We had planned a rest day into the trip at the high-altitude valley of Nimaling. It wasn't really necessary as the hiking had been easy, but we had time and the books recommended side trips in good weather.
The weather didn't look so good as the day began. We had a little snow overnight and the flurries continued over breakfast. In light of this, Marcia decided to hang out in the tent while I made the possibly futile climb to a viewpoint. I was glad I did.
The side trip climbed the shoulder of Kang Yatze, the largest mountain in the area. The main 6400-meter (21,000 foot) summit is a difficult technical climb, but given enough time and a little equipment, even non-mountaineers can climb the 6200-meter (20,500 foot) lower summit, Kang Yatze II. Lacking both, I decided merely to climb 500 meters up a moraine in front of the mountain.
Even from there the views were magnificent, because the weather had cleared as I was climbing. I could look all the way up the Markha valley where we had walked, and I could see beyond to a pass over the Zanskar mountains. The second part of our trek will pass along the back side of these mountains.
We also took a short walk up the valley in the sunshine, which had now become widespread. The weather had finally changed for the better.