I was forewarned that the higher I climbed, the more expensive everything would get. The menu prices would increase ever so subtly the higher we climbed, even though the menu’s were all practically identical. Water refills crept up from Rs 70 to Rs 90 and eventually to Rs 100. It’s not much but it adds up, especially since I was drinking as much water as I could. With that, I decided to try the water purification tablets that Hamish brought. Just drop a tablet in a liter of water, give it a good shake, and then wait about 30 minutes. I tried it. No bad after taste or anything funky.
I should have done this from the beginning. Especially with the cold, clear and untouched water flowing down from the mountain tops. It was perfectly safe to drink.
Day 4: 9:10am Tadapani to Chhomrong
The majority of the path has been plotted with a gazillion sign posts leading us in the correct direction towards each daily destination. However, the path from Tadapani to Chuile forked numerous times without any clear indication as where to go. Look down, up, and around. Usually, there is an arrow painted on a rock, ledge, or tree. If not? Ask someone.
We didn’t want to make the mistake of wasting time and backtracking if we went the wrong way. There was always a local nearby or another group led by a guide we would ask. Sometimes a villager would just yell and point in the direction we needed to go.
The trek from Tadapani to Chuile was the only time where we needed to stop and ask for directions. There was always a lone village nearby that we could go to for help when we needed it.
We reached Chuile at 10:20am and continued straight on to Gurjung after a steep set of rocks we had to climb at 11:15am. After a ten minute rest, we headed for Chhomrong, our destination for the day.
We arrived in Chhomrong (2,140m) at 1:50pm, our earliest arriving time thus far.
Chhomrong was a larger village based off the steep slopes of the hills base. We were presented with a neat view of a couple of the points we would be trekking to tomorrow.
Day 5: 8am Chhomrong to Himalaya
The halfway point!
We departed early today because we saw the ridiculous amount of steps we would have to descend and then ascend to get to Sinuwa. We also needed to check in for our entry permits. That process took about five minutes for the both of us.
The trek from Chhomrong is essentially a whole lot of steps going down, then crossing a suspended bridge, and then a whole lot of steps going up.
This particular leg was annoying. Once we climbed hundreds of steps, thinking we were close to Sinuwa, another batch of steps would reveal itself. And another. And another. We went at a snail’s pace to let our bodies acclimate properly. Probably a little too slow, but we were never huffing for breath at any point. When going up steps, I always tend to look down at my feet rather than my surroundings. I made sure to look up and appreciate where I was, once every few steps.
My thoughts going up were, “We are going to have to go back this way when we leave the mountain.” Ugh. I’ll deal with it when it comes. One look behind us and we could see Chhomrong just on the opposite hill.
We eventually made it to Sinuwa at 9:10am. That was faster than I anticipated? It was there when we decided to eat breakfast. We left at 10am towards an area called Bamboo.
About an hour later, we spotted another village. That can’t be Bamboo, that was too fast. No, it wasn’t Bamboo. It was the ACTUAL real Sinuwa! That made more sense. The guide posts we’ve been reading said it would take us about two hours to reach here from Chhomrong. There were even signs reading “The Real Sinuwa” once we got there. I asked for tap water, put in the purification tablets, and we pressed forward.
The path to Bamboo was in the thick of a bamboo jungle; with muddy tracks and tiny waterfalls to boot.
The number of trekkers on the trail since Chhomrong, or even Tadapani for that matter were noticeably thinner than the previous days. Most of the trekkers we encountered previously only went to Poon Hill and back down. It was a much more solitary jaunt than before, which made the trek a bit more pleasurable.
We made it to Bamboo (2145m) at 12:20.
After a ten minute rest, we continued through more rhododendron forests to Dovan and arrived there at 1:30pm and eventually to our destination of the day, Himalaya (2,950m) at 3:30pm. The trek up to Himalaya from Dovan was ridiculously easier than most of the legs we’ve completed so far.
Day 6: 10am Himalaya to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC)
Day 6 was one of the more environmentally intriguing days we’ve had.
We were now in the high mountain rises, present with snow, stunning scenery and nippy weather. No longer just the nights; this is when the days started to get cold. The jungle forests were no more and instead we ventured though a rocky side-scape complimented by a fierce flowing river fed by dozens of waterfalls in the gorge just below.
We arrived in Deurali at 11:35am and after a quick lunch, we continued to MBC. The scenery became so much more impressive than what it already was.
We also entered the ‘Avalanche Risk Area’. Now things were starting to get interesting!
The climb was relatively steep, but the encompassing views were like nothing I have ever seen before! I’ve never been THIS close to so many massive peaks all huddled together in place. It was an intimidating feeling. Their sharp ridges and dagger-like points traced with snow, ice, and wild clouds that vented all around created an effect that I’ve never seen throughout any of my travels. It was amazing!
But just like that, the weather went from Mother Nature’s grace to the Grim Reaper approaching.
The winds shifted suddenly, bringing on a frigid chill. It began to snow.
The plot thickens!
I immediately suggested to Hamish that we put on some layers and our water-resistant jackets. One look behind, we could see that a blizzard was seeping through the valley, coming in our direction ever so slowly. We still had ways to go before we reached MBC and there was no one else in sight.
We must get a move on!
The snow picked up in tempo but not enough for any alarm. Our gear kept us warm and the snow wasn’t torrential yet. Still, we didn’t know what the weather would bring and so we kept on moving. This is the only part of our ascent so far that we went faster than normal, to avoid being caught in the blizzard.
And then there she was, MBC was in sight!
We were close enough to camp that there was no longer any cause for concern. So we played in the snow for a bit beforehand.
Once we got to the MBC lodging, the blizzard loomed over us and then blasted us during the evening. We made it just in time.
Summit day is next!