Ice Lake – Arrabi el Arabe

11. March 2023


For acclimatisation, it is good to take a little time and go to higher altitudes, especially during the day. I had read about Ice Lake in a blog as a great highlight anyway. And so I set off on the trail, which was well signposted and marked. First I went through the village of Bhraka – incredibly beautiful with the stone buildings and the monastery in great mountain formations. I made very slow progress because of taking pictures. I saved the monastery for the next day. Here are a few pictures from that day:


Bhraka 1


Bhraka 2


Bhraka 3


And Bhraka from further up


There were also great views across and up the valley etc.






up the valley


Slowly I gained altitude. It went quite well and I slowly came closer to the snow. However, I stopped again and again to look. It looked simply fantastic, an extremely magnificent mountain world and me, a little person, in the middle of it all.


And where does this strange song in the blog post title come from? As already mentioned, I like listening to podcasts, especially when I’m walking uphill. Two days ago I dealt (once again) with AI and chat GPT. The day before and this day with the Ukraine war. And then I thought about this whole trekking world that I’m encountering here. I hadn’t come across it like this before. The many foreign hikers – and also the guides and porters who earn their living and the lodge and restaurant people. They all meet here and then disappear again into their respective other worlds. And next to them the normal villagers and monks/nuns. How many worlds of life exist side by side and sometimes I catch glimpses of them at the same time and sometimes one after the other. And this whole variety of life themes fascinated me so much that day. In addition, there was a song from a completely different world, which I love to listen to (I also discovered it in a podcast and was immediately touched): Mariem Hassans “Arrabi el Arab”.


look down


valley view with people


I met several people that day: 1 very hurried uncommunicative single gentleman, the two couples from my lodge, 1 whining gentleman who was freezing, 1 Chinese with guide – and then indeed the French Swiss showed up again, this time with a Japanese as a companion. They all always did very well in the pictures for the dimensions and in general.


german couple


whining gentleman


happy Nana


In the meantime, the snow had been reached and soon after also the 1st lake. Fortunately, someone had already pre-trekked – otherwise it would have been impossible to find the way – especially since it was also quite steeply downhill on the side.


snow tracks


1. lake with Chinese and Guide




The first lake was already great and I sat around chatting with Chinese with guide. And snapped and snapped….


1. lake


1. lake


And then we reached Ice Lake! 4.620 m! That means 1,200 metres of altitude! I was a bit dizzy and lacked appetite, but happy. I ate my packed lunch anyway – and that was a good thing.


Ice Lake


Ice Lake


me, happy


I was a bit dreading the descent – the many metres in altitude and the slippery ground – but it was crazy. I actually jumped downhill sure-footedly and was surprised at myself. Normally I’m slower and more hesitant. High altitude high? No matter. It faded away again about 45 minutes before I got back, but by then I was actually very light-footed (and the muscle pain the next day was actually very moderate).


Downhill, too, I got a few people in front of my lens:


Japanese + french swiss 1


Japanese + french swiss 2


german couple 1


german couple 2


1/2 german couple


And then I didn’t take any more pictures. It was – as described in the other blog – indeed a highlight day. The only thing worth noting is what you don’t see in the photos: an alternation between super hot in the wind-protected snow and really icy cold when the wind came around the corner, preferably still with cloud shadows.


In the lodge, a dripping hot shower, a delicious dinner, a warm stove – and for the first time, some very strange and rather unpleasant guests (of the kind of super-cool young people who don’t need certain things, who impose their childish life wisdoms on everyone and don’t even greet you in a friendly manner), but who were interesting to observe.


I fell asleep happily and looked forward to the next day. I wonder what awaited me there?