Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nepal-Tilicho Lake Day Hike (Day 96)

Today we were headed to Tilicho Lake; said to be the highest lake in the world.  I was excited and viewing it as a mountaineering objective.


Looking back at Tilicho Base Camp as we startup at 7 am.


Anja wasn’t feeling that great and was quickly cold so she decided to turn around early.  Since there were about 6 people in front of us I went on allow.  Shortly after Anja left there was some thunder and the German’s and there guide came hiking back and said it wasn’t safe with the thunder.  While this is “true” I felt perfectly safe that I was not going to get struck by lighting at 4,500 m next two an 8,000+ m peak so I went on.  I caught Brenna and Marcos shortly and we discussed the weather, mountaineering considerations of what is safe, and the three of us went on.  It was 3 hours to the lake and we’d been going about 45 minutes.

They were not fast hikers so I went ahead alone.  As I hiked up alone the weather turned and it started snowing.  As I went higher the snow increased and the wind picked up.  I was still well within my safety zone and was not overly concerned by the conditions and In my pack was still a down jacket and tights.  I made it to a point where the trail switch backed and as I turned the wind was now blasting me in the face and I only had about 100 ft visibility.


I’d been hiking 1.5 hours and it was 9:30 am and I was alone.  I was starting to get cold hiking up and new I was approaching the edge of my I’m totally safe zone so I turned around here.  At this point, I didn’t think the weather was going to get better so what was the point to hike to a lake I couldn’t see. 


I snapped a picture of my high point and turned around.  I wrapped my tights around my face as a impromptu scarf/neck gaiter. 


After about 20 minutes I found Brenna and her guy who were still optimistic about heading up but I told them it only got worse and I thought they should turn around. They didn’t have much experience with attitude and weather so they took my word and headed down with me.


It was good to get back to our room although it wasn’t warm and it was actually snowing in the room as it could blow in through the roof.


Frank and the other German in camp outside the dinning hall.


Brenna and her guy in the dinning hall.  It was not warm in here but was plenty smoky.


Looking back up from camp.


The other TBC hotel.  Fearing the weather would turn worse and we’d be stuck in TBC for days Brenna, the Germans, and us were all planning to hike out the next day.  We went to bed hoping that the snow would not turn to ice overnight and it would be safe enough to hike out over the landslide area in the morning. 

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