Thursday, August 4, 2016

An attempt at 3 passes - Day 5 to Lungde

The morning of Day 5 was bright and sunny and's hike would take us to 4380 m - an altitude gain of 580 meters. In the past treks I noticed that a significant bunch of hikers started to get mild AMS symptoms around 4200 m, and given AD can't  take Diamox  due to sulfur allergy and AA hadn't yet started on Diamox, it was imperative that we climb slowly.

Mid-morning tea halt
After breakfast, an easy walk took us to Tarnga (4000m) where we stopped for some tea and AD's dark chocolate trail mix. While the trail wasn't difficult on its own, the wind was really strong and cold and dusty. The path followed the river and we also crossed a couple of landslides.

After crossing Langmuche Khola (which drains the Langmuche glacier) on an iron bridge, we climbed into a wide sandy valley that continued to Marlung (4210 m). Marlung has lodges on either side of river and it is also a good place to observe the spectacular view of the largest glacier in the Himalayas (Ngozumba glacier) and Kongde Ri.

Iron bridge
From here around 2.5 hours of vertical climb through the dry valley finally took us to Lungde. This trail offers a beautiful view of snow capped mountains and the valley. The altitude was now beyond 4000 m and AD & I were backpacking - the combination resulted us in getting tired and we needed more frequent breaks.
However, our guide was very strict and after just 3-4 minutes of rest he would start nagging us to start moving again. At one point, AD & I got so frustrated that we told him to go ahead without us. After all, we wanted to also enjoy the beautiful wasn't just about reaching Lungde.

We reached Lungde around lunch time and after dropping our bags into our rooms we proceeded for lunch. AA suddenly wasn't feeling very well - he was cold, had no appetite, had some headche and was very tired. These looked like symptoms of altitude sickness but they weren't severe and headache wasn't too pronounced so we made him take a paracetamol with lots of water and ensured that he eats some garlic soup. Post this meagre meal, he got into his sleeping bag and I covered him with two blankets as he was feeling very cold.

Our guide stayed with him for some time lest it was serious but after about half an hour, he also felt that it was just cold & fatigue, so he left to get some much needed rest for himself. The rooms here had attached toilets but they weren't western style and had no running water - were clean though...this is the best one can get at this altitude!!!

Having decided on an early dinner, we met back in the dining gall at 6 pm and I was happy to see AA back in good spirits...guess rest was all he had needed. While eating, I started chatting up with a group that was coming from Gokyo (we were hiking the reverse route). They informed us that we had chosen a tougher route - a climb of 1000 m from this side to Renjo La vs 600 m from Gokyo. This news at this late an hour wasn't of much help to us except preparing us mentally for a tough climb.

Our guide insisted on a 4 am start for us to get to the pass around 10 am for a clear view of the Everest range but I was adamant that I won't get up that early - I pouted till we settled for 4:45 am start...we were going to get same view again from Gokyo Ri anyway!

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