Nepal Expedition - Monday 1 October 2012 to Friday 2 November 2012 (33 days)

Carol & Russell on Saribung Pass

I detest tenting, being a basic DOC hut kind of gal. The only time I enjoy snow is when skiing down it. My ice climbing and crampons ability is slower than a snails, and I don’t like being cold. So naturally I booked on Jim’s 29 day tenting trek including a 6327m summit attempt of Mt Saribung in North West Nepal. A barmy choice but I was with friends and the lure of a new adventure was irresistible.

Kathmandu has really dodgy wiring. Loops of cables are draped around poles and buildings. It is an earthquake prone area with buildings on a lean, missing structural supports, with people living in the rooms above. Rubbish everywhere, mangy dogs, roaming stock, exotic smells. The Nepalese road code appears to be "honk your horn and accelerate", but I didn’t see any crashes. At the sacred historic cremation site of Pashupatinath, family washed their loved ones bodies in the Bagmati River. Down stream, amongst the rubbish, pigs wallow and women do laundry. A vibrant filthy chaos.

The trek started at Jagat and we walked through Koto, Phu, Tsharin, Saribung, Damador Kund, Yara, Lo-Manthang, Ghami, Kagbeni and finished at Jomsom. The whole trip completed in one sentence. Doesn’t it sound easy?

Examples of mangled English found along the way: "Fruit Craps" (crepes), "Flash Toilets" (flush), "Dinning Room", "Flesh apples" (fresh).

Kag Beni

Congratulations to those who summated Mt Saribung: Jim, Lee, Brent and Allen. The gallant triers who attempted but retreated half way: Stephen and Hideo. Those that just staggered over the Pass at 6020m, having done their dash: Russell and me (Carol).

Travel Log complete, so now the bit you have all been waiting for:

Actions of the Socially Inept:
1) Me. I came down with a revolting cold right at the start and in spite of tissues, hankies and towels managed to spread layers of bloody snot on clothing, tents and sleeping bags. Not only on my own gear either!

2) Brent’s bowels. Even after taking quantities of Imodium he had problems. His call of "number twos" (often at very short notice!) was regularly heard along the trail.

3) Russell. The Sherpas arranged a solemn Purja ceremony to bless our trip and keep us safe. Wait. Where is Russell? Over there washing himself on a nearby prominent knoll, using a very small blue towel to clean a very white exposed bottom.

4) Allen, the triumphant summiter, staggers into the dining tent after a hard 12hour day climbing. He plonks down heavily on a chair which collapses, grabs at the table cloth and table on the way down, which upturns and smashes the (irreplaceable) tea urn. Hot water only from now on!

5) Hideo after his summit attempt was very shakey and needed to ride a mule up a steep pass the next day. He looked like he had over indulged and we wondered if he had brought an illicit supply of Sake. Maybe he just liked riding?

6) Stephen bump dancing at a traditional Nepalese women’s folk singing show. Grind those hips for us again Stephen!

The food for the whole trip was cooked in pans over two burners. The head cook did wonders to feed us so well on the primitive gear he had. Mostly vegetarian though and I had vivid dreams of grilled chicken and roast lamb!

Casual Building Code

I got word that my father was terminally ill and left the group near the end to travel home early. DXCP staff were wonderful in expediting my travels. I had to spend a day in Bangkok awaiting my flight home. Apart from a few taller and newer buildings, same dodgy electrics, same mangy dogs, same dirty streets, same exotic smells. I could have been back in Kathmandu!

I finally got home to help settle Dad into a hospice. A crisis occurred during the move when his chain saw file went missing - he said he used it to clean his teeth with!! Found safe.

Would I return to Nepal? Definitely being such a historic, vast and ancient area. I found tenting for so long very draining and although I did not suffer from altitude sickness, got slower and slower high up. Next time I would use tea houses and staying below 5000m.

A great trip, well organised thanks to Jim and DCXP.

Scribe: Carol Exton