Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Annapurna Circuit Complete, Leaving for Everest Base Camp

The view from Thorung La pass (5416 m / 17800 ft), the high point on the Annapurna Circuit.

After 23 days of trekking, we completed our walk around the Annapurna massif and up to Annapurna Base Camp. It was an incredible adventure and one that neither of us has the energy to translate into words at the current moment. I think our minds are still absorbing the whole experience. The mountain scenery is astonishing, and the experience of the people and life in the villages in the lowland valleys and the changes higher up were fascinating.

We spent a day in Pokhara after completing the trek, then headed back to Kathmandu to prepare for our next trip to Everest Base Camp. All of the IMG Sherpa Trek team has now arrived in Kathmandu, and we're taking off for Lukla--the start of the trek for us--on a small airplane tomorrow morning. It looks to be a good group ready for a great experience. We'll be accompanied by 4 Sherpa guides, all natives of the famous Khumbu valley and 5 porters (No carrying our heavy packs on this trip--what a treat!). The trek to base camp takes about 10 days, and we'll be arriving just around the time the Everest climbing teams are starting to make summit bids. It will be an exciting time to be there.

IMG is keeping a blog of the 2009 Everest expedition. It obviously follows more of the progress of the climbers, but I think there will be some information on our progress up to Base Camp. In addition, the Discovery Channel is filming with IMG for this season's installment of their Everest show, so there's probably a lot of interesting photos, video and postings up there. You can also sign up for e-mail updates:

We'll have intermittent access to email during that time if you want to say hello. We'll be back to Kathmandu around May 21st.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Three flights, three time changes, one industrial action (labour strike), a ten hour overnight layover on a very cold airport floor and six in-flight movies later (oh the joy!!!) we arrived in Kathmandu - GMT+5:45 - yep somehow 15 minutes off from the rest of the world. Our bags unfortunately got a free trip to London on our Sydney to Bangkok flight that continued on to London. We hope to receive them tomorrow.

Kathmandu is a warren of dirt roads, cows in the middle of the street, construction materials lying around like we're in a war zone and cars, trucks, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians all sharing the narrow lanes without much regard to any traffic rules including which side of the road to drive on (the drivers side is on the right of the car). But everyone is smiling and amazingly has all of their limbs intact. And even though everyone seems to be trying to selling us something, everyone feels very sincere and friendly.

A nice Australian befriended us while waiting for bags and offered to share his taxi. He had a really lovely hotel outside of all the fray, so we are somewhat comfortably easing into Nepal. We hope to get our bags tomorrow and then leave for the start of the Annapurna Circuit Trek the next day. We aren't expecting there to be internet access (although who knows, millions of travelers visiting a place brings surprising amenities) so we will next be posting and responding to e-mail when we return to Kathmandu at the end of April. So for Liz's friends, there shouldn't be a change in frequency of response! But for Chris's friends and family you may hear a little less from him.