Beaten by the Koreans

Wednesday, 29 Jan, 2020

Thulo Syabru (2200m) - Singh Gompa (3600m)

The clouds were clearing when we woke and breakfast was in the table just after 8am, with cheese omelettes all round. Simon discovered that his wifi was strongest at the back of the hotel so we ducked out to send emails and I updated my work password before it expired - something I may regret later.

Thulo Syabru at 2200 metres was a long town and there were more shops and stalls than we had seen elsewhere. We passed a group of kids who responded to my "namaste" with lots of giggles.

The path was relentlessly steep as we headed toward Sing Gompa. We stopped at a stupa to take some photos across the valley and could see Nagthali and Thurman in the distance. Hard to believe we had walked so far.

We stopped at a closed guesthouse to use the toilet and soon after passed some of the Korean group from yesterday but others were ahead of us. It was a big group of around 13 trekkers and 15 porters and after having to wait till they had eaten lunch yesterday, we were pleased to have stayed at a different guest house.

The snow started to get deeper and having the group ahead of us helped to compact the snow, making it easier to walk as we didn't have our crampons or gaiters with us.

Our lunch stop was at Forpang Danda at 3,200 metres, meaning we had climbed 1000 metres in around 3 kms. Some of the Koreans had arrived ahead of us so we knew we would again be waiting some time for our lunch. We ordered some hot water and enjoyed our tea and coffees in the sun, surrounded by mountains. One of the Koreans asked for some coffee and water. Not sure how the coffee would have tasted without the plunger.

We enjoyed our dal baht and veggie curry, which we knew would be quicker to cook, as all the porters would be eating the same for their lunches. We were ready to move around the same time as the Koreans who gathered to take a group photo. But we weren't quick enough and were again following in their footsteps.

It wasn't long before some of them stopped for a rest and pulled off the track so we could pass. The track continued to wind its way upwards though not so steeply. The route was through forest and the snow was quite deep in parts. There were lots of rhodedendrons along the track which would look spectacular when flowering in spring. A fine mist started to cover the mountains and threatened to reduce our visibility before clearing again.

Finally we reached Singh Gompa with its mountain views now bathed in full sunshine. The Koreans had taken over one guesthouse and many were closed. The last guesthouse was the Yak and Nak which looked open it there was noone around. Finally Puncha confirmed that this was our accommodation for the night

We sat outside our rooms in the sun until it went behind some clouds and the air became immediately colder. Fortunately, the fire was now going in the dining room so we gathered there to warm up with some hot lemon.

Puncha confirmed that it was not possible to cross the pass. He also told us that two young Nepalese boys from Kathmandu had died recently trying to cross the pass in deep snow. We had a number of options for our last week of the trek and finally decided to do an abridged version of the Helambu trek that would include some of the same villages we would have visited if we had crossed the pass.

The plan for tomorrow was to walk to Laurebina which was the last accessible town before the track was closed. However, Puncha advised that the Koreans were planning to walk to Laurebina tomorrow and would take over the only open hotel.

Given that we now needed to head to Dunche which meant backtracking our route through Singh Gompa, we decided that it would be easier to do a day trip to Laurebina thereby avoiding the need to find alternative accommodation.