(A mix of travel notes and comments added later)
19-09-2014 - Friday
The day Tim had mentioned he had plenty of toilet paper left, of the 6 rolls issued in the kit bags for camping, he paid the price overnight…
Photo, before use, of what I think is the worst aspect of camping! Photo by Robbie.
“Survivor Tibet" is down to three people, including me. I don't know what I've done to avoid it but only hope it keeps working.
Maybe I'll owe Mike Allsop (and his advice at TEDxAkl) a massive thanks after this trip? Perhaps the USANA multi-vitamin, minerals and probiotic supplements are doing more than making my pee bright yellow!?
Climb in the saddle, to the saddle
Lalung La Pass was long gradual ascent. After a short section up the valley, beside the river, it climbed as a series of switchbacks to the top. One part high on the pass was quite flat, to the extent that some of us debated if it was the top. It wasn’t!
Andy (below) passes a flashing light indicating police checkpoint at the village ahead.
The actual top was marked by a small collection of prayer flags but have been misled by those. Sometimes they mark a significant site but not the highest point. Some views looked like those photos from the Martian rovers, albeit with fluffy clouds and blue sky photo-shopped in.
I checked the elevation on my phone here, wasn’t sure if we had more climbing, but this was the top!
From there it was an increasingly rapid descent to the saddle valley where we are camping for the night. Not quite per itinerary, a flow on from the change in plans at Everest.
The campsite was lovely. It is beside a clear fast flowing river near a few small farm buildings. At about 4900m it is our highest overnight stay but, in spite of being off Diamox, so far have felt ok.
You had to watch your step as the ground was pockmarked with holes.
Although we briefly saw the occupants, and Robbie photographed one, as they dashed between holes only recently found out there are several types of Himalayan Marmot. One of them, but not those sharing our campsite, can weigh over 6kg!
Marmot hole photo by me. Marmot photo by a far more patient Robbie.
Close-up of Ian's awesome bike soon after arrival. It combined titanium frame with belt drive 14 speed hub drivetrain (matching gear spread of 21 speed derailleur set-up) and, for this trip, a Tibetan mudguard!
Lunch was ready soon after arrival: soup, home made fries and jahpati with lemon squash. Due to a shorter than expected ride it was another lazy afternoon. I read a bit, more Simpsons math, and caught up with the trip notes. Also tried to figure out the next days ride.
According to my Nokia Here map it's 63km to Nylam but we are camping (last camp of the trip!) 2km beyond there. It's mostly downhill as we descend from the top of Lalung La Pass ~5100m (a short climb from the camp) to Nyalam ~3750m.
Due to the altitude, and fine clear sky, think it is going to be cold tonight. For the first time I have the icebreaker 260 thermals on in the sleeping bag (where this is being written!) on the theory it it's easier to get cool, if too hot, than warm once cold. Also will be needed should nature call during the night be needed although not bring on Diamox has greatly reduced that urge!
I woke up in the middle of the night sweating. Due to short term memory loss forgot about the thermals and thought had the lurgi! I was just too hot in that mountain spec sleeping bag!
Quote of the day:
After a map estimate of a 45km ride became just 27km in the real world:
Bas (to Eric): “What happened to the German precision map reading?”
Eric: “What's up with that Tibetan precision map?"
- Snack stop altitude 4767.500 meters
- Lalung La Pass Top 5050 meters
- Camp altitude 4871.500 meters