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Day: April 8, 2019

Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Two words can sum this day up – ‘no joke’.

There are other two word phrases that fit also, perfectly adequately, but after the full day. I’d say crossing Thalong la Phedi to Muktinath is no joke.

10 hours of high altitude snow, sun, wet and cold.

The effects of UV were definitely under emphasised by every traveller, hiker, guide or source I’d come across.

You’ve got 360° reflective or direct sunlight coverage at 5,000m above sea level. At that level the UV is more than you’re going to experience anywhere on the planet.

Not something mentioned with any emphasis in Lonely Planet, my faithful guidebook. Just weak ramblings about how poorly you may be if you get AMS, how to check if you’ve got AMS. How to stop and sleep just in case may get AMS. AMS is not the only danger up there you know.

It took me 6 hours just to reach the pass.

I thank the gods for the weather, without it things would have been a lot more serious.

Ascending to the pass

All up hill.

2-4ft Snow coverage 80% of the way.

Ascending Thalong La - Himalayas
Ascending Thalong La – Himalayas

Path was clear enough to follow. There’d been enough travellers earlier on in the day. That wasn’t a problem.

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Day 31: Manang to Thalong La Phedi

Day 31: Manang to Thalong La Phedi

Lonely Planet recommend a stop at one of the villages in between, to ‘acclimatise’.

I felt I’d done plenty of this already. What with taking a half day at Manang. I didn’t feel physiologically that my body was under any pressure, so I ignored this handy advice and carried on through to Thalong la Phedi or ‘the foot of the hill’ in Nepalese.

I walked until 10am, which took me beyond both ‘acclimatisation’ villages, Lakdar and  Yak Khagar, had my usual break and carried on.

Felt nothing.

To be fair, the road was more challenging than I’d encountered anywhere before.

There was snow with steep drops, muddy paths, just general on the side of mountain kind of stuff. But all-in-all, pleasant enough.

There were some yaks along the way.

Happy yaks

Altitude sickness and the body

Altitude does add an additional dimension: Every time you exert yourself, the main stress is on your lungs and respiratory system.

Your muscular strength may be greater, but you’re continuously being held in check by your bodies ability to take in and process new air.

This means fewer steps and more stops to take breath.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time just standing around breathing, even at the slightest incline, that’s fine, just expect to be being flown out in a helicopter.

Above 4,000m, reading physical exertion and the bodies ability to recover is everything.

Thalong la Phedi

By the time I’d reached Phedi, I’d clocked 10miles and 5 hours, about normal for a day.

To be truthful, I felt nothing by the time I got there, just a little tired.

Had a little look around the accommodation and chose ‘Base Camp Lodge’, which had a bakery, nice ambience and a better room for 1/2 the price.

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