AC Side Trip: Tilicho Lake | Dec. 21, 2015

I cannot believe I really made it to one of the highest lake in the world! Once I decided on doing the Annapurna Circuit in winter, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to to the side trip to Tilicho Lake. Usually in december there is too much snow, making the crossing far too dangerous. But again, I am extremely lucky. No snow, blue sky, sunshine and we arrive at the Tilicho Basecamp just a few days before everything is closed down for the winter.

After a short night of sleep, we get up early to reach Tilicho Lake prior to the extreme wind that usually starts in the morning. As expected though, the breakfast is not ready and no one to see. Luckily my guide helps getting everything started and gets me breakfast first. As I am the slowest person to walk uphill I think that I well deserve it 🙂 Everyone will be taking over anyway.

The beginning works out fine, but soon I have to walk in serpentines straight up the hill… and every step means a big effort for me. I get angry at myself – why is it always such a trouble to breath while hiking uphill? I put on some music which usually helps – not much in this case. Luckily some encouragement is coming from my hiking friends while they pass myself without any effort (at least that’s my impression!). I cannot count on my guide to cheer me up. I feel extremely slow, but FINALLY I reach beautiful Tilicho Lake after 3 hours – which is the normal estimated time. It was a big push though – but one that will prove very helpful later when ascending the Thorong La Pass, as it helped me a lot with acclimatization.

Tilicho Lake is situated at 4,919m altitude and hence the highest lake in the World. Unbelievable that a few brave divers succeeded at high altitude scuba diving up here a couple of years ago!

It’s really cold up there, just the time to take a few pictures and enjoy the stunning colour of the lake before heading down again. I am quite surprised the lake is not frozen as the Ice Lake!

The way down is much faster and we reach Tilicho Basecamp at 11h30. Of course the lunch we ordered is not ready – and they didn’t even start preparing it. A few of us decide to stay here and have a rest, while I am continuing back to Khangsar as I really don’t want to stay at this unfriendly place. The way back is again rather difficult with icy parts and I start being tired. We reach Khangsar just before sunset and settle again in the nice guesthouse where we had lunch the previous day. The owners are nice, but without a real fireplace and only the cooking oven to warm up for all of us, it is pretty cold.

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