Rain, hail and shine: Tashi Labsta Pass

Posted on 30 Apr 2018

We’ve crossed our last big pass before a break coming up in Kathmandu. The Tashi Labsta pass is a seldom travelled pass that requires mountaineering gear to safely cross.

Once over the pass it’s a steady plunge from the high elevation down through the rhododendron forest and villages below. It takes a good 10 days to get back near Kathmandu. This week we had our first good taste of what to expect as we move toward monsoon season. Nice sunny mornings followed by rain and even a thunder storm that included hail and a good drenching rain. On the plus side, it is much warmer than the afternoon snow showers we had gotten used to. 

The down valley trek is really a traverse through villages that rest among steep hillside terraces of potatoes, corn and barley. There is lots of new home building to replace the damages from the earthquake. The homes are all being built to earthquake standards and are quite attractive. There is also lots of daily activity with goats, cows and sheep all being tended. Wheat is being harvested, music plays loudly from homes along the way, and there are lots of children in their school uniforms taking the same trails we are to school who always happily greet us, "Namaste". 

Here is a quick diary entry of trail images from the Tashi Labsta Pass:

• Up at 5:30am to cross the pass

• Steep loose gravel climb from camp

• Snow steps up very steep short chute

• Traverse a rock shelf with loose gravel and snow

• Climb the final 200 metre elevation gain on glacier

• Cross the pass - 19,000 feet

• Abseil down a couple blue ice gullies

• Reach the glacier on the other side and walk a pleasant section

• Use the fixed ropes to descend a rock bluff 

• Boulder hop an hour across ridges on the top of the glacier

• Reach camp in the middle of the glacier boulder field

• How did it feel? Challenging, surprising, beautiful, tiring, pleasing

More goodbyes

We have spent the last 60+ days travelling through some of Nepal’s most rugged and remote terrains with a small and dedicated team of professionals. Guides, cook staff and porters have all been wonderful, but a special recognition to the eight that have been with us the full distance. They’ve covered all the same miles, seen all the same sights, and underwent all the same challenges of passes, elevation, weather and tough trails.

For sure, our biggest thanks goes to our lead guide Tsering. If you want someone to put your faith in when crossing high passes in Nepal, he’s your guy. We all never doubted that he’d keep us safe and to get us through if the conditions allowed. We’ll have a new crew after Kathmandu but they’ll have a tough time living up to the standards set so far. Thanks for everything!

Up next

We're all very excited to in Kathmandu for three full days! We can't wait to take a shower, wash some clothes, etc. We’re a day ahead of schedule and will take this advantage with an extra day of rest.

We’ll blog again when we’re back on the trail.

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