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Archive for December 16th, 2009

Monasteries

Monasteries on Annapurna
Buddha eye

Another advantage of a good guide is access.  The Buddhist monasteries along the trek are truly spectacular but they are often locked during the time that is convent for your visit. For Angin, being a Buddhist himself, this posed no problems.  He invariably started talking to someone, often an ancient women spinning a prayer wheel, and shortly someone would show up and give us complete access.  In Manang  this happened and I soon found we were sitting with the local Lama asking for a blessing of our upcoming mountain crossing.  We lit candles and chanted some and I was taken with how serious Angin was taking the whole process and realized that while incredibly competent in the mountains, the mountain people certainly do not suffer from hubris and take any pass over 5000m as a serious undertaking.

On the day of our summit, we were blessed as the temperature were quite cold but we have clear skies and no wind.  Days before we met several groups who had turned around to difficult conditions.   We left high camp at 5am along with many of the other trekkers but the pass was owned this day by Angin and I.  We were both healthy, both strong and we made the pass at 6:45 as the sun rose over the Himalaya.  I was the first westerner on the top this day and me along with Angin and other porters had the world to ourselves as others moved slowly up the mountain. Had Island Peak been in front of me today, there would have been no quitting as I could have easily climbed another thousand meters this day.  And knowing that was really good and helped me reflect on not climbing Island Peak weeks before; there are days you are supposed to be successful and there are days you are supposed to know it is simply not your day.

Monastery painting
Prayer wheels

Low tech (old cans) prayer wheels

Om Mani Ped Na Hum

Temple painting

Prayer works

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