So close, so close for crossing Thorong la pass!
Before crossing the Thorong la pass you can stay night in Thorung phedi (4540m) or in High camp (4925m). Many people prefer staying the night in Thorung phedi, because it’s in lower altitude. We already have adapted our bodies well for high altitude thanks to Tilicho lake- trek, so we are feeling safe to go to High camp for night. Besides, it’s so much faster on the next morning to go to Thorong la pass and crossing it to the next village, when we are already in high camp, and not lower.
For today ascent is 700 meters, which a lot for one day. Until the Thorung phedi the hiking was quite easy, but after you saw that madly steep and long uphill from Thorung phedi to High camp, you wanted to cry. That climbing was hard. Like really hard. And it felt like it’s never gonna end. Slowly but steady we hiked up on the mountain side and we reached the High camp early after 11.00 AM. It was painful and sweaty climbing. Breathing was extremely hard and wheezy, but we made it.
The views was stunning! It felt like you are a top of the world! In the high camp there is not much to do. So we sat again on the dining hall squeezed side by side getting warmness from each other. There was many familiar faces and many new ones. In the small group of ours playing card games there was a German couple, Israeli guy who lived in New York and solo travelling American. Evening went by talking about everything between sky and earth - mostly while sharing travel stories, playing cards and drinking a lot of tea. There wasn’t any possibility to get a shower and the wifi connection didn’t work. Not surprise. But it doesn’t matter are you getting the shower or not, cause everyone smells just as bad as you do.
In the High camp they starts to make breakfast around 5 AM. We thought that if all these people are on breakfast that time, it takes for ages to get a breakfast and the trekking route is probably going to be crowded. So, we ordered couple of chapatis (bread) and boiled eggs in the evening and wrapped them in foil. We woke up at 3.45 AM to eat our plain and cold breakfast. At 4.30 AM we left from high camp to trek into the darkness. Only light source we had, was ours head lamps. It’s quite creepy to trek along the mountain side when it’s pitch black outside, but the night sky with the stars was mesmerizing. There was only couple of other trekkers with us hiking up on this early. It was snowing slowly and the weather was very chilly.
Higher we got, the weather turned more freezing. The wind was getting worse. They say, you should cross the Thorong la pass before 10.00 AM, cause after that the wind is just getting stronger. I was thinking, that what would it be after ten a’clock if it’s already this bad now. Occasionally you had to stop walking and focusing just to stand still, cause the wind was so strong. We had warm mittens, but those didn’t help at all. My fingers was frozen. I couldn’t feel my toes. The breathing was so hard and moving forward was very slow. Circumstances were horrendous. Being finnish, we are used to cold weather, but we have never experienced nothing like this. You could felt the coldness in your bones. Climbing up to the Throng la pass was so awful that i wanted to cry.
There was a small tea house on the Thorong la pass, where we drank very over prized cups of tea, but we didn’t care about that. It was the best cup of tea ever. We sat on the tea house waiting to get feel to our fingers again. If i’m honest, I have to say that I was so broke after the climb, that it took for a while that I was able to move. One local guide probably also thought that I looked too suffering, so he wrap his coat around me. At the same time the local guides told us that this much worse weather than what it should be in this time on the morning. When we came out from tea house, the wind was trying to knock you over. If you wanted to say something, you had to yell. Quickly taking couple of pictures and going down from here! It’s impossible to describe to you with words how it was like there. At the same time it was the most amazing and also the most awful thing I have ever done.
But we did it! We crossed the Thorong la pass! Feeling like winner! We were in the altitude of 5416 meters and that is high!
For sure this was the hardest physical trial I have ever done. And I wouldn’t want to do anything similar any time soon. Maybe the memory grows sweeter with time, but for now it’s so clear in my head. But we were able to do that and for that we can be proud of.