Traverse of Central and Eastern Nepal (2011)
Leg 14: From Lukla to Honggu Khola (April 24 - May 1)
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From Lukla we followed the trekking route along Inkhu Khola that leads to Mera La (5415m) below Mera peak. From Mera pass, we hiked down to Honggu Khola, a river that flows from Baruntse. Our goal was to follow this river down to Bung, a large village on the main trail connecting Lukla to Tumlingtar. However, following this river turned out to be too difficult. At about 2600m we decided to turn back. We eventually crossed Mera La in reverse to return to Inkhu Khola and reach Bung by another way.
From Lukla we first climb to Kharheteng (4000m) to cross a pass (~4600m) leading into the Inkhu Khola valley. This photo was taken from Kharketeng. The pass is at the center, slightly to the left.
Looking down to Kharketeng
Starting our descent from the pass toward Inkhu Khola
Inkhu Khola valley slightly above Kote village
Inkhu Khola valley soon before reaching the small village to Tangnag
Views while climbing to Mera La from the village of Khare (4760m)
Reaching Mera La (5415m)
Views toward Mera peak
A group of climbers starting their ascent of Mera peak from Mera La (Mera peak is a popular peak with guided expeditions)
During our descent to Honggu Khola below the tiny settlement of Kangme Dingma
Crossing an icy bridge on the upper part of Honggu Khola
After this bridge, the Honggu Khola valley became increasingly narrow and difficult. Traces of previous human passage (like neatly cut branches and bamboos) progressively disappeared. The following photos only partially reflect the difficulties that we encountered. On the second day we were extremely lucky to see a red panda at close distance, near the river crossing shown below. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera available at that time.
The terrain became increasingly steeper, more slippery, and more dangerous. We had to use our rope more and more frequently, both for safety and for hauling loads down or up. We were making very slow progress. On the third evening of the descent, we decided to turn back.
During our way back to Kangme Dingma (below Mera La) the weather was bad and wet. Rather than setting up our tents, we spent two nights in caves.