Lobuche on the way to Dzongla for Cho La Pass – Return back to Pheriche and Upper Pangboche

Nepal Travel Blog

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Again started walking around 7:40am and took the mountain path towards Dzongla from where we had to cross the Cho La pass. Quickly realized that this path is not a very easy one and not many people go this way. Most of the trekkers would go to the base back and return back the same way. The path was a treacherous small walkway on the edge of the rising mountains on one side and a steep gorge on the other. Each step had to be taken very carefully as one small mistake could turn out to be a dangerous one with no 2nd chance. Walked like this for over an hour and at one point the place was so narrow that my guide had to help me while I was crossing it and that made me thinking, is this something that I am capable of doing, worth taking the risk, am I fully prepared to do this and for how long can I keep up my concentration.

We kept walking for another 15 minutes when there was another narrow path which I tried to cross myself, but unfortunately slipped and went sliding down almost 10 meters before I could get a hold on some stones. There I was hanging on to my life on the edge of a mountain, with my day pack on the back. Saw that my guide was coming running towards me effortlessly, he grabbed me and slowly we made our way up back to the pathway. This really shook me off as my lips were cut and were bleeding; I was shaken completely from top to bottom. I was thanking my stars/luck whatever, that I was still alive and did not fall all the way down. Sat down a bit to get back to my senses and let my blood pressure come down. Talked to my guide about the trail till Dzongla and he informed me that we still have around 2 hours to go on the same path and then climb into thin air for another hour. Then next days walk was a bit more tough with walking over glaciers before the pass. But since it had not snowed too much, so was possible to cross the glacier and the pass, but going down would be a tricky one.
So we sat there assessing our situation and making plans to proceed further. We decided to take it slow as we had plenty of time and would be more careful when ever there is some tough patch to cross. Got up and ready to move ahead and realized it was getting chilly with the wind blowing swoosh around us. Later we saw some dangerous clouds gathering all around us, seemed it was going to rain/snow in the next few hours and that too heavily. Now with this small pathway, if it gets covered with snow or gets wet in the rain, it would make walking much more difficult. Also realized on trekker had crossed this pass for couple of days and there was no one behind us taking this path today. Time to make a decision.

We were considering all the information we had till now along with the facts around us, finally decided not to continue towards Dzongla as the risks were outweighing far too much compared with the adrenaline rush to cross the difficult high altitude Cho La pass.

Had a quick chat with my guide and he too agreed and we decided to turn back.

This was easier said than done as we had to walk back the 1 hr over the same difficult path way we had just crossed. But my guide found a new path to go steep down and was sliding most of the time over dirt which was fun to reach Thukla. My legs started paining, toes crushing against the shoes and was hardly able to keep a steady step. Finally reached  Thukla and was able to take a deep breath and a sense of relief continuing the way down to Pheriche. Reached Pheriche around 12noon and after lunch started walking towards Pangboche over easy terrain literally hopping all the way. We stopped at upper Pangboche around 3:00pm.

We definitely were glad to drop the idea to go to Dzongla because after an hour around 4pm it started raining and then snowing in Pangboche., heavily after some time. And looking at the clouds it was definitely snowing in Dzongla and towards Lobuche/Gorakshep and base camp.

Which means we would have been struck and had a tough time in Dzongla and even Cho La pass. We were planning to take a path from Pangboche up the mouintains towards Phortse and then continue our way towards Gokyo Ri. Started checking with the lodge owners on the details of this path and they informed that tourists use this path quiet often, a bit tricky but can be done. But if it rains and snows heavily, like now, then would get difficult to walk and was not advisable to go then. So now we had to pray that the snow stops after some time and by night time the patch would be cleared. But it continued to snow heavily for the next 4 hours and by 8pm there was almost ½ feet of snow on the ground. My guide told me that he had never been on this route and hence is not aware of the path conditions, also that it was around 5 hours walk over the mountains with no villages in between. Time for another reality check and we finally decided to wait till the morning to check the path and then decide on whether to go this way, or take an extra day to go back to Namche and then from there go towards Gokyo.

From here nothing was going as per the initial plan and we had to make appropriate adjustments. But that’s just the way it is in the mountains, unpredictable, and you have to respect that and adjust to that and take it easy, if you want to have a great time. Over the past few days have heard stories about some accidents, a few deaths, people severely affected by AMS, got news of a few deaths as well in the past few days since I started my trek, but today I got a first hand feel of the actual dangers people face in this amazing Everest region.  It was continuing to snow and everywhere I could see, everything was covered in snow, so finally after dinner slept off thinking will decide tomorrow the next course of action. Still no sleep at night and kept looking out at the mountains covered in snow.
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This is where I slipped.
This is where I slipped.