Nepal Trek Day 9. Gunsang to Throng Phedi

Elevation gain:  12,800’ to 14,600’ (+1,800’)
Estimated miles: 15km
Time: not sure

We awoke with the plan of making to the Ledar for the night, which was not too far away.  As we ate an early breakfast we watched clouds move in over the valley below us.  As it is supposed to be past the monsoon season this seemed a bit strange, but no need for alarm.

But I did notice the clouds looked thick and low, and that possibly a huge storm was brewing.  I did not know how right I would turn out to be until several days later, when the storm wreaked havoc on our plans, resulting in a closing of the pass (after we were over), caused countless landslides, and continued onto the Philippines for even more damage.

The landscape was becoming more and more bleak the higher we trekked.  Still plants, and some very interesting ones for the botanist, but with winter coming and temperatures dropping this place was really starting to feel desolate.  However, the occasional donkey train would still pass us, and yak herds were now common place on the steep hillsides.

We made it to Ledar around noon, and saw several other trekkers we had seen on and off throughout our time on the trail.  We decided to stop at one of the two tea houses for some warm tea, as the weather was getting rather raw.  This was where we were considering spending the night, but the service was so horrible and the tea was so gross that we couldn’t bear the thought of staying.

Of course I was worried about ascending any higher, since it is recommended one does not ascend more than 1,000’ a day to avoid altitude sickness, and I had not been so confident with my ascending abilities at these heights.  But we agreed that if we took it really slowly the altitude should be fine.  After all, Throng Phedi was lower in altitude than Ice Lake.

All was going well until we had to descend to a stream crossing and then ascend on the far side, only about 100’, but it was very steep.  We should have continued to move slowly, but it started raining, and things were getting wet and we were cold.  So we moved faster.  Almost immediately I was out of breath and my headache returned.

By the time we got to Throng Phedi I felt as if I would faint, couldn’t feel my hands or feet, and was otherwise very nervous about spending the night at that altitude.  However given 30 minutes of rest and warmth I felt better, so we stayed.  The tea house had a very cozy fireplace, so we read, ate, and played cards.  In all, it was a great night.


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