A snowy route

Sunday, 19 Jan, 2020

Tatopani (2600m) - Nagthali (3200m)

It was a slightly later start and we needed to be at breakfast by 8am. The view from the balcony was stunning in the early morning light. At 7:45 I went to the kids room to collect water bottles for filling only to find Jonno in bed. Fortunately he was dressed but hadn't started packing.

Simon was feeling much better and able to manage a pancake for breakfast. He hadn't been able to eat any of his dinner the night before. We had our morning coffee and stashed the cups in our bags as our gear had already been collected by the porters.

We had only been walking a few hundred metres when we encountered snow along the track. This continued to increase as we climbed. The views back towards Tatopani were magnificent. Before long we were surrounded by snow but the path remained clear and easy to follow. As we climbed we could see back down the valley towards Gatlang and Dunche as well as tracks winding their way up the mountainside.

We stopped for a rest at a cluster of tea houses which unfortunately were closed. We enjoyed the sun and the snow. I asked the lady in the one house that was occupied if I could take her photo and she laughed and danced for the camera.

The snow became deeper as we climbed and finally we ran out of track. We put on our gaiters whilst Puncha was on the phone to the porters trying to determine the best route. His first suggestion was ruled out as the snow was too deep so we headed straight up. The snow became knee deep and we each followed in the footsteps of the others as we tracked the paths of the porters.

Bokta came back to check we were okay then went on ahead to pick up his load. The wind started to pick up and we were most relieved to see the cluster of guest houses that made up Nagthali. The going became harder in the soft snow. Finally we arrived at the guest house. We had planned to visit the Taruche lookout in the afternoon but with all the snow it was out of the question.

There were a few people clustered by the fire in the kitchen but we were sent through to the dining room which was cold, quite run down and dirty, with bits of food on tired table cloths. Puncha came in and wiped down the tables and replaced some other cloths. We ordered some hot water for tea and coffee but the room became ever colder.

Eventually we moved out to the kitchen to finish our drinks by the fire. Then our rooms were ready so we headed up to sort out bed and gear before returning to the dining room where a fire had been started and ordered lunch. It was about 2:30 by the time we ate and the weather was closing in. The wind picked up and it started to snow more heavily. We were glad to be out of the weather. We spent the afternoon reading and drinking lemon, ginger and honey tea.

Finally the wind dropped and the sky started to clear. We could see glimpses of the surrounding mountains. We decanted our water from the bladder into bottles that we could pack into our bedding. With sub zero temperatures overnight, we didn't want any liquids to freeze.

Then it was time to order dinner. We were still full from lunch so settled for apple pancakes or Tibetan bread with honey or cheese. Puncha then served us some fresh fruit and dinner was complete.