Almost one week passed already since we entered the Langtang region, which had experienced quite a lot. The adventures began with the trek into Kyanjin Gompa, before we made it up to Kyanjin Ri and then Tserko Ri. However, our main objective still loomed.
The Yala Peak climb was an interesting mission. No one had climbed it since the pandemic began and so far this season, two teams had attempted Yala Peak but hadn’t even made it to base camp. I was worried our guide was going to take us halfway and then call the expedition off. However, after much discussion, our guide assured us that the other groups had taken the wrong way and he would take us the right way. I’ve learned over the years to approach with skepticism but also optimism. We decided to go ahead and give it a crack, putting our faith in our guide Galbyu and his word.
It was just a two-day expedition so not a huge mission. On the first day, we hiked up a vertical kilometer to reach base camp, Yala Kharka. There was not too much snow on the route to base camp, which is further than any team had made it. This confirmed they had spectacularly gone the wrong way. Here we set up our tents for the night and tried to get some sleep before our early summit push the next morning.
At 4:30 am we set off under a starry sky. In the early parts of the climb, we managed to avoid falling through the snow but as the morning wore on, being temporarily trapped waist-deep became a common event.
The climb was quite manageable compared to our last three expeditions of Manaslu, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. It was fun for a change to be in control and quite comfortable while navigating through the Himalayas on a climb. I hope that trend continues.
From the clear, calm summit we had incredible views all the way to Tibet, including a view of Shishapangma. A small Puja ceremony marked the end of our ascent before we continued all the way back to Kyanjin Gompa to complete a 12-hour day. The brownie and coffee combo at the bakery was the real marker of completion.
We ended the week by trekking back out the 30 kilometers over the next two days and then had a one-day journey by Jeep back to Kathmandu.