Nepal – here we are
And so we land into Nepal. Greeted by our good friend Anup, the place seems like a home away from home. Getting stuck in traffic and moving 300 meters an hour is a pretty good reality check and a reminder we are not home and this is a place to practice inner serenity and tolerance.
Not as much hard core as India in terms of being late, but well ahead of our standards, we end up wasting a few extra days just on travel and bureaucracy. After all is said and done, fine tuning our nerves to the haggling and barging in everyday situations, we set a course for the majestic prominence of Annapurna range, where our acclimatization session is destined to take place.
The change of climate, vegetation, and terrain is breath taking, but so is the altitude, so we endure the symptoms of AMS, luckily without sustaining any serious damage. Occasional colds and a sprained tendon are the only souvenirs we are bringing back to Pokhara from the Annapurna base camp. The trek up to the heart of the mountain is definitely recommended to all, and having porters and extra days will be well worth your budget. If you’re more on the dark side with masochistic ambitions like us in this case, be sure to take a lot of photos so you can enjoy the scenery after its all over.
This brings us to the next phase of the trip, the marrow of the project – getting into the lake. Our first choice, Tilicho lake seems like a safe bet, with the small detail of being super inaccessible even with a 4×4. Having this sort of peculiarity is not unusual for us, so we are dealing with these situations as they come along. We are ready to split the journey into a 12 hour off road rodeo and a 10 hour hike to 5200 meters and do some diving. Well, this is where the real crux comes in. Its extremely cold, and we are very limited with gear having to walk 10 hours and having no porters to assist. I hate the unsupported part in the mental agreement I do with myself sometimes. This means we can do the warmup on land, and jump into the lake for the record attempt one by one. This also means its much more dangerous, because the last attempt was stopped because of too low saturation and the risk of blacking out, which is a bit discomposing if you know that getting back to the living world is very hard with 10% O2 atmosphere. Oh yes, and the wind from the glacier is horrendous, the temperature of water is 2 and air is… hopefully warmer than -10. Its not really fine print that hypothermia is a guaranteed bonus. Well, although this might seem a bit stretched, we are confident we will have a great experience and some good material. If our batteries don’t freeze. Then, we will have a great story and an extra motive to get back here.
Wish us luck and swift feet on the way back to warmth 🙂