In the fall of 2007 I spent 3.5 weeks trekking in Nepal. We did the famous Annapurna circumvention but added a twist by including the rarely traveled short cut that passes by Tilicho Peak and Tilicho Lake, supposedly the highest lake on earth (at an elevation of 4949 m). We also climbed one of Nepal's trekking peaks, Chulu Far East (6059 m/19878 ft).
Even though it's quite possible (and often done) to organize such a trip privately I didn't have the time to do that and instead went with Amical, a small German trekking/expedition company.
After an exhausting flight from Munich via Frankfurt and Bangkok we arrived in Nepal's capital Kathmandu where we stayed for a few days to explore the city with its famous Buddhist and Hindu temples and other sights.
Next we flew to Pokhara (with Buddha Air :-) ) and traveled by Bus to the village of Beni where the trekking started. For the next 17 days we traveled in a rather strange fashion: Most of our luggage and all the equipment like tents and cooking equipment would be carried by mules or porters, depending on the terrain. There would also be a few more people accompanying us: a cook with his helpers (the "kitchen boys"), a head sherpa, a climbing sherpa, and several other sherpas. All in all, we, 11 Germans and Austrians, were supported by about two dozens "staff" while only carrying a small day pack ourselves. I saw a scary and questionable progression: From climbing with a huge pack in the cascades to climbing with a much smaller pack (but a fat wallet) in the Alps to now climbing with a day pack and being supported by an army of porters, guides, and cooks...
The highlight of the trip was the climb of Chulu Far East (6059 m/19878 ft). We summited in great conditions and had an impressive view over the Annapurna range.
Quite memorable is also the encounter that we had with a group of Maoists. Officially, there was an agreement between the government in Kathmandu and the Maoist rebels that the king would retire and the Maoists would stop collecting fees from tourists. Apparently, this agreement had not reached every remote valley or maybe we were dealing with some spin-off rebel group but we were delayed for 6 hours since we refused to pay anything. Even though the dispute got quite heated (with stones flying...) we eventually could continue our trip unharmed.
We spent the last 2 days again in the Kathmandu valley where we also booked a sightseeing flight to the Everest range with great views of a bunch of 8000m peaks like Mount Everest, Lohtse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, ...
Nepal is a great country with an impressive landscape and extremely friendly people. I'll definitely visit again.
*Update: *The views of Everest and Lohtse had made such an impression on me that in 2010 I returned to Nepal to go trekking in the Khumbu region.
Here's a rough itinerary of the trip:
- Flight Munich-Frankfurt-Bangkok-Kathmandu
- Flight to Pokhara, Bus to Beni
- Trekking: Beni - Raghughat - Tatopani - Ghasa - Marpha - Thinigaon - Mesonkanto Pass (5020 m) - Lake Tilicho - Tilicho Basecamp - Manang
- Climb of Chulu Far East (6059 m)
- Trekking: Lower Pisang - Timang Besi - Jagat - Bumbuhle
- Bus to Kathmandu
- Mountain Flight to Everest Massif
- Flight Kathmandu-Bangkok-Frankfurt-Munich
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Also check out Jürg s trip report for a detailed day-by-day description.