Being in charge of the Facebook page of the company you work for, has a big advantage: you get to browse through inspiring travel pages such as Lonely Planet and Matador, in search of the perfect article to share with your audience. Every now and then I stumble upon a page that draws my personal attention, too. Like today.
“Trekking Nepal’s most hair-raising passes” the article heading said. I clicked through and started reading…
The idea to go to Nepal is pretty new. As in decided and booked within less than 2 weeks. Normally, deciding on a big trip takes forever. Not this time though because Nepal just sounded perfect. Doing the Everest Base Camp trek just sounded even more perfect. I found a company to book with and one of my colleagues who knows all about Nepal, told me to go for the long version. So not the regular 14-day Everest Base Camp trek but the longer one, that (apparently) doesn’t go the same way back but makes a loop. In her highly contagious enthusiasm, she did mention something about a strenuous mountain pass but I didn’t pay much attention to it.
So when I started to read the Lonely Planet article I was talking about earlier on, I had this gut feeling. Even though while reading, the name of the pass didn’t ring a bell (I’ve not even paid more than 5 minutes of preparation into this trip, let alone remembering the names of the passes) somehow I figured that the number 1 on their list of hair-raising pass, may be the one I am going to conquer.
This is what it said:
1) The Cho La (5420m)
While legions of trekkers charge north from Dughla to Everest Base Camp, a smaller contingent of dedicated trekkers veers west towards Gokyo, crossing the mighty Cho La, squeezed between the snowcapped summits of Lobuche (6135m) and Cholatse (6443m). This dramatic side trek breaks down into a scramble over loose boulders before emerging at the perfect, unblemished glacier which caps the pass. Bring sunglasses, and a wide-angle lens for the magnificent views back down the valley towards the perfectly-framed peak of Ama Dablam (6856m).
The climb will test your lungs and muscles to breaking point; the descent will do the same to your knees.
I had no time for further reading as I had to be at the dentist in time but all the way cycling between there and work/home, that mountain pass was on my mind. Upon arrival at home, I grabbed the hiking map and there it was, right on the trail marked: Cho La Pass. Just great. I’m not just going trekking in Nepal but I’ll be challenged to do one of their most breath-taking (litterally) mountain passes. WOW!
WOW as in: how the f*ck am I ever going to be able to hike up to 5.420m, when 4.200m on Dead Woman’s Pass in Peru already nearly killed me?
WOW as in: my breath! How on earth are my lungs going to do this?
WOW as in: look at the pictures, it’s stunning!
WOW as in: I am really going to do that!?!
Sure I am!
There’s one tiny problem however, which is that my shape totally sucks at the moment. I’ve been engaging on too many things I like at the moment. I’ve been biking, gone hiking, picked up BodyPump and Spinning at the gym again (like, once a week or less… nowhere near the three times I used to go… I’m being painfully honest here) and even go on an occasional run. A little bit of everything …
A little bit of everything however is not going to get me there. Especially not with the shitloads of crap I’ve been eating over the past months. And let’s not start about the number of alcoholic consumptions. But it’s time for change. The days are getting longer again and we’ve got various hiking weekends coming up. I’ve even planned to embark on a solo hiking overnight trip when Martijn is away this spring so all should be fine… I just need to find the healthy groove again.
Because in all honesty, there’s no way I’m going to make it to the top of Cho La Pass and eventually to Everest Base Camp in this physical state. Luckily you can’t always immediately get what you want and there are still 8 months to go (more or less) until Nepal. Which is more than enough time to make a change. Time to get back in shape and climb that goddamn mountain pass. And make it to Everest Base Camp. The place where mountain legends such as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay have been too… I would’ve said that if they can do it, so can I … but in this case, I’ll just shut up.
(Oh and btw don’t worry. I’ll never even consider climbing Everest. I know my limits. 5.420 meters sounds like the perfect limit for me…)
Add on … when I stepped into the office this morning, my boss walked up to me with a big smile on his face. Girl, he said, I just read your blog and I could’ve told you this. I’ve done the other pass. You are going to suffer! But you can do it …
Of course I can : – )
Want to read more? Well, we don’t have a whole lot to tell about Nepal yet, however you may enjoy these:
Thank you for sharing!