Crossing the Thorung La Pass

At 5416 meters, Thorung La is one of the highest hiking passes in Nepal (and the world)  and connects the Manang with the Jomsom area of the Annapurna Circuit.

Quite frankly, neither the way up to, nor the pass itself are particularly beautiful. In good weather conditions, the crossing is straight-forward and uncomplicated. However, large amounts of snow may pose difficulties and a snowstorm on the top may contribute to a disaster as seen in October 2014.

The trail to Thorung La
The trail to Thorung La, above 5000 meters

After the 2014 tragedy, it seems people pay even more attention to crossing the pass early in the day, and most sleep at the Thorung High View Camp (4850m), 1,5 hours above the Thorung Pedi Lodge (4540m).  Furthermore as many leave as early as 4 am, I was alone on the trail all the way to the pass when I left at a the (to me) more reasonable time 6 am from Thorung Pedi Lodge. I arrived at the teashop on the pass right before midday in time for lunch.

Teashop at Thorung La Pass
Teashop at the Thorung La Pass

Having spent already a week around Manang including hikes to the Ice Lake and Tilicho Lake, I did not have any altitude-related issues , though I did walk rather slowly, carrying my own backpack as well. The descent into Muktinath is long, but uncomplicated and I noticed a couple of new bright blue emergency shelters, built after the 2015 snowstorm to prevent people from getting lost in bad weather conditions. I checked into the Muktinath temple at 3 pm, on what turned out to be a major Hindu festival day.

Thorung La emergency shelters
Thorung La emergency shelters

Click for the full photogallery of the Thorung La crossing on flickr.
This post is part of the series on the Annapurna Circuit walked in October 2015.

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