Thorong Phedi, 4500m (Nepal)

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Today’s walking has been brief, we set off at around 0715 and arrived at Thorong Phedi at 0915! It was a fairly straight forward climb across paths which cut through scree slopes. Thorong Phedi is in an amphitheatre, surrounded by low mountains. This is the closest we’ve been to the valley walls and it gives the place a whole new perspective. I can see the large scree slopes which mark the start of the Thorong La - I understand though that I am seeing a false summit. Today, during the mere 2 hours of walking, my bag felt fine and neither my shoulders nor hips ached. I’m feeling good and really enjoying it all. Tomorrow is going to be D-day as I think we’ll set off around 0500 which will start us off for the 900m climb and 1600m descent to Muktinath, via Thorong La at 5416m. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do for the rest of today as there are no near-by villages to walk to and I don’t want to do too much as I’ll need to save myself for tomorrow. I’ll probably get very bored!

For most of the afternoon, until dinner, I’ve had a throbbing headache, which I’ve attributed to AMS. It’s the only symptom I’m showing. Paul and a Danish guy both have headaches too. I’ll still attempt tomorrow’s climb but if it gets any worse or if I start to show any other symptoms then I’ll turn around and stay another night at Thorong Phedi.

The French Canadian couple and I started talking to the lodge owner and he said that in the 25 years which he’s been here he’s seen a Snow Leopard once, in 1989. An adult was playing with two cubs in the snow on the opposite valley wall. After hearing this I walked 100m uphill to a quiet vantage point off the path to scour the landscape for movement. All I saw was some huge eagles miles away, a flock of crows fluttering around and a stoat-type thing 1m away as it bounded from bush to bush in it’s effort to run away from me - oh well!