The Forbidden Pass, near Lungden, Thame Valley, Nepal

Photograph by Kiril Rusev


I was on a 26-days trip to Nepal in October 2012. I joined an organized trekking group in the Everest region of the Himalaya. Our route was one of the longest in the area – we traveled through four different valleys, crossed two high passes of more than 5400m and finally climbed Island Peak (6189m).

I took this picture on our 5th day of the trek. The lower parts of the mountains were behind us and I was just starting to get a feeling of the true scale of the Himalaya. We were walking north up the Thame Valley. It leads up to Nangpa La – the high pass that connects Nepal with Tibet and has been used for hundreds of years by salt traders.

The pass is closed these days by the Chinese authorities and from the Nepal side foreigners are not allowed to go further north from Lungden. Labeling something “forbidden” automatically makes it more desirable. The remoteness of the place combined with the proximity of Tibet gave this place a very mystical aura. I wanted to capture this feeling and an opportunity came as our group stopped for some rest and people gazed north towards the 6000-7000m-high peaks that define the border with Tibet.

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