Beasts of Burden

What happens when the road runs out?
The beasts of burden take over.
In lower altitudes it is the mules with their pretty decorations and chiming bells that cart the goods along the narrow tracks.

This mule train carries the camping supplies from a trekking group back to Jiri.

Anytime we reached a swing bridge, we checked and waited while mule trains crossed.

As we got higher we met dzopkyo trains – a cross between cows and yaks.

These beasts often carried the bags of large trekking groups.

Highest of all came the yak trains. These large animals with their long horns and shaggy coats seemed placid as they lumbered along under their loads.

Yak above Namche Bazaar.

Incredibly they managed to continue despite snow and ice.

Look at the drop to the right and you’ll see why Harry stood next to the mountain while respectfully allowing this yak train to pass.

Yaks often wore the same red hairdress as that worn by the Tibetan traders.

They appear to have infinite patience, prepared to just stand and wait.

And, of course, there are the human cargo carriers – the porters.

Resting regularly at the porters’ walls, their bamboo baskets are usually piled high. Even with the arrival modern satellites, the old bamboo baskets and wooden walking/resting sticks are the most regularly used daily tools.

Want to build a home in the Khumbu? First you’ll need the stones brought to your site. This “backpack” carries three at a time. Loads are paid for by the cubic metre.

You’ll need roof metal – he is carrying 60kg.

And pipes. These were flown from Kathmandu to Lukla and taken much higher by porters.

With no local timber available, you’ll need sheets of plywood for internal walls. There’s a porter under this load.

In this bamboo basket is a baby.

It’s different in the city – there wheels can be used, but backs are still employed.