An early start with a light breakfast of honey porridge (the best so far) and jam toast. We choked back our Diamox, packed our bags and began the slog to High Camp, making it there in just under an hour. While this first section was too rocky to ride, a more pressing concern was the tingly pins-and-needles sensation that robbed my digits of their function. A documented side effect of the Diamox formed a tag team with the frozen air, dropping a painful body slam on my ability to grip and forcing me to push me bike upwards with only my palms.
While waiting for Michi at high camp the pain grew to an excruciating degree, as if my digits were about to explode. Hastily retrieving Cactus SPG gloves from my pack I swapped out riding gloves for these toasty numbers and with extensive use of spirit fingers the pain started to fade. By the time we were pushing again my fingers had returned to normal and I could focus on the challenging but and occasionally rideable trail to the pass.
|Michi soldiers on to the pass|
|Yaks leading the charge to Thorong La|
|Clumps of prayer flags signal our arrival at the pass|
|Ollie calls home from the pass|
|Michi shreds it down to Muktinath|
Jaw dropping mountains were never in short supply, with Dhulghiri (7th highest in the world) forming a perfect triangular icon, and the rapidly expanding villages still a thousand metres below giving culture to the gnar. To my great surprise all of the trail bar two yak affected switchbacks were rideable, so as we buzzed into Muktinath at 1PM the stoke level was pretty high.
|Ollie hooks a turn above Muktinath|
Such an intense and draining descent was of course followed by a nap, then a stroll around the temple that gives the town its name. Water played a large role at this holy site, powering prayer wheels and a 108 spout fountain where we watched a strange cleansing ritual.
|Some of the 108 fountain spouts at the Muktinath temple|