The trek up to high camp was windy but sunny so it was pretty much an endurance push. The next days trek/climb to the summit was very tough. The weather was as close to blizzard conditions as I have ever experienced! (I live in California so I don’t have a lot of blizzard experience!) We would take 4 or 5 steps, stop, push our ice axes into the snow and brace our bodies against the wind.
Renting a motorcycle in Kathmandu is easy to do and a great way to make day-trips to places like Bhaktapur, Patan, Nagarkot..
Hidden Secrets of Dolpo - Advice for going trekking in this northern, culturally Tibetan region of Nepal.
The Dolpo region may not be known for the highest peaks of the Himalaya, like Everest and Annapurna, but this long-isolated, culturally Tibetan region of Nepal is starting to attract the attention of both domestic and overseas trekkers.
Pokhara, Nepal, has become synonymous with paragliding. The hilltop above Pokhara, Sarangkot, offers a great launch pad, face-to-face with Machapuchare, Dh
Guest Post: Find Your Gordon
As I boarded the flight from Mumbai to Kathmandu, the only thing I had planned for Nepal was a beer.
No hostel reservation, no onward travel bookings, no research done. I was going to meet a Scot named Gordon at a little bar in the bustling traveller (or tourist, to some) district of Thamel in Kathmandu.
We quickly exchanged a couple emails where Gordon, who had just returned from an Annapurna Circuit trek, laid out the knowledge he had acquired: the cost for a hiring a guide, flights to Lukla, what gear we’d need, estimated dates, etc. Glad someone had their shit together.
Gordon proved to not only have his shit together but also seemed generally sane. Or, at least as much as one can tell over email. This *tends* to make a difference when you’re going to potentially spend two+ weeks with someone, every day, with no where to hide. So, my only plan for Nepal was to go have a beer with this Internet-Scot, who would be wearing a blue fleece, and see if this trek was to be.
When you travel for long enough, especially while traveling solo, you begin to develop an efficient sense for parsing travelers you can stand and those you can’t. One beer in, I knew Gordon and I would get along just fine. He had a real positive attitude and threw around a hearty laugh. A couple hours later (and perhaps a couple more beers) and we were meeting with our trekking guide, picking up our last-minute gear, and preparing for an early morning flight. Yes, the next morning.
The next two weeks would be some of my most memorable from seven months of travel. Nepal is an incredible place and the trek to Everest Base Camp was challenging and extremely rewarding. The Himalayas became a deeply spiritual place for me in my travels and I often tell people if I could do a day over again it would be one from my trek. By the time we descended, I didn’t just have new experiences and achieve greater heights, but had acquired a good friend.
Gordon, our guide Hari, and I at Everest Base Camp
Four months later, in a dimly lit bar in Manhattan, I would be meeting with Gordon for another beer (though, this time, not a Gorkha). He had a new job in London and I in New York. We slipped effortlessly back to the Himalayas and we may as well been back in a Nepali teahouse drinking rakshi and playing cards around a radiating stove.
Without TrekkingPartners, I would have never met Gordon and very likely would have never ended up at Everest Base Camp. The trek can be a bit more logistically complicated and expensive than others in Nepal and having a partner enabled it to become reality. When you travel, the people you meet along the way are the only ones who can relate to that moment in time, that experience, that feeling. There is a strength in that bond that can last a lifetime.
So, get out there and FIND YOUR GORDON. You’ll never forget it.
Anthony Marnell will always be a global traveller and, until his next global adventure, works with startups in New York. He’ll be meeting up with Gordon in New York again next week and is pretty sure it’s Gordon’s turn to buy the beers…
Top 5 Post-Trek Splurges in Nepal
1. The Garden of Dreams - Kathmandu
After a couple of weeks hiking in the Himalayas all day, every day, it’s a welcome treat to just lounge around a bit. The Garden of Dreams satisfies this need, and then some. Hidden away from the dusty and loud streets in Kathmandu, this private park has it all. Mats for resting in the grass, hidden nooks of benches & chairs, fountains, and even wifi. yes, wifi.
While there is a modest entrance fee, it’s well worth paying the few rupees in exchange for a few hours here. There doesn’t appear to be a policy against outside food and drink so load up on some snacks and beer before you go in and your visit will turn into a picnic.
<photo credit Funmilayo>
2. Yak Steak & Beer
As you get to higher altitude, especially in the Everest Region, meat and beer become impractical due to both the financial, physical, and human toll. When you see young - sometimes too young - porters struggle with cases of beer on their back, you’ll have little interest in drinking. If that wasn’t enough, it’s expensive and you’ve got a lot of hiking in front of you.
When you get down, reward yourself by finding a place for a yak steak and a Gorkha. That sizzling plate is the sound of success!
3. Paragliding in Pokhara
After a few days or a couple weeks in the Himalayas, the moment you you’ve descended you’ll quickly begin to miss the grand vistas & quiet moments that nature provides. Despite the charms of the city, you will miss that altitude and the open space.
A little adrenaline ride at one of the paragliding companies in Pokhara is a great way to capture that again. Find one that looks professional and matches your budget and get out and enjoy the view!
<photo credit Marcos>
4. The Hotel Splurge
You’ve been staying in teahouses constructed out of plywood and sleeping on boxes covered with a light cushion. It was cold at night and in the morning too. You’ve mastered the pit toilet and don’t remember the last time you showered.
Now that you’re done, put yourself up in a hotel, for at least one night, that costs four times what you’d typically budget for a hotel. Enjoy the (more) comfortable bed, the (more) clean bathrooms, and the (more) comfortable atmosphere, You earned it.
For a splurge of good karma, consider donating your used trekking gear to the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP). They run a Clothing Bank that rents out gear to the porters who bring supplies up the mountains. Many of these porters do not have the appropriate gear to keep them safe while doing their very difficult jobs. This gives them an affordable way to stay safe while they earn an income. Boots, hats, gloves, pants, jackets, etc are really helpful to keeping these people safe and employed. It will come back to you, we promise.