August 12, 2007: Tingri to Zhangmu
What a crappy day!! It rained all night. There was some kind of guide and driver gettogether and they
all decided that they were not going to EBC that day because of the bad weather and the closed roads.
Quite naturally, we were disappointed, but we also saw how much it had rained and heard all the
stories. So, it was probably a sensible decision. From what we could tell, indeed nobody that day was
going towards EBC from Tingri. A good reason to come back at a different time of year.
Shortly after we left Tingri, the blacktop stopped. Here, we got firsthand views of how bad the roads
really were. Very slippery, muddy and, in several instances, completely flooded and rivers running
over it. The going was slow. After a while, we could see the Shisha Pangma massive through the
clouds. A couple of hours since we left Tingri, we crossed the La Lung-La at 5,100 meters and shortly
thereafter, we crossed the Tong-La at 5,120 meters. The scenery changed dramatically as we were
now leaving the Tibetan plateau.
Finally, around 7:30 pm, the road was reopened. The following 2 hours or so were a nightmare. The
road follows the river valley and drops from the Tibetan plateau from an elevation of 3,750 meters at
Nyalam to an elevation of 2,300 meters at Zhangmu over a distance of 30 km. Chinese construction
workers everywhere. Muddy, slippery road conditions, waterfalls coming down onto the road, driving
through water etc. On top of that we had several stops because of the ongoing construction. We
finally made it to Zhangmu at around 9:30 pm.
Our driver stopped at the Zhangmu Guest House. What a dirthole. I don't know why we stayed here,
there were a lot more nicer places. But our driver seemed to know the owner. Our room was dirty and
the bathroom stunk of urine. Dinner, however, was not that bad. What appeared to be the Owner's
daughter prepared dinner and we had fried rice with tomatoes and egg which was quite good. Also,
we had a couple of beers with our guide as this was our last night together. We finally went to bed
around 11:30 pm. We slept good despite a lot of barking dogs around. Probably also because we were
at a much lower elevation than the past couple of weeks.
The last 10 km or so before we arrived at Nyalam the road was under construction. It was a mess. But
the worst was still to come! Once we were in Nyalam we found out that the road to Zhangmu was
closed because of construction. We were told that it would re-open around 7 pm. It was shortly after 1
pm.... After walking up and down Nyalam Main Street a couple of times, we spent most of the
afternoon sitting in the car for hours reading.
Zhangmu and our stinking toilet...I can smell it just looking at the