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Himalaya

Day 51: Dovan to Derali

Dovan, Nepal 
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Crossing a stream in yeti territory.
Michael Palin - HimalayaBeyond Hinko a sheer rock face rises to one side of the path, steep, smooth and sheer. A thin, white plume of a waterfall drops from way above, glancing off the rock and ricocheting down towards us in slow motion, it seems.

When the snow comes these rocks turn lethal. This is the high-risk avalanche area and Wongchu has seen people killed here. The only possible chance you have to avoid a fall is to have a sense of hearing acute enough to pick up the very first sound. The avalanche sound, Wongchu calls it. Then, as he puts it, 'Quick run.'

We reach the Sangri-La (sic) guesthouse at lunchtime and decide to go no further today. It turns out to be a good decision. By 2.30 swirling, vaporous cloud has descended, bringing the temperature down with it. Out of T-shirts and shorts and into scarves, hats, gloves and eventually thermals. We have a grandstand view of Machhapuchhre, revealing itself in tantalizing Garboesque glimpses between the drifting cloud.

It's a holy mountain. It is forbidden to slaughter any animal within its sacred valley, and Wongchu says his attempts to obtain permission to climb it have always been refused.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 51: Dovan to Derali
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Derali
  • Book page no: 116

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