Nepal – November/ December, 2009

A group of eight family and friends – ourselves plus Ange, her boyfriend Rohan, and four friends around our age (Fred, Andrew, Sue and Tina for those that might know them) had signed up for this adventure. After almost twelve months of planning, reading, organising, worrying (some of us!), accumulating gear and training, we left on 7 November for Kathmandu and started the trek on 11 November after a couple of days sightseeing and making final arrangements in Kathmandu (where there was also the saga of the wrongly dated visa for one of our party to be sorted out!)

We had chosen a remote and challenging area to visit – the Manaslu Circuit to the west of Kathmandu. The trek involved 16 days of walking, starting at Arughat, 500 metres above sea level and ascending to the Larke La (pass) at 5130 metres before returning to around 800 metres again – with barely a piece of level ground anywhere along the way! It is without a doubt the most adventurous and unforgettable thing we have ever done. There are so few places to provision along the way that our crew consisted of 26 porters, five cooks and five sherpas.

Everyone completed the circuit without major difficulty or the intervention of helicopters and survived the cold and lack of oxygen at the high altitudes. Along the way we followed steep river gorges, saw terraced fields, scores of waterfalls, beautiful forests, 8 000 metre mountains, glaciers, monkeys, donkeys, yaks, more dung than you could think possible, primitive Buddhist villages, adorable (but snotty) children and barely twenty other Westerners (until we joined the very popular Annapurna Circuit, near the end).

Finally we had a few days R & R in Pokhara, which included several hot showers,a day of golf (memorable), some gift shopping, wining and dining and, for some, sunrise over the magnificent Annapurna Range, before returning by bus to Kathmandu.

We will always have a special admiration for the hardy, friendly, gentle Nepali people in our crew who dedicated themselves to ensuring our safety and enjoyment throughout the trek. All in all an unforgettable journey.

photo Photos

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Young monks at Monkey Temple, Kathmandu ,9/11/09. Bodhnath stupa, Kathmandu, 9/11/09. Rice terraces, Buri Gandaki valley, near Arughat, 12/11/09. Morning tea, Arkhet, 12/11/09. Hot chips for lunch! 12/11/09. Precipitous drop down from track, 13/11/09. One of many donkey trains, 13/11/09. Suspension bridge over tributary of Buri Gandaki, 13/11/09. Porters carrying 45 kg loads, 15/11/09.  Buri Gandaki, 15/11/09. Buri Gandaki and pine forest, 15/11/09. Seriously sloping old suspension bridge, 15/11/09. Sun's rays, Deng, 17/11/09. Curious group of locals watching our arrival, 17/11/09. Children check out the strangers, 17/11/09. Beautifully decorated chorten, 17/11/09. Interior of very old monastery, Lho, 17/11/09. Sunrise and boiling clouds over Manaslu from Lho, 18/11/09 Elaborate stupa, Lho, 18/11/09. Himalchuli from near Lho,18/11/09. Pete and Ange approaching Sama Gaon, 18/11/09. Buddhist village of Sama Gaon and North Peak of Manaslu Himal, 18/11/09. Very cold evening (slightly) warmed by yak dung fire, Sama Gaon, 18/11/09. Sunrise over Manaslu (8,156 metres) from Sama Gaon, 19/11/09. Glacial lake below Manaslu, 19/11/09. Porters in training, Sama Gaon, 19/11/09. Rest day walk around Sama Gaon, 19/11/09. Our group of eight plus sherpas Tanka and Tenzing, with Manaslu in the background, 20/11/09. Pete and Kath between Sama Gaon and Samdo, 20/11/09. Chorten near Samdo, 20/11/09. Looking east down the valley from Samdo, 21/11/09. Ange and Rohan's snowman, 21/11/09. Mani wall near Samdo, 21/11/09. Sunrise from Samdo, 22/11/09. Sunset over our campsite, Larke "Rest House", 22/11/09. Slogging towards the pass, Samdo peak in the background, 23/11/09. Exultant trekkers and crew at the top of the Larke La (5100 metres), 23/11/09. Pete and Kath at the pass, 23/11/09. Rohan and Ange at the pass, 23/11/09. Starting the 1500 vertical metre descent to Bimtang, 23/11/09. Multiple glaciers, 23/11/09. Sun sets as we approach Bimtang, 23/11/09. Mountain views south of Bimtang, 23/11/09. More mountains, south of Bimtang, 23/11/09. Lakpa, Sahila, Tenzing and Tanka present a cake for Kathy's birthday, 24/11/09. Tenzing and Tina dance around the camp fire, 24/11/09. Marsyangdi Khola near Dharapani, 25/11/09. Ange crossing a bamboo bridge worthy of an Indiana Jones movie, 26/11/09. Sunlit rice terraces near Sanje, 27/11/09. Rural scene near Sanje, 27/11/09. Nepali lady and cute puppy, 27/11/09. Colourful garden plants betwen Sanje and Bhulbhule, 27/11/09. Sumptuous dinner on our last night on trek, Bhulbhule, 27/11/09. One of our favourite porters watches as we record our last morning on trek, 28/11/09. Final photo with our team of 5 sherpas, 5 cooks and 17 porters (we farewelled 9 at Sama Gaon) at Bhulbhule, 28/11/09. Pete thanking our wonderful guide and head sherpa, Lakpa, at Bhulbhule, 28/11/09. The crew depart on their bus from Bhulbhule, 28/11/09. Pete and Ange in the grounds of the Hotel Barahi, Pokhara, 29/11/09. Sunrise over Machhapuchhare (6997 metres) from above Pokhara, 1/12/09. Sunrise over Annapurnas from above Pokhara, 1/12/09. Farewell dinner at the house of the owner of our trekking company, Tulsi and his wife, 3/12/09. The Himalayas from our plane, 4/12/09.

Posted on January 2nd, 2010, tagged with travel

8 responses to “Nepal – November/ December, 2009”

  1. Erica Booker says:

    Aaaaahhhhh!!! Thank you for the wonderful photos. I just relived every moment of my trip in 1983 which is still unforgettable. We only did the Annapurna track which took 16 days too, but of course in those days it was relatively untouched. I was surprised at how well we handled the cold, and also the extremes of temperature during the days. Nights were cosy and how beautiful were those early morning cuppas and washing bowls? Beautiful photo of my beloved Machhupuchhari (?)thank you. I remember the Kalakandaki River valley (I think) which was deeper than Kosziusko is high. And those goat tracks, wonky bridges, snowy descents, and wonderful Nepali people. Thank you, thank you.
    By the way, I now have as my main charity the Nepcam Trust which provides education, teachers and financial help (micro-loans- with no interest) for poor Nepali and Cambodian communities. I sponsor a girl in Cambodia and a teacher in Nepal. It was started by a former Ravenswood man, Dr Colin Woodley, and every cent of donated money goes to the people- he personally goes over to Nepal and Cambodia twice a year, taking the money and depositing it there. marvellous man.
    Lots of love, Erica xxxx

  2. Fred Barnes says:

    A good selection of photos to summarise our time together in Nepal Kath and Pete.
    It was a great trip with a great mob.

  3. Brrrrrrr.

    Great photos! Thanks for putting them online.

    PS – THAT’S what I call a bus. Priscilla, Queen of the Himalayas.

  4. Emmy says:

    Great pics!!!

  5. Sue Hewett says:

    Great pics and summary of the trip brought it all flooding back, the scenery, the cold, the exhaustion, the exhilaration. Thanks Pete and Kath once more for organising an unforgettable experience, and to Ange, Rohan, Andrew, Fred and Tina for being the best trek companions. We don’t rock, we Larke La!

  6. Nadia says:

    WOWEEE!!! I cannot wait to do the same soon! Great photos!

  7. Meg says:

    Beautiful photos! I especially love the mountains, they’re absolutely breathtaking!

  8. Janny Hoy says:

    These are fantastic! Great photography folks and what an adventure. Thanks for sharing them.