Manang to Yak Kharka

The mountains were amazing from the Yeti Hotel in Manang as daylight broke through early morning fog. I made some photographs from my room, but mostly I took them from the balcony outside my door. This one was taken from my room.

The Yeti Hotel was a wonderful place. Although it discouraged washing in your room (in the toilet) they provided lines outside the rooms to hang wet clothes.

Leaving Manang through the old city we soon arrived at a stupa with fantastic views of Gangapurna Lake. in the photo to the right you can see the knife edge above the lake where we walked the day before. In the distance the village of Manang was backlight. The dramatic clouds gradually dissipated throughout the morning then returned in the afternoon.

Near Tengi we saw the confluence of the Marsyangdi (Khangsar Khola) coming in from the left and the Jharsang Khola from the right forming the head of the Marsyangdi. We would follow the Jharsang Khola to Yak Kharka. The 9-shot panorama below also shows Annapurna III, Gangapurna, it glacier to the left and the Great Barrier to the right.

Throughout most of the hike to Yak Kharka we had great views back at Annapurna II, IV, and III and Gangapurna. In fact we could see Gangapurna all the way to Thorung Phedi. It just seemed to keep being there.

We stopped for a break in Gunsang. Soon after that Chhongba grabbed my camera and took a photo of me with Gangapurna, of course, in the background. We arrived in Yak Kharka at 13,185 ft just before 1 PM. It was a short but steep walk, actually a relatively easy morning. In contrast to bustling Manang, Yak Kharka was basically just a a few lodges and nothing much else. It seemed a dry dusty desolate place hemmed in on both sides tightly by steep hills.

At the entrance to the town there was a mini-hydro plant with a huge head—a very long but small diameter pipe coming down the hill. The source appeared to be a spring. Our lodge had a photo-voltaic solar array, satellite dish, and a somewhat dinged solar parabolic heater.

For lunch I had a delicious soup that was full of garlic, radishes, greens, carrots, and a huge noodle. The side dish was toast and apples with peanut butter.

After lunch we took an acclimatization hike straight uphill from Yak Kharka. Chhongba didn’t join us, but the local yaks did. I was able to photograph a Himalayan Griffon (a type of vulture) soaring high overhead. You can see it in the slide show that follows. The hike was dusty – this area was quite dry. Here is our group with Annapurna III and Gangapurna in the background.

And here is a look back down from part way up. My cabin was one of the small pink ones with the blue roofs. Except for the mini-hydro building hidden at the left by the hillside, you are seeing the whole of the village.

From the hill above Yak Kharka we got great views back toward the Annapurnas. We also could see where we were heading the next day – pretty desolate looking territory. This photo shows a small piece of the small village of Yak Kharka at the lower right. The view in the distance is to the general area of Muktinath Himal. The river running through the valley is the Jharsang Khola. The stream entering from the right is the Kone Khola which we will follow until the dead end of the valley at the small group of lodges which is Thorung Phedi. Then it is up and over Thorung La.

We looped around the hillside heading north and came down a steep slope just past town. Below is a 5-shot panorama of our descent. Perhaps the slope is not as severe as it looks in this photo, but it was steep.   

Several of us had rooms in the lodge, but I had a cute cabin with the toilet not too far away across the patio. I had taken my last shower for a number of days back in Manang. The dining area was in a building across the trail from our sleeping areas.

For dinner I ordered “hot and sweet” soup and a cheese spring roll with fries. The hot and sweet soup was very hot. It had a weird taste, but I bravely consumed it anyway. Others who also ordered this soup decided there was no way they were going to touch it. The spring roll was great. Chhongba ordered apple pie for dessert for all of us. It was delicious. The guide book even praises it.

Conditions were now much cooler as you can see by this photo of us dressed for breakfast the next morning.

Since it was getting quite windy the sherpas rigged up a system to help Stephen keep his hat on. You can see this near the end of the following slide show.