The Annapurna Circuit trek, day #10. From Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi. Battling through 50cm of fresh snow that fell overnight.
Read about our expedition trip towards Yak Kharka the day before: The Annapurna Circuit trek, day #9
The Annapurna Circuit trek, day #10
Yak Kharka – Churi Ledar – Thorong Phedi: 10km
Altitude: 4050 -> 4450m
Total distance covered by foot: 137km
Woken up by rays of sun shining into our little guesthouse. We felt good, slept well, no altitude issues, and the trekking was super cool. I looked outside to see a bit of a surprise; SNOW – a lot of snow.
Gues the 50cm snow forecast was right anyway? Haha, well at least the sun was out. So it could be worse! After making a path through the snow so we could get some breakfast we ran into an old friend! BOBBY, the friendly little dog that followed us into our room in Manang. We weren’t sure if it was the same dog, but after some cuddling we knew for sure! This was Bobby. We assumed this was a sign of good luck and went for breakfast.
Churi Ledar or Thorong Phedi?
We still didn’t know what the weather was gonna do in the next days. So we were debating our plan for the next days. The usual plan is to go to Thorong Phedi from Yak Kharka as a last stop before Thorong La Pass. But since we had the time and the weather was unsure Churi Ledar became an option as well. A stop halfway to Thorong Phedi.
But another Scottish guy Fynn, we met in Manang joined us again in Yak Kharka. He was in time need since he had a flight booked in a few days. He was aiming to make it to Thorong Phedi, trying to get some people to come with him he was bribing us with snickers. Haha, we’ll do anything for snickers so all of us decided to join in. Thorong Phedi it is; 10kms and 400m up. Finished our breakfast, said bye to Bobby, and packed our stuff!
First stop Cheri Ludar
Plowing through fresh snow as quite tough, since there was no one on the trail before us yet. Luckily, Ewan and Gus enjoyed going ahead, breaking through the snow. Which made it a bit easier for us. Sun was out and the scenery was insane. Covered in a thick layer of fresh snow and sun! What a day. The first village we came across was Cheri Ludar. Since we were good on time, we decided to stop for warm tea.
A bit outside Churi Ledar we arrived at the most tricky part of the day. The path got very small and crossed steep slopes. Almost 50cms of snow on top made it even more treacherous. One of the guides told us repeatedly; do not stop walking and keep going. If it starts sliding you need to keep moving. Couldn’t resist taking a few pictures in between, because the scenery was just insane. We thought we had seen some nice mountain views, but this was another level. Steep slopes covered in snow, with a bit of sun and clouds on the horizon. Incredible, halfway the landslide area we came across a heard of blue sheep. Not too far from us so I was just quick enough to get a picture.
Did you spot Bobby in one of the pictures? After we left Yak Khara he didn’t leave our side and followed us all the way up to Thorong Phedi. No jackets, no shoes, no walking sticks. Only a 4 wheel drive and a thick layer of fur. Though little dog Bobby! We of course brought her inside the guesthouse that night she curled up next to the fireplace and we gave her all of the leftovers.
Elisa had been struggling the entire day. Difficulties breathing and keeping up with the group. As soon as we arrived at Thorong Phedi, Elisa’s face turned white, ran outside, and started puking… OH SHIT. The first response was: Altitude sickness. Getting very very worried, altitude sickness is no joke. If she would get seriously sick we had to go down immediately. Right away… No one said a word, but the look on our faces probably said enough.
We sat down inside, Elisa drank some water. Luckily after 20min, everything was OK. Probably the exercising and trying to keep up with the group was a bit too much. Maybe the Snickers didn’t like it in her stomach and just came back. Luckily that was it… pfieuw! What a relief.
Later we found out that no helicopters were flying due to the weather. Meaning if Elisa would have gotten seriously sick we would have been in big trouble. Pfieuw…..
Split of the fellowship
That afternoon the weather got worse and worse. Again. Meaning going over the Thorong La Pass the day after was probably not a good idea. This is the hardest day on the trek: Going up 900m in altitude to reach Thorong La Pass. We would have to leave at 04:00 to reach the pass. We decided that after Elisa’s struggle it was probably better not to push it and go for a stop in between. High Camp only 3km from here but another 400m up.
Since Fynn had a flight to catch, he, Jim, Ewan, and Gus decided to go for it. We said goodbye to our companions and went to bed! We were in for a very very cold night.