Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Everest Expedition

After 5 months on the road I was due for a break and Kathmandu was a interesting place to hang out for a while. It just so happened to be the ideal time to be in Nepal and explore the Himalaya's, the weather being crisp and clear in the hills following the monsoon season. So the plan was to ditch the bike and go for a hike.

The only downside to this was my travel buddies for the last 2 months would be continuing and leaving me behind. It was sad to see them off as we had had a terrific time together since we joined forces in Kyrgyzstan. The other not so good thing with this plan was that a later crossing of Thailand could be a risky proposition as the government are proposing to make changes to the policy regarding foreign vehicle entry which means a compulsory guide will be required, likely with a very high price tag and no freedom of movement. Not good news at all. But I knew I would regret not having a peak up close at the biggest mountains on earth, it had to be done.

I had done no research or preparation for a hike in Nepal, I was unsure of where I should spend some time, until I just happened to bump into a work colleague from NZ on the busy streets of Kathmandu. Mark who had just finished a trek gave me some useful pointers and the decision was made to head for the Three Passes Route and Everest base camp, roughly a three week hike taking in the best of the Everest region.

I had three options to get to the trail, most people fly into the mountain air strip at Lukla and go from there, It's a busy place with many hundreds of people coming in mainly in guided groups. A few hardy individuals hike an extra 5 days to get to Lukla after being dropped off at the trail head in Jiri by jeep. Mark had mention that they had seen jeeps part way into Lukla so with that info and with a motorbike at my disposal I took a rather unconventional approach to base camp and rode as far as possible on jeep trails.

With the weather being perfect I was rewarded with incredible views of the big peaks

Last day with the lads in our roof top "penthouse" room in Kathmandu

there's lots of temples and stuff like that in Kathmandu....I found this bike wreckers more interesting!!

Monkey's watching us have lunch

About 2 days of riding from Kathmandu to the hiking trail, this is when I love the to see some beautiful  places a bit off the beaten path that not many foreigners see

The kids love the bike

I stayed here the night in a very small village with Grandma, and her extended family. They run a small goods store, the hospitality was incredible. The people give so much and they have very little.

Puncture number 1 on the route to base camp

Puncture number 2 on the way to base camp
At the time of the second puncture and I was also told that the route was not possible....this time the GPS was right and it delivered a full day of very remote and interesting roads

the further in and things were getting rough, and......

Eventually I found the point where only four legged transporters could continue

The Friendly owners at the Taksindu  lodge who allowed me to store the bike on there property while out hiking, don't think they had seen to many foreign bikers in here!

Part way in and a acclimatisation walk up to the Hillary memorials above Namche. Reaching heights of 5500 meters you have to go up slow or risk altitude sickness.

Everest base camp is a very popular hike, Yaks are used to get products in to meet the consumer demands

On the Three Passes hike with Virgine from Belgium

At one point we had to cross a glacier, no crampons and a slight incline made for slow going....socks over the boots added a surprising amount of traction to get us up and over the small rise!!

A shit shed!!! with no wood dried Yak crap is burnt for heating

There used to be a massive glacier here not too long ago! Now it looks a bit like a mine site!!

Incredible weather every day and incredible views

I was lucky to have the company of a couple of lovely ladies, Virgine and Silke

A very humble man, our host for a night Phurba Sherpa has summited Everest 10 times!!!!

The BIG one, Everest in the centre, Lhotse to the right