Day 3 - Chhomrong to Dovan
Day 3 started decidedly colder than the other days. The altitude meant that the ambient temperature was colder. This day was easily the hardest of the trek starting with a decent of approximately 300m then a big ascent of approximately 400m towards Sinwa followed by a slow ascent to Dovan.
We faced a warm morning, a very hot midday, a rainy afternoon and heavy hail when we finally arrived at Dovan 8 hours after leaving Chomrong. I was really feeling the heavy pack at this point and made the difficult decision to leave a few things at Dovan before continuing up towards ABC.
I had found days 2 and 3 so difficult that I was concerned I would not be able to make ABC as the air gets thinner. Leaving clothes, some spare batteries and my sleeping bag, I managed to lighten my bag by about 3kg and decided that I would use the blankets provided by the lodges further up the trail.
Although our net gain for the day was less than 500m, due to the many ups and downs my Garmin watch estimated that he climbed about 1150m overall, higher than the height of Snowdon.
Distance: 12.7km, Net ascent: 430m
Day 4 - Chhomrong to MBC
Since I was small I had known the name of Machapuchre, meaning fish tail. However I never full understood why it was referred to as a fish tail as every photo I had seen showed the mountain from Pokhara where it always looked like a triangle or pyramid.
However Day 4 started with a view of Machapuchre that made me finally understand where it got its name. While the net ascent for the day was a lot more than for the previous day the lighter bag and steady ascent rather than big ascents and decents from the previous days meant the day went a lot smoother.
We went through a hazardous avalanche area. We realised the danger of this not just from the avalanche sign but also by our guide, Kumar’s change in demeanor, he was visibly more tense than he had been on the previous days. We also went past an area where we saw lots of small rock piles. Kumar told us that these were for good luck and added to by travellers on their way up to ABC. Only on the way back 2 days later when we passed the same spot did Kumar tell us that these were remembrance shrines to those that had lost their lives to avalanches in this area!
As we neared Machapuchre Base Camp (MBC) we encountered snow for the first time. The weather closed in as we arrived in MBC and we managed to get in and warm just before a storm that brought with it winds and snow.
Distance: 12.4 km, Net ascent: 1100m