|Photo: Naar village|
In late October, we organised our Naar to Upper Mustangtrek along The Great Himalaya Trail. This trek was led by Tom Lawson and Gopal Tamang. The group arrived in Kathmandu on October 30th and next morning Tom gave his trek briefing to the group and I also attended.
On November 1st the group drove to Bhulebule to start the trek. The weather was cloudy with some precipitation as the group ascended Marsyangdi valley following a quieter trail opposite the Annapurna Circuit jeep track. Over the last few years trails have been improved away from the road so Tom made sure the group took advantage of these whenever possible. Many trekking groups now take jeeps all the way to Dharapani, however the feedback from this group was they were happy to walk from Bhulebule as the trails away from the road are scenic and varied and are much better than a long, dusty and bumpy jeep ride.
|Photo: trail to Yak Kharka above Naar village|
On November 8th the group left Naar village to start the approach to Teri La pass by following the Lapse Khola (river) valley, staying the first night at a Yak Kharka camp at an altitude of 4,400m. This section of the trail is narrow and steep but everyone made good progress to camp.
On November 9th they continued to a higher camp in the Lapse Khola valley at an altitude of 4,600m, planning the next day to walk up to High Camp below the Teri La pass at an altitude of 4,900m. The trail ascends on northerly facing slopes and soft snow from storms a couple of weeks earlier made the trail difficult for group and crew. There was about 10cm of unconsolidated snow on scree slopes and Tom and Gopal decided it was too risky to continue. It was not possible to protect this section of the trail with fixed rope and the decision was made to turn back from crossing Teri La pass. At the highest point reached, Himalayan Griffon were seen circling in the valley and a trail of fresh snow leopard prints were spotted in the snow
On returning to camp Tom and Gopal discussed the options and explained these to the group; everyone was happy to divert the trek to cross the Kang La pass over to Manang and then continue to Tilicho Lake and cross Mesokantha La over to Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki valley. On November 13th they had a sunny and clear day for crossing Kang La and walked down to the Ngawal village. On the next day they walked along the spectacular high trail then down into Braga village with wonderful views of the Annapurnas before going on to Manang village.
|Photo: climbing up to Kang La pass|
|Photo: summit of Kang La pass|
On November 15th they walked through Khangsar village before camping for the night at Tilicho Base Camp. During the course of the trek we received weather forecasts from everestweather.com and we sent these through to Tom on his satellite phone. For 15th and 16th we received forecasts with warnings of strong winds for Annapurna and also affecting our group on Mera Peak as well.
The next day they ascended along the spectacular trail to Tilicho Lake and camped near the lake. Tom made sure our Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tents were well anchored in the event of a windy night but the forecasts for winds to drop proved accurate and it was a calm night, although the temperature dropped to near minus 20 degrees Celsius during the night. On November 17th Tom and the group crossed the Mesokantha La and everyone safely arrived to another Yak Kharka camp above the Kali Gandaki valley. I heard from Tom this pass is very steep on descent and fixed rope was used as a handrail for group and crew.
The Mountain Company plans to organise our next Naar to Upper Mustang GHT trek in late September 2016 as I think the conditions on Teri La should be less snowy at this time of year. For most treks it is possible to cross high passes in November however given the steep trail on rocky scree up to High Camp it would better to attempt this trek when temperatures are warmer and snowline higher. Please get in touch with us soon if you like to join our Naar to Upper Mustang GHT trek in September/ October 2016.
For more testimonials on Naar to Upper Mustang GHT and our other trips please take a look at AITO review section of their website