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Just in from a mate - serious mountaineering blog / story 32 days in Nepal

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've known Tim who has written this for nigh on 15 yrs - we ski a lot together, and with the guide Kris Erickson we've done a couple of trips with a few more planned.

But this trip was in another league.....

The Brief: to trek to a remote and recently opened up peaks area of Nepal and try to climb some higher and quieter mountains than in Europe. Accompanied by Kris Erickson - a veteran of all things extreme when it comes to mountains - and another (but younger) US Chamonix based the North Face sponsored qualified guide - Mike Arnold coming along to really scope the area for future extreme ski adventures/new mountain faces.

Mission: Another self-testing exercise up there with Tour de France (cycling the same route every day), solo off-road motorbiking in Morocco but this took me even further physically due to altitude and perhaps my advancing age.

Fact: the air is half as thin at 17k ft than sea level i.e. Your body has to work twice as hard to do anything and I've spent 15 days above that threshold. Everything was an effort and I think my usual self belief in my stamina has been taught a lesson ! I didn't acclimatise as fast as I would have hoped - not helped probably by me chasing fitness at home through the summer after the 4 months post shoulder op layoff till early Aug and maybe I'm also just one of those people who doesn't adapt so well. The residual lower lung capacity from childhood asthma may also have been a factor. So all in all pretty tough.

The Summary/Highlights:
10 days in the Khumbu (after flying Kathmandu to Lakla) trekking to acclimatise and use the lodge system whilst avoiding the Everest Base Camp junkies. Head porter/ Sherpa guide/ sometime cook Jetha + 2-5 porters. Trekked up Gokyo Ri (17.4 k ft) and over Renjo La pass (also 17.4 k ft)

In to Rolwaling Valley over Tasha Labsta pass (18.6k ft). None of porters done this before and Jetha only once 8 years ago in 30 years of working in Nepali Himalaya. Unstable boulder moraine, objective danger of rock/ice falls and my fitness/speed meant we aborted detour for 2 peaks.

Established Base Camp in Na village after difficult boulder moraine no path route down glacier and now with support team of 2: Jetha and the strongest porter (Pembah). Total 8 days also establishing Adv BC on plateau below Yalung Ri (18.3 k ft) which we later climbed

Used more time to scout Chugimago (20.3k ft) but Kris and Mike decided that our objective (the unclimbed SW ridge - only 2 other groups summited by any route) was far more difficult than satellite images /maps showed and beyond my capabilities - at least at this altitude and given time/weather constraints. They climbed it on day I rested and took them 16 hours to summit - they'd estimated c 10 hrs - and return down the 2.5 k ft ridge in one hit. A tremendous achievement, a first and definitely one for the pros.

Spent 4 nights camped on rock at side of glacier without any (porter) support

And climbed Ramdung (19.3k ft) - first climbed by Brit team in 1952

And another (un-named peak 18.7k ft)

In time in Rowaling valley saw groups of mountain guides and clients from the US, France, Spain, Czech Rep focussed on climbing plus several trekkers from Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland, Czech Rep and Mexico: I'm sure they were surprised by the extreme nature of the trekking "route". In total less than 100 people in 17 days and for our 4 nights camping below Chugimago and Ramdung we saw no one until we met two Spanish/Pyrenean guides on the 5th day.

2 + day walk out down valley - now on paths - from Na to road and 10 hr Landcruiser drive (c 120 miles so easy to imagine how bad road was) back to Kathmandu.

Conclusion: an amazing, exhausting, levelling and unique 32 day experience not possible without the knowledge and experience of my mountain guide friends. Thank you! This was not a trekkers package.....

Tested my mainly oldish Alpine kit to the full and some items came up short in weight and comfort- the nights were v cold: down to - 18deg C, so the North Face shop in Kathmandu has just taken a beating.

28 years since I last visited Nepal. And yes in parts way more commercialised. The people remain (generally) kind, humble and charming and there are still places untouched by those that find themselves here on an EBC trek and genuinely asked us if Everest was the highest mountain in the region ! (Sorry guides but she was American ....)

Namaste !

Tim

PS Meeting up with him next week in the smoke and will try to find out just how much he spent on this!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Sounds like a great trip. Not cheap if it was all funded by your friend Tim.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sounds a great adventure snowHead
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Sounds fun! Any pictures?
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