Views to Tibet

Saturday, 25 Jan, 2020

Kyanjin Gompa (3900m)

We woke to another day of glorious blue skies and, best of all, no wind. The climb to the viewpoint towered above the town and it was a perfect day for the walk.

We had a leisurely breakfast and it was around 9:30 when we started moving. Bokta and Gopal came too and insisted on carrying Georgia's and my daypack. We were well dressed with crampons and gaiters as there was a lot of snow just walking through the village. Kanjin Gompa is just a cluster of guest houses, a few bakeries (all closed) and some little stalls and Tibetan shops for trekkers.

As we climbed we could look down on the brightly coloured houses, most around 3-4 stories high. We passed a few yaks which just ignored us. The climb was very steep and there was a lot of snow on the track so we are glad of our crampons. The usual route was covered in deep snow and we seemed to be taking a path almost straight up. We were soon above 4000 metres and the village was just a speck.

As we neared the top the track became narrow and steep and we were pleased to reach the rocks that signalled the final ascent to Lower Kanjin Ri at 4300 metres. The views were astounding. To the north west we could see the Khentse glacier and the Langtang Luring glacier, the latter having a lake which supported the hydro scheme that provided electricity to the village.

To the north east we could see towards Tibet and the track to Upper Kanjin Ri at 4604 metres which was exposed and steep. Jonno decided he definitely wanted to continue on.

We could see down towards Langtang along the valley to the west and to the south we could see the river and the valley we had planned to walk tomorrow. It was clear that there were no tracks along the valley and that any walk would require us to wade through untouched snow. We decided that was not our preferred option.

We took lots of photos from the top, drinking in the sheer expanse of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We took one of the team of Puncha and the porters and a group shot of all of us. We shared out muesli bars and had our highest morning tea ever.

The rest of us decided to head down so Jonno and Puncha continued on to the higher viewpoint. We met the Irish trekker from the other day together with his mate and another girl and had a quick chat. Once moving, it was a much quicker descent and it wasn't long before we were back at the guesthouse. We sat on the rooftop and dried our gaiters, crampons and boots in the warm sunshine. We could see the Irish group descending straight down through the snow and forging a new path. Not far behind we could see Jonno and Puncha.

Jonno joined us on the roof and shared his photos. He was very pleased to have done it. We were ready for lunch and the boys had dal baht whilst Georgia and I had vegetable curry with chappatis. It was around 3pm by the time we finished and we then planned to visit the cheese factory.

We found Puncha who led us through the village to find someone to open the factory. It was developed in conjunction with the Swiss in the 1950s who stayed for three years to get the enterprise up and running before handing it over to the Nepalese as required by the government. The yaks' milk is all sourced locally and the cheese is sold within the local area and only as far as Langtang. It sat on shelves in big wheels. There was no need for refrigeration as the room was only about 4 degrees. Jonno pointed out a the ice cheese on the floor, being a wheel of ice. The guy who had let us into the factory thought this was the greatest joke. We tasted the cheese and then bought 300 grams of cheese which cost 600 rupees ($8 AUD) We had to buy it in 100s of grams as that was all the scales could measure.

On our way back, the owner of the guesthouse had opened his shop for us to browse and buy Tibetan souvenirs. The shop was musty. The coke was so old that it had separated. Fortunately Jonno found a pair of knitted bed socks so we could buy something. We paid 700 rupees (just under $10).

Back at the guesthouse the fire was going. Whilst I did some stretches and used the theraball on my quads, the others read books. Once I joined them we played a few rounds of 500, with Jonno and Georgia teaming up very effectively against Simon and me. We stopped for dinner which was a very snacky affair. We had some Tibetan bread with our newly purchased cheese, a spring roll which was like a large vegetable Momo, some chips and a slice of apple pie, which turned out to be like an apple turnover filled with pureed apples.

After dinner, Jonno and Georgia taught us how to play flowerpot, which was a lot of fun. But gradually the room became colder and colder so it was time for bed. Easy day tomorrow so kids could sleep in as late as they liked (or at least until 9am).