Today, “get up” is more than breakfast options and another hiking day, it means that we enter serious height levels. Beginning on 3.550m in the morning, the upcoming night will be beyond the threshold of 4.000m above sea level – for whatever sea level this may refer to.
While local farmers work hard for their living, our group enjoys another splendid-sun-day with a panorama that ranges from 3.500m to 7.500m and from the inhabited valley to the top of the world. The first tea break offers a wide view back to where we used to be just the other day, including the lake of the Gangapurna glacier.
Later, we reach Gunsang and stop for hot sallow thorn juice and humility, the latter caused by the (once more) overwhelming confrontation with Annapurna Himal.
Slowly approaching Yak Peak and Thorong Peak, Gunsang is a turning point of the trek. From here on we leave the Annapurna II, III and IV behind, curving further North towards the high pass Thorong La. With a bit of regret we look back several times along our way and admire the shimmering triangle of Annapurna II.
Later we come across a drove of ibexes. Just as all other animals we meet in Nepal, the flock remains totally relaxed as we pass by, ignoring our excitement. Obviously, living in the Himalaya makes everybody relaxed, Capricorns and ibexes included.
Another rope bridge and some stony, dusty way bring us to Yak Khara. Sleeping on 4.018m means no alcohol, not even for beer-used Swabians. Instead, we drop our backpack and go for a small extra-tour with 200 altitude meters up and down, promoting the height acclimatization. Afterwards we are grateful for hot water and tea when gathering around the yak-shit-oven (fed with yak-kacke due to the lack of trees in this region).
The star of the day had been Annapurna II, not only because of the avalanche we witnessed, but also due to the fantastic hatched structure that becomes visible when looking closely through binoculars (Thanks, S.!). When trying to figure the tectonic plates’ movement that continues to fold up this wonderful mountain chain, my mind fails. All I can state is that it is okay to feel small in opposition to the Himalaya.