Day 12

19 March

(Day 9 of trekking)

“Day 9, and without a doubt the biggest and most fatiguing day so far. You know the story about the wake up weather so I won’t bore you however today was somewhat colder due to our wake up time.
Woken at 3.00am to the sounds of banging on the doors and yelling took me back to a previous life (no, not prison😂). Breakfast at 3.30am and on the track complete with headlamps by 4.30am and bejeebus it was cold.
Quite a lot of sickness in the camp at the moment, predominantly upper and lower respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections. This is starting to take it out of some of the team, however we are still 26 in number and supporting each other.
We were told to expect an approximate 12 hour day today with the first half just getting to Cho La Pass (5,420m) and the second half crossing the massive ice glacier which is nowhere easy a task as it looks in photographs and then on to Dzonga.
It was up and steep from the start today with an eventual 5.5 hours to get out of the valley. I must admit that it was actually psychologically a good thing that we did the first few hours in the dark as you couldn’t see how far away the peaks, followed by more peaks were. However, when the sun did come up it was well worth waiting for as always. Once we could see where we were going and the frozen river and surrounds became progressively more glacial (and the temps stayed cool) the experience just got better.
The climb to Cho La pass was every bit as difficult and taxing as we had been led to believe it would be and the team should hold their heads high for achieving it with all getting to the top and no injuries.
When we got to the top we paused for lunch and I can tell you it was the best cold toasted cheese sandwich and boiled egg I’ve ever had washed down with freezing cold water. No meats of real protein up here due to the altitude so it’s all vegetables, noodles, rices, spices and pasta.
After a tricky descent down it was on with the micro-spikes before we could step onto the glacier itself. Once again the size and beauty of the glacier was breathtaking and it took a lot more out of me to cross it than I had expected.
After making it across the glacier we spent another 4 or so hours walking to Dzonga. Dinner is on as always tonight and then I suspect everyone will be heading to bed with a relatively short day on the agenda for tomorrow.”
– Tony