Day 9 – Cho La Pass to Dzongla

An early start with a 4.30 wake up call in advance of a circa 9 hours walk taking us from Dragnag (4700) over the Cho La Pass (5420) and down to Dzongla (4830).

I think the porridge this morning was sweet corn based – it certainly tasted so (and a little odd at that) but filled the gap in my stomach and built us up for the days trekking!

About a third of our luggage was headed with us and the remainder was taking a longer route by yak avoiding the pass – it would therefore catch us up in a couple of days! A careful check that the right bag was going the right way and even then I am not sure that we had made the best decisions as to what or how much to take with us. The basics were however with us – down jacket sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner and various snacks along with the much needed water purification devices and suncream.

Standing outside readying for the off it was still dark but by the time we left there was enough light to see by showing us impressive views of the valley and surrounding mountains that had been shrouded in cloud on our arrival the previous night.

A long climb in the semi-light watching the shadows shorten and waiting for the sun to hit us and bring the temperature up so we could remove the down jackets. When eventually we were out of the shadows it was time for a break and a snack before continuing the uphill slog.

Arriving at a ridge we had views of a glacier to the left and the pass the more closely resembled a wall ahead. Between us and it was a decent and a higher climb!

Much of the climb to the pass was through a boulder field requiring long steps or jumps in places. Under normal circumstances this would have been straight forward but at this altitude, carrying a pack and after a long walk and yesterday’s exercise it was challenging to say the least!

The pass was eventually reached and we were treated to great views of the snow field above and the glacier in front! A good place to stop for lunch!

The path took us across the glacier – a much more classic experience than that of the previous day, requiring mini-crampons. As we descended from the pass and onto the glacier we could see the clear ice formed under pressure from previous snow falls. The snow on top was melting fast and forming little brooks for us to cross!

After half an hour of walk on the glacier itself we took to the valley side and walked on moraine – seeing the end of another retreating glacier.

A long walk down to our hostel walking beside a babbling brook with occasional views of Ama Dablam ahead of us before the clouds once again deprived us of the amazing views!


Up 834 metres and down 682 metres.

Highest position by gained: 5420.

Condition – exhausted!