From the Trek around Manaslu - Nepal

I created this in an altered state, during the aftershocks of a somewhat epic ordeal.  Wanted it to look otherworldly, as that was how I was feeling at the time.

My ambition had been to get dawn shots from the top of Larkya La the day before, so we had begun our crossing early, still in the dark. I had been a little ill before the crossing, weakened by dysentery and smoky wet wood fires. But it was up and over in order to get out of here, so it was go time, and I'd come here to shoot, so might as well do it right.

Larkya La is a high pass to the north of the range which is the high point and the crux of the trek around Manaslu. It had existed in my mind as an open perch from which to view the unobstructed Annapurna range to the west, but the reality was quite different.

Most different were the howling winds and forty below temperatures that started blasting us as soon as we started our crossing and remained with us for the next 4 hours. With a broken zipper on my down parka I quickly decided to make a run for it, to generate as much heat as I could through exertion.

But some cold you cannot outrun. It was burning my chest; I'd never experienced that before. When we made it over and got down to a mellower place another ominous sign - I wasn't getting warm. Finally we made it to Bhimtang village and I passed out about 3 inches away from the fire and didn't move for a few hours.

I lay there through the sunset by the fire and on into the next morning, unable to get up. At dawn I managed to crawl up to the edge of the glacier next to the vilage and in my altered state, I made this photo. So it symbolizes the very limit to me, and the danger I was in, but also the morning and its ability to reset me from my ordeal.

Dawn from Bhimtang


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