Days nineteen to twenty one of the Luana Snowman Trek, the highest, coldest and most remote parts of the hike, but also the most spectacular.
From Tenchey (3,970m) to the campsite at Danje (4,540m) was one of the shortest walks of the trip, only 8km though mostly uphill, so it took three hours. We didn’t go further as tomorrow’s campsite was at 5,200m above sea level, the highest of the trip, we needed time to acclimatise to the increase in altitude. There were good views of Tenchey, Thanza, and a pair of glacial lakes before heading up an autumnal valley.
This scarecrow was an unexpected and quite random sight in the middle of the valley.
We stayed at another lovely campsite, surrounded by mountain scenery and super quiet, though also pretty cold!
In the morning the landscape was covered in frost but once the sun hit the campsite it was quite lovely. There was no wind so we had our first outdoor breakfast while taking in the views.
We headed up the valley with blue skies that stayed all day, and were passed by a few of the seven locals doing the Snowman Calibration Run. This was a trial 275km five day race along the second half of the Snowman, in preparation for the inaugural Snowman Run in 2020, billed as the hardest ultra marathon in the world.
Behind us was the 7,000m high Ghachen Singye / Table Mountain, marking the border between Bhutan and Tibet. Around us were sizeable mountains and rocky piles covered in snow, and some colourful lichen.
I loved the snow covered ribbed mountain range ahead.
And this beautifully reflective, despite a slight wind, glacial lake.
Which was a warm up for the stunning Tshorim Lake.
We camped on it’s shores, at 5,200m, where the lack of oxygen and freezing temperatures overnight were more than offset by the stunning location and views.
It was so cold overnight that the water bottle inside my tent froze, the ground was frozen solid, and parts of the lake were frozen. The light of sunrise helped warm things just enough for a repeat outside breakfast.
Day twenty one of the Snowman was the most spectacular, with perfect weather and stunning views in all directions for the whole day. It took three weeks and a lot of walking to get to this point but it was worth the effort.
We soon lost sight of Tshorim Lake, to be surrounded by boulders on our way up to the highest point on the Snowman, the 5,345m high pass at Gophu La.
On the other side of the pass were a pair of beautiful glacial lakes.
We headed past them and along a ridge with a large broken and crevassed glacier on the right.
We stopped for a break with wonderful views of the 7,541m high Gangkar Punsum, the tallest mountain in Bhutan.
Heading down a lovely valley there was a wall of mountains behind, some of the last that we would see on the Snowman sadly, but they lived up to my idea of the Himalayas.
There were some scenic streams to cross, with unexpected frozen plants by the side of one in the afternoon sunshine.
Behind was possibly the best view of Gangkar Punsum, looking a little like the Matterhorn from this angle.
By early afternoon we arrived at our campsite at Geche Woma, another scenic if windswept spot.