Note: Srijan and Sudeep did this trip in April 2022.

So yesterday I met up with Sudeep dai to discuss our upcoming trips, one topic led to another and somehow we planned on squeezing in an exploratory trip to cross a couple high passes high up in upper Manang that not many have heard about before our planned treks. I got excited and agreed in a heartbeat. Later that night, my dead mind was brightening up my space but then I remembered our first trip last year and all of a sudden I’m up! The trip was to find an alternative route for ‘The Annapurna Circuit’ and the first stage was to cross Namun La, a pass not many have heard about. You see, chaos reveals patterns.

Srijan’s happy pose with the mountains.

However, when I recall the ‘type c’ adventure this time, It felt quite different and I realized how far I’ve come since then. That was life changing for sure but it matured me in every way possible. If I were to be a video game character, my experience bar would have filled more than a dozen times. With that in mind, I think it’s about time we shared our experience to the masses, viewers that have a few minutes to spare and read further that is.

On the second day of our trip across Namun La, lying on a meadow under the warm afternoon sun – rays piercing through our sunglasses, Sudeep dai told me about the 3 types of adventure: 1. fun while doing it and also fun when you look back. 2. difficult/annoying while doing it but fun while looking back. 3. what the fuck did I get myself into! and why the fuck did I ever do that! this was type 3, you could have easily guessed from our grey faces.

On a Sunday with not much sun in sight, we set off with enough food and gear for a few days of camping high up in Lamjung and across the pass to reach our destination on the other side, Timang. A couple days of greenery, warmth, finding water were all fun and games but no languages on earth could tell what was in store for us next! Camping on snowy grounds, sliding down mountains with poles for steering, climbing icy rocks was our norm by now. At around 1pm, 200m elevation afar, a storm hit us and I witnessed, for the first time, snowflakes that looked like a miniature version of ‘jawbreakers from Ed, Edd and Eddy’! There was nowhere to take shelter as we looked around in agony as the nearby mountain pits came to rescue. All we could see, when we peeked outside, was white everywhere but we knew there was a way out – climbing up. This was a first for me but there was no time to waste underestimating ourselves for it leads nowhere so we came out from the safety of those pits and climbed up on all fours somehow reaching beyond the grim pass!

There were no celebrations as the other side looked like the real time location of GoTs ‘beyond the wall’. Scaling down, we had a few close calls (Sudeep dai fell approximately 50m down from the pass as his backpack cushioned his safety and lost his beloved Nalgene in the turmoil which we are determined to find later this year), took some more gnarly falls, slid down mountains to save time, walked through knee high snow, and camped at the bottom next to a sad frozen pond. Still snowing. High winds. Somehow not hungry. Exhausted. Sleepy. SAFE.

The first sunrise of this Nepali new year held no importance to us (I was barely holding my ghost) and we still had a long way till Timang and we were still processing the day before. We walked and slid half a day more to get to warmth, food and bed. Towards the end, descending felt like an old cartoon strip off a box TV. It felt like the characters speeding down waiting for one horrible fall with flocks of birds watching from above ready to laugh! IT WAS DONE. Our first breath after coma. Warmth is a great feeling. We met a local at the foothills who called us idiots for crossing that pass and we accepted with a smile.

The night before, snow/rain drummed on our humble abode, wind singing out of tune, my body long asleep with clothes ragged and stained with roads we had travelled, but my mind still listening to the beat. For some reason I remembered Jack Kerouac. We were his mad ones. Desirous of everything at the same time. Mad to live. Mad to be saved.

The next day, I wanted to go on and explore two more areas on my own as I felt more alive than ever. Before parting ways with dai, stepping off alone, staring into the unknown (turns out I was looking in the opposite direction!) I questioned myself if this was safe, but I remembered that nothing can harm me more than I have harmed myself over the years so I went for it and now I have more stories to share.

You’ll have to wait for HAL’s next issue for those stories though.


One thought on “Lamjung High

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *