Day 31: A rest day, thieving yaks and more days ahead crossing unstable virgin snow

Posted on 28 Mar 2017

Molun Pokhari 3900m. 28 March 2017

Since our last post we have descended into the Arun valley, crossed and ascended to Chamtang for a rest day, washed and dried some clothes, drank some Lhasa beer, ate a couple of old sheep; and now returned to the snows.

Chamtang villageThe morning at the Yak Karka revealed a "whodunnit" mystery, our hand wash carbolic "soap on on a rope" had disappeared with nothing more than a frayed piece of string to be seen. The conclusion was that one of the nocturnal Yaks wandering around the camp must have had a taste for soap! - yuck!

Rest day in Chamtang was enjoyed by all, including the local children who loved watching any videos on our phones, Honey the dog bursting balloons was a particular favourite. The proximity of the local store was also used to good advantage for the odd cold can of Lhasa beer (we were at low altitude after all).

Our final night in Chamtang we had a large thunderstorm with hailstones playing our tents like drums then a couple of hours of torrential rain subsequently flooding our camp on one of the villages terraces, but the sun rose again for our walk to Hongong. Chandra, our cook, received new supplies portered in to Hongong, and purchased a goat for the pot, which was enjoyed by porters, staff and us alike.

Now we have ascended towards Moulin Pokari, on our way to join fresh faces for Makalu and stage two.

Today's 900m ascent started in the snow covered jungle and proceeded onto steeply angled snow slopes where the snow had a more "fluid" character defying attempts to achieve safely compacted steps. The depth also meant everyone disappeared up to their waist on a frustratingly regular basis often requiring assistance to regain the surface.

Arun NadiThe instability of the slopes was also evident when a dangerously large chunk of ice detached from a rook outcrop above slid down the 45deg slope and targeted Matt's arm (luckily no serious injury!). The amount of time we have now spent on unstable virgin snow (no one has crossed any of the passes - bar Nango-La - in front of us) is making this Stage 1 very technically difficult and physically challenging, but we probably still have the next five or more days in similar conditions.

Gairebe despres d'un mes d'haver iniciat el GHT la neu ens segueix acompanyant i requereix d'un sobresforc per superar els colls mentre ens enfonsem fins els genolls. Inexorablement anem avancant i cremant etapes sense defallir. Tot el grup format per porters, staff i members funciona admirablement en aquest entorn. Els deus ens observen, alla encara lluny, estan neguitosos, al deu del Baruntse li arriban noticies de que aquest cop la cosa va de veritat...els deus del Makalu ni s'inmuten saben que passarem aprop pero no els molestarem...ara plou i jo tinc d'anar a cagar...greu problema ! Pel cel corren nuvols de tempesta potser aquesta nit en tindrem noticies...les banderoles dels Cavalls al Vent onejen.

Matt, Jordi, Martin, Campru, Ian & T Leader Juddha Rai.

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