Day 30-35: Journey to Grazing Kharka

Posted on 04 Apr 2018

The crossing of another beautiful snow covered pass had deteriorated into a slog. Each step risked a plunge into knee deep slush as we descended a steep ridge.

Below, what looked to be less than 800 metres away, was the bridge crossing  the river to dry ground. Between us and the bridge there was no discernible trail, just a dense cover of rhododendrons mixed with two feet of slushy snow. Even though at least 10 people had passed through the tangle ahead of us, their tracks didn’t seem to provide any advantage.

With each step we’d look for where to place our feet  trying not to get hit in the face with branches  and a grasp for handholds, to keep from diving too far down the slope. After 15 minutes of battle, we made it through.

This turned out to be one of our favorite days so far. The challenging climb to get to the pass offered amazing views followed by an exhilarating snow-covered descent and topped off with a fight through the forest. We can tell this is a very lightly travelled area, far from the tourist itinerary. We’ll sleep well tonight. 

A Twofer

After spending most of two days holed up in our tents to stay out of the rain and snow pellets we made up for it by covering two days travel in a single day  and it was a climber! We were on snow most of the day as we hiked around 1,300 metres (4,300 feet), and setting up camp at around 4,200 metres (13,800 feet). It was challenging to climb where the snow was soft, having to hole our way up steep slopes.

The final stretch was a narrow chute that required a fixed rope to help pull your way up and keep it safe  another day to remember in this wild country. 

We have had several days of this rugged travel preparing us our next big test of the high passes, which we are about a week away from undertaking. We’re more confident now that we have several weeks behind us and have been over challenging passes, but know that the altitude always takes a toll. 

More heartwarming moments

Despite the challenging treks, we've experienced many more moments that have left us smiling en route. Here are a couple:

•  Hot chocolate on a cold morning. 

  Cozy tent at the end of a long day. 

  Walking in a snow storm bundled under layers and covered by a hat and glasses and buff and thinking this is where I want to be. 

  Watching porters run across snow covered trail above a river 40 meters below. 

  Took a selfie today to send to my grandson to show how tough grandpa is but there was frozen stuff hanging out of my nose so I deleted it. 

  Kali found a home. A family asked to adopt Kali, which makes us happy for her but sorry not to have her around. 

•  Boot skiing after crossing a pass. 

•  Starry nights over a cold camp. 

That’s about it. The weather has gotten into a consistent pattern of nice mornings followed by wet afternoons and evenings. It hasn’t affected us much but the trails have gotten a little sloppy and slippery in places. We’ll be glad to get back to some more regularly travelled paths. 

Hope everything is well back home. We have had zero chance to check any comments, news or use the internet, but hope to get a chance to check in soon.

All the best from the GHT,

Ven, Ken, Ricardo and Trek Leader Tsering.

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