Sunday 11 January 2015

Day 215: Thame - There's this thing called food!

Starting to descend from our impromptu snow camp
Anyone who had managed to sleep woke up; in other words, no one woke up.  But we all got out of our sleeping bags and ended the wind's ten-hour stint of tent-bashing (which is apparently a popular high altitude sport).  As we did not share the wind's sense of humour on this occasion, we left snow camp without feeling the slightest need for fond farewells.

A few hundred metres below, we found some proper tent circles looking flat and sheltered and, above all, offering liquid water.  Guy and Paul fetched some of this manna from the river and started cooking; I continued to whinge that my toes were cold; Ian slumped on a rock looking like he'd been at a boozy party the night before and was suffering the consequences.  But after porridge, faces began to brighten.  When we dropped below the snowline, they brightened more.  Tights came off.  Down jackets followed.  Mittens miraculously realised that they contained hands.  By the time we reached the village of Khurekharka we were clad in trekking trousers and micro-fleeces again, with our faces positively beaming.

Looking back at the Tesi Lapcha
After four days on the ice, the dal bhat at the first village in the valley tasted better than the world's most succulent chocolate mousse (even Choc-Ice thought so) and we had hard work tearing ourselves away in time to trek to Thame before nightfall.  But we were rewarded by a roof over our heads for the night, an enormous flask of lemon tea, and a sizeable menu: yak steak for Ian, fried noodles for me, pizza and beer for Guy, hot milk for Paul (he's an addict) with a seasoning of bliss all round.  Small pleasures.  (Actually, they were large pleasures for those who had gone to bed without dinner the previous night.)  This time, everyone went to bed happy.

Our path down from snow camp
Rested and ready to go after breakfast at 5000m
The path ahead (Ama Dablam now hidden)
The north side of the valley looking noticeably snow-free compared to the south side (in shade).
Opinions were divided over the name of this peak but in true Father Ted
fashion we agreed: BIG... FAR AWAY!

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