4 May 2014
Today we depart from High Camp to Thorung La before descending to Muktinath on the other side. It will be a long day. My wife starts the day with little appetite, nauseous and still pretty bad. Climbing over the pass takes a lot of energy. At this altitude (>5000m) everything actually costs a lot of energy. In your head you have the idea that you have a nice pace, but when you see others walking you think: how slow they are. But you don’t get any closer yourself.
It’s good weather on this side of the mountain.
The climb itself is not a big deal. technically. It goes up fairly gently, there are no treacherous passages and it is well-organized. My altimeter says I’m at 5300m, but suddenly I’m on the top.
As soon as we start the descent, the weather changes. Occasional snow or grains of snow, rushing clouds and no good visibility. I urge my wife to speed up, which she doesn’t like. But I don’t like sitting in the snow at this altitude, without a marked route. The route is marked, but with posts. However, they are quite far apart and are therefore invisible.
We descend as quickly as possible, but the descent promises to be very long. After all, we have to descend almost 1600m and that is a long way. At half past two in the afternoon we see the first lodges, but after that it is still more than an hour’s walk to the village. The village of Muktinath is a place of pilgrimage and therefore very busy. The next day we decide not to descend on foot to Jomsom, but to take a jeep because everyone recommends this.
Note: we made this trip in May 2014. The tea house at 5200m is a notorious place by now – but not at that time. In October 2014, disaster struck on the Annapurna Circuit, ending the lives of many between High Camp and Muktinath. What started as some snow in the morning turned out to be the remains of a tropical cyclone. It’s a classical example of how deadly these altitudes can be during severe weather.
Read more about my Annapurna Circuit trek:
Annapurna Circuit day 12: High Camp – Muktinath