Wet and cold at the “Doshong La Base-Camp”, we are ready to leave Pemako.
Here the climbing to the Doshong La Pass begins in earnest.
Todd Gillenwater filters water as we climb higher into the mists.
Chombi (shirtless) and a fellow Sherpa climb on by. These guys are tough!
95 #181 & #182
Our porters are unfathomably strong.
Porters inching their way up the Doshong La Pass.
Todd Gillenwater moves on ahead.
Visibility is difficult as Todd Gillenwater disappeared into the clouds.
There is too much water in the streams to be close to the pass. Either we are on the wrong trail or we are nowhere near Doshong La Pass.
Gil (left) and Todd (right) Gillenwater work their way up to the Doshong La Pass.
Precarious hiking in the ice fields.
The porters push on. It is near here that we see a dead man.
Troy Gillenwater poses for a quick picture on the Doshong La Pass.
Leaving Pemako is just as dramatic as entering it three weeks earlier.
The road! Todd and Troy Gillenwater relish in the moment.
The end of the Pemako trail.
Left to right: Todd, Gil & Troy Gillenwater. The outpost of Pei. Finally civilization!
In the village of Pei, Chombi Sherpa (right) has the thankless job of calculating porter wages. When nobody is around, Troy, Todd and Gil Gil Gillenwater give Chimed Gompo (middle) a large tip. He literally saved our lives.
As we ready for the long drive back to Lhasa, Christiaan Kuypers has a celebratory smoke and entertains the residents of Pei with a juggling act.
Gil Gillenwater can’t stop smiling. “We made it. We made it. We’re finally out of Pemako!”
High on a hill just outside the town of Tsethang sits Tibet’s oldest fortress/castle - Yumbulakhar.
95 #199, #200, #201
Some of the interesting Tibetans we pass on our long drive back to Lhasa.
Left to right: Raktayamari and Vajravetali - Yab (father)-Yum (mother), (to follow), White Tara
Eating in an actual restaurant. We are all smiles.
Eating at Mike’s - restaurant known for serving American style food. Having dreamed of eating here for a month, our breakfast lasts for two hours and ends with hot fudge brownie sundaes.
Still not feeling that well, Todd Gillenwater gets some fresh air atop our Hotel Marshyangdi overlooking Kathmandu. Later that evening he has a severe intestinal relapse.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and an unforgettable lesson in Buddhist Dependent Origination and Emptiness.
95 #207 & #208
A final night of fun in Kathmandu.
Three very strong shots of tequila are in order upon landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. We are home!
In the military town of Bayi, Gil Gillenwater gets a mohawk.
Hamid Sardar emerges hairless from the Noble Lady Beauty Shop.
Left to right: Troy Gillenwater, Bunny, Pasang and Gil Gillenwater with his newly acquired mojo Mohawk. (Bunny rarely looks at the camera.) The fading double rainbow in the background burns brilliant a few moments before indicating the passing of a high Buddhist lama.
Injecting an anticoagulant, leech bites can bleed for hours.
“Landslide Alley” - The geologic instability of the Great Bend area renders vehicular travel extremely dangerous.
As the ground continues to crumble under the trucks rear wheel we all know this vehicle is doomed.
The monks are spellbound by the photos of our 1995 Dorje Phagmo pilgrimage. Ani Rigsang, the tantric Tibetan nun on the right, looks at the camera.
Ian Baker negotiating porter selections and daily wages with the head Bhakha Lama.
At the Bhakha Monastery, Ian Baker becomes frustrated with the porters’ increasing wage demands.
Lining up at the Bhakha Monastery for a departing photo, many of the monks will not look at the camera. Gil and Troy Gillenwater, in white shirts, standing in the back row on the right; then Ian Baker and the head Bhakha Lama (with yellow sleeves). Ani Rigsang, the tantric Tibetan nun, is on the far right of the back row.
Entering the jungles of Pemako brings back many painful memories.
Waterfalls are everywhere as we headed up towards the Su La Pass.
Troy Gillenwater hiking the ice fields up to Su La Pass.
Left to right: Pasang, Gil Gillenwater, Troy Gillenwater and Ani Rigsang on top of the Su La Pass. According to Ian, we are the first Westerners to hike this pass since the British explorers Bailey’s and Morshead’s clandestine dash in 1911.
There is water everywhere. Here Troy Gillenwater negotiates a slick two log bridge over a tumbling cascade. A slip would be disastrous.
Arriving at the end of the day we find two porters and Ani Rigsang enjoying a cup of tea at Cabin Camp. It has been a long day with over 4,000 feet of climbing. Soon the others stagger in and the cabin is stuffed with bodies. Nobody minds – at least it is dry.