|June 26, 2009:
Day 21 of Trek:
Korzok Phu (4,640 m) over Yalung Nyau La (5,450 m) to Sherma (5,180 m)
After probably my best night sleep of this trek so far, I got up at 6:30 am and got ready.
Today was a big day as we had to get up to the highest point of our trek, the Yalung Nyau
La at 5,450 m or 17,985 feet which loomed above us at the end of the valley.
After a good breakfast, Marc and I started ahead of the others. It took us 45 minutes to get
to the foot of the pass, although it looked so close.... Another hour later and we rested after
we had some of the steepest stuff behind us.
Here I saw how fit Kim is: She left camp much later than we and while we struggled up the
steep part she came "racing" alongside us. I was impressed!! We also met a group of
Frenchies who were going down the pass to Korzok, the first foreigners on the trek for a
while. About 15 minutes below the pass, Marc and I rested again and waited for everybody
to catch up.
What looked like a piece of cake actually turned out to be the hardest part of the climb: The
last couple of hundred yards. The valley made a right turn and unveiled the steep last
section....and I thought we were already there! We were on top of the pass at 11:30 am.
We had beautiful views up here of Tso Moriri and the Mentok peaks. We sat there for a
while enjoying the views and resting.
We started our descent along a little river which became bigger and bigger the further we
went down. As there was a lot of snow up and around the pass and the sun was bearing
down on us, the river flow increased by every step we took down.
Soon the river covered the entire floor of the valley. The first couple of times, we were able
to walk along the sides of it, but soon we had to cross it a couple of times. At one time Marc
crossed it together with Kirin and Kirin slipped and almost fell in. He was all laughs about it!
We crossed the river one more time right before lunch, around 12:45 pm. At this point the
valley became wider and the descent more gradual. The views downvalley were
spectacular and we could see from far away the next pass we had to cross tomorrow.
We reached our campsite at the nomadic area of Sherma at 2:30 pm after crossing the river
one more time. The altitude of our camp was 5,180 m, the highest of our trek and I think as
high as Gorak Shep in the Everest Region. The campsite was spectacular and there was no
cloud in the sky.
Marc washed some of his clothes in the river and I decided to take a nap for an hour or so in
the hot confines of my tent. It was really hot and we were glad when the sun finally
disappeared around 6 pm behind the mountains to make it cooler.
We had our usual soup veggie noodle dinner. When you have to go to the bathroom after
only eating vegetarian for a while, the stuff coming out of you not only smells just the same
as the stuff you eat....it also looks like cowdung...just an observation.....
Went to bed a little earlier, around 8:45 pm and was surprised that my i-pod worked that
high up in the mountains.
Approach to Yalung Nyau La