Thorong La Pass: Even the donkeys are out of breath 26

For the last two weeks we’ve been hiking through Nepal’s Himalayas, and today’s the day we plan to finally cross Thorong La Pass. At 5416 meters (17,769 feet) the pass is the highest and arguably the most difficult portion of the Annapurna Circuit. The air is thin and each step is labored. So much of my body’s resources are preoccupied with the basic necessities of life that it’s difficult to hold a conversation. Up here, even the donkeys are out of breath.

A Traveler looks toward Base Camp

A Traveler looks toward Base Camp below Thorong La

Slow and Steady

We’ve taken our time getting here, careful to go slow and acclimate along the way. We just finished a side trek to Tilicho Lake, one of the highest altitude lakes in the world. At nearly 5000m (16,200 feet) this visit helped tremendously with acclimation, preparing our bodies to go even higher today.

We also visited Praken Gompa in the hills above the nearby villiage of Manang. The monk who lives there blesses those who make the short climb to see her, selling necklaces which are meant to bring good luck to those planning a Thorong La crossing.