Nepal - Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp trek

Tagnak - Cho La pass (5420m) - Dzongla


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Day 10 - From Tagnak to the Cho La pass (5420m) then descending again to Dzongla (4830m)

This can be a very hard day especially if you are already tired from the previous day.

Waking up early in order to have plenty of time you first ascend gently up a small valley. There are lots of snow cocks walking around, not shy at all as they are not hunted.
After an hour or two (and here it really depends on how well you deal with altitude - people can get extremely slow) you reach a ridge with your first view of the Cho La across a small moraine, looking impossibly steep.

As you get to the end of the moraine you can see that it is doesn't only look steep, it IS steep but only for a short bit - which can last a while depending on the speed at which you are moving.

On my two crossings of the Cho La I met people descending (coming from Dzongla and going to Tagnak) with trekking poles only and they looked very uncomfortable. The ascent is in the shade so was a little iced up (but not badly). I was quite happy to have my ice axe at hand (just in case) but crampons were not needed. But bear in mind that the two times I crossed the conditions were excellent: clear weather, no wind, no fresh snow. In anything less than great conditions you'd probably want crampons to feel really safe. Treating this pass as a trekking pass is not the right way to approach it.

Fortunately once at the top you can walk easily. It's almost flat for a while and then descends gently. If you are walking on snow no need to be careful for a little while but as you go on the descent gets steeper and if there is snow and ice (this is less likely on the Dzongla side because it gets the sun) it could be difficult to negotiate in some of the steep parts (ice axe and crampons!).

The views are wonderful as you walk westwards towards Ama Dablam.

Once you clear the terminal moraine of the glacier the going gets easier and after a little over an hour you can reach Dzongla. This is really nothing more than a yak grazing place with two small lodges and limited camping.





There were lots of Tibetan snow cocks (Tetraogallus tibetanus) in the valley above Tagnak


End of the first ascent from Tagnak (Ngozumba glacier visible in the background)



A beautiful peak to the north of our path. Could it be called Kangchung Peak?



First view of the Cho La (in the centre of the image)



The final steep ascent towards the Cho La


The final steep ascent towards the Cho La (looking down from the pass)



The final steep ascent towards the Cho La (looking down from the pass)


Arrived at the pass!



At the Cho La



Crossing the small glacier Everest and Nuptse are in the background)



Crossing the Ngozumba glacier



First view of Ama Dablam



Arriving above the Dzongla (terminal moraine of the glacier)



Camp in Dzongla



Evening light on Ama Dablam


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