by site editor Rick McCharles
We got an early start out of Samo.
Manaslu was perfect. Cloudless.
Not even spindrift, rare for an 8000m peak.
This is why you want to trek in November / early December.
Mike and I were happy to have the weather. Wanted to get up and over the Pass as soon as possible. If he were to have to backtrack to the start, he’d miss his flight back to the U.K.
The arid terrain that high up was very Tibetan.
Not much can live in this climate. Yet Yaks thrive.
The scenery is fantastic. You hike closer to the big peaks than anywhere else I’ve been in Nepal.
I was one happy hiker.
Some trek from Samo only to Samdo 3690m. Then make a long, long day climbing over the 5106m Larkya Pass.
Sounds crazy to me. But it worked for a German couple we had been hiking with. Their guide doesn’ t like Larkya Phedi 4470m (Dharmsala).
Larkya Phedi is a harsh place. In every way.
It was closed by MCAP in 2011 for being an “illegal structure”. But open since. Open normally until about Dec 15th each season. Food sometimes runs out before that date, however. Some years hikers eat nothing but potatoes before crossing the Pass.
We knew fresh eggs had arrived.
Larkya Phedi is the last place you can sleep with a roof over your head. … On the other hand, there were no beds left when we arrived. When the Pass is closed, it gets very crowded here.
We set up my tent on a snow patch.I wouldn’t be getting much sleep anyway. Wake-up time would be 2am.
Hikers tried to relax in the sun. Nap if they could.
It got very cold as the sun went down.
Toilets are overflowing with feces. They don’t stink. They are frozen.
Ivan saw one Nepali shit into the stream above Camp. The only source of drinking water. That’s how uneducated some of the porters are. That’s why the water is so dangerous in Nepal.
We walked the ridge above Camp for acclimatization. And to stay warm. There were dozens of Blue Sheep up there. Until hikers scared them away.
I practiced various speeds walking both uphill and downhill to maintain an optimal temperature. This in anticipation of the Pass, considered much more difficult than Thorung La on Annapurna.
Wandering alone up there until dark, this was the single highlight of the entire trek for me.
Mike and I lingered in the dining hall as late as we possibly could. Staying warm. And avoiding our cold tents. Mike and our guide were forced to share a rent a tent as all beds were taken. Porters slept on these tables and benches starting 10pm.
Last minute I ordered hot water for my Nalgene bottle, using it inside my sleeping bag to warm my feet. Temperature dropped to at least -15C. (5F)
It would be a very short night …
see high resolution photos from this day on flickr