August 6, 2007: Day Two Ganden to Samye Trek
Yama Do to Shug-La (5,250 M) to Tsotup-Chu Valley
Today was the hardest day in terms of trekking. We got up around 7:30 am, packed up our stuff and
had breakfast. Then around 8:20 am, Marc and I continued our hike up the valley towards the
Shug-La. At first, we walked through the clouds, but it gradually cleared up the closer we got to the
pass. It took us 3:10 hours to get to the top of the pass at 5,250 meters.
Marc was the first of the Western trekkers to make
it up to the pass. I wish I was 17 again and would
be in such good shape. We stayed at the pass for
about 30 minutes and ate our packed lunch. Then
we started our descent on the other side of the
pass down a boulder field. After a short time, we
then traversed the hillside towards the south for a
few miles. This traverse slowly descends towards
the valley floor. Beautiful views everywhere.
Once we were at the valley floor, we had to cross the large stream, which is called the Tsotup-Chu.
We followed the stream for a while until we found a suitable spot for crossing it. At that time, we
were still at an altitude of almost 4,900 meters. On the other side of the stream, we continued our
trek upwards for another 30 minutes towards the valley of our next pass, the Chitu-La. Once on top
of a ridge, we saw our camping spot. It started to rain just as we arrived the camping area at an
altitude of almost 5,000 meters.
Our tents were already set up and we
went straight to our dining tent. We
arrived around 2:15 pm, so around 6
hours since we left our last camp site.
All groups were here at the same site
close together. We had some tea and
biscuits and then we had a long
discussion with our guide about the
Tibetan culture and its traditions. It
stopped raining and we went outside
where we talked for a while with fellow
hikers from the other groups.
At around 5 pm it got really chilly. Marc put on his down jacket and I went into our tent to take a
rest. Despite being at 5,000 meters, both Marc and I had no problems at all with the altitude. Marc,
however, complained about his ankle being a bit sore from the downhill trek earlier. We will tape it
before we will leave the next morning.
We had dinner at 7 pm. Noodle stew
with yakmeat, tomatoes and then that
green vegetable I liked so much but
never found out its English name. As
usual, our cook fed our cowhand and a
few more Tibetans, so it was always
crowded and lively in our dining tent,
which was great!! We went to bed
shortly after 8:30 pm. Marc slept good
as always, but I tossed around a lot.
The campground and the surrounding area was full of cow and yak dung as this entire valley was a
grazing place for yaks and cows belonging to the Tibetan nomads. It was difficult to find a place to
sit down which was not full of SH!@#. The little creek next to the campground was most likely a
heaven for Giardia!! Hopefully our water which came from that creek was boiled properly, but we
had 100% confidence in our cook.
Screefield on the other side of
pass
Long Traverse...Next camp was to the right of
lake