Indian Himalayan Grand Traverse - Day 10 - Gyame

After a relatively easy day, today's walk was tough.  It involved crossing two passes over 5,400 metres and everyone found it a hard day.  Helen Marie, who has struggled with the altitude, decided that she would make use of the spare pony.  She is clearly thinking that she might have to abandon the trip which would mean leaving it the day after tomorrow at Korsok.

A flock of sheep getting ready to depart.

The first part of the day, as usual, was excellent.  The Changpa were busy first thing and the flocks of sheep were all shooting off in different directions.  The views back to down the valley to Gyame were stunning.

Our group amongst the Changpa sheep.
On the climbs - where people want to walk at their own pace - the group tends to split.  It's impossible to lose your way, you can see for miles, so Dilip and Sagar are happy for people to wander off ahead.  Today Swen, Malcolm, Nick and Christine and myself - all a bit competitive - shot off up the long but steady climb up the valley which got us the top of the first pass - the Kyamyuri La (5,435 metres).  We climbed the 500 metres or so in just over an hour which Dilip suggested might be a record.  Of course he must say that to the nutters in every group but it was pleasing nonetheless.

Descending on the other side of the Kyamyuri La Pass
The valley on the other side of the pass was huge and bleak and after days of clear blue skies thin clouds blotted out the sun.  After the scorching heat of a couple of days back, today felt cold.  The huge featureless landscape was almost intimidating and the only relief was a pair of mad wild asses who, as usual and for no apparent reason, were charging around in circles.
Big Country
We stopped for lunch next to a stream at the bottom of the valley and after a few minutes were entertained by a galloping herd of yak being energetically moved along by a single herdsman on a horse.  We all stood up to take pictures and he clearly appreciated the audience, waving his hat to the crowd like a some Spanish picador.

The afternoon's walk up to the second pass was beautiful but tough and the energy levels were definitely running low by the time we got to the top of the Gyame La (5,404).
Climbing up to the Gyame La

Moving slowly up the hill

For once we were disappointed in the campsite - partly I think because we were tired when we got there.  The final approach involved wading through a series of muddy grey glacial rivers and the campsite itself was dirty.  There is no real convention here for taking out the rubbish you bring in and trying to burn tins and bottles before leaving is just a token gesture towards cleaning up (Exodus are also guilty on this front).  Although usually not too bad the mess at Gyame was definitely a downer on everyone's mood.

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