Moving on: Pachermo Cave Camp

Posted on 26 Apr 2018

We are down to two; Ken and Vince. The Makalu/Everest group has headed for home and we are missing them. We had a good rest day in Thame and caught up on battery charging, washing, internet and rest, and we’re now back on the trail. Though, we’re counting the days until Kathmandu already. 

From high on the moraine I can see the yaks below and hear the faint whistle of the woman herding them. Every once in a while she’ll give a shout as she walks, bending down and picking herbs that are just starting to come up and placing them in the basket on her back, which is strapped over her head. The yaks don’t seem to respond to her whistles and shouts; it seems to be more of a way of keeping a bond between the herder and the herd.

Looking up from the moraine there is a wall of rock that is vertical for at least 3,000 feet; smooth, curving and twisted. High above are hanging glaciers defying gravity by clinging to small corners of stone.

We have walked for three hours up this glacial valley and gained 2,000 feet but are still walking below the giant wall. It’s surface has changed as the sun light rotates and makes the ice shine brighter – just another incredible but little seen fixture of the Himalaya. 

As we walk above the herder and her yaks she sees us and calls out to Sange, our guide. There are yaks ahead, high on the side of the moraine, and she asks if he can push them her way. As we approach they get up from chewing their cuds and start to walk along where a couple of rocks directed their way and they headed back to the rest of the herd. 

This whole scene feels like walking through Yosemite National Park in California and seeing it before the development and crowds. What a privilege.

Up next is Tashi Labsta pass at 5,760 metres (19,000 feet). It will be another glacier crossing with crampons and fixed ropes but likely not as technical as the other high passes. These are big efforts to get over but the stunning visual surrounds make it worth it.

After this one, we’ll be heading down to some lower elevation and warmer temperatures and we have to say that sounds good. 

Smile moments

We’ve fallen behind on sharing smile moments. Here are a few from the last few weeks. 

 We caught up with the guides breaking trail through the snow and Tsering our lead guide pointed up ahead at a snow chute plunging down the side of the mountain and said, “There’s the pass.” I immediately had a coughing fit. 

An old woman in a small village was angry with a horse getting into her garden and reached down for a rock, and with what must be years of practice, flung that rock with precision, distance and force and got that horse on its way. 

Sitting in the warm crowded dining room of a tea house and watching and listening to the lively crowd recount the adventures of the day – crossing passes and sliding, and seeing amazing places. 

Reaching the top of a difficult climb and getting congratulated by friends, and then looking down the other side and having some choice things to say about the route. 

Lying in the tent listening to the porter's music and the sounds of friends no doubt giving each other a hard time about something. 

That’s it for now. We’re over a third of the way through our time on this adventure but just about 25% of the distance. We’re going to have to pick up the pace soon, maybe after we cross this pass?

All the best,
Ken, Vince and Tsering

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