Traverse of Western Nepal (2008)

Leg 2: From Chetty to Seti Khola (September 26-30)

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From Chetty, we expected to reach Seti Khola river near the village of Dhuli, on the other side of the Bakiya Lekh mountain range, in 3 days. But it took us 5 days. We thought that only Pathrasi pass separated us from Seti Khola. In fact, we crossed three high passes (Pathrasi, Dubayi, and Therdole), and none of them was easy. The recent late monsoon storms had dumped much snow on these passes, especially Dubayi pass.

 

Click here to get the complete full-resolution image of the topographic map shown below

 

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In Chetty we hired a man, Hari Lalsong, to guide us to Pathrasi pass and, beyond, toward Seti Khola river

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On our way to Pathrasi pass

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In many places the path was cut by major mudslides

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Our camp below Pathrasi pass

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Pathrasi pass (4660m) in the early morning

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Approaching Pathrasi pass

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Pathrasi pass (4660m)

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Starting the descent from the pass

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Dubayi pass (4570m) at the center of the photo seen from Pathrasi pass. It is not as steep as the photo suggests.

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A closer view of Dubayi pass

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Pathrasi pass seen from below Dubayi pass

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Approaching Dubayi pass. The weather had turned bad, and it was snowing.

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Starting the descent from Dubayi pass. Shortly after this photo, we encountered deep soft snow, in some places up to the hip. This was a very strenuous (and dangerous) descent.

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Our camp next morning

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Dubayi pass is in the background

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Below Dubayi pass there is a small valley that is used as a pasture in the summer. In May and June local villagers flock to this valley to collect Yarchagumba (Cordyceps Sinensis), Nepal‛s Viagra. This vegetable caterpillar is created when a fungus parasites the larvae of the Chongcao Bat. A larva then forms a cocoon in the winter and hibernates in the ground. The fruiting body of the fungus emerges from the head of the larva in the summer time and trembles a grass sprout. The local name, Yarchagumba, means winter bug, summer grass. It is a precious ingredient in Chinese traditional medicines, known for its properties to fight not only declining sex drive, but also aging, high and low blood pressure, arrhythmia, and cancer. There is a multi-million dollar market in China and Hong Kong.

 

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Dubayi pass in the back and the pasture valley below it.

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A natural bridge over an affluent of Shuni Kosi river

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Bee hive

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Therdole pass (4380m), the last pass before Seti Khola

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Approaching Therdole pass

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View from Therdole pass, with the Jugar Danda mountain range in the background

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The descent from Therdole pass was quite steep, first on ice and snow, then on slippery grass

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A beautiful view of Saipal (7031m)

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Therdole pass is separated from Seti Khola river by an impressive maze of steep ridges

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Views of the Jugar Danda mountain range (in the evening on the left and the morning on the right)

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Approaching Seti Khola river

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