Stage 2 – Manang to Mukinath
Distance – 16.7 Miles
Total Elevation – 2716 Metres
Duration – 3 Days
This was both our favourite and the most challenging part of the trek. Almost in line with the increasing altitude and increasingly amazing views; the challenge also become tougher. We both suffered from some mild effects of altitude during this stage, with some quite persistent headaches, mild nausea and generalised breathlessness and fatigue (which I must admit effects me on most short walks – so no different there!) Fortunately, we had read a fair bit about altitude sickness and all these symptoms were quite normal and not serious – phew! The closer we got to the pass the higher our levels of anticipation and also anxiety – there are limited choices at that stage, walk over, trek all the way back or if you are poorly enough await helicopter rescue. We did see a rescue helicopter overhead about two days before we got to the pass, which did not set our minds at rest!
Day 8 Manang to Upper Yak Kharka
We both decided this was our favourite day – breathtaking views, great trekking trail, interesting villages and Ryan finally got to see some Yaks!!
Day 9 Upper Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi
Today started off similarly to yesterday and we had high hopes, however quickly there was a very steep and precarious valley crossing, followed by an extended trek along an exposed landslide section all while suffering the worst effects of altitude so far and avoiding mule trains (and Yaks!)
Day 10 Throng Phedi to Muktinath (via Throng La pass)
Finally, the day was upon us. We woke at around 4am and all we could focus on was the 1000m we had to ascend before reaching the pass – and that our final altitude would be around 5400m. We were certainly both more than a little apprehensive, which reflected the general feeling in the camp. All the advice is to go slowly and steadily and we fully intended to do that! The approximate time for getting to Muktinath is 6-12 hours and we were sure we would be at the latter end of that! Safe to say that when we arrived at Muktinath and checked into the weird and wonderful ‘Bob Marley Guesthouse’ we were exhausted, relieved and celebrated with our first alcoholic drinks in Nepal with our fellow trekkers!
Stage 3 – Muktinath to Birethanti coming soon