Nepal – November 2019

Ever since our unforgettable trek in Nepal in 2009, Pete has been itching to return, but other events have prevented it. This year he was determined to make it happen. Kathy decided after Peru earlier this year that she had done her last trek, so Pete signed up to a group trek organised by World Expeditions. Kathy’s brother Stephan, plus a friend of his and the friend’s son, also came along, and they joined twelve others, from Australia, South Africa, Canada, the UK and Hong Kong. Ages ranged from 24 to 68 and experience levels ranged from very little to having summited Kilimanjaro!

The group chose the Gokyo Lakes/Renjo La Trek in the Khumbu (Everest) region of Nepal, rather than the more popular route to Everest Base Camp. They wanted to see the most magnificent mountains in the world, but not share the experience with hundreds of others, and also wanted to get a feel for what traditional life in Nepal is (or was) like. There are no roads here, so the journey began with a 14-seater flight into Lukla, generally regarded as the world’s most dangerous airstrip! They put their faith in the pilots, and were not disappointed. The landing, on a steeply upward sloping strip with a stone wall at the end, was particularly exciting.

The two week trek took them along the conventional Base Camp route to Namche Bazaar, but soon after that they branched out to the north and followed the Dudh Kosi River, leaving most of the other trekkers to continue up a different river. The views of Ama Dablam from here were an unforgettable highlight. They ascended over several days to Gokyo, at 4790 meters, where they stayed two nights in a lodge with frozen plumbing but fortunately a warm dining room, thanks to pot belly stoves burning yak dung. The next day was the longest, the eight-hour-plus trudge over the Renjo La (Pass) at 5360 metres (a new altitude record for Pete). The reward was a stunning view back down to Gokyo and its Lake, with the 36 kilometre Ngozumba Glacier behind, and, towering above, a line of Himalayan giants, including Everest, Lhotse and Makalu.

Descending from the Pass, they were in a landscape from another time, with rough stone huts and yak corrals the only sign of habitation, and very few other trekkers.

World Expeditions provided a great team of guides, cooks and porters and everyone enjoyed the permanent camps with roomy tents, comfortable mattresses, western toilets and heated dining rooms. The lodges used in some locations also provided good accommodation, with colourfully decorated and toasty warm common rooms for relaxing, dining and chatting. All of the party of 16 completed the trek, in some cases despite health setbacks, but without the need to turn back or be evacuated, which was a better record than other groups they encountered.

photo Photos

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Delicious Nepali Thali at the Hotel Tibet. Wiring, Nepali style. Boudhanath stupa, Kathmandu. Fertile lowlands on the road to the airstrip at Ramechap. Our group about to fly to Lukla, "the world's most dangerous airport". You're almost in the cockpit! Safely on the ground in Lukla. Lukla airstrip, just 500 metres long and sloping at 12%. Rural scene north of Lukla. Permanent World Expeditions campsite at Ghat. Luxury! So which one is mine? Local porters carry up to 130kg! The Dudh Kosi ("Milk River"). Suspension bridges have improved out of sight! Suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi below Namche Bazaar. Donkey train giving way to a Dzo train .  (A dzo is a cross between a yak and a cow). Namche Bazaar. The Yak Hotel in Namche. Namche. Morning break above Namche.  Perfect weather continues. 15/11/2019 Pete and Ama Dablam. Lhotse (8516 metres). Ama Dablam (6812 metres). Possibly the best camp site ever, at Kyangjuma. Kyangjuma. Yaks. Rhododendron forest. Ama Dablam, sunset. Lhotse, sunset. I don't need an inhalation...yet! Fingers show how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10! Lemon and ginger tea at the Mong La. Mountain goat. We are still following the beautiful Dudh Kosi. Tsering, our guide, introduces the porters and cook. There is often time for washing and reading in the afternoons. Kangtega (the Snow Saddle).  6,782 metres. Red Birch. Rest stop on the way to Gokyo. When is afternoon tea???  A typical dining room, with dung burning stove. Boiling the billy, Nepali style. Pete with Cho Oyu behind. The arid landscape leading up to Gokyo. Delightful tea house at Machhermo. The Dudh Kosi below Gokyo. The first of the Gokyo Lakes. Kangtega from the second Gokyo Lake. The third Gokyo Lake and the track to the Renjo La. Lodges at Gokyo (4790 metres). Everest (far left) appears for the first time. Climbing slowly towards the Pass. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. There was a small amount of ice near the Pass. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse from the Renjo La (5360 metres). The Renjo La (5360 metres). Panorama from the Pass. Descending into the Bhote Kosi valley. Ancient yak pastures, deserted now that winter approaches. A hazy morning on the way to Namche. Returning to Namche. Back down below 3000 metres and into pine forest. Giving tips to the crew on the last day of trekking. Gluten-free pizza for lunch! Tsering speaking at the celebration dinner. An all too brief meeting with Tanka, our friend from our 2009 trek.

Posted on December 16th, 2019, tagged with travel

5 responses to “Nepal – November 2019”

  1. Fred says:

    Fabulous photos, Pete, thanks for putting them up. It looks like you achieved your goals and experienced some spectacular scenery.
    I’m surprised by the lack of snow and ice at the level of the pass. It was bad luck you had so little time to catch up with Tanka.

  2. Sue Hewett says:

    Some really remarkable photos Pete. So glad you made it back to Nepal and had such a good trip. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Stephan says:

    Magnificent photos, Pete. Bring back many memories. It was great to share the trip with you, the Captain and Liam and the other 12 trekkers.
    When are you organising our next trek? I’m available!

  4. Patricia Roseby says:

    Fabulous photos with amazing scenery, Pete, and great dialog, Kathy.

    I am still stunned by the second photo showing some Nepali wiring!!

  5. Peter says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments. Steph, I have no plans, but we can discuss after Christmas!