Crossing the pass: 22k, 1,450 meters of climbing, 1,600 meters of descent
We headed out with headlamps. Since we were going up to an altitude of 5,106 meters over the Larke Pass, this was consciously not a racing day. It was still freezing cold, and I seriously was wearing every single thing I had with me, layered up from PrimaLoft to down. The quiet and the movement only by the light of the headlamps was somewhat meditative for me. It was possibly one of the most beautiful sunrises I have every been able to experience. Slow by slow, the gigantic mountains were illuminated by beams of warming sunlight. It was simply an unbelievable day. After just about nine hours with plenty of photo, tea and chocolate breaks, we arrived at our last lodging, at about 3,700 meters, before the finish. I was still very weak but simply thankful to be able to experience this.
7th stage: 22k, 280 meters of climbing, 2,040 meters of descent
A downhill day! Usually, my strength, but I felt as if I were running against a wall. The hope that it would get better after 1,000 meters of downhill was unfortunately not realized. I just wanted to get to the finish and was frustrated that for me the allegedly easiest stage was such a challenge.
My emotions at the finish were mixed. On the one hand, it was a happy day that I pulled through despite it all. On the other hand, it still left a bit of an unpleasant taste in my mouth that I wasn’t able to call up the hoped-for performance, and that a race was turned into to a hike around Manaslu. For me, it’s a cakewalk to fight my way through aching muscles and tired legs. But when you are simply sick and weak, there are limits.
After another week, I was home again. Would I do it again? No! I now know that altitude is not for me. Still, I would never have passed up the experience, the people I got to know, and the time spent in these wonderful mountains. That was worth all of the pain and misery.