Descending in knee deep snow

Monday, 20 Jan, 2020

Nagthali (3200m) - Bridhim (2200m)

We woke to a crystal clear morning. Snow had settled in the corridor to our rooms, blown in by yesterday's wind. The Mountain View teahouse was surrounded by clean snow and magnificent mountain ranges.

We had breakfast in the kitchen and watched the Tibetan bread and omelettes being cooked whilst we enjoyed the warmth of the stove.

It was a cold start and we had lots of warm clothes including gloves. But the sun was warm and we were soon shedding layers. The snow was knee deep and fairly slow going as we followed the tracks made by the porters.

Soon we reached the tree line and every so often snow would fall from the branches. I was finding it slow going, constantly slipping and sliding and falling a few times. Simon suggested trying crampons and they made such a difference. I was soon striding through the snow and no longer lagging behind.

It should have taken an hour to reach Thurman and with the snow it took around 2.5 hours. We stopped at a guest house for a rest and discussed whether we should eat lunch there. We were still at least four hours from our destination at Briddam and the next town of Ling Ling was two hours away. However, there was no guarantee that anything would be open at Ling Ling so we decided to eat where we were and ordered fried rice with veggies and egg.

Two young kids entertained us as we waited. It is amazing how much fun you can have with two pieces of wood joined together with a wheel on the end and two saucepan kids. They were having a great time.

It was more downhill after lunch. We had started the day at 3200 metres and reached the river at 1600 metres. The river was flowing from Tibet with the border some 9kms away. We crossed the suspension bridge which had been newly built and completed late last year after the old one was damaged by the earthquake. It was just upstream from us and we were glad we didn't have to try crossing it as it looked very dodgy at our end.

After a brief stop at Ling Ling where the teahouse was closed but the toilet accessible we then started climbing. Part way up we could see a Tibetan mountain, highlighting just how close we were.

The track to Briddam was mainly uphill and we stopped for a chocolate break part way up. We dropped down again to across a wooden bridge and then soon found ourselves at the edge of the town. We were meant to stay at Potala guesthouse which we could see perched high on the hill, but the owner had gone to Kathmandu and had yet to return. So we continued on to his brother's guesthouse. As we climbed it seemed we head reached the end of the town and then we saw it. We were so pleased to be able to stop. But with aching quads I was disappointed that there was no Western toilet. There had been one in each of the places so far, admittedly of varying degrees of functionality.

I opted for a hot shower which was a bucket wash but refreshing nonetheless. Noone else could be bothered prefering to wait to our stop tomorrow which promised to be a much shorter day.

We adjourned to the dining room to order dinner and enjoy the warmth of the stove. Simon and I had a lukewarm Everest beer - our first since leaving Kathmandu whilst the kids had tea.