10/18/2004: 1908 Camp
Mo and I standing near the top of
After the picture to the letf was taken, we spent the next two hours hiking through snow and ice.
Clouds moved in as we descended
It is mind boggling to put the elevation and the relative
mass of the Indian Himalayan range in perspective. In
When we got to
Just before dark I hiked about 300 feet up the hill behind our camp to get a sunset view of
Changabang catching the last rays of sun light
The summit of Changabang looks like it is just a stone through across the valley. If I walked straight ahead over the top of Changabang (22,000+ ft) and down the other side I would be in China/Tibet. As the crow flies that would be less than 80 kilometers or around 45 miles away.
The shadows of the western peaks rapidly climbed up the slopes of Changabang until it was also in darkness. As the sun faded the temperature dropped. I headed back to the dining room, study, bedroom and closet, also known as the tent.
From “We are here” look east
by northeast over Dunagiri and Changabang to
Just finished dinner. Had a vote and decided our favorite food of the entire trip is hot soup. Tonight it was piping hot tomato soup. The vote for hot soup may have been influenced by the current in tent temperature of 38oF.
Packing Camp over
This morning a little after 5 AM, and well before sunrise, I hiked up to a ridge at about 13,000 ft behind (south) of our camp.
It was cool last night. The condensation from our breathing during the night had turned into a coat of ice on the inside of the rain fly that shattered as I unzipped the tent . The ponds in the meadow had frozen over with a thin layer of ice and the a heavy frost covered the grass. After gaining the ridge I headed west until I reached a small pinnacle of rock where I had an unobstructed view of the Valley and all the surrounding peaks. From my perch I could see a full 360o.
As the sky lightened over the peaks in the east I could make
out layer upon layer of high peaks fading in to
The transition from night to day was visually more dramatic than what I witnessed at Bendi Bugyal. Even as the tip of one of the high Himalayan peaks ( I think Hathi Parbat) caught the first direct sun light from the east the horizon in the west was still black. This sun rise was like no other that I had ever witnesses. The blackness over the plains to the west, rather than just fading away, turned in to a ground up spectrum of black to dark shades of purple and blue, to progressively lighter shades of lavender, pink and yellow. The earthbound rainbow of increasing wave length was separated by thin rays of blackness that radiated from the horizon upward like spokes from a wheel. As the sun rose further the gothic rays receded in to the western horizon until the entire sky was light blue.
10/19/04: Trek to Auli
Ascent 1,540 32,564
Descent 3,660 30,871
We had anticipated a gradual descent from out camp at around 12,000 ft to Auli where we would sleep in a real bed for the first time in two weeks. Instead of taking a lovely rock path that led in to the valley below, Retan pointed upward and we began bush whacking (no trail) up a rocky slope until we gained a serpiginous, slimy half frozen trail on the ridge line. Today we hiked 21 kilometers of some of the most amazing trail I have ever been on.