Sometimes, everything goes perfectly. Sometimes, everything goes okay. And sometimes, #%*$ is $&@#%*.
Let me just clear some things up, first off. The plan for this trip was to head into the Annapurna region of Nepal and attempt two peaks, Tharpu Chuli/Tent Peak (18,579′) and Singhu Chuli/Fluted Peak (21,328′). Tharpu Chuli was a bit lower and less technical, while Singhu was definitely a “reach” in terms of my skill base. Turns out, nothing is guaranteed in these mountains.
On the morning of the 18th, we planned to leave Annapurna base camp, the last established “village” we would encounter before heading into Tharpu Chuli base camp. It was planned to take about 6 hours. We got about 20 minutes down the trail. See, because Nepal has had an incredibly dry winter, landslides have been more prevalent than usual. This meant that the slope we were supposed to descend into the valley, normally covered in snow, was now a gravel slip-n-slide. Descend a little further, and the incline pitches into itself, effectively creating a cave. Not so fun, especially with all the gear we would need to bring over.
Basically, our plan got a WWE level smackdown. Which happens, I am told. But it still doesn’t make it any easier to stomach, and after months of mental preparation for something, you can start to feel a bit unraveled. But luckily, there are lots of mountains where we are.
Tomorrow we head into the Khumbu, the same valley where I was last year. Our plan is to do an Ueli-Steck inspired itinerary (a lot slower, granted), traversing three high passes as fast and light as possible. Not what we expected, but hard to complain when surrounded by this kind of beauty. More later, time to hurry up and wait to get back up high.