We arose at 4,breakfasted and we’re off by a little after 5 in the dark. It was cool but not the bitter cold we expected at this elevation. Bridget and I had hooked up our bikes upside down on our backpacks for the climb, James followed suit. Most ended up pushing and carrying. We faced a very steep climb coming out of camp, then a series of false summits followed at long last by the top. I was really happy with my backpack setup. It also freed up my hands for using trekking poles. It was quite a slog. If you go too fast you quickly lose your breath so it’s important to stay within yourself. Several times I found rocks to rest my bike on and relieve my shoulders. We walked past a small group of mountain goats early on and later a large Nepalese bird like a type of grouse. The series of false passes seemed to go on forever. Bridget mentioned that it seemed to be difficult to draw water out of her hydro pack. She would discover afterwards that the nozzle was partially clogged and that she had actually drank very little water. Amazing she did so well and and avoided real dehydration. Everyone really did great on a very tough climb with bike which was by far the highest elevation ever for most of them. After a few photos at the top (5416m) we screamed down the other side on an amazing descent. The late monsoon here had kept the weather warmer and the pass snow free so all of our concerns were for naught. Wow, what a success for our group.
Only a short distance from our day’s destination, Muktinath, my buddy Rien took a fall. Over the handlebars and onto the rocky path he landed hard on his shoulder. Something was either broken or very much out of place. It was tough. Bridget and I were riding with him and fixed his flat tire. Kami, our trekking Sherpa, pushed his bike and Rien walked the last 2K. A really bad ending to a great day. We have arranged a Jeep ride for Rien to Jomsom where there is a hospital and he can be X-rayed. He may hook up with JR in Pokhara.
I will badly miss my two good friends and feel badly for them. There will be other adventures.
My previous blog post is on my IPad and not yet sent. I will do so as soon as I can. So this post is out of order.