Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Himlung with Mustang and Saribung - post #3 - last until base camp

Tsarang, Mustang, Nepal | 5 Oct 2014| 0626 | 3615m

The weather always amazes me in Mustang, with the rest of Nepal
dealing with the ins and outs of valley systems and local cloud cover,
Mustang generally remains clear with a gentle breeze. We've had an
excellent few more days of approach, visiting the quaint village of
Dhakmar, and then moving to Tsarang, the old capital of Mustang,
evening past.
Dhakmar has a backdrop of giant orange sandstone cliffs, the cliffs
themselves pockmarked with ancient cave dwellings. Many of the locals
were down valley attending the visitation of the Sakya Rinpoche in
Jomsom, while the others were finishing the winnowing of the
buckwheat, whistling to call the wind as they sifted through the
reddish gold grains.
The village itself, being off the main road that now runs through
upper Mustang, felt much more unencumbered by tourism. Perhaps this
is due to less guest houses and trekkers themselves, many being on an
itinerant march to see the sites and then get back down valley.
Yesterday morning, we climbed up the red cliffs that are the namesake
of Dhakmar (Dhak=Cliff, Mar=Red), making our way on a trail that Karma
dubbed the "blue sheep" trail. Steep, it took us to the top of a mesa
of sorts, with views of Annapurna, Nilgiri I, and the Dhamodhar Himal.
Enroute to Tsarang, we spotted several more raptors, and at the
altitude they soar, it is a challenge to I.D. them with the naked eye.
Ah, I almost forgot, we spotted a flock of around 500 Tibetan
Black-Necked Crane migrating south yesterday. It was the second time
I've spotted them, the only passerine species to migrate across the
Himalaya, and they are always a welcome sight.
It's impossible for me to record all the moments that make a
mountain experience like this unique, and they come in flashes of
memory as time passes. I think this is the aspect of my work that I
enjoy the most, recalling events, and getting to share them with
guests. It's always little things. The way the wind moves through
the golden poplars in Autumn, the smell of dried juniper smoke on the
kitchen hearth in the morning, the unfiltered smile of a young Lopa
child as you pass by their home in late afternoon sun, the body worked
and tired from a days ascent. It goes on and on, and I can't wait to
see what is around the next corner. Over the next week we will
traverse the Dhamodhar Himal, climbing to 6000 meters, then to descend
into the Lost Valleys of Nar and Phu, and our main objective,7126m
Himlung, the mountain of winds. -Luke Smithwick, guide, Himalaya
Alpine Guides

Luke Smithwick
Himalaya Alpine Guides : http://www.himalaya-alpine.com
email : luke@himalaya-alpine.com
skype : himalaya-alpine-guides