Trek to Tilicho Lake

 

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Day 15 Manang to Tilicho Base Camp

 

Shortly after coming out of Manang the main trail heads north up a side valley towards the Thorong La. Our route once again leaves the crowds behind
and continues along the Marshyangdi Valley through pine forest . It takes 2 hours to reach the village of Khangsar (3770m), a collection of stone buildings around a large square.

Beyond Khangsar, things were a little unclear. According to my information the low level route to Tilicho Base Camp (following the river in the valley) was no longer feasible, the middle route was dangerous and the longer safer route involved a steep climb to 4900m followed by a steep descent on a scree slope to the river side again. It looked like a long day.

As it turned out after passing Khangsar and ascending to the gompa and a little beyond we had a lunch stop at a newly built lodge. There our guides found out that the middle route (sometimes referred to as 'old route' on maps) was now the best option. I was a little suspicious and thought first that the sherpas wanted to avoid the steep ascent. Certainly looking ahead to where the path was going the slopes looked terrifying. As I had no binoculars I was looking through my telephoto lens (notice the dots on the path, these are three porters. It will give you an idea of the scale) and it was not in any way reassuring.

Anyway, they told us that the path had been very recently repaired and widened (in summer 2009) and that it was safe. And it was! We passed through immense scree slopes but the path had been stabilized (with branches and wire) so there was no great objective danger. The exposure and the sheer size of it all got some people very nervous though.

I personally found that walk very exhilarating and actually quite easy as it is almost level at 4200m but if you are going there in the future bear in mind that the path had just been newly restored. I don't know what it will look like in a year's time after the winter snow. We also had good dry weather conditions. I think that I'd be scared to walk here if there is snow or ice. Even rain could make things a little difficult (and of course also bring some rocks down from above).

So all in all this is not for the faint-hearted....and it will remain one of the best walks I ever did.

The alternative is the high route which takes a lot longer and involves a very steep descent in a scree slope right above the Base Camp lodge (you can see it in the bottom left photo on this page). This is probably very hard work too.

We got to the Base Camp lodge in late afternoon. Located right by the river, it is not a very appealing place, quite dirty with lots of rubbish strewn about. We met quite a few trekkers staying at the lodge who were going on a day trip to Tilicho. This is feasible as a lodge trek but if you want to cross to Jomosom like we were going to you need to be able to camp as it is not really feasible in one day.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing a gate out of Manang

 

The Marshyangdi river and first glimpse of the Great Barrier in the background

 

 
 

A tree out of Manang and the Great Barrier

 

 

The Marshyangdi river and first glimpse of the Great Barrier in the background

 

 

The Marshyangdi river and first glimpse of the Great Barrier in the background

 

 

Entrance of Khangsar village

 

 

Heading towards Tilicho

 

 

Looking back down the valley towards Manang

 

 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

 

Who would have guessed?

 

 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

 
 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

 

The path traverses giant scree slopes

 

Looking up the scree slope

 

 

 

 

Recent maintenance on the path to prevent it from sliding down

 

 

Traversing the scree slope

 

The start of the descent is steep!

 

 

Above Ngawal

 

Arriving at Tilicho Base Camp down in the valley

 

 

Day 16 Tilicho Base Camp to Tilicho Lake

 

Heading up the valley we traverse an old moraine and as we gain height there are tremendous views of Khangsar Kang, Tarke Kang and Gangapurna to the South as well as an impressive retrospective over Manang and towards Pisang.

 

Traversing the scree slope

 

Ascending towards Tilicho

 

 

A view of the old 'high route' between Khangsar and Tilicho Base Camp

 

Ascending towards Tilicho

 

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