June 16, 2009:

Day 11 of Trek:
Dat (4,310 m) over Yar La (4,960 m) to Lungmoche (4,710 m)
Slept great and woke up at 6:30 am. We had breakfast at 7:30 am. It was cold, cloudy and
windy. Graham, Marc and I started hiking up the valley at 8:15 am.
Despite it being cloudy, the views were great. We first passed Datgo, another deserted
village and then made it out of the riverbed. We started to walk on the jeep "road".
Apparantly 2-3 times a year the villagers get supplies by jeeps through this road, otherwise
it is not used. We continued on towards the end of the valley, which was far ahead of us.
The valley did not end. Luckily for us, it was cold. If the sun would have shone, this would
have been a brutally hot hike as there was absolutely no shade. Finally, after getting closer
and closer to the horseshoe shaped end of the valley, another valley to the left opened up
leading up to the Yar La Pass. This turnoff was 12 km (7.5 miles) away from our campsite.
We got there at 11 am and waited for Kim and Lakpa.
We continued into this new valley and saw the pass after a few minutes. We left the jeep
road and went to the bottom of the pass. From the bottom to the top of the pass and down
the other side was a stone wall, a few feet wide, almost like a raised road. We followed the
trail alongside this "stone road" until we got to the top of the Yar La at 4,960 m (16,360 feet).
We were up there at 1 pm.
We were hungry and I was not too happy with the constant late lunches we had. My body
needs lots of calories and I prefer earlier lunches. So we agreed to have lunch at the top of
the pass as Marc and I did not want to wait until we were at our campsite at Lungmoche.
On top of the pass was also a large chorten brightly decorated with prayer flags. It is used
as an offering place to the local mountain deities. Around the chorten were many stone
reliefs sporting buddhist and buddha images.

After lunch we went down to our campsite which we could see from the top of the pass. It
took us about 40 minutes to get down there. Also, on this side of the pass was this "stone
road". Once we arrived at our campsite, we saw a couple of kyiangs a little further up the
valley who were checking out our horses and us. It continued to stay cloudy and cold and
we spend the majority of the rest of the afternoon in our tents.
Kim had promised us maccaroni with
cheese for dinner, but we all were a little
surprised about our cook's interpretation of
simple maccaroni with cheese.... It was not
very good and on top of that, the food was
cold (I think the only time in our entire trek,
our cook clearly had an off-day, it happens,
even I experience that sometimes...). Went
to bed around 9 pm.
Datgo