from 2007)
360. Approaching the top of the Baga La Pass from the east side and looking back down to Danigar. The mountains in the background are the Dansila Lek, about 5500m, beyond which is Shey Gompa and Saldang
361. Looking east back up the Muduwa Khola valley towards the slot where the Baga la Pass comes down to meet the valley. This pass comes down after the rock face and where the waterfall is.
362. Irises in the Muduwa Khola valley. The Irises were prolific in the whole valley together with masses of other wild flowers.
363. The village of Muduwa was situated across the valley on a shelf. It looked a very traditional village of flat earth roofed stone houses surrounded by its terraced fields.
364. At one stage the path in the Muduwa valley was very steep and had to be built up using stones and logs so yak could use it. (from 2007)
356. The Phoksumdo waterfall below the village of Ringmo and the outflow of the lake was a magnificent sight as the river was swollen with this years’ large snowmelt and the first of the monsoon rains.
366. The house of Sitar and Lesjung where I stayed in 1992 for 10 days when I first visited Phoksumdo and hoped to go over passes but was thwarted. Unfortunately they were both away collecting yarsagumba
10. Annapurna Section. Nepal GHT
297. A great woodstack near Timang above Dharapani.
298. The village of Thanchowk was pretty much bypassed by the passing trekking trade and remained quite traditional with older houses and busy activity in the terraced fields.
299. The road above the apple farm at Bhratang was hacked into the cliff with jackhammers and some dynamite to remove the stubborn rocks.
300. The Manang valley above Dhikur Pokhari was full of pines. Upper Pisang is up to the right and Lower Pisang is up the road which is hidden in the trees on the left.
301. One of the old fortress style houses in Upper Pisang. Typically they are built on three floors with the lowest floor being for livestock, the second floor is living quarters and storage. It has a solid earthen roof on which some stone or wooden sheds are built to form the top floor.
302. A typical mani stone in a wall of mani stones. The stones are engraved with prayers usually in the Tibetan text. This mani wall was just below the climb up to Ghyaru.
303. The interior of the monastery at Ghyaru. It looked like there were about four monks associated with the monastery.
304. The upper houses in Ghyaru incorporated the monastery also. In the evening two of the monks appeared on the monastery balcony with horns and blew them in the still late afternoon air over the village
305. The view from my bed at the Yakru lodge was straight across the valley to the enormous, glacier covered bulk of Annapurna 7937m.
306. Our graceful host at the Yakru lodge in Ghyaru village
307. A row of prayer wheels in Ghyaru village. Each time the wheels are turned a prayer is made. In the distance, beyond the stone house is the mountain of Ganggapurna, 7454m.
308. The western kami gate, or entrance chorten, to Ghyaru village. All villages in Manang have similar gates which are usually decorated with Buddhist painted panels on their ceilings.
309. Looking back to the village of Ghyaru from the west on the road to Ngawal. The whole village was built of solid stone 2-3 storey houses which resembled small citadels.
310. A griffon vulture cruising in the thermals between Ghyaru and Ngawal villages. In the background is the mountain of Annapurna III, which is 7555m.
311. Some of the houses in Ngawal. They were all at least two storey but some were three. The bottom floor was animals and the second floor were living quarters, with storage and drying areas on the roof.
312. The monastery at Braga was on the hill. Beneath it were living quarters for monks and some was still under construction. Below that were some of the village houses.
313. Manang from the village of Tengi to the west. Beyond Manang is the Marsyangdi Nadi River valley up which we walked.
314. The heavily decorated facade of the monastery at Tengi. The monastery looked quite new and it almost looked the decorators had tried too hard.
315. Heading up the valley from Manang towards Thorung Phedi. The wild rose bushes were in bloom everywhere.
316. Heading up the valley near Yak Kharka towards Thorung Phedi and just passing one of the many chortens.
317. “You people dog, you people donkey” The feisty Sherpa lady who owns the Duerali teahouse is not a lady to quibble about a cup of tea with.
318. A blue sheep grazing on the shrubs near Thorung Phedi. Blue sheep were common in this area and almost fearless of humans.
319. Annapurna III, 7555m, (centre) and Ganggapurna, 7454m (right) about an hour after sunrise, seen from the climb up to Thorung La Pass.
320. The view west over the tangle of prayer flags from Thorung La Pass, 5416m at 0700 in the morning. In the distance are the mountains which separate the region of Mustang from Dolpo and we would be going over them, just to the right of the mountains in the centre.
321. Another view of the mountains we would be walking into after leaving Annapurna. The route we will follow is up the valley which rises from centre right towards the centre of the photo. It is a dry area which the imminent monsoon rains will hardly effect.
322. A view of the town of Muktinath from the east as I descended into it. The religious complex is in the bottom of the photo and largely obscured by trees. The peak in the background is Dhaulagiri, one of the world’s highest mountains at over 8000m.
323. Looking up to the small town of Jharkot just below Muktinath. The red monastery is many centuries old and some suspect it is as much as 1000 years.
324. In the warren of streets in Jharkot on the way to visit the monastery. The houses were very similar to Manang and the other villages around here except they were painted white.
325. Looking back east to the village of jharkot, with its red monastery on the hill. Beyond is the almost hidden town of Muktinath. Between the snowy peaks is the Thorung La Pass which we came over yesterday.
326. We managed to find a small path to Khingar and avoided the road. There were a lot of apricot orchards en route which were irrigated and in the damp meadows the Himalayan primroses flourished.
327. Looking down onto the town of Kagbeni. It is the ancient gateway to the Kingdom of Mustang to the north. It shared many medieval architects with Jharkot and the monasteries were built at the same time many centuries ago.
328. Barley drying in a yard in Kagbeni. The other side of the yard was a very squat kami gate whose ceiling was richly decorated with Buddhist motifs.
329. The old monastery at Kagbeni was almost preserved as a museum. A new monastery had been built beside it and there were living quarters for at least 50 monks. The whole complex filled the centre of Kagbeni and it looked a thriving monastery.
09. Manaslu Section. Nepal GHT
262. A road building team prising rock of a steep rock buttress and shovelling it into the river just north of Tatopani. Some of this team were in flip flops.
263. Another two road building teams were working towards each other on this cliff face near Yaruphant. All each team was working with was jack hammers powered by compressed air. They crept along the shelf they had already excavated and would meet in a couple of weeks.
264. The walkway just after Yaruphant was bolted onto the rock and extended for a good few hundred metres above the river.
265. The huge 300 metre long and 300 metre high suspension bride linking the village of Bhangsing with the rest of the world. Previously the villagers had to descend a good hour to another village before reaching the path.
266. The Budhi Gandaki gorge about its confluence with the Siyar Khola which flowed out of Tsum Valley. This was just downstream from Pewa.
267. The village of Ghap lay on a shelf in the valley between the gorge and the steep mountainside. It looked like somewhere out of the Alps. Ghapsya was beyond the far end of the shelf.
268. The large field at Banjam was about 300m times 700m and was remarkable in that it was so flat and uniform. It was the largest field I had seen in the Himal or Pahar regions of Nepal. It was full of ripening barley.
269. The Kami gate or entrance/exit to the village at Lihi. Inside the roof is hollow and like most kami is was decorated with Buddhist murals on wooden panels.
270. Approaching the village of Sho. The path gently weaved through fields of ripening barley. Last time I came here there was a large and boisterous wedding at the houses in the distant right.
271. Approaching the village of Lho with its stone houses in the foreground. Beyond on the hill is the Ribung Monastery and beyond that the twin peaks of the 8000m high Manaslu.
272. The Ribung Monastery was once the seat of Buddhist learning in the Nubri Valley but has lost some of its prestige and population in the last years.
273. Entering the village of Samagaon with its rustic, simple houses lining a couple of paved paths through the village.
274. At the southern entrance to Samagaon was a huge pile of carved mani stones overseen but a couple of large chortens with the all seeing eyes.
275. One of the typical simple, almost medieval, houses in Samagaon. It had a paved stone yard with piles of firewood. Below was a barn for the animals, certainly during the winter time. Above were the very simple living quarters of the family, All under a stone slate roof with a aperture for a chimney.
276. A devout older villager of Samagaon sitting in his yard with a prayer wheel. As we past he was muttering a prayer as he span the wheel, itself a prayer.
277. Two women returning to Samagaon with basket of firewood from the birch forest. They are walking beside the 300m long mani wall made from carved stone tablets of prayers.
278. Yarsagumba. These caterpillars of a moth live under the snow for the winter but get infected by a fungus which eventually kills them. As the snow clears around 4500m in the spring they are still just alive. They are collected by perhaps half a million Nepalis in the spring and can be worth US$2-5 each. They are sold as an aphrodisiac to the Chinese.
279. Looking up the Syacha Glacier to the north side of Mount Manaslu from near Dharamsla. The twin peaks are clearly visible.
280. The high altitude rhododendron shrub exits from 4500 to 5000 metres. It produces beautiful pompom like flowers and when burnt the leaves give off a much cherished incense smell.
281. Dharamsala used to consist of a single filthy lodge, however in the last years two new lodges have appeared and the old lodge closed down, making it a much more appealing place to stay.
282. Going up the moraine on the north side of the Larkya Glacier past marmot burrows towards the Larkya La Pass. The beast is a female yak, called a nyak.
283. Looking down the moraine of the Larkya Glacier to the path I had just come up. In the distance is the mountain of Samdo which is beyond the village of Samdo we stayed at.
284. A small rhododendron shrub at around 5000m on the Larkya La Pass. Apparently if there are 7 or more stamen in the flower it is a rhododendron and 6 or less it is an azalea. These flowers had more than 7.
285. Just to the south of Larkya La Pass was the 6000m mountain of Larkya. Its north side was heavily glaciated.
286. Looking back down the Larkya Glacier from near the pass. In the foreground it the sandy moraine and a couple of shallow tarns and in the distance is Samdo Peak. We slept at the foot of Samdo Peak.
287. Bharat, Santos and Ramesh on Larkya la Pass. They had now got special T shirts made to celebrate our journey.
288. Me on Larkya la Pass with the mountains to the north on the Tibetan border in the background.
289. One of the lammergeyer vultures who I disturbed feeding on the carcass of a dead mule almost at the pass. These ugly, turkey-headed birds looked graceful in flight with their near three metre wingspan.
290. A team of mule coming up the west side of Larkya La pass on the vastly improved track. It was a lot quicker to come this way to Samagaon than up the path we came in the Budhi Gandaki valley.
291. Looking down the west side of the Larkya La pass to the confluence of the three glaciers. Despite the upheaval the lateral moraines are well defined and even harbour a couple of lakes between their ridges.
292. The Silver Fir forests below Bimtang hosted some specimen trees some 45-50 metres high with 2 metre boles.
293. The west side of Manaslu from the Dudh Khola valley near Yak Kharka. This side was much steeper and more imposing than the east side which is the usual climbers’ route.
294. The lead mule of a mule train coming down through the silver fir forest just above Yak Kharka. The lead mules are often looked after better and decorated by their owners as they are a valuable asset and keep some stability in the team.
295. The meadow of white geraniums below Yak Kharka were full of butterflies on this warm day.
296. Approaching Dharapani at the end of another long day. Dharapani marked the end of the Manaslu circuit and the start of the Annapurna Circuit, the next Section.
08. Ganesh Himal Foothills Section. Nepal GHT
245. Our host at Parbati Kund homestay. He was a Tamang and a Lama for the village. Here he is wearing his traditional Tamang jacket made from sheep wool.
246. Our host and his wife in traditional Tamang outfit at Parbati Kund.
247. The black lentils bushes laid out to dry on a tarpaulin in our hosts yard at Parbhati Kund. The black lentils are the prized lentil for making Dalbhat.
248. Arriving at the kharka for the summer with his animals. A man reaches his summer’s destination with his chauri. He will spend the summer in the seasonal cottage and spend the summer making dairy products.
249. Some of the magnificent Himalayan Silver Firs in the forest between Parbati Kund and Somdang. Many of these trees were well over 200 years old.
250. A mauve rhododendron on the misty pass between Parbati Kund and Somdang. On the north facing slopes the bushes were still in full bloom.
251. Our lodge in the sleepy forest hamlet of Somdang. In the background are some of the lower eastern mountains of the Ganesh Himal. The roof of the lodge is made from shingle planks of the Silver Fir. The planks last for 15 years.
252. Some of the maize fields below Borang where about to start producing cobs. There were hundreds of terraces on top of the other for many hundreds of metres in altitude
253. A boy going to school with his pet unfledged bird he found in the village of Lapagaon.
254. All the Hemlocks on the way up to Myangal Bhanjyang Pass, 2975m, were covered in mosses and epiphytes.
255. Our shelter for the night at Nauban Kharka was one of the empty shelters where a family would stay. The brother of the owner of this one from the Gurung village of Yarsa let us use it for the night.
256. Santos making a fire in the fire pit of the shelter at Nauban Kharka we were allowed to use.
257. Bharat in the old ladies shelter cooking the dalbhat while she was out rounding up some missing sheep. Behind Bharat is the partition to keep the goats and sheep safe at night. A few escaped to huddle round the fire.
258. Ramesh in the older ladies shelter cooking the meal while she was out rounding up missing animals.
259. The brother of the absent shelter owner who shelter we were allowed to use. Although this man was Gurung from the village of Yarsa he still had the tradition Tamang jacket made from sheep wool. He was making a basket from bamboo when we left.
260. The very steep and relentless jungle track from Nauban kharka led down some 1200m down to the Richet Khola stream far below.
261. Looking back to the village of Yarsa from the spur and we veered north into the Budhi Gandaki river valley. In the far distance near the mists is Nauban Kharka where we spent the night in the herder’s shelter.
07. Langtang Section. Nepal GHT
207. Heading towards the Bagam in the afternoon mist after climbing up some 1500m from the heat of the Last Resort. The monastery above the village looked like I could have been in Bhutan.
208. Walking from Bagam to Kyangin we were advised to take the forest route rather than go over the hills via summer pastures. The forest route was slow but the firs and hemlocks magnificent.
209. At one stage in the forest between Bagam and Kyangin I came across a troop of some 40 monkeys. I think they were Langurs.
210. Climbing up from Dipu to Panch Pokhari we got some great views of the Jugal Himal before the afternoon mists enveloped us. It was a 2000m climb from Dipu to Panch Pokhari.
211. Panch Pokhari (Five Lakes) in the morning light.
212. Our manger style shelter at Panch Pokhari. It was better than the small tent but very noisy during the hail storms.
213. Having left Panch Pokhari very early in the morning we climbing up onto the ridge top to pick up the indistinct path to Tin Pokhari (Three Lakes) and eventually Tilman’s Pass.
214. Looking east from the ridge top above Panch Pokhari towards the adjacent Jugal and distant Gaurishankar ranges around Rolwaling to the east of the Last Resort. The snowy ridge descending is the original one up from Dipu via Chedupa Kharka far below at the valleys confluence.
215. Looking south from above our Intermediary camp to the rhododendron clad hillside and ridges we traversed across yesterday. The campsite is in the shade below.
216. The snow covered pastures, kharka, after our intermediary camp in the morning looking east to the Jugal and Gaurishankar Himals.
217. Descending after during a gap in the afternoon mists from the snowy col to the south of Tin Pokhari to the Three Lakes themselves. We camped beside the moraines below them before a thunderstorm arrived.
218. The three others walking along the top of a moraine with Tilman’s Pass in the distance. We had to cross the moraine heaps in the middle distance for 2 hours to get to the foot of the pass where we camped on the snow.
219. Ramesh relaxing in the three man tent after the three others successfully scouted a route from our camp to the top of the steep Tilman’s Pass.
220. Setting off to climb over Tilman’s Pass. The route went up under the couloir under the icefall, then up to the right (east) on the steeper slopes above the crags before heading left above the icefall to reach the flatter glacier.
221. The others starting up the couloir under the icefall which was stable at this time in the morning.
222. The other three heading up above the crags to gain the flatter glacier above the icefall.
223. Me bringing up the rear on the final slopes above the crags towards the flatter glacier above the icefall.
224. Three chirpy fellows on top on Tilman’s Pass, 5309m, with the mountains of the upper Langtang valley in the distance. The descent was not as straightforward as we had hoped.
225. The other three heading down the slightly crevassed upper section of the glacier on the north side of Tilman’s Pass.
226. The others far ahead on the uncrevassed lower section of the glacier on the northern side of Tilman’s Pass. At the end of the glacier the easier terrain ended abruptly in steep cliffs on the east side and tolerable snowfields and crags on the west side. We had to take the west side.
227. Looking back up to the descent route from the lake in the older moraine beneath it. The descent route comes the centre left above the cliffs then threads a route on the 35 degree snowfields through the crags to reach the top of the moraine on the right which it descends to the lake.
228. The reason no one does Tilman’s Pass. About an hour after the lake the lateral moraines of the Langshisa Glacier are unavoidable and have to be descended down this loose gully. This difficult and potentially dangerous passage lasts for a good hour.
229. Having descended the gully in western lateral moraine of the Langshisa Glacier the unmarked ever-changing route traverses across the moraine under huge boulders embedded in the debris above and above a few ice-cliffs in the decaying Langshisa Glacier below.
230. At last the route finishes it hour long traverse down the gully, under the vast boulders embedded in the glacial debris and above the last of the ice-cliffs of the static glacier to reach the more stable and slightly safer valley floor.
231. After a good hour of following the rocky bed of the stream which emerges from the Langshisa Glacier, and then some bush whacking the route reaches the Langtang Khola river. There is no bridge and the cold river has to be waded at Langshisa kkarka, where it is heavily braided.
232. Looking down the upper Langtang valley from just below Langshisa Kharka. The rockfalls visible are due to the 2015 earthquake.
233. The small irises cover large patches in all the meadows (kharka) I came across.
234. Looking back up the Langtang valley en route to Kyangin Gomba from around Jatang Kharka. The valley we emerged from is the far one above the yak on the very left.
235. Looking back up to the Langtang valley from the incongruous rooftops of Kyangin Gompa. I had not expected such a town in such a remote and pristine valley.
236. Having developed sinusitis in the last week, probably due to a poor diet, dust and smoky kitchens, Bharat and the others looked after me well. Here they are forcing me to have a steam inhalation of an oily herb mix to clear the nasal passages.
237. The basis of my daily inhalation was Sancho. A mixture of herbs. It is now the only product produced by the Nepali government who previously produced a spectrum of products from lorry tyres to corrugated sheets.
238. A Langtang larch just below Kyangjin Gompa. It is a unique subspecies of the normal Sikkim larch.
239. The cliff the millions of tons of glacial ice and moraine piled over during an huge aftershock the day after the 2015 earthquake. The avalanche buried the town of Langtang.
240. The moraine debris covering the old town of Langtang. The town is now being rebuilt above this devastation which obliterated all the 50 or so houses bar one.
241. The Hemlock and Oak forests filled the bottom of the Langtang gorge from Ghoratabela down to Lama Hotel. The raging Langtang Khola river continues to carve a slot.
242. The other three as we approach Lama Hotel. From the front Bharat, Santos and Ramesh. We have the bare minimum of camping gear now.
243. The bottom of the Langtang gorge around Lama Hotel.
244. The dry conditions at the bottom of the Langtang gorge as it approaches Syabru Besi and the slightly larger Trusili River. The town is just visible in the middle.
06. Gaurishankar Section. Nepal GHT
153. Looking down on Thame from near the monastery.
154. The Kami, or entrance gate, to the monastery complex
155. Thame Monastery is tucked into the cliff facing south above the orderly town of Thame
156. The small fields in the hamlet of Thyangbo were used for potatoes and hay. The walls were designed to keep the yak out.
157. The small simple herders’ cottage belonging to the elderly siblings who cooked us Dalbhat.
158. The two elderly Sherpa sisters. One brother who was monk at Thame monastery also visited to bring salt for the yak.
159. The porters shelter at Parchemuche. My heart sank when I went inside as I had built my hopes up and did not expect it have the broken door left open and it full of ice.
160. When the others arrived we quickly smashed all the ice and the rubbish embedded in it and scooped it out of the door.
161. An hour later in the shelter the floor was clean and drying out and we were getting settled in.
162. Our first view of the pass at the top of the first moraine of the day. We all thought the route went up the rock slabs to the right of glacier on the centre left of the photo It actually went up the snow gully in the centre of the photo and then veered left on a shelf system to gain the glacier.
163. Heading up the moraine and rock slabs to the boulder fields which led up to the pass
164. Pinzo heading up the boulder fields to the bottom of the trickier sections of the Tashi Labsta pass. Down the valley is Thyangbo and eventually Thame.
165. Dawa heading off up to the trickier section of the pass and the rockfall area. We still thought the route was on the left hand side rather than up the gully on the right and then across shelves.
166. After Dawa set up the fixed rope in the snow gully Chering, Dawas 16 year old brother, and myself were the first up. The photo looks across the shelves to the glacier and eventually the Tashi Labsta Pass.
167. Ramesh at the top of the fixed rope in the snow gully. You can just see the snow stake anchors. From here Ramesh had to climb up the rock to me to gain the shelf system.
168. Looking back to the partially hidden snow gully (centre right) we went up to gain the shelf system heading left, which looks like it was largely covered in snow fields but was mostly stoney ground.
169. At the end of the shelf system it was a short climb up onto the glacier proper above the trickier rock section mentioned in the blog text.
170. The rest of the team leaving the shelf system and climbing up the snowfield to gain the stone covered area of the glacier.
171. Heading up the glacier towards the Tashi Labsta Pass at about 5755m.
172. Ramesh about to arrive at the pass after a very hard day for the porters.
173. Dawa and Pinzo considering using the rope for the descent of this section of the glacier. In the end we did not set it up here. Down the slope to the right is the large Drolambau Glacier where we spent the night.
174. The Tashi Labsta pass was in the deep saddle between the glaciated Parchomo and the craggy spires of Angole, the near 7000m peak seen in this picture.
175. The team coming down the small glacier from Tashi Labsta pass on the west side of the pass.
176. At the bottom of the glacier on the west side of Tashi Labsta there was a steep section to abseil down before we could get to the main valley where the enormous Drolambau Glacier lay.
177. The enormous Drolambau glacier drained a remote basin surrounded by near 7000m peaks. We slept on it lateral moraine. The next day we followed it down until it ended in under the clouds in a line of 200m high crags across the valley.
178. The campsite on the Drolambau Glacier at sunset before a very cold night.
179. Santos firing up the kerosene stove to cook the nights meal on.
180. Having walked down some 3-4 km of the Drolambau Glacier we find the whole body of ice ended on top of a line of crags which stretched across the whole valley. At the bottom of the crags was a huge trench occupied by another glacier, the Trakarding Glacier, which was covered in moraine and ended by calving into Tsho Rolpo lake.
181. The descent down the crags from the end of the Drolambau Glacierto the side of the Trakarding glacier involved some 200m of descent, often steep and some even protected with cables.
182. As we were about to start descend the cables a huge serac broke off on the mountainside across the valley and cascaded down the mountainside pulverizing into ice powder.
183. Once we reached the Trakarding Glacier we had the daunting prospect of walking down its difficult surface for the rest of the morning and all the afternoon. We were aiming for the small flat light patch centre left and misjudged the time it would take.
184. After hours on the surface of the glacier the route we were following at last veered to the south side of the glacier where there was a rustic path on older established moraines held in place by soil and vegetation.
185. In the late afternoon we eventually reached the promised land of the flat sandy plateau in a hanging valley above the Tsho Rolpo lake. This sandy area was called Kabug.
186. Looking back at our sandy campsite from the top of the moraine to the west of it. The Trakarding Glacier occupies the trench on the left and calves into the Tsho Rolpo lake on the far left.
187. Having descended from Kabug to just above the lateral moraine hemming the waters of Tsho Rolpo lake in one can see how catastropic a breach of this moraine would be.
188. Walking down the peaceful areas between the mountainside and the lateral moraine beside the clear stream. I always find this landscape feature an easy, warm, still and enchanting area.
189. Looking up Tsho Rolpo lake from the terminal moraine where the natural dam was at its lowest and the water flowed out. On each side of the lake the lateral moraines hem in the water until the mountainsides take over half way up the lake.
190. Looking down the upper Rolwaling valley from the bottom of the moraines hemming in Tsho Rolpo lake. The village of Na is where the valley opens out some 3 km downstream from here.
191. The village of Na is essentially the summer residence for the herders of Bedding who move up here to take advantage of the summer pastures. It has a couple of teahouses and monastery and a very old small monastery hidden on the hillside above.
192. Looking back up the upper Rolwaling valley from just below Na. There were many Buddhist icons, flags and rock paintings here among the yak pastures.
193. The Himalayan Primroses were prolific in the pastures and under the scrub on the way down from Na to Bedding.
194. After four hard passes around 6000m, with considerable hardship and a bit of danger it was time to party as the hardest sections of the GHT were over. In two days we would lose the Sherpa team of Dawa, Pinzo and Chering. Here Ramesh, Santos and Dawa dance to Nepali folk songs.
195. 18 years after helping me climb a mountain in Norway I finally meet Dawa Cherri Sherpa at his home in Rolwaling. Dawa was one of the best climbers from this renowned valley and has most 8000m mountains under his belt. We stayed at his lodge.
196. Heading down the forested Rolwaling valley with the silt laden turquoise stream cutting a path initially through the conifers and rhododendron forest and then through the decidious forest.
197. The High Passes team at Gonggar where we said goodbye to the 3 Sherpas. From the left; Chiring Sherpa, Santos, James, Bharat, Ramesh, Dawa Sherpa and Pinzo Sherpa.
198. A Tamang lady plucking the ears off her corn in the evening en route between Jagat and Orangdanda.
199. Ramesh cooking lunch in the ladies kitchen where we stopped for lunch a couple of hours before Loting.
200. Leaving Loting and following the path through the terraces of corn on the way to Bigu Gompa, which is located under the saddle of the hill in the distance.
201. Looking SE down the Singati Khola Valley from Bigu Gompa. Loting is on a shelf on the left. At the end of the valley, lost in the haze is the dusty town of Singati Bajar.
202. The kind Magar lady who runs the official guesthouse at Bigu Gompa. She looked after me for a couple of days when I passed through here 7 years ago and was ill.
203. Some of the Rhododendrons around Tilsang La Pass were the most spectacular I had ever seen. The hillsides were speckled white with them.
204. The east Langtang range where we are going next and over the Tilman Pass from Palati Jyandan in the early morning.
205. Our hosts son milking on of the 25 Chauri. A female yak/cow cross. The 60-100 litres of milk they would get each day would be made into churpi, a very mild cheese type product.
206. The others still in bed in the early morning in our hosts cabin at Palati Jyandan. Up at the far end of the cabin the hosts had slept and it was the dairy products end also. The calves were behind me.
05. Everest Section. Nepal GHT
125. Climbing up to the Kongma La Pass gives a great view down the Lower Khumbu Valley past Dingboche and on to around Namche Bazar.
126. Looking west from the top of Kongma La pass down to the near stagnant and moraine covered Khumbu glacier and the hamlet of lodges at Lobuche on the other side.
127. Looking back to the Knogma La Pass from the devastation of the Khumbu Glacier. The descent route is on the scree to the centre left of the picture.
128. Sitting on the prayerflag festooned rock at Kala Pattar with the 7000m of Pumori in the background.
129. Mount Everest, 8848m, on the left and Nuptse, 7861m, on the right, as seen from Kala Pattar. Between them is the Western Cwm leading up to the South Col.
130. The South West Face of Everest as seen from Kala Pattar. The South Col is just visible on the right hand side.
131. Recreating a photo I took 12 years ago from Kala Pattar, looking over to Everest and Nuptse.
132. At the bottom of the Khumbu Icefall in the Western Cwm and on this side of the glacier is Everest Base Camp. If you look carefully you can see perhaps 1000 tents on the moraine with at least 5000 cooks, Sherpas, porters, climbers and logistics personal. It is a popular trekking destination but this circus of egos is probably best avoided as there is no view, in favour of a trip up Kala Pattar where there is a great view.
133. Looking SW from Kala Pattar across the glacier to the Lobuche peaks which are popular trekking peaks. The other side of that range are the lodges at Dzongla.
134. Looking south from Kala Pattar down the devastation of the Khumbu Glacier. This vast stream of ice is now near stationary and the surface moraine is covering probably 100m of ice which will melt over the next 50 years.
135. Heading down the Khumbu Glacier towards the west turn off to the hamlet of Dzongla it is usual to meet Yak caravans heading up with supplies. Pumori is the mountain in the background.
136. Looking down the upper Khumbu Valley from near Dzongla to the two giants of the eastwern flank namely Ama Dablam, left, and Thamserku, right.
137. Ama Dablam, 6856m, is rightly one of the most famous and photographed mountains in the world. This impressive view does not show of her best features.
138. Thamserku, 6608m, is the other spectacular giant on the east side of the Khumbu Valley.
139. The Shangri-La like valley beyond the lodges of Dzongla was calm and idyllic and just waiting for the arrival of hundreds of yak which would fatten up on the green monsoon grasses.
140. Dawa on the glacier just leading up to the Cho La Pass, 5420m.
141. Me in sight of the Cho La Pass. There was a small glacial lake here 12 years ago but it has vanished. You can just make out some prayer flags at the pass beyond.
142. Looking east down the valley towards the lodges at Dzongla from Cho La Pass. The glacier in the middle is the one we just came up.
143. Looking back to the Cho La Pass from the west side. After the steep snowfields there were large boulderfields which ended in a huge Yak Pasture which could easily tolerate 1000 grazing yak in the green monsoon.
144. On the way down to Dragnag we came across a herd of about 50 blue sheep. It was by far the tamest herd I have ever come across, probably due to lack of hunting in a National Park.
145. A mother and lamb look at me with curiosity and no fear as I approach.
146. The lamb feeding from the mother as I walked by.
147. Me looking across the huge almost static Ngozumba Glacier at the carnage. This glacier is in retreat but vast amounts of ice under the moraine cover have yet to melt and this will take decades.
148. Dawa looking across the Ngozumba Glacier. As the ice under the moraine melts over decades the lip on which Dawa is standing will collapse into the vacated trench, which might be 1-200metres deep.
149. The “Third Lake” at Gokyo was still frozen when we arrived. It lies at around 4730m. Beyond is the Renjo La Pass, 5360m, the penultimate of our 7 Makalu/Everest Passes.
150. Looking East from Renjo La Pass towards Everest on the left, Lhotse on the right, and Nuptse slightly lower between them.
151. A close up of Mount Everest as seen from Renjo La Pass. The South Ridge in Nepal is on the right and the North Ridge on the left is in Tibet.
152. A zoom of Makalu from Renjo La Pass. It is perhaps some 70 km away. The current climbing route is up to Makalu 1 on the left from the valley below then down to the saddle and up the ridge.
04. Makalu Section. Nepal GHT
085. Heading up the Barun Nadi Valley from Yangri Kharka to Langmale Kharka en route to Makalu Base Camp.
086. The valley of stones and boulders from Swiss Base Camp to Sherpani Col Base Camp
087. Approaching Sherpanii Col Base Camp at the end of the glacier. There was camping on the gravel at the end of the glacier.
088. Ramesh in his kitchen made out of wire crates and old tarpaulins left at the campsite. The homemade windbreak made the kerosene stove more efficient.
089. Looking up the glacier to Sherpani Col which is just right of centre. The height of Sherpani col given as 6180m on the map.
090. Looking back down the glacier to our campsite. The mountain dominating the background is Makalu, the 5th highest in the world at 8468m.
091.Going up the steeper snow slopes to gain the rocky ridge on the right which leads to Sherpani Col. The route up the ridge is secured with old rusty cables like a poor man’s via ferrata.
092. Santos, ever the joker, rejoices after hauling his enormous load to the top of Sherpani Col.
093. Looking across the Lower Barun Glacier from Sherpani Col to the slightly higher West Col at 6190m. The distance is about 2 km.
094. Bharat on Sherpani Col with the Lower Barun Glacier in the background.
095. Ramesh on top of Sherpani Col with the valley we spent the night in and just walked up in the background and beyond that Makalu.
096. Me descending the 80-90m steep slope from the crest of Sherpani Col to the Lower Barun glacier which was heavily crevassed at the bottom of the slope.
097. Pinzo at the bottom of the descent west of Sherpani Col waiting for the first packages to come down to hopefully divert them away from the crevasses where they might become stuck.
098. After the descent from Sherpani Col we walked across the Lower Barun Glacier to West Col. It was only 2 km but the altitude and deep snow made it hard work. Here we are having a rest.
099. The large tent which the 6 Nepalis occupied under the glacier covered pyramid of Barruntse at night. This camp was at about 6150 on West Col.
100. The large 6 man tent on West Col during the day. The large glacier covered pyramid in the background is Baruntse.
101. My small Vango F10 on West Col after a bitterly cold night. In the background is Makalu. Just above the roof of the tent is the darker rocky ridge on which Sherpani Col is found.
102. Our campsite on West Col after the very cold night which got down to minus 26 outside the tents and not much less inside. The pass centre left is called East Col, 6146m.
103. Looking SW from West Col across the upper west part of the Honku Basin. The route across this glacier is straight forward with few glaciers but much much longer than the route west across the Honku Basin.
104. The route west across the Honku Basin to Amphu Labsta Base Camp is much shorter than the previous picture but involves a heaving crevassed glacier and sections of loose moraine and is somewhat risky now.
105. Santos on the ridge just above the abseil point down the west side of West Col, 6190m. The old abseil point is a few hundred metres to the north but is not considered safe anymore.
106. Me near West Col with Makalu in the distance and the ridge on which Sherpani Col is found below that. The human in the distance is the lone Russian with the huge rucksack who we ‘rescued’.
107. Our climbing guide to help us across these 4 high difficult passes was Dawa Sherpa. Here in his element on West Col.
108. After some 6 trips, and 100’s km together, Bharat and myself both reach 6000 on top of West Col.
109. Dawa keeping a watchful eye on me while I start the 160m abseil down the west side of West Col. The route goes down a ridge with lots of fractured rock beside a long snowfield.
110. The first of the baggage about to be lowered down the snow slope beside the abseil. The lowering of the baggage was always fraught with difficulty and this package went down the wrong chute into a crevassed area.
111. Santos on a fixed rope trying to dislodge the baggage stuck on a rock on the bottom of the west side of West Col.
112. From the bottom of West Col we decided to take the longer, safer route involving a long detour to the teahouse at Seko Pokhari, which was like a small stone barn.
113. Ramesh in his element as the expedition cook having commandeered the kitchen to make us breakfast.
114. Spirits were very high in the team having crossed Sherpani and West Cols; two cols Nepalis find formidable. There were frequent impromptu dances and backslapping during breakfast at the relief of having crossed them.
115. Walking up the west side of the Honku glacier en route from Seko Pokhari teahouse to Amphu Labsta Base Camp which took about 4 hours.
116. Looking across the moraine trench of the Honku Glacier to the alternative route from West Col to Amphu Labsta. on the right is West Col and the steep descent, then the crevassed glacier, then the moraine piles and small glaciers. We deemed this route unsafe.
117. Ramesh on one of the curious ice shelves, almost like terraces, on the way up to Amphu Labsta pass.
118. Bharat strolling along the top of one of the ice shelves near the top of Amphu Labsta pass.
119. Santos just approaching the top of Amphu Labsta pass with his huge load.
120. Bharat tying his ‘good travels’ scarf to the top of Amphu Labsta pass and adding to the colourful tangle of prayer flags and previous scarfs.
121. The view from the top of Amphu Labsta Pass, 5845m, northwards to Island Peak, 6189m. Island Peak is a meter shorter than West Col.
122. Dawa just checking out the harness and equipment for Ramesh before he make the relatively short 40-50m abseil down the steepest top section on the north side of Amphu Labsta Pass.
123. Amphu Labsta Pass seen from the bottom. Our tracks can be seen coming down the centre, then skirting right under the rocks, before descending straight down again before veering right.
124. A happy team at the bottom of Amphu Labsta pass in the sunshine. It was only about 10 in the morning and we had an easy 4-5 hour descent to Chhukhung ahead of us to reach the luxuries of the Everest Region.
03. Arun Nadi River Section. Nepal GHT
048. Leaving our camp before West Pass Lumba Sumba and climbing to the pass with Kanchenjunga in the distance.
049. On top of West Pass Lumba Sumba, about 5200m, with the valley down to Thudam behind. From left Ramesh, Bharat and Santos.
050. Descending West Pass Lumba Sumba towards Thudam with Santos with his huge red bag at the rear.
051. Approaching Thudam which lies in a mountain meadow after 1700 metres descent.
052. The tiny and very very remote hamlet of Thudam consists of about 12 houses or families of which 5 earn their living from yak herding.
053. Yaks crossing the river at Thudam from the pastures on the south side to the hamlet on the north side.
054. Overnight there was about 5cm snow at Thudam. The yaks stayed close to or under the houses at night.
055. A hillside of Himalayan Primroses which thrive around the 3000m mark.
056. The mountainsides between Thudam and the Kharka reminded me of a Chinese watercolour of the mystical Celestial Mountains.
057. After a quick break at this Kharka which herded dhzo, (half yak half cow) we continued our journey to the Arun Nadi River.
058. The huge Arun Nadi River rises in Tibet and flows south through the Himalayas in a deep valley.
059. The tiny bamboo “hotel” in a clearing just above the Arun Nadi river was run by this charming Sherpa lady. Ramesh has already taken over her kitchen!
060. The village of Chyamtang is the nearest neighbour to Thudam but is some 10 hours walk away. It has a character more familiar with the Hill Region, or Pahad.
061. The path between Chyamtang and Hongon went along the north wall of the Arun Nadi gorge but about 500m above the river. You can just make the path out contouring across the very steep hillside.
062. A warm welcome to the very friendly village of Hongon by some of the children. This large, charming, village had about 100 houses or families.
063. The meadow in which we camped with rhododendron and Bhunia daphne. Beyond in the steep snowfield we had to climb to reach Molan Pokhari.
064. Ramesh climbing the steep snowfield with about 35kg in his basket. An awesome guy.
065. The fabled lake at Molan Pokhari was completely lost in the winter landscape and frozen over. In the distance at the mountains on the Nepal-Tibet border.
066. Coming down from the highpoint near Molan Pokhari to Dhungee Kharka.
067. Ramesh crossing the tiny bridge over the very remote Saldim Khola before we headed up the south side.
068. Whenever we camp in the woods we make a camp fire to cook on and to dry out some clothing.
069. Heading up the huge gully to the east end of Furling Danda ridge. The gully was clogged with avalanche debris making for a firm surface which was easy to climb.
070. Santos coming up the gully full of avalanche debris. At the bottom of the snow chute in the right was a small meadow which was our campsite.
071. A steeper section on the snow chute where a ridge of moraine cut across the main gully made for a tricky section which Santos and his huge pack gallantly led.
072. About two thirds of the way up the snow chute we got a great view across the valleys up to Dhungee Kharka from 48 hours ago. Dhungee Kharka is about mid photo and a meadow covered in snow.
073. In the top half of the snow chute where it opened up into a fan leading to the penultimate pass of the climb which is all we managed before the mist arrived.
074. Our camp just after the penultimate pass. We had to camp here around midday when mist enveloped us and confused us.
075. Leaving camp at 0500 in the morning to gain the top of the snow chute pass, our first of 3 in the Furling Danda range. Behind us the mountains of Eastern Nepal are spread out all the way to Kanchenjunga in the distance.
076. The last part of the climb at the top of the snow chute leading to the pass over to Kalo Pokhari.
077. Typical conditions after about 1000 in the morning, when as a rule mist quickly blotted out the sun and then snow showers followed.
078. Our last of 3 campsites on the difficult Furling Danda ridge. We could not find a flat spot so had to dig a shelf out of the slope with our metal dinner plates.
079. Looking from our final campsite down into the deep Barun Nadi river gorge.
080. The final steps up the third and final pass on the Furling Danda ridge. Beyond this obstacle it was downhill to the fleshpots and drysocks of Yangri Kharka.
081. The joy of reaching the last pass was shared. It had been a hard 4 days to end a gruelling week since the comforts of Hongon. In the distance is the Khongma La pass on the Makalu Base Camp route.
082. The steep gully we came down yesterday which was essentially the second pass in the Furling Danda range. Viewed from the third pass before the long descent to the Barun Nadi river.
083. The rickety bridge over the Barun Nadi river took a steady nerve to cross. Here is the brave Santos having his go.
084. The final steps across the meadows on the valley floor before reaching Yangri Kharka, which for us had become a promised land. Dawawas waiting here for us to take us over the high passes in the next section namely; Section 04. Makalu.
02. Kanchenjunga Section. Nepal GHT
011. The magnificent magnolia trees stood out majestically in the forest
012. A typical homestead on the way down to Simbu. These homesteads are surrounded by cardamom plantations.
013. Another homestead on the way up to Kande Bhanjyang in the middle of a hot 800m climb.
014. Laligras as it is known in Nepali is the national flower of Nepal. It thrives around the 2500m mark.
015. At the saddle after the huge 1000m plus climb from Yamfudin or Sherpagoan is a small cabin or bhatti which serves food.
016. The landslide at the saddle is steep and constantly loosing more rocks. It needs another 200m detour round the top of it to bypass it.
017. A pair of Red Pandas had recently gone up the trail I was coming down. They love the conifer forests with a bamboo undergrowth.
018. Walking up from Torantang to Chesam after the snowfall made everything look like a Chinese watercolour.
019. The porters Ramesh and Santos going up the snowy path from Torantang to Chesam.
020. Ramesh in the juniper tree forest on our way to try and cross Mitgin La pass to reach Ghunsa.
021. The south side of the Kanchenjunga massif is detained by the massive Yalong Glacier.
022. Above Chesam after a near 500m climb when we got bogged down in the snow. Mirgin La is three consecutive passes and this was the first. We had to give up.
023. The roof shingles on the tea house at Torantang. The whole building was about 50 years old.
024. A poor homestead made out of bamboo surrounded by cardamom plants. This was just after Japantar and before the climb to Amjilosa.
025. The magnificent peak of Januu dominates the southern part on the Kanchenjunga massif. It is a very difficult mountain to climb.
026. The porters, Ramesh and Santos, had 4 days off as we left all the gear in Ghunsa for the there and back trip to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp.
027. The team at the start of the GHT (Great Himalaya Trail) which is Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. However we had been trekking for 2 weeks just to get to the start.
029. The memorial stone at Kanchenjunga Base Camp facing the north face of the third highest mountain on earth beyond.
030. A view of the enormous Kanchenjunga Glacier from near North Base Camp as it makes it way down to Lhonak. you can see how much the glacier has sunk back into its trench causing the lateral moraines to collapse.
031. Nima Chettin from Ghunsa who runs a rustic teahouse at Lhonak. Nima is a remarkable and kind gentleman who has hosted me twice.
032. The mountains to the south of the Kumbhakarna Glacier to the east of the hamlet of Kambachen. Further to the left and out of picture is the even more spectacular Januu
033. Leading the two dhzo (half yak-half cow) by nose rings as they plough a furrow in a Ghunsa field turning in manure and creating a trench for potatoes to be sown in.
034. A team of women sowing the potatoes in the trench the pair of Dhzo have just created.
035. Our camp up the Yangma Samba Khola valley between snowfalls. The Nanga La Pass is in the distance to the right of the peak.
036. Santos struggling with his large load in waist deep snow coming down the north side of the Nanga La. We were far too late in the day to get hard snow and paid a heavy price.
037. Santos and Ramesh cooking supper at the end of the hugely taxing day over the Nanga La Pass. How they showed such cheer after this day is admirable.
038. Langjong Kharka on the way down the north side of Nanga La pass. It would have made a beautiful place to camp but we camped an hour before.
039. Looking through the Silver Firs from near Langjong Kharka back up to the mountains on the north side of Nanga La Pass.
040. The Himalayan Primrose (I think) was all over the forest floor en route to the Yangma Khola river as we descended from Langjong Kharka.
041. Steep hillsides the path has to traverse high above the Yangma Khola en route to the village of Olangchun Gola.
042. A bear print after leaving Olangchun Gola. This bear destroyed a yak herders’ camp causing US$1000 of damage to his stored possessions.
043. From the front Santos, Dale and Ramesh carrying their loads up difficult ground on the way to out camp at Thandri Kharka while on the 3 day climb up to Lumba Sumba Pass.
044. Looking down at Thandri Kharka where we camped at the far end of this snow covered meadow on the second of out 3 nights climbing up to Lumba Sumba Pass.
045. The usual poor conditions on day 3 of our climb up to Lumba Sumba Pass. Just after this photo we decided to camp.
046. On the fourth day we woke to great conditions and hoped to cross both East and West Passes of Lumba Sumba Pass but the conditions deteriorated rapidly and we only managed East Pass.
047. Tent life while heavy snow falls outside at 5000m. From the left Bharat, Santos, Dale and Ramesh while I took the photo. All 5 of us could easily fit in the large tunnel tent.
01. Preparation for Nepal Great Himalaya Trail (Nepal GHT)
001. The highest temple in Bhaktapur remarkably withstood the 2015 earthquake and remained intact
002. Newari men passing the late afternoon sitting in one of the many alcoves enjoying the sun and conservation
004. The old palace on the Durbar Square in Patan near Kathmandu
004. The stalls at Pashupathinath are full of the vibrant colours of Hindu worship
005. The ghats at Pashupatinath are an auspicious place for devote Hindus to be cremated
006. The enormous main Stupa at Bhoudhanath is the spiritual centre of Buddhism in Nepal and a focal point for the ethnically Tibetan peoples of Nepal
007. Some of the climbing gear Dawa and his 2 porters will bring to Makalu base camp after 3 weeks for the high passes. 200m 10mm rope, 3 crampons and 4 microspikes, 25 krabs, 12 snow anchors, 3 sleeping bags for the climbing porters, 7 helmets, pair of ice tools, 3 harnesses and more for the 2 weeks of 6000 metre passes.
008. Just some of the gear for our team of 4, Bharat, Santos, Ramesh and Myself. 2 tents, 4 sleeping bags, 4 thermal liners, 4 mattresses, kerosene stove, pressure cooker, down jackets, rain jackets, eating utensils, first aid kit, repair kit and thats just the camping gear.