A high altitude sunrise in Nepal
I thought it rather apt that considering I am currently (hopefully) making my way back from the Everest Base Camp I would publish a photograph I took at nearly the same time back in 2008 from the Annapurna Circuit Trek.
Today is also when the date on the top right hand of this website should roll over to 7 years …
Facts from behind the lens of this photograph:
The Story behind the photograph
At lower camp I stopped to eat and was so cold from the wind I put on every item of clothing I had. The hardest thing wasn’t actually the altitude, nor the cold, but the wind. It was penetrating and rabid. 3 shirts, and a windbreaker jacket. Yes, I was woefully under-prepared.
I’d already learned my lesson in Manang about not stopping for acclimatization. Sleep isn’t easy once it hits. The day before my head had begun pounding again as I made my way up to high camp for the night.
At high camp the temperature dropped that night to -25. My water bottles were freezing up so I slept with them to prevent them from completely turning into ice blocks. I’m also not ashamed to say I slept with a bottle of my own urine as a makeshift hot water bottle!
Crossing the Thorung La pass in winter
It lightly snowed the previous night, but by 4am the sky was clear over high camp. A breakfast of cold pancakes and ice water were the only things available as there was only one lodge open and it wasn’t a friendly one.
With ice crunching under foot I set off with my guide in the darkness. Dawn at 5000 meters is pretty spectacular. The strong winds and deathly cold makes it even more surreal. Due to the surrounding peaks we didn’t get a glimpse or feel of the sun until 7am.
I measured -20 degrees before the thermostat stopped working. We later got a recording of a wind chill of -42. We continued to make our way through a lost trail over shin deep glaring snow.
I remember trying to drink and hearing the crunch of my frozen beard against the bottle as I tried in vain to find some liquid in the frozen ice block that had formed.
Looking up ahead one got the feeling of being bounced around by icy spikes of wind, all the while searching for the prayer flags signalling the peak of the pass.
Before we reached it I remember thinking that this was the hardest outdoor physical challenge I’ve ever done.
Looking back on it things would have been easier if I’d gone more prepared with proper clothing. But now as I prepare for the Everest base camp trek in similar conditions, I probably wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
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Please note I’m currently offline trekking in similar conditions as above. Please support this post by taking a look at the new edition of my First Time Trekking in Nepal guidebook.
This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, documenting the story behind the picture
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