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Yak Attack: Stage 8 Manang-> Phedi

By April 5, 2012March 22nd, 2017No Comments

It was cold this morning at the start. We had a bowl of porridge and toast for breakfast. We all sat on the thrid floor deck in the sun (and freezing) until the start. I had the most clothes on today so far – leg warmers, knee warmers, arm warmers, short sleeve jersey, buff, and a long sleeve jersey.


The start was tough. Lots of fast, steep hiking. It started to even out and I could ride for awhile, but then I had to walk.


Photo credit: Nepal Sutra

Photo cred: Nepal Sutra
I had to carry a lot in my backpack each day. I stuffed it with everything I needed for the race, and a bunch of clothes and an extra pair of shoes for when I finished since the porters would take several hours longer than us. Normally, I’d carry gortex jacket and pants, Adidas Adizero running shoes, down pants, down jacket, a dry wicking tshirt, a hat, and socks… or else waiting for the bags to arrive was a bitterly cold experience. It only took once for me to start carrying all the extra stuff.

It was tough at the altitude. I couldn’t make my legs go so I sang Dire Straits to Cefin(he said he liked them( who was behind me (and later overtook me). I rode most of the day around Gareth.

Gareth is the red dot on the trail.

The trail was bench cut and really fun, but the altitude made it really tough to ride.

Definitely losing the “spunk” I normally have. It shows in this video.

One part was a sketchy landslide!


Today, there were 3 suspension bridges. One valley we went through had some really hairy yaks. It was really cool to be in a valley at 14,000′ surrounded by huge mountains and a deep, blue sky. 11 miles took me 2 hr 49 min! I loved the course and terrain today. I think it was my favorite. I had a raging headache when I finished.

Phedi sits at almost 15,000′… (and the flush buckets in the bathroom were frozen. Imagine that joy)


Jeff was out there for a very long time. We got word someone turned around and I had a lump in my throat. I found out it was Craig who was also sick. I walked down the trail to see if I could find Jeff. With each footstep, my head throbbed. I didn’t see him down the trail.


The problem is that if something happens, you can’t just stop and have someone come get you. It’s a several day journey to get back the way you came, and you have to walk back. Jeff wanted to get up and over the pass where there would be a road on the other side vs. 3-4 days of walking to get back to Besi Sahar. We were definitely isolated.

Jeff came in after several hours, moving slowly.
Jeff slogging in

The view around Phedi (which is basically just a hotel) is so insane. One of the mountains is a huge glacier. I was thankful that I could sit in awe and enjoy it.


The crew at Phedi

Jeff was not in good shape after he got in. He was coughing nonstop and looked terrible. I felt deeply saddened to see him like that and to know the disappointment he is feeling. The docs were trying to convince him to take a yak over the pass the next day. He didn’t want to listen to them or give up despite being so sick that he could barely sit up. I had a chat that I did not want to have with him, “Is going over that pass worth risking your life over?” -NO. He is pale and weak. By the end of the night, they had given him an IV and he was so weak he could barely move.

Absolutely heartbreaking to watch…and even more heartbreaking for him.

I feel bad leaving him tomorrow, but Gandhi said he’d take care of him. I must keep going.

My alarm is set for 2:30 AM. Our start is at 4 AM. Tomorrow I face my fear. Can I make it up and over 17,769′?


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