It was a difficult climb today and extra exertion from jumping between rocks as well as the lack of oxygen from the altitude made for an exhausting combination. Naveen, our TrekNomad leader showed the true leadership quality by helping out who were struggling climbing up those loose boulders.

The route map for today shall be as below

We started off early in the Morning when first light of day was only just appearing behind the plans. Raj, our guide informed that there are not going to be any teahouse till we reach Dzongla. And besides we have to cross the difficult summit pass Chola located at at 5,420 metres.

We started off along the steep rocky trail, following beside a small stream.  Soon the sunlight hit the tops of the big mountains behind Dragnag, across the main valley. The sight was spectacular. It was another beautiful day in the mountains and it was great to be hiking.

After a fairly steep climb like below you could see a false summit up ahead on a ridge . It was barren terrain and a beautiful landscape which unveiled itself more as we climbed.

We had our share of eggs, that Raj was carrying 🙂

The top of ridge gives stunning panoramic view of some of the peaks.

The altitude gain you had made climbing up this ridge was now to be lost somewhat as we trekked down into the valley of a receded glacier. The glacier that was once here has left behind a tough landscape of rocks and boulders behind.We had to drop into the valley and cross piles of this glacial debris to reach the last slope up to the pass. It was ankle breaking stuff and one has to be very careful with my footing. It was hard work and it went on for some time.

Soon, we are at the base of the pass. Looking ahead the climb upto Chola pass summit, I knew this was going to be hard.

One slip could easily be fatal. There was very little room for error. And Raj, asked us to go slow – bistari, bistari he asked.

Taking each step very carefully and tried to follow the path up the slope, slowly zigzagging along the rock, you will have to use your hands as well to get you up at some steep sections. We were well above 5000 metres and had to stop often to catch our breath. The altitude didn’t help the already difficult climb and it was truly exhausting.

Eventually we came to the Cho La summit. At 5,420 meters it was the highest point we reached on the trip. Even higher than Gokyo Ri summit I did previous day. It was hard but the feeling of accomplishment was great. And the flag came out immediately.

This is Chola pass. The scale of its size is not obvious in the pic. Compare the size of persons in both the red circles.
The blue line is the approximate path, we had taken to cross it.

However, remember the pass itself was not much of a destination. We have to soon drop down on steep rock to witness a large glacier /snowfield to cross.

We descended a long way on the snow and had some time taking few photographs.

ये ट्रैकिंग नहीं आसाँ इतना ही समझ लीजये
इक बर्फ का दरिया है और चल के जाना है

The joy. Nothing can beat this joy except for getting that months old bug getting fixed. Yeee!! 🙂

And the slide.

We descended a long way on the snow, carefully.

And we reached the deadend. Not in real sense but the route was blocked. Some one said there was an avalanche, a night before and that blocked the route. Whatever be the reason, the route was blocked and we were entering into the toughest walk of our day. Raj and Pawan went ahead to see if there are any easier route to take.

The path ahead had unstable and loose rocks and boulders. Mountain was all frozen and it was melting slowly. That made some of those rocks even more loose. Soon Raj found one rock. Though it was not completely firm, it wasn’t that loose either. He slowly climbed up the rock, and then asked to form a human chain. Naveen came forward to get the struggling ones first.

Finally we made it. Oh the joy.

One we crossed the area, it started to rain and we have to cross pass some slippery rocks. The rain had made the descend on those boulders, even more difficult.

Eventually, we reached the floor of the valley. It was hard on the knees whole day and knees were now grateful for the flat the valley ground. We still had a long way to go but now it was just walking on a trail, and downhill at that following the stream further down the valley. It was raining heavily and we were dying to reach Dzongla. It was raining so heavily that we were not able to see anything ahead. All of a sudden, we realised, we all are carrying passports and they are in our backpacks. Although we had put the rain cover on it, the rain was so heavy, the backpack was soaking some water from the sides. We were in no position to do anything about it.

We were constantly walking through the open field, filled with water. We were hoping, we will reach our destination sooner.  We were already late by about two hours and getting really exhausted and hungry. After a really long descent we reached Dzongla by around 4 O’Clock. Around 10 hours of walk. What an eventful day it was. And we were dead tired.

Everyone first checked our passport. Except mine, everyone’s passport pouch was not wet. Means their passport inside was safe. Nitesh asked me to open the passport and check the pages of passport. Mine reply was : “Some another day. we already have enough shocks for the day. Can’t take one more. Let’s go for a coffee.

Following song, captures perfect mood of the moment.

  Prologue-EBC | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 – Gokyo lakes | 6 – Gokyo ri Summit | 7 – Chola pass | 8 | 9 – Kalapatthar/EBC | 10 | Epilogue-EBC