Beginnings are worst times. Which of the eleven trails , all heading in about the right direction, is the right one ? Or just run it staright from the map ..
Asking gives me everything I need to know from an old lady plus an offer of second breakfast.
Going up I have moments of doubts : why leave the green valley for another rock strewn pass. Lokking down at my feet i just see rubble. Lifting my head I se the shocking transformations from greay to purple to pink. Big rhubarby leaves hanging from sheer sides , with growths I suddenly realize are to become the white , round leaves that comes out so beautiful onthe Himachali hats. The smell of not quite mint , not quite juniper I associate with Spiti. Big bees with jet black wings, thumb thick bodies and narrow bands of yellow.
Around 3900, after it has started to get really steep , I gett buffed by high winds which I take as a good sign : surely the pas must be really near. It comes out as not 3950 as on my map , but 3986 according to the GPS. At the time it felt important.
Nice lhatse with prayer flags ... that looks off in some way. Coming closer I see flags with triangular form, no images and names .. european names. After a short moment of disbelief the knife comes out .
Later i bring it up in Rizong monastery and gets a friendly tap on the shoulder " Don't worry , this is not a problem. " This is of course right in the religious perspective : nothing becomes undone by covering the lhatse , but does remain a problem for the communities involved , both travellers and Ladakhis.