Day 10. Song of the mountain mermaid.

Ice Lake KechoOne-day trips to the “height” with a mandatory evening retreat to the previous mark is an important component of the process of high-altitude acclimatization… Well, if it’s important, then you have to implement it. Today we are going to the radial to Ice Lake – almost one and a half kilometers up.Route: Braga – Ice Lake (Quecho) – BragaTraveled: 12.5 km in 9 hours (ascent – 6 hours, by the lake – 1 hour, descent – 2 hours)The total ascent is 1470 m, the total descent is 1470 m.Altitude above sea level: 4640 m.Terrain: juniper bush, dry alpine meadows.Last night we tried for a long time to figure out how much time to lay on this radial. The reports of predecessors gave the most contradictory figures – from 4 to 8 hours. Given the less than ideal state of health of our company, we eventually agreed on an 8-hour option. What of it?I explain. It gets dark at half past five, 8 o’clock ascent and descent, an hour at the top, 2 o’clock just in case. So, if you want to be guaranteed to return before dark, then you need to start no later than at 6:30.

Annapurna panorama 3

Annapurna panorama 3

6:00. Get up and… have breakfast in the dining room! First time for the trip. In contrast to the evening mega-buffers, we manage only with hot milk and cookies. You have to hurry up.At the table we get acquainted with a Polish-English woman (a politically correct term created by analogy with “African-Americans”). She quietly writes a diary and seems to be in no hurry, although she verbally claims that she is also going to the lake.
Monastery of Braga

a familiar monastery

Braga village

view of the village from the slope

7:00. Let’s start. I am wearing trousers, sneakers, thermal underwear (top), fleece, windbreaker, mask, hat, gloves. In my backpack I carry a puff, shoe covers (in case of deep snow), a thermos, part of the first aid kit, cookies, apples, sunscreen, glasses.
Annapurna summit 3

Annapurna Summit 3

It was worth a little rise above the village and a great view of our near future opened up. Of the “predictions”, I especially liked the huge rip-off on the way to the Tilicho base camp. If everything goes according to plan, then we will try it on the tooth the day after tomorrow.
full moon

Moon (playing with zoom)

Annapurna summit 3 large

Annapurna summit 3 - large

Many paths lead to the lake (they all soon merge into one) from different parts of Braga and Manang. One of them starts right from our hotel. Occasionally there is a marking, but even without it everything is clear. Go up and don’t sweat it.


Braga below

Braga was completely crushed below

braga on top

the hotel is in place

The first two transitions are kept together. But the higher, the more our trio stretches. Taras, despite a heartbreaking deep cough (yes, he was also hooked by the height), does not slow down. I’m clearly giving up. Sveta feels normal, goes in the middle.
eagle feather

eagle feather

mountain goat

mountain goat

Roc Noir - black rock

Roc Noir - black rock

To maintain morale, I pick up an eagle (and what else?) Feather from the path and stick it in my hat. Actually, if you stand still, I feel quite normal. But as soon as you start moving, the pulse begins to go off scale. It’s just that the heartbeat machine gun is a machine gun burst, not a pulse. The head is clear, nothing hurts. I try to walk smoothly and measuredly, with small steps.
Manang Valley

Manang Valley

 gangapurna lake

Glacial Lake

12:00. Even before that, groups of tourists overtook us a couple of times, and by noon a massive “rut” began. Groups of bourgeois tourists were panting heavily past (their 2 km/h was super speed compared to my 1 km/h). A Polish woman, with whom we spoke at breakfast, also passed by.Now it’s hard for me to write about all this. All the same, I am not without vanity, and I am used to being a strong link among tourists. I console myself with the fact that the damn infection is to blame, and if it weren’t for it, everything would have turned out differently. In general, I worry about the image of a mighty tourist, although a couple of months have already passed since the trip. But then, on the mountain, I was completely calm. There was one big task (reach the lake) consisting of 10,000 small tasks (step, step, another step). There was nothing else.
tourists against the backdrop of gangapurny[ /caption]



We are being overtaken

Manang below us

Manang is below us

The rise consisted of an endless alternation of three basic components:

  • zigzagging up a relatively gentle dirt path
  • flat area with pasture, vague ruins, or flag sanctuary
  • almost horizontal traverse of the slope to jump to the neighboring cirque.

On the GPS, I clearly saw how many meters were still left to gain, but my eyes, my eyes, somehow wanted to grab onto something more real than the numbers on the display. In anticipation of a miracle, his gaze roamed the monotonous grassy-juniper slope above his head. I wanted to see white – this would mean that there is already snow, which means that ice is also possible, without which the lake was hardly called Icy.

Annapurna 3 and Gangapurna panorama

Annapurna 3 and Gangapurna panorama

From the very beginning of the campaign, I spent most of the day walking with the player. Audiobooks have so far done an excellent job of distracting the head so that it does not get in the way (does not prevent them from walking).But since yesterday I’ve been listening to Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson D0%B8%D0%B5%D0%B2,_%D0%93%D0%B5%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B3%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D0%98%D0%B2% D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87″>Gurdjieff.I’ve heard a lot of good things about this man, but I can’t say the same about his work. It just makes me sad. Perhaps this is a cunning maneuver in order to hide secret knowledge from an unprepared reader. In this case, the maneuver was a success – I with great difficulty withstood the hours-long introduction (where the author admonishes the reader verbosely and extremely ornately that he is not going to write difficult and falsely – in a bookish way, but will speak exclusively in simple and accessible language, forgive him respected ladies).Today I finally got to the first chapter and, contrary to hope, completely limp. This is some kind of science fiction, not esoteric. The endless descriptions of the intricacies of the work of alien ships must have looked fresh and authentic in the early 20th century, but I was not at all inspired. On the contrary, the book began to load, which, given my weakened state, was unacceptable.I hid the player.
false lake

false lake is not Kecho yet!

yak is resting[/ caption]

12:30. Clouds cover the tops of the mountains, it becomes dark and cool. No matter how it snows. We must hurry.Taras and other tourists have long disappeared beyond the “horizon”, two or three are even already on their way back. I ask – they say the lake really exists, and somewhere nearby. But their words, as well as the encouraging indications of GPS, are still unbelievable.Although. A long traverse begins with a very small climb. On it, I finally manage to accelerate and at full steam I fly out to the lake. This is not Kecho yet, but his younger brother, down the stream. But I remember that according to the reports from here to the real Icehouse is only 10-15 minutes. Rowing.

Kecho Ice Lake panorama

panorama of Kecho Ice Lake

the yak is resting

13:00. Anticipating the victory, I literally run (3 km/h) on a flat area separating me from Kecho. From there, the main crowd of tourists just sets off down – they will not interfere with enjoying peace. My companions and a few other pale-faced ones hid from the wind behind a low wall. I put on a down jacket and fall (i.e. sit down) on the ground next to them. Bliss…For the first five minutes I do not perceive anything but wonderful waves of relaxation spreading through the body, but over time I begin to notice that there is still some kind of wave. Unearthly sound spills over the lake. Not otherwise, the mountain mermaids decided to lure the brave traveler. Achtung!What was singing there Herr Mannelig in a similar situation? :But the river knight arrogantly: “Go away with gifts -You don’t wear a holy crucifix!You can’t tempt me, you devil’s daughterMy answer to you is God’s curse!”And the mountain troll maiden sobbed bitterly,Gone away, moaning inconsolably:”Why are you a proud knight, rejected my loveWhy are you so cruel?”The Nepalese mermaid did not cry – she turned into stone.One of the Frenchmen stood near the shore and let “frogs” (pancakes) over the icy surface of the lake. The pebble jumped quite normally, but it made unusual sounds – the thin ice did not ring, it vibrated melodiously, flowing from note to note.
behind the wall

behind the wall

yaks in the mountains

yak rookery



13:30 It was quite easy to go back, and therefore I could clearly see everything that I did not have enough strength for when climbing.I saw that the “false” lake, although small, is located close to the edge, almost flowing into a cliff, and therefore it seems that distant mountains grow directly from the water.I saw that resting yaks like to sprawl on the ground in the pose of an absolute corpse. At the same time, they stop chewing gum, and it seems that they do not even breathe. A doubt creeps in whether the poor animal died of starvation (dry grass has long been “mowed” under the root). But turning around after a minute, I manage to notice how the “corpse” twitches its tail.
yak is a giant

Yak Giant

just cows

or just a cow?

pischuha Nepalese

pischuha in the middle of the trail

I lace my sneakers tightly so that my toes do not rest on anything on the descent. For a more comfortable “taxiing” I lengthen the track sticks.Down we rush at great speed – not less than 6 kilometers per hour. It is hard to believe that just an hour ago the same path caused unimaginable difficulties and generally stood across the throat.
Annapurna panorama 4

Annapurna Panorama 4

Old acquaintances – the Gates of Paradise, and from this top viewpoint they look impressive. The sun’s rays are still falling on them. The rest of the mountains have long since disappeared under the clouds. Whatever you say, but if you want to enjoy the views, you need to wake up in the mountains as early as possible.
descent into the valley

descent into the valley

gate of heaven

heavens gate

On the way we make a halt twice – at an altitude of 4300 and 3900 meters. Not so much for relaxation, but in order not to plunge the body into shock with a sharp change in pressure.On the run, I photograph bushes, grass and other little things that usually do not receive photographic attention.
roofs of the village

village roofs

Nepal goat

Nepalsky goat

juniper fruit

juniper fruit

4:00 pm. We run into the hotel. I am terribly hungry, Sveta’s knee hurts a little, and Taras turns out to have decided to have a temperature (38.1 °) and in connection with this boycott dinner. We break it down for a glass of hot milk with honey and a pancake, and run to the shower (there is hot water!) Having previously made an order in the dining room.The next, 11th, day of the journey will be much less dramatic and bitter sweat, but there will be room for many small joys and a little rooftop picnic.Report table of contents.Kirill Yasko. March 7, 2010.

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