Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Thursday, 23 June 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 11

Thursday 11 November
Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi

Itinerary: DAY 11 Thorung Phedi (4,420m) We continue to move north passing through Leder (4,176m) on this treeless alpine valley. Crossing Jhargeng Khola to its west bank we walk over loose scree on the steep-sided valley to Thorung Phedi in time for lunch. The afternoon is spent relaxing and saving energy for tomorrow's climb. (3 - 4 hours walk). 

[Diarist: Martin]
Oh dear. Today we find that George Bush has beaten John Kerry to the US President's position. 

Usual 6 am tea from Sagar, shortly followed by hot water, packing up, and a stroll to the tea house where we are served breakfast at 7 am. Porridge, always topped with muesli, and doused with honey in many of our cases, followed by a bread muffin and a fried egg. It made a nice sandwich. 

We got away at 7:45, on our own for a change. Another beautiful day, but we have turned a corner from Manang so the sun doesn't light our path until nearly 8:30. By then we have reached 4200 metres and have a short break to re-group. Nabrash is worried about being told off for going too fast - we must let the kitchen to catch up, and washing up is a hard slow process at this altitude due to the low temperatures.

I'm wearing thicker gloves and my hands warm up fairly quickly, but my feet, whilst not really cold, do not feel comfortably warm until 9 am. The problem is we can't walk fast as we get out of breath. Sue and I did have a walking race along a flat section to the 4200m break - that and a bit of jogging on the spot did help us to warm up. 

At 9:30 we had an hour's break for the leading group - Andrew came in 25 minutes behind the first to arrive, at an outdoor tea shop with a resident goat that expected food from everyone. It was a fat goat. Noisy Spanish, then the familiar French, arrive. 4390 metres, 13C, 597 millibars. Lovely views in all directions. Lots of naks seen on the way, many with young.

Approaching the tea stop on the ascent to Phedi, with Annapurna 111 and Gangapurna

The tea shop was just a brick shelter relocated to this point quite recently when the main route was changed to this western side of the valley. A new bridge had been built this year (2061 in Nepal). Another half hour, spent chatting to Mark about work related topics, on the heels of Nabrash, took us to Thorong Phedi - 4500 metres according to my altimeter, but 4430 metres according to Kev Reynolds' book. Some adjustments may be needed, but the statistics for today are:

Start: 4030 metres
Ascent: 485 metres
Descent: -15 metres
Finish: 4500 metres
Time: 3.5 hours
Stops: 1.0 hours
Walking time: 2.5 hours 

The fat goat


The route ahead to Thorung Phedi

High camp at Thorung Phedi

And so, by 11 am we were at 'base camp' for our attempt at the crux of the trek - the Thorong La pass - 5415 metres. We were soon shown to our nearby tents, where we vegged, reading and preparing gear for tomorrow. Then we adjourned for lunch in the porters' dining area at the Thorong Phedi Hotel - quite a smart place. Trekkers staying at the hotel have their own posh area, but our quarters are better than the mess tent. 

There is hydro power here, and a TV blasted Nepalese pop music, then an Indian film, from the corner of the large room. Our porters sat glued to the action, including Sherpa Hosta. The porters eat rice and potatoes in large quantities, with their fingers mostly, whilst we enjoy fried frankfurter type sausages, potatoes, coleslaw and bread, followed by tinned peaches and lemon tea.

Sanjeev sets out tomorrow's timetable - tea at 4:30 am, breakfast at 5:00, leave 5:30 (no washing water) This sounds fine. And so by after 1 pm, we are well fed and adjourn for another spell of rest in the tents. Hot water for our last wash before Muktinath soon arrives, so we chill out, clean, whilst the sun warms the tents. 

The only 'cloud on the horizon' is some high cloud to the south that could herald a weather front. We hope the brilliant weather will last another day though. 

Here the pressure is 587 mb - quite low.

Camp kitchen

The day ends early after another good meal in the porters' dining room, with a film on in the background. The meal was at 6 pm, bed at 7:30, ready for the hard day ahead. A game of Uno had passed the time before dinner.

The view ahead, from high camp

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