Sunday, May 18, 2014

tsergo ri, nepal:

The big goal of our trek was to spend an extra day in Kyanjin Gompa and climb a mountain called Tsergo Ri. This is one of two mountains that can be climbed in a day and that is a popular side trip with trekkers. There is the more favoured Kyanjin Ri at 4700m and the more challenging Tsergo Ri at 5030m in elevation. We wanted to give it our best shot and make it to the top of Tsergo Ri.
While it definitely isn't Mount Everest and is much smaller than many of the mountains around it, it is still up there, being higher than Mont Blanc in France and more than twice the height of Australia's tallest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko. So it was a big deal as neither of us had been at that altitude before. 

While technically easy, it's the altitude and long ascent up that makes Tsergo Ri challenging. In the days leading up to our arrival at Kyanjin Gompa we had met groups who had attempted to hike up either Kyanjin Ri or Tsergo Ri, with many having to turn back due to altitude sickness. There were also a few helicopter evacuations while we were there. So with this in the back of our minds, we we knew  we had a good hike ahead of us.
Our alarms were set for 4.45am and we were out the door by 5.30am to ensure we made it to the top while the sky was clear and the winds were low. 
And, we did it! I cannot begin to describe the feeling of reaching the summit. Walking through ice and snow, it really did feel like we climbed a proper Himalayan mountain. And the view! It was unbelievable. The photos simply do not capture what we felt and the stunning panorama we saw. The mountains are so majestic.

Andrew and I were very fortunate to not feel the effects of altitude sickness, with just a dull headache on our way down. But we did have to take it slowly in order to keep our breath and try to acclimatise as we hiked up. The lack of oxygen definitely started to kick in, particularly in the second half of our ascent, where we had to stop a bit more frequently then previously. All up, it was a seven hour return hike to Kyanjin Gompa, and we were well and truly exhausted by the end.

But it was so worth it. Making it to the top of Tsergo Ri was the highlight of our trip by far.

That night in Kyanjin Gompa was our last before we hiked back down to Syabrubesi where before we knew it our trek had sadly finished and we were off to Kathmandu.

next: Kathmandu and the valley.

langtang lirung at daybreak
mighty langtang

approaching tsergo ri, with much less snow then the day before

so beautiful

hitting the snow line

taking it all in


tying our prayer flags on the top

we did it!
looking back down from where climbed

a long way back down


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