Thorung Pass

on Friday, 23 April 2010

I whake up at about midnight and have a look at my ipod to see the time. I notice that a cookie that was next to my bed has dissapeared and I start wondering whether maybe I had eaten it the night before, but was fairly sure I hadn't. I finally get back to sleep and wake up at 2:30am. I look over and under Tom's bed is the half eaten cookie, it looks as though Tom had a case of the munchies and had pinched it during the night. On closer inspection though it has been nibbled all the way round by a mouse during the night and the mouse looked as though he had tried to frame tom, planting it under his bed. At 4am we leave for the pass. Obviously it is still pitch black and between the five of us, Gopal has a small useless torch, Julies guide and Tom had nothing and Julie had a headtorch that had about as much light as a glowstick. 10 minutes in Julies headtorch dies completely and we have to do the rest of the climb using just my headtorch and Gopals tiny torch. When we get to the top it has got seriously cold and when I take of my gloves, the sweat inside immediately freezes, luckily the sun starts to rise and we get a bit of light. This is at the high base camp, which would usually be another stop off for most people. After the high camp we pick up quite a few more trekkers and it starts to get seriously cold, at about 5000m, I really start to struggle breathing and although Julie and Tom are ok, I can barely walk 10 metres without being totally breathless and have to stop to rest. Eventually we arrive at the sign which says that we have finally reached the top of the pass at 5419m, and after collapsing and resting, get the obligatory photos of us by the sign.

We are only there 15 minutes and then we have to descend all the way down to Muktinath. Which is actually harder on our legs than going up, although for me the air gets better and I can breathe easier. So we have ascended over a 1000m and are now descending almost 2000m. We get into Muktinath absolutely shattered and as we arrive there is a holy man sitting at the side of the road smoking cannabis through a pipe and offering it to everyone who walks past. We get to our hotel and manage to get a warm shower, the wind has really picked up outside and it is like something from the wild west with stuff being blown down the street. Our guides have snuck out and return shortly after bleary eyed and slurring their words. They deny it but we know they have been over the road and have had a fair few apple brandys. We brave the weather and pop over to try one, which they have said are great, we also are convinced to try some goat meat. While sitting in this weird room chatting, eating goats meat, there is a sudden scream and a we all jump up and turn around to find a baby is sleeping on a pile of boxes and blankets in the corner and we had not noticed at all. We have a quick look round town for some souvenirs, but there is not much on sale as most of the shops had closed because of the weather. We come across a supermarket selling some "Tasty Marie" biscuits though. Tomorrow is another quite long day to Jomson, so we have another early night.