5 sep 2021 – 16:00
Lat: 28.650316 Lon: 84.633286
Today is the longest trek of all: from Bhimthang (3708 m) to Samdo (3878 m) via Larkya La (5143 m). Until yesterday I was alone in Bhimthang but in the afternoon barrens of mules appeared. They carried the Base Camp supplies. Mules cannot be used over ~4000 m and indeed a bit later 2 dozen yaks arrived. At the same time groups of climbers started flocking in. A group of 8 Swiss & Austrians came to my lodge. Their sherpa asked: are you Peter, the fast guy? Apparently I am building a reputation again! It brings one advantage: I can sit with the sherpas in the kitchen around the fire. While the cold restaurant was turned into a Biergarten, I re-enacted in the warm kitchen Van Gogh’s “potato eaters” as there was an enormous pan with potatoes and together with half a dozen sherpas I ate at least a dozen. This morning we got up at 4 am and left for Larkya La at a pretty high speed (>250 m/h up to 5140 m) and arrived as first group at Larke Phedi. A sherpa who just arrived, said: “you very strong, come to kitchen…” After coffee we continued to Larkya La, which turned out to be more of a plain than a pass. After we arrived at 5000 m, I thought we would be at the pass soon, but that was a few km further. The pass has a sign 5106 m, but my (calibrated) watch said 5143 m. I have an altimeter and 2 GPS, so I measured the altitude 3 times in triplicate. Altitudes varied from 5139 to 5145 m, and mean and median were equal, so assuming a Gaussian distribution, I assessed the altitude at 5143 m with a standard deviation < 0.5 m. After a long break we continued, there seemed to be no end to the pass. Altogether we were a couple of hrs above 5000 m.
The good news is that I got no headache or any other sign of high altitude sickness. Finally, we started descending, but our first planned stop, Dharmasal, was deserted. After a short break, Pemba and I rushed down to Samagaun. Samagaun is an actual village and has a nice lodge. Just waiting for Kazi and our luggage, he had the hardest job today. The 5 climbers who are on the same permit as I, arrived as well. The nicest thing about this lodge is that they have a ‘shower’. Drops of hot water, and the first warm water in 5 days…