Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kongma La Pass

Kongma La 23 October

Today we were up at the usual time full of expectation (albeit nervous
expectation!!) for a big day over the third pass – 'The Kongma La'.
The team was down to 4, Luke, Colin, Hazel and myself plus our two
lovely Sherpa's Tshering and Nim.

Off we went up over the first hill, with all of us but Luke going up
the steepest part of the hill. Luke went over a ridge which was
kinder and got some lovely photos, overlooking Chhukhung, Island Peak
and numerous glaciers.

A "very big" climb, never seemed to end. Up we went and just as you
thought you were at the top, another higher false summit would appear
in the distance. I thought at one stage that I wasn't going to make it
but then Luke tucked in behind me and with a bit of encouragement I
finally saw the 'true' summit.

Apart from the encouragement from others the other things which
inspired me to continue were the fantastic views on a crystal clear
day, huge glaciers which seemed to meander into eternity, breathtaking
views of clear alpine lakes and water falls which had turned into
icebergs on the way down – amazing.

One of the most special moments of the trip was coming around the
corner of some huge boulders on top of the summit (almost 5 hours
after we left Dingoche) and being cheered on by a large group of
people who were already at the top – awesome!! So obviously the thing
to do was to find a suitable rock (5535 metres up) and do the same to
the others as they made the top.

We stayed at the summit for 3/4's of an hour and just soaked up the
sights – amazying. Took some great photos, ate chapati bread and
peanut butter and just basked in the glory!

Now for the climb down – must be easier I (stupidly) thought!! The
first difference from the climb up was the snow on the Lobuche side so
for about the first 100 metres down we put on our crampons. In the
distance you could see an enormous moraine wall from the "Khumbu
Glacier" which ran between the pass and Labouche – this seemed to grow
in height as we got closer!!

So down we went; once the snow melted we started climbing over huge
boulders, slippery rocks, loose chip – ended up on my bum a couple of
times but just jumped up quickly in the hope that nobody had seen!!

Down to the bottom and the nightmare was realised – we now had to
climb the moraine wall, which by now was about 100 metres high!! Up
we went (not much left in the tank) following Tshering's professional
footsteps and once up the top the view (once again) was breathtaking!!
An enormous glacier to cross – must have been at least 1 kilometre
wide and I wouldn't want to guess how deep – WOW! One could only guess
how many years Mother Nature had spent making such an incredible

After a very tricky crossing (once again all confidence in Tshering
and Nim though) we got to the other side. Colin had gone ahead and
given his pack to one of the porters and then came back to us and
offered to take my pack for me. Normally I would have refused, but
with very little energy left I graciously accepted!!

Yeah we made it to Labouche – absolutely knackered but with big smiles.


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