Trekking in Nepal

Just before the planned trekking tour, a bus hits me from the side, when leaving Kathmandu. I didn’t fall, bike and equipment are fine, but my shoulder hurts a bit. Hopefully it will be fine again before I start hiking with backpack.
On the main road to Tibet a rare encounter of another cyclist on tour. Ferran from Andorra. He is just about to finish his long tour from Andorra via Kashgar and Lhasa to Kathmandu.
I continue cycling up to the Nepalese-Tibetian border and then turn onto a side road, following it to it’s end – Jiri, starting point for my hiking adventure. The bike stays there in a local hotel. Many meters of altitude had to be cycled to get here, plus that the way was longer than indicated on the map.
The demanding profile continues on the way Jiri-Lukla. More than 2000 meters in altitude, daily, up and down again. At the end of this 24 days-trip it has summed up to more than 25.000 meters. The trails are partly very steep and difficult to follow. For the permanent rain, it is the time of Monsun, the trails often turn into creeks and little rivers. The ‚Blutegel‘ here are happy about it.
After 5 days I arrive in Lukla. This village has a short and spectacular runway for airplanes. The lower end stops directly before the abyss, the higher end in the village centre. The area south of the Everest is an important centre of tourism. Most visitors fly between Kathmandu and Lhasa. Only a few hike the 5-6 days from Jiri to Lukla, and then also not twice, like me, who has to get back to Jiri, where my bike is waiting.
But this trip is worth it, exactly for that reason. Now we have absolute off-season, because of the Monsun. Many facilities and mountain lodges are closed. Most of the time one is walking alone. Unbelievable the stories from high-season. The narrow trials then become too narrow, in the lodges the people sleep in the dining area on the ground. Now I am often the only guest. During the last years in july, there were never more than 200 visitors here in Sagarmatha Nationalpark, in high season there were up to 7500. But all for a good reason. Through the Monsun almost always everything is covered in a dense soup of clouds. I come to places, from where in spring and autumn times one has incredible views of the worlds highest mountains, immense rock- and ice walls. But not now – a pity. Still it is great to get an idea of that region and the people who live here, the Sherpa and the Rai. The signs and symbols of their religions are all over – Stupas, Mani-stones, Mani-walls, praying mills, praying flags. Furthermore I was interested to test my reaction to high altitudes. Absolutely no problems. No kind of symptoms of altitude sickness and also my performance capability here strengthens my confidence for the next cycling stage in Tibet, with passes of more than 5000m. Here I was climbing some peaks of more than 5000m. The highest peak was the Chhukhung Tse – 5833m – for my knowledge the highest, which is possible to get, without expensive permit and special equipment. With my start in India from sea-level, I’ve moved every meter with my own power – ‘by fair means’ as we mountaineers use to say ;) I camp one night in the base camp of the Mt. Everest, on top of the famous Khumbu Glacier. The snow covers my tent quickly and the sounds of the cracking ice underneath the tent doesn’t help either to find some sleep.
The peak of 2nd Kala Patthar –5595m – I climbed up twice on two succeeding days, with the hope, that the clouds open up a bit. From there one has one of the best views of the top of Mt. Everest. For a short moment I can see it.
All the places up here are only connected by footpaths. All transport is done by carriers. In this difficult terrain they carry immense loads for days. Very impressive. They carry everything – a load of meat, 20 plastic chairs, chickens alive, steel constructions, huge rolls, pipes… everything, either barefoot, in slippers or simple fabric trainers – for about 41 Euro cents per day and kg. Slippers are the common trekking equipment here. Also an umbrella instead of rainproof clothes. Even woman and children work as carriers, while there are some projects against that kind of work for children. I had to return to Kathmandu, against earlier plans. From Jiri to Kathmandu I took the bus. It didn’t seem sensible to cycle this way twice.


translated by Maik

pictures to this article: Trekking in Nepal : Fotos

19. August 2007 - Tom & Maik | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

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