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Monday, 31 March 2014

Day 3 - Kathmandu to Langtang Valley

We have a group meeting over breakfast to discuss the next couple of days and complete our Chinese / Tibetan visa applications. I raise some oddities in the kit list for the acclimatisation trek and it turns out that a couple of key items (crampons!) have been omitted so some hasty repacking follows. Then it's off to Thamel for some remedial shopping - luckily I am not the only person making this trip!

We have a long drive out to the road head for our trek and the road is in a very poor state. We have to navigate potholes of varying sizes as well as herds of goats and cattle and have to get out of the bus a few times to lighten the load and allow the bus to get over some pretty big rocks in the road.
 

One of the many tricky sections of the road

First some goats come past

Then some women carrying firewood


Finally the van makes a go for it




The bus has a video screen and we are shown The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - luckily I am still exhausted after the past few nights and sleep through most of it.

We get to the road head which is a small village on the road with a number of teahouses, shops and restaurants and then after an early dinner head to bed to be ready for an early start tomorrow.

The small roadhead village




Sunday, 30 March 2014

Day 2 - Flight to Nepal

I am flying via Abu Dhabi which is trying to establish itself as an international hub but it appears to have a long way to go. The transfer hall has probably 1,000 people in it and very few people on the security stations. Some junior staff are trying to manage things but are completely overwhelmed by the number of people who have imminent flights and the fact that neither ther they nor many of the passengers speak much English (or any other common language). Very fortunately, it turns out that I am flying out of the old terminal and there is no queue to get there! 

The rest of the day is pretty standard and I get to the hotel at about 9pm as the rest of the group get back from dinner. The rest of the evening is spent organising ourselves for our acclimatisation trek. 
The trip is structured with an acclimatisation trek up the Langtang Valley in Nepal before we head over the border into Tibet. The two main reasons behind this plan are that Base Camp is at about 5,200m so you need to be acclimatised before arriving and this can be done in either Tibet or Nepal. There is a lack of consistency over when the border from Nepal to Tibet opens so if you try to go straight to Tibet and the border opening is delayed you will start to fall behind your timetable whereas by doing the trek in Nepal first you have got your acclimatisation out of the way and are coming to the border well after it has opened.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Day 1 - Flight to Nepal


My super starts to expeditions continues but this time it is fully my fault.  My farewell lunch and drinks with the chaps is great fun but lasts a good 12 hours so I wake on Saturday morning in a pretty dazed state. Decision making and anything resembling competence are unobtainable and, despite having the whole day  to get myself ready, I am still late for the taxi - it doesn't help that a couple of bags of equipment have just disappeared so I am going to have to do some shopping at Heathrow and Kathmandu. I also have not been able to find my bag weighing tool so I am a bit concerned about issue at check-in. I get 30kg but that goes pretty quickly and so I have to make some difficult decisions over what to leave behind - nothing critical, just some things that could make the trip a lot more comfortable.