Was a bit suspicious about the weather this morning. Instead of the usual bright start clouds had already formed and it didn't feel at all settled. Sure enough, after we had been walking for an hour it started to snow and by the the time we reached Khare at miday - after walking about 3 and half hours - there was about 3 inches of fresh snow on the ground and it was still falling.
|Sabai Tsho Lake and the Sabai Glacier|
This of course meant we missed the views which, from what little we saw, looked fantastic. Particularly impressive was the Sabai Glacier which crashes down into what remains of Sabai Tsho Lake after the collapse of the moraine dam.
After the snow started to fall there was nothing to do but walk and try and get to Khare as quickly as possible. We were joined by a young woman carrying a large load of logs (instantly christened log lady) who chatted to Lukpa and helpfully slowed him down a bit.
|Climbing up through the snow to Khare|
In terms of walking the group has effectively split into two. Mark, the very skinny and extremely fast Frenchman, Alistair, Cerry and myself are in the fast group and Big John, Nigel and Chris the Belgian are in the other. Everyone seems OK with this arrangement and it seems to allow us all to travel at our preferred pace.
Last night Jangbu suggested that we might cut a day out of the scheduled ascent. I think this means going all the way from Khare, where are now, to High Camp and missing out a night a Mera La. This means we spend one less night camping above 5,000 metres but have a tougher day getting up to High Camp. This all makes a lot of sense to me. If you're going to be hanging around I'd rather do it a slightly lower altitude. It also saves the porters a camp set up and some high altitude carrying.
Whether the plan works will depend on the weather and whether Jangbu thinks the whole group can make it at that pace. Tomorrow involves another acclimatisation walk and then some practice with the climbing gear, so there is still plenty of time to decide.
The camp site at Khara is a good one. We are staying on a terrace just outside a tea house owned by a married couple who wear identical large scale down jackets and identical glasses. Hard to tell them apart and both seem equally kind and considerate. They also run the little hardware shop where we get the balance of our climbing gear tomorrow.
We see our first yak of the trip, a sort of pet yak, a baby yak that lives in the village and is happy to eat any left over food. Charges through the village is a slightly alarming way given that they are notoriously short sighted.
The best thing about the tea house is the heater under the table. This is a tradition in these parts and we came across them around the Annapurna Circuit. Different heating methods are used and here it's a sort of kerosene blast furnace which roars as well as heats. Our kind hosts do charge but it's money well spent and the prospect of a heated dining room seems to attract the locals who crowd in and create a very convivial atmosphere.