Two days before our summit push, we heard some interesting news from our expedition leader. We wouldn’t be taking a helicopter out from base camp as the rest of our team. Instead, we would be hiking out down to the road with a caravan of donkeys. This was news to us and not something we were very interested in doing. It would delay our return to Kathmandu by more than a week. We came up with another idea.
If we had to trek out, we would go the opposite direction along the very scenic Larke Pass route. I’d done this trek four months earlier as part of the Manaslu Circuit. It was time for me to step up as a tour guide for Pema. It would be a four-day journey with almost 80km in distance to cover, staying at teahouses along the way. There was a special element about the trip aswell. From the first town on the route, Samdo, we would make a 20km day-hike to the Nepal/Tibet border. Pema is Tibetan but has never been to Tibet so it would be the first time for her to touch the soil of her homeland, which is in control of China.
The trek was actually a refreshing journey. Compared to some of the politics, drama, and chaos at basecamp we had a peaceful walk in between each small mountain village. Most days we just saw a few local workers and only spotted one other trekker along the route throughout the five days. Interestingly, it felt like more of an adventure than our Manaslu climb, purely because there were no other people around and we weren’t on somebody else’s schedule.
When I trekked the route back in May, the Larke Pass was completely covered in snow. This time, wild grass colored the scene instead of white snow and we even came across an incredibly blue lake that didn’t even exist back when I last trekked due to the snowfall.
The highlights of the trek were cards and beers each night at the teahouse, taking Pema to the Tibetan border and that stunning blue lake at the Larke Pass. Reaching 5,160m at Larke Pass hardly felt like the achievement it had four months earlier. I guess that’s what happens when you take things to new heights.
I’m glad we were thrust into the trek by our change of plans and it was a great transition back to city life in Kathmandu. The lowlight of the week was the 12-hour, bumpy drive back to Kathmandu but that’s travel. You live for the highs and survive the lows on whatever adventure comes your way.