Muktinath – Thorang Pass Trek Journal
Trekking Route: Tiplyang -> Ratopani -> Tatopani -> Kavre -> Ghasa -> Lete -> Larjung -> Tukuche -> Marpha -> Jomsom -> Eklebhatti -> Kagbeni -> Kingar -> Jharkot -> Muktinath -> Thorang La Pass
Minimum Altitude: 960m
Maximum Altitude: 5416m Thorang Pass
Duration: 1 week
Trekkers: Avinash Hada, Jwalanta Shrestha, Mahesh Raj Regmee, Prajwal Shrestha, Ramesh Mulmi
On the mid of Dashain and Tihar we decided to trek to Muktinath. We had heard much about the region, but this time we wanted to explore it. So, here is a short journal about our great trip.
Day1: Tiplyang to Tatopani
We waited for our friend Jwalanta to arrive. He was away with some work in remote Myagdi village. We had reached Tiplyang from Beni and had stayed there. This small village resides near Kali Gandaki river and people here are really friendly. A year ago, we had been to Ghorepani and we had concluded our hike in this place. So, we wanted to start this trekking session from this old place.
At 3:30 pm leaving Tiplyang behind we started our trek to Tatopani. The motorable road is rocky and dusty and the road travels opposite Kali Gandaki river. Small and large riverfall are on the way and we encountered many water springs. Small jeeps ply on this narrow road and each time it passes by you, you are covered with dust.
After two hours we reached Tatopani, and we decided to stay there. At first we didn’t see any hotels and we didn’t know where to stay. There were two hot ponds beside the main road where people were enjoying the hot water and others were doing business. After reading the direction, we ascended the steps to reach one of the hotels. Obviously the hotel was packed, but the man showed us the way to other hotels. We just came out of that hotel and to our surprise we were in the main Tatopani Bazaar. The place was something like small Thamel (Nepal) where cakes were being displayed with the tag price and all tourist destined shops were there. Then, a queue of different standard hotels were on both side of the pavement.
We approached one of the hotels and the old lady, on one condition, offered us a room; that we should have dinner in her hotel and we are not allowed to make any noise after drinking. Then after leaving our belongings there, we went to hot shower pond to relax ourselves. We had to pay 5 each to get into the pond and 180 for a beer (:D).
Day2: Tatopani to Jomsom
After having an early breakfast we were ready to leave Tatopani. We decided to take a jeep to Kabre, a place neary Ghasa. The road between Kabre and Ghasa is under construction and from Kabre we had to trek. The trail is very risky and difficult and one slip off the rock, you will fall into the deep gorge of Kali Gandaki. We came across many khacchads ( mule a donkey like animal) and yaks on the way. The road is quite busy and you won’t feel any kind of tiredness. We crossed Ghasa and Lete to reach Larjung.
At Larjung, we entered one of the hotels to have tea. While on the rooftop, we were surprised to see apple trees in the field and cut apples dried on the rooftop. On asking, we went to the fields to pluck apples priced at 20 per kg. The apples were really delicious and different from the apples in Kathmandu.
The day was ending and Jomsom was still couple of villages away from us. We were taking shortcuts by walking on the banks of the river when a jeep came above us. We shouted at them to stop and then we were riding on the roof of the jeep to Jomsom. We reached Jomsom at 7 pm and stayed in a hotel.
Day3: Jomsom To Muktinath
Jomsom to Muktinath is about 6 hours trek but if you go all the way round to Kagbeni and then to Muktinath then it might take long. Jomsom is an expensive town and in tourist season it is very expensive. Buying some cheap apples in Jomsom, we started another day trek to Muktinath. The trek is along the bank of the river and slowly green hills disappear and rocky desert mountains appear.
After two hours trek, we reached a place called Eklebhatti. This is the place where the direct route to Muktinath and Kagbeni diverts. We decided to go all the way to Kagbeni and then from there to Muktinath. On walking one and half hour, we reached Kagbeni. Kagbeni village lies in the sink of great rocky mountains and on the banks of Kali Gandaki river. The soil is very fertile, so you can see cultivated green fields.
After having a short rest in Kagbeni, we paved our way up to Khingar village. The road is steep and trekking under the high sun becomes like you are trekking in a desert. The place is awesome and view of the mountains is splendid. Passing through Khingar and Jharkot, we reached Muktinath at 4 pm. We fetched a hotel room and prepared ourselves to visit the temple. The temple is situated 10 minutes from the main area enclosed inside the bounded wall. We all took a bath in 108 taps, and prayed to Muktinath (Goddess of salvation). The water was so cold (I don’t wanna think about it), but after the bath everyone felt so relieved (mukti).
Day4: Muktinath to Thorang Pass
Since, we didn’t have enough time to go to Lomanthang, we decided to trek to Thorang Pass and return the same way. It was already 9 am that we started to move. We were standing at 3700 meters and had to reach 5416 meters. Many people warned us not to go ahead since it was already late in the morning. But we had no idea about high altitude climbing and we moved ahead. One of my friends had just recovered from yesterday’s trek, so he could only walk very slowly. We reached a tea shop at 4200m after a two hours steep climb. From there onwards there are no any shops or any houses on the way. We met many people descending on the way and everyone discouraged us to climb up. They said it was impossible to reach Thorang Pass and go down to High camp. We were the only people ascending Thorang Pass and all the others were descending the path. They were coming from Manang to Mustang while we were going from Mustang to Manang. Not listening to others we continued our steep climb. Reaching 4600m, some of us were barely able to walk. We were walking for one minute and resting for five minutes. This was the sign of altitude sickness. But slowly and slowly, we continued our trekking and reached 5000m. The wind was already gaining momentum and it was already 3:00 pm. Still we had to climb 400m to reach the top. Seeing that some of us were already victims of altitude sickness, one of my friends suggested that we stop our trekking there. We all wanted to reach the top, but our condition was worse. So saying good bye to Thorang Pass, we descended the mountain with empty hearts.
It’s not that we couldn’t accomplish what we scaled for, but the memories and the joy we shared matters a lot.
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