Chris Bonington – My Bhutan Adventure (Part 2)

While Joe and Bill cared for Mary, the rest of us waited at the Jhomolhari Base Camp making some acclimatisation walks and exploring this wonderful area.

Jhomolhari (7314m) at dawn with a ruined Dzong (fortress) in the foreground. Jhomalhari was first climbed by an expedition led by Spencer Chapman in 1937. Today no mountains of over 6000 metres may be climbed because of the feelings of the local people who regard them as sacred and blame crop failures on their invasion by foreign climbers.

Joe celebrating our ascent with a handstand!

A short day at last after four 8/9 hour days on the trot led us to the substantial and obviously prosperous village of Laya. Joe rewarded us with a rest day and had arranged for us to stay in a Bhutanese home.

The rest of the team slept and eat in the communal living room.

Our hosts by their stove, manufactured in Tibet. Above the stove, Yak cheeses are drying.

It started to snow just before we finished for the day and snowed all night, collapsing our cook tent in which most of our support team were sleeping – and our adventure was by no means over!!

But we came below the snow line and at last caught sight of the handsome Dzong of Gasa and the end of our trek since this was the road head.

We commandeered a pavilion that had been set up for a visiting minister to have our lunch out of the rain.

and that night reached Punakha by bus – the end of a truly wonderful trek. What was even more special, was meeting up once again with Mary and Carolyn who had been superbly looked after and entertained by Lotay Rinchen and Fin Norbu founders of “Bridge to Bhutan”