We arrived with a short flight from Chengdu to Lhasa. The bicycles still in the cardboard boxes, we took a taxi to Lhasa and went straight to the Hotel. After checking in, we prepared the bicycles and started to sort out material and equipment which we will need in the next few days.
Potala ( finally)
Construction activity in Lhasa
Yorkhar temple Lhasa
01. June 2010 / Lhasa to foot of Kampa La / 85 km / Total 6638 km
Today after breakfast we left the Hotel and were cycling in our group (14 peoples) first to the Potala. Here we took the obligatory pic in front of the Palace. We cycled some 80 km down the valley until we reached the foot of Kampa La pass. Next to the street we had our campsite.
Group pic in front of Potala
Prayer wheels in front of Potala
02. June 2010 / Kampa La to Yamdrok Tso lake / 48 km / Total 6686 km
Right after breakfast we had to start with climbing the Kampa La. The pass is not very steep and after 3 hours we reached the top a t4794m a.s.L. . At the top you can look down the other side of the mountain, towards where the holy Yamdrok Tso lake lies in a deep valley.
Climbing Kamba La
03. June 2010 / Yamdrok Tso lake to foot of Karo La / 50 km / Total 6736 km
When we woke up this morning we had snow on the tents and it was freezing cold but the sun was already shining. Today it was an easy ride without any big climbs just until the foot of the Karo La pass. We arrived in the early afternoon at the campsite and later went on for a walk to a glacier. For the first time I was higher than 5000m a.s.L.
Dirt road and snowy landscape
04. June 2010 / Karo La to Gyantse / 80 km / Total 6816 km
Today was my worst day ever. I felt the altitude and had some real problems. To climb Karo La pass was very hard and several times I had to walk. In Gyantse I went straight to bed without dinner and without sightseeing.
Top of Karo La 5039m a.s.L
Karo La Glacier 5560m a.s.L
05. June 2010 / Gyantse to Shigatse / 92 km / Total 6908 km
Today real big and nice breakfast buffet in the Hotel, but I was only allowed to eat some rice and hot tea. Anyway, today flat and easy ride to Shigatse. Very nice weather, beautiful scenery and tonight we have a nice hotel bed again.
06. June 2010 / Shigatse to foot of Lapa La / 97 km / Total 7005 km
After some big breakfast I felt much better. We had an easy nice ride with beautiful weather and quite a bit of tail wind. We passed some very nice villages and we also met a pilgrim on its way to Mt. Kailash. Our campsite was on a nice open piece of field next to a river. Today I passed the 7000km.
Yaks instead of Tractors
On its way to Mt. Kailash
07. June 2010 / Foot of Lagpa La to foot of Gyatso La / 63 km / Total 7068 km
Steady climp of Lagpa La pass. Today I was 100% again. Motivation and strength were back and with the beautiful weather the ride was enjoyable. We camped at the foot of the highest pass we have to ride tomorrow, the Gyatso La.
08. June 2010 / Foot of Gyatso La to Balpa / 74 km / Total 7142 km
After breakfast we start climbing toward the highest pass Gyatso La (5220m). We cycle 25km until reaching the top. The Gyatso La is a neverending climb. When you think you're near the top, the road bends and reveals another set of switchbacks above you. It just kept on climbing. The last three kilometres of the pass winds itself out of the valley you climbed up and out into the open. The mountain is wide, open and we faced with a heavy strong, icy side wind. The highest pass 5250m. a.s.L does not have at all a spectacular downhill. It is a long bu not very steep downhill.
Climbing 5250m a.s.L to the top of Gyatso La
The highest pass we ever cycled before
09. June 2010 / Balpa to Tashi Zong / 60 km / Total 7202 km
Today we start our ride on a paved road up to the police check point, here we had to show our passport to the Authorities. After around 6km west of the check point we turned off the Friendship Highway. We have to start the Pang La pass. A dirt road with in total 42 switch backs. The road is winding up hill to more than 5150m. From the top we can view over Makalu (8463m), Shishapangma (8012m), Cho Oyu (8210m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8850m) and several other breathtaking peaks. Then a 20-kilometer downhill follows to the Rongbuk Valley (4200m), where we camp.
42 switch backs
We reached top of Pang La pass
Great views over several 8000m peaks.
10. June 2010 / Tashi Zong to Everest Base Camp / 40 km / Total 7242 km
Today we will be on a bumpy road but a gentle climb up to Rongbuk Monastery from our camp site. Rongbuk Monastery is the main Buddhist center in the valley and once coordinated the activities of around one dozen smaller religious institutions. It was the hardest day so far for the whole trip. Even we did only 40km, but the road was very rough, steep, and with steady , heavy wind. Several times we had to stop to rest. There's nowhere flat to ride on. One continuous bump and grind, and no rhythm to be found. It's frustrating but finally we made. We are at the foot of Mt. Everest.
On the way to Mt. Everest
Kids at EBC ( Everest Base Camp)
Mt Everest 8858m and Rongbuk Monastery
11. June 2010 / Everest Base Camp / 16 km / Total 7258 km
During the summertime climbers from all over the world converge at Base Camp to use the Himalaya's small window of opportunity it provides to make an attempt at Everest. Today we relax and cycle only 16km up to the base camp. We take the obligatory picture with Everest looming over our shoulder........
Towards EBC (Everest Base Camp)
12. June 2010 / Everest Base Camp to Tingri / 80 km / Total 7338 km
We cycled about 16 km's down from Base Camp before we turned off from the main gravel road leading left towards the river valley and beyond. We had to climb another pass and the road was full of big rocks. The top of the pass is a non-event in the sense of the traditional Tibetan way of prayer flags all over the place. It's wide and open, the earth brownish grey with only loose rocks and gravel covering the rounded mountains. From the top of the pass we are heading down (with tail wind) to Tingri were we have our Camp set up.