Monday, March 5, 2012

The Last Throes - Gokyo to Lukla

I recently got my hands on the final photos of our last Nepal trek - the "Three Passes" of the Everest region. I have blogged earlier about the Kongma La and Cho La, but finally a few words and photos on the final pass the Renjo La.

Our tight-fistedness had finally worn us down. Reaching Gokyo I would have been down under 80kg for the first time since my mid-teens and I was wondering why I wasn't so keen to go exploring in the beautiful mountains. Even the wander up the valley from Gokyo to "scoundrels view", the easiest view of Everest had seemed a challenge. In this context lugging our bags over the 5400 Renjo La seemed a bit of a challenge. In the end we suffered away and it wasn't that hard. The eastern side has a well marked track through the choss while the steeper western side has had steps cut in recent years lowering the difficulty several notches on any scale. The weather also held for the crossing of the pass, and the views were simply stunning.

The snippets of view on the way up though, were nothing compared to the vast expanse of mountains which greeted us on the Renjo La itself. Wild, strange forms of ice, rock and snow...

Looking back east to Everst, Lhotse, Makalu and company

Looking west to nowhere in particular.

We were had it, well Sam was actually cranking it through alright - it must have been those extra fat stores he started with paying their due.
Photography, discussion and even contemplation were at a minimum, it was down into the valley towards the village of Thame, where in the mist we found a guesthouse, then onwards down again to Namche Bazaar, then Lukla and out. The most dangerous airport in the world one last psychological hurdle to overcome before we were suddenly plonked into the middle of Kathmnadu. Crazy days that like them all eventually come to an end. What have we gained from our travel in Nepal...I'm unsure...we didn't push our boundaries as such, or gain a new perspective on life we hadn't had before, we were certainly reminded of our fortune in being kiwis, with coin, but what does this really do for you? We certainly got to spend some awesome time with my side of the family, which was amazing, we were reminded that simple lives can be happy (although hard) and we saw once again that humans will occupy every single niche in nature given half a chance.

The team with Everest on the Renjo La

Down into the valley with prayers...

Into the seasonal yak herding grounds in a high basin

Yaks, mountains and huts

The village of Thame below the Tashi Labsta

A place to call home

Namche Bazaar