by site editor Rick McCharles
Today was the day. We’d cross Larkya La.
- 2am wake up … plenty of noise in Camp
- 2:30am packed up my tent
- 3:00am breakfast … terrible oatmeal, OK pancake, litre of coffee
- 3:30am intended start
We actually got going nearer to 4am. And it’s plenty cold standing around in the dark.
I was counting on a bright full moon.
Sadly for me, it had set long before 4am.
Finally setting off, we attempted to catch Tasha and Ivan. Breathing was difficult. Vision was worse. I finally had to step out of line to change batteries in my headlamp.
This first 45min was the worst part of the Manaslu Circuit for me, so far. 😦
Whilst moving, you are not cold.
Things got better as the sky lightened.
Glorious when the sun finally appeared atop the high peaks.
It was good to be alive when sunshine hits you in the face this high up.
At this point we were completely confident in crossing Larkya. We could relax.
This was like any winter in my Canadian Great White North.
We were surprised how quickly we reached Larkya La 5106m (16,751ft).
We’d started early to avoid severe wind here. Happily, there was very little wind.
I left a Summit Stone in thanks for safe passage.
The descent should be easy.
Actually, it was quite challenging on one long, steep section.
Porters, in particular, were slipping and falling. I can see why this Pass could be closed after a snow storm.
It’s a little more treacherous than it looks.
You skirt the glacier before getting back to reasonable footing.
Some make a side trip to visit the glacial lake. We skipped it.
Once finally down down, the trail is easy.
Smiles on our faces, we arrived Bimtang 3720m.
That might be the finest guest house we saw on the Circuit. Private cabins. It was booked, of course. By large groups of French trekkers.
It was early in the day. Mike and I were the 3rd & 4th hikers to arrive. Tasha and Ivan were 1st & 2nd.
It takes most hikers 6-10hrs to make the crossing. Much longer, of course, if you start in Samdo rather than Larkya Phedi.
We took the chance to bathe in the sun. The river was flowing, but water taps at our guest house were frozen.
And do some laundry.
I again walked the moraine ridge above Camp at sunset. But it wasn’t nearly as inspiring as the night before. Things are a bit anticlimactic after crossing the Pass.
We chatted through dinner. Went to bed early. I slept 11hrs straight through.
Note: One woman had fallen the day before we crossed the Pass. Hit her head. Though continuing immediately, she had a suspected concussion. She was resting in Bintang. Make sure your travel insurance covers hiking at altitude.
see high resolution photos from this day on flickr