Lost Porter

Friday, 24 Jan, 2020

Langtang (3500m) - Kyanjin Gompa (3900m)

We woke to another glorious morning without any negative effects from sleeping at 3500 metres. Leaving town, there was a lot of snow on the ground but it was reasonably well trodden and walking was fairly easy. We continued to walk to the left of the mani walls but after a while started taking the most well trodden route.

We were rugged up for the cold but were soon shedding layers as we felt the benefits of the sunshine. The views ahead were amazing and we asked Puncha to take some family photos. As always it was all about the view, and we were just little specks in the foreground. But at least there is evidence that we are all on the walk together.

We passed a few trekkers who told us that the Kanjin Ri viewpoint was open despite the snow which was good news as we had missed the Taruche viewpoint. They also warned us about the wind and wished us good luck as they left. We had felt the occasional gust but nothing too concerning. However, we were soon feeling the full brunt of frequent gusts which seemed to be getting stronger.

We had hoped for a morning coffee stop but the tea houses were all closed. Undeterred, Puncha arranged for us to get some hot water at someone's house and we all crammed into their kitchen area. We enjoyed our teas and coffees in front of the stove and appreciated being out of the wind. They charged us 300 NPR for the water but we paid them 400 as it had been so good to have a warm drink.

Back outside we rugged up with raincoats to cut the wind and put on crampons (except for Jonno) to assist with the snow which was very icy in patches. At some points the wind was so strong that it was hard to stay balanced. Eventually we reached the Gompa but there was still no sign of the town. We continued on past big water pipes feeding a small hydro electricity station. Puncha spoke to a man near the hydro station who advised that he had not seen two porters pass this route. It appeared that Gopal had taken a different and more difficult route. Puncha tried whistling loudly and scanning the horizon but there was no sign of Gopal.

We continued on, crossing a suspension bridge, with snowy ground all around us. Still no town, just the odd guesthouse. The wind was whipping up the snow as we finally crested a ridge and saw the town below. What should have taken 2.5 hours ended up taking more than four hours.

We made our way through quite deep snow to the Everest guesthouse. Bokta had arrived so the kids could change into warmer clothes. Our feet were cold from the snow that had seeped into the tops of our shoes. We headed to the dining room for lunch. It was freezing, but the owner said he was not allowed to light the fire until around 4pm. There were blankets available and the sun was streaming through the windows so we did our best to warm up. Puncha went to look for Gopal whilst we ordered lunch. As his wife was away, the owner made lunch and told us about his family. He had two sons in Kathmandu, one still at school and his daughter had died in Langtang.

Eventually Puncha returned having found Gopal who had tried to follow an old route that had not been used recently so the snow was very deep. At one point he had been up to his chest in snow, all whilst carrying Simon and my bags. Gopal was certainly ready for his dal baht!

It felt so good to put on warm socks and return to the dining room to find that it was time to light the fire. We gathered around the stove with our devices and some hot lemon drink whilst we could still hear the wind gusting outside. We didn't venture out to visit the monastery or the cheese factory, being happy to stay warm.

Before long it was time to order dinner and we again shared a few dishes. It seemed much quieter outside so hopefully the wind has dropped for our walk tomorrow