News of the closed pass to Jomsom rippled through our trekking group. “9 people missing, thigh deep snow, avalanches…” I could feel the tension building as we realized that our long-anticipated, well-crafted plans might be ruined. The source of our trail gossip, an elderly monk in maroon robes, stood next to a wall of carved prayer stones marking the entrance to Tsarka village. “Namaste!” I greeted him with the weary happiness that comes with reaching camp after a 9-hour day trekking in ankle-deep mud and snow. Multicolored prayer flags waved in the evening light. We stopped to hear his snippets of news, but weren’t quite willing to believe that the end of our planned route was truly impassable.