[Ed: For some reason this post never got published. So it might now appear out of order. Sorry]

After what seemed like a very long and very cold stay in Lo Manthang (one objective, one subjective) it was time for us to begin retracing our steps southwards. There are actually 2 options for departing the walled city, but due to the heavy snowfall the western route via Ghar Gumba wasn’t an option at all. I would have preferred the western route so as to take in some new scenery and reach a new high of 4210m but I knew it would be longer, wetter, and potentially riskier. Along with the fact that we were on a strict 10 day schedule (only having paid for the 10 day permit) the eastern route which carried us in would also be carrying us out.

We left in VERY different conditions to the ones under which we arrived. Being able to see more than 50m, much further thanks to the crystal clear blue sky, made this already trodden route feel entirely new. The viewpoint above Lo Manthang provided a spectacular view of the walled city.

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Lo Manthang in the distance

It was an easy day of walking, being mainly downhill and only where the snow had drifted and become deeper did it approach hard work. For the most part we were following a set of footprints through the snow, either from people or ponies carrying good.

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Carrying goods up to Lo Manthang

Although my feet quickly became sodden I was feeling good. The views down the valley were spectacular, punctuated by animal prints through the snow and perfectly framed by the towering peaks on each side as well as on the horizon. I managed to get a little bit of footage and hopefully it will provide some a nice visual perspective of our trip.

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The amazing views are unrelenting

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It didn’t work…

The difference between arrival and departure days is best exemplified by these two pictures of the same stupa en route.

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The way up…

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The way down…

We arrived back in Charang just after lunch time, ate yet another dal bhat, then started the process of trying to stay warm and entertained (usually involving a dung fueled fire, lots of blankets, and a deck of cards). Because of our decision to visit Chhoser we would have to take a truck the next day to get us back on schedule. Hari had told us that we could cover 3 days walking with 1 days truck ride and that would get us back to the check out point on our 10th day. The 3 to 1 ratio should have set off the alarm bells…