16th April, 2014 - Chola Pass

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Chola Pass
16th April, 2014 - Chola Pass

We were all looking forward to crossing the pass together, but after another long night coughing Ed decided it would be best to descend to lower and warmer altitude.  We miss our group but are looking forward to reuniting in Thame in a few days.  So it was under blue bird skies the Mark and Todd set off with our main guide and a porter, climbing quickly up through high meadows and scrambling up rock bands and strapping on microspikes to cross the edge of the glacier.  We reached Cho La pass after a couple hours steady climbing and celebrated with a few photos on that windswept ridge before working down the steep west side in to the upper reaches of the Gokyo valley.  A flock of lovely iridescent blue swallows and a couple groups of Tibetan cocks (like a cross between a pheasant, chicken and ptarmigan) as we made our way across rocky meadows, over a ridge and down the long valley to the small village of Dragnag where we paused for a pot of tea while free roaming yaks sniffed our gear.  Weary from a long climb  and descent we decided to push on and crossed the lower reaches of the massive Ngozumba Glacier, a maze of loose rocks, frozen lakes, blue ice cliffs and a pathway climbing over, down and around obstacles before the final climb up the far moraine and down to Gokyo, our home for 2 nights.  Amazing mountain views today, especially the imposing flanks of Arakam Tse, and a feeling of satisfaction having crossed the 2nd high pass tempered by the wish that our group could have experienced it together.  We are confident that they are enjoying new cultural experiences back on the trails toward Namche, and enjoying warmer night temps and the feeling of breathing thicker air.