After the success of our previous year’s exploits up Kilimanjaro, another high altitude mountain trip was called for. Initially at least I had to quell Tarryn’s desires to summit an 8000m peak, pointing out what I considered the fairly obvious ‘danger of death’ that no doubt would have had various mothers having kittens. Climbing Kilimanjaro with a set of porters practically carrying us up, would not really equate to strolling up a Himalayan peak on our own across glaciers, crevasses and like. And of course the considerable expense (I do have Scottish genes in me).
Fortunately for me at some point Tarryn must have watched a real Himalayan climbing documentary (the one on death on K2), rather than Vertical Limit, and realised that yes it would be a bit extreme. So we settled for an exploratory trek of the Kanchenjunga region which seemed like it would be an epic 25 day trek slightly off the beaten track.
Early preparations consisted of trawling the net for a sparse few blogs of people doing it solo (our preferred method) and comparing prices of organised treks all of which seemed horrifically expensive. I was definitely of the mind that just pitching up in Kathmandu and organising there would be the way to go, but as time to book flights approached we also realised that the time we could get off just wouldn’t quite fit the trek + having enough days leeway for the slightly awkward flight+bus combo to get to the start and/or in case things went wrong.
And at the same time we’d been reading a number of trekking guides and felt the obvious allure of the Everest region. After all if you do one trek in the Himalayas it should be Everest, right? (I’d point out that 17 years earlier I had actually been in Nepal and done the Annapurna Base Camp trek in the monsoon – memory’s of endless steps, sleeping rough on straw in a grain mill and being woken up by a disgruntled local, and leeches. Leeches everywhere. Being chased and stung by mad hornets and basically running up and down, 5 days, being oblivious to altitude sickness. Fun fun.) Plus, and let’s be serious here – were we really experienced enough in mountain craft to attempt an unsupported 25 day hike into Kanchenjunga. Maybe, but maybe not. On reading the Everest trek it seemed that
At the airport (take 1)At the airport (take 1)
At the airport (take 1)
heading up to Kala Pattar we could throw in a couple of minor peaks and also do the 3 passes which by all accounts were pretty spectacular. This plan also had the added advantage of keeping various mums happy.
So with the new plan in place I was even more sure that there was nothing to plan until we actually got to Kathmandu, and for the most part that was about right.
Flight out on a cheapo flight via Muscat went fine, arrival late in Kathmandu. First realisation – we were staying 31 days (miscalculation on my part): a 30 day visa $40, a 90 day visa $100. Obviously we plumped for the 30 day visa, and it transpired that we didn’t need an extension: we managed to confirm that Nepalese immigration will give you a day’s grace!