Day 11. Dzongla 4810m. to Cho La Pass 5368m. to Thangnak 4700m.
Not a great nights sleep at 4800m. and I had the beginnings of a head cold. Lea was awake from 0100. We got up at 0400 as today was to be a long tough trek. We had hoped to get Jon served breakfast early so we could get going but of course he was in for breakfast last. We were on the trail by 0515.
Another beautiful clear morning with no wind. A few other trekkers were off early too.
It was a steady uphill climb to what appeared to be a near vertical rock face. However, there was a scramble path up the rocks against the cliff
We followed this up to and above the snow line.
Then out onto the Glacier, walking on snow with water running underneath in places.
The snow traverses were slippery and freaked the girls out a bit. We didn’t have crampons unlike some trekkers but managed in the end ok.
We walked up to the top of the glacier and then the final steep ascent to the pass at 5368m by 1000. We shared some snacks and hard boiled eggs. We enjoyed the views and relaxed for an hour.
Then it was time for the very difficult, slippery descent. My cold was developing quickly and I was getting very tired. It was a brutal descent and we were relieved not to be climbing it. We could see a large moraine ridge in the distance and thought this was the finish point but it proved premature and the trail involved more scrambling between and over large rock piles. We were all pretty stuffed at the bottom.
We ran into a group of Chileans trekking with a guide about to ascend to the pass. One was suffering AMS. I made sure he had some Diamox and advised him of the difficulty and height of the ascent. Not my place to say it directly but I thought he was very foolish to continue. It was already late to be starting the climb and they had a long way to go.
By the time our Lodge came into view I was feeling terrible with a runny nose and bad headache.
By the time we got to the lodge I was struggling. After a some soup and rehydration I tried 3 types of pain killers over the next 3 hours. Nothing touched the headache and I began coughing. I believed and Nima agreed that it shouldn’t be AMS as we had descended and were well acclimatised. I thought it was the flu. In the end I took a whole Diamox finally the headache began to subside.
The clouds closed in during the afternoon so we had had the best of the day.
The Cho La Pass Resort was also in shut down mode and we will be the last guests of the season. The dining room was lovely and warm after the fire was lit early afternoon.