Today was an easy day – Karma even called it Nepali Down* – sleeping in late and reading in bed until after 7 am! We made our way out of Dragnag and up to the Ngozumpa Glacier. It was stunning, even though it is covered in debris (a whole lot of supraglacial moraine?). Very similar to the Khumbu glacier. As we approached, Karma constantly watched the lateral moraine piles for potential rock falls. Fortunately, there were none, but it was enough to keep me on my toes and moving as fast as my body would manage. Now we were on top of the glacier, picking our way across and stopping often to enjoy the views.
About 2/3 of the way across, we encountered a traffic jam climbing down a rocky section – over a dozen trekkers insistent that they go up even though we started down first. It was a reminder of how happy we are to have done a small, private trek rather than be part of a large group. Folks were rude and it seemed like much less fun. Two and a half hours (and one close call with a wind-induced rock fall) later we arrived in Gokyo.
Every day has brought new views on this trek, but this is our first real exposure to Himalayan lakes. Gokyo is stunning – windy and the clouds rolled in quickly, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to stay inside. Instead, we meandered along the base of Gokyo Ri until we reached the far side of the lake.
Our post-lunch stroll was a nice excursion in an overall lazy day. After two 10+ hour days in a row (and the 3rd day wasn’t much shorter) we deserved it. With the clouds blanketing everything I couldn’t justify the slog up Gokyo Ri, imagining that at 5360 m it would be just as miserable as Kala Patthar. Having only just started to recover, it didn’t seem wise to make the trek at sunrise either. It will go unclimbed, and give me a good reason to come back to this corner of the world.
*Nepali Down is very similar to Nepali Flat – mostly uphill but a net elevation loss for the day