The Climb of My Life–Thorung La Pass awaits.

One of the main objectives of this trek was the crossing of Thorung La Pass at 17,700ft. By mountaineering scale this pass would only be the elevation of most 8,000 meter peak base camps. For sea level residents it’s a hell of a long way up–over 3.5 miles. We prepared for the attempt by trekking and sleeping at consecutively higher altitudes each day. At our last camp before the pass, Thorung Phedi, we slept at 14,000 feet–only 400 feet short of Mt. Rainier’s summit. On the way to Phedi, we had heard of and also experienced bad weather. Some reports said the pass was closed due to high snow levels. Some groups had already turned back and had passed us on the trail. But as we got closer to the pass, the weather improved and reports in Manang indicated a crossing was possible. Also, all along the trail the eight of us had spun about a 1,000 prayer wheels with the montra “Sunshine, good health and safety over the pass.” It worked. At 3am we were awaken and by 4:30am we were climbing the steep grade up to the city of Phedi and on to the summit slope. Our headlamps revealed a narrow rocky snow covered path winding up the mountain and into the darkness. We would see other lights ahead but no bodies due to the darkness. Below us were also several other trekkers pouring out of the main village hotel and onward up the path to the top of the pass.

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