Thorong Laa – Journey to the top

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thorong la pass Nepal

‘How long we have to walk?’

Elina asked me.

I sensed a bit of frustration in the voice of my Italian friend. Why not! In fact, I was also feeling a little exhausted; my knees were about to revolt against me. Today was one of the most memorable days of my life.

The scary beginning

It was a hard night; finally, I decided to wake up. It was 4 am in the morning.

Snowfall was continued for the whole night, luckily it has stopped now. I peeped from the window; the ground had lost its original colour; everything was white.

My original plan was to start the trek from 4 am. But I felt it can turn out to be a fatal adventure. The entire path must be now layered with snow. My roommate fellow German friend suffered from acute breathlessness last night; the reason was the high altitude.

[Read more – Lumbini – where peace vibrates with blessings]

It was indeed a tough job to remove two thick blankets, but I was brave enough to do so. I finally walked out of the room; it was freezing cold outside. I came to the dining hall of High Camp. The hall was full of trekkers. I found a lot of people were waiting; they were ready with their sack to start there trek. The kitchen staff was engaged in preparing breakfasts. I also ordered a bowl of hot porridge.

High camp annapurna circuit trek
High Camp at 5 am

Within 5 am, 90% of the group had left. I waited in the dining hall, it was much warmer than that of our small room. Finally, I handed over the key and started the trek around 5:30 am. My German friend Matiaz, along with his cute dog Luna accompanied me. The sky was not clear, the snowfall can be restarted anytime. The path was completely covered with snow; in fact, there was no visible path at all.

High camp to Tharang la
Can you find the path?

The beginning

This story starts in the month of March.

Chame Annapunna Circuit
Chame to Nagwal

I was on my solo trip to Annapurna Circuit trek. Before arriving at High camp; I had continuously trekked for 6 days. High camp is the last halt before the Throung Pass. My journey had started from Chame, then ‘beautiful’ Upper Pissang, then ‘breathtaking’ Nagwal, after that the ‘charming’ village Manang (stayed there for one extra day), followed by ‘Letdar’ and finally the High camp.

Manag, Annapunna Circuit
En route Manag

The beauty of Mother Nature is unbelievable. I cannot describe my en-route experience in a few lines; I wish to write about these in a future post. One thing I must say that I had discovered a new Himalayan beauty and made lots of new friends.

Let’s comeback – the tough path

The altitude of High camp is about 4850 meters and Thorung La is 5614 meters.

High camp from top
Top view of High Camp

So in the next 5 kilometers, I had to climb around 764 meters. You may feel that 764 meters is nothing but in that freezing temperature and in challenging oxygen level, it was a tough job. Our movement was absolutely slow and careful. In every 10 minutes we were sipping water and gasping for breath.

High camp to thorong la annapurna circuit
Mountain struggle

But we avoided any long halt. After three hours we saw a colorful Chorten and shouted with joy ‘the summit is here’.

Feel like ‘top of the world’

Throng La is worlds one of the highest nonmotorable mountain pass and the highest point of the Annapurna circuit. Of course, you do not need any special mountaineering skills to cross this pass, but you need the perseverance and the wish to be attached to Mother Nature.

Thorong la annapurna circuit
At the top

We the humans took millions of years to be civilized. Our primitive and free nature got hidden under civil codes. But we are not, what we are. The real ‘I’ is something different. One of the ways to discover that ‘I’ is to spend time with Mother Nature.

I felt joyous when I reached the top.
I re-discovered myself when I reached the top.
I strongly bonded with Mother Nature, when I reached the top.

Down…down…and down

Life goes on. It cannot be stagnant.

Down from Thorong la annapurna circuit
I had to come down from the top. This part was difficult; the amount of snow had increased in the slope. In my opinion descending is tougher than ascending. The one has to extremely careful while descend, as there is the extra pull of gravity (or you can say the love of earth).

Down from Thorong la annapurna circuit

In 5 km I had to descend about 1200 meters. It’s was really exhausting, mainly because of the snow. I had fallen twice, but fortunately, everything was all right.

A short break

Finally, I came to Charabu. It is the 1st halting point after the descend.

Charbu from top

My knees and toe were aching badly. I found one small cafe on the road and I jumped into it. I ordered a cup of tea; it was just like nectar (I have never tested nectar but I am sure that the taste should be similar to that cup of tea).

Mountain cafe
Mountain cafe, want to have tea?

Due to this short break, I felt rejuvenated. My day was not over yet. I had to go until Muktinath. I took my stick and sack and resumed my journey.

I was observing my thoughts. How I am feeling after the descend?

2-3 hours back I was on the top of a famous pass, I was glittering with joy. Crossing this pass is considered as the success point of this trek. So with this progress, I have conquered success. But only after 2 -3 hours, I have descended from the peak; I am not in that success point anymore. Only the sense of accomplishment is with me. I have learned a lesson that the endpoint does not matter, the ‘journey’ alone is important.

I stepped out of the cafe. My next destination would be Muktinath. I discovered Elina was also resumed her journey. We started walking together.

To be continued…

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