The golden rays of the sun lit up the tops of the nearby ridges, and then our mood improved considerably as the sun came over the top of Jambeyang in the east and started to warm us up. The lakeside was then an idyllic spot, the smooth surface of the water acting like a mirror to reflect the nearby peaks, the image ruffled by the very faint early morning breeze. We had the whole place to ourselves, and the Tibetan encampment we’d seen across the lake the previous evening appeared unoccupied and devoid of life.
When Joseph Rock camped by this lake, which he called Russo Tso, in 1928, he described it as “the most dangerous part of the journey” because here “dwelled the worst of all the Konkaling outlaws”:
“Our lama guide, who carried one of my rifles, looked anxiously about, then tremblingly handed the gun to my headman. High on the slopes, under a rocky shelter opposite the lake, we espied several Tibetans behind rocky parapets. They commanded the entire lake valley and could have kept us from moving forward. Whether they were bandits or pilgrims we never learned. They remained behind their rocky ramparts and watched as we laboriously climbed to another pass, a level alpine meadow with valleys radiating in various directions.”