On the sleep front last night was much better. It was a very cold night, ice on the inside of the tent, but I was OK inside my sleeping, used the fleece liner for the first time and it certainly improved things. Still I don't think my sleeping bag is good enough for the 5,000 plus metre nights and if I can hire a 5 season bag at Tangnag I will do.
Today's walk marks the end of the pre-climb training week. The Exodus itinerary takes you on a long detour away from the direct route to Mera and is designed to avoid the steep climb out of Lukla and gives more time to toughen up before the main climb. I think this makes a lot of sense and even though I did the Annapurna I feel a lot stronger. We hit the main trail again today and next week is all about preparing for the summit.
|Looking back to the sacred Pokhara lakes|
|Amazing contour path|
We then dropped down sharply through rhododendrons trees into a steep sided valley. With the snow on the ground the going was treacherous and a number of people lost their footing.
We had our first lunch cooked out of doors. On previous trips this has been standard but, because of the number of tea houses on the route, the cook team has been able set up near these and we usually eat indoors. Lunch didn't take long as it started to snow just as we started eating it.
After going through some more rhododendron trees we dropped down into a wider valley strewn with bolders, clearly the remains of an old glacier. Old craggy pines now dominate the hill sides and like everything else these are covered in moss and lichen.