Friday, 16 January 2015

Day 5: Hemis Shukpachan to Ang

The most challenging day of the trek. 9.6km, over two high passes. Greg was recovered and the group was well rested and recharged after our scheduled two night stay at Hemis Shukpachan, where we were blessed by the warm hospitality, great food and colourful entertainment from Stanzin Noryang and her family.  

We moved on through ever more spectacular scenery, reaching the start of the ascent to Mebtak La, at 3,900m the high point of the trek, a long, lung-busting slog up steep, switchback paths that were covered in the finest scree, and in parts no wider than our boots. 

This was a mighty climb. It called on every ounce of our physical strength, and all the determination, resilience and courage that Greg and I had accumulated over the years. Greg had to climb this whole route sideways, and he will always be thankful to Rigzin who scrambled alongside but downhill of him in the sand, using his boot to re-inforce every sideways step of Greg’s crutches. 

Up ahead, Alan kept me moving safely and steadily, gasping for thin air whilst appreciating how resolute my injury has made me and experiencing deep gratitude and true elation. The trek down to our campsite at Ang was a celebration, and dinner that evening was topped off by a chocolate cake make by our cook Gelle Sherpa!  

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