Monday, September 20, 2010

Undulating sideways

We landed in Kathmandu on the 14th, drove to Nepalganj on the 16th, and have been festering since then waiting for the end-monsoon rains and clouds to disappear here on the Indian border with Nepal and about 250km north at Jumla so that we can fly into that town which has for weeks been cut off by landslips on the only road in. The weather has cleared here and it feels like a real transition from the monsoon. We have 4 tickets on a flight tomorrow thanks to our Sirdar and friend, Da Gombu Sherpa. So Garry, I, Amrit and Pasang will try to jostle our way onto a flight tomorrow together with 250kg or so of food and gear. Gombu himself will fly back to Kathmandu to attend to a medical problem and re-join us at base camp later if possible. Our cook, Rai, will follow us after. We'll spend a couple of days in Jumla getting set with local supplies and porters then head up the Jagdula Khola gorge towards Kande Hiunchuli, say 4 days trek. Once there Garry and I will spend 2 or 3 days acclimatizing before heading over a 5000m pass and down to our base camp by Changda Khola. Then comes the load carrying and clinbing attempt on unclimbed Kande Hiunchuli South (formerly Sisne, 6600m) which we attempted 26 years ago.

After the climb we'll head back to Jumla the long way round via Mugu, the Langu gorge, the Karnali river and Rara lake. We don't expect to see any Europeans after Jumla, if there.

It's rather normal to have this sort of delay. In hindsight we may have come out a little early, but if we do fly tomorrow we'll have reached Jumla a week after landing in Nepal which is much faster than in 1984 when we trekked much of the way across Nepal from south to north. It's a blow that Gombu is leaving, but it's unavoidable and we'll see what happens. You definitely need patience and fatalism in this game. Ripeness is all.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Nepalganj, border with India, west Nepal

We drove here from Kathmandu on the 16th (12 hours), us + 3 sherpas + liason officer + the local leader of the maoists from Jumla where we're headed (very nice guy, young, strong, beautiful, all in black, great smile, a scent of the Khmer Rouge tho) and now we're waiting for the weather to clear to fly north to Jumla from where we pick up porters and trek north to our base camp. This team is small, but very strong (excluding us). We're stuck for now. The road to Jumla is closed by landslips and no planes have flown there for a week because of bad weather. So I'm hanging out at 'cyber office' and for those following what happened in Delaware this is a hoot :

Anyway Sarah Palin is looking awesome in Taiwan!

PS:"They call us wingnuts. We call us 'We, the people.'" Nice line from Christine O'Donnell.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A short walk in the Kanjiroba Himal

In a couple of days Garry Kennard and I will fly out to Kathmandu en route to Kanjiroba Himal in western Nepal for another bash at a peak we tried to climb in 1984.

That was then:

L - R: Wanchook (sirdar), Mark, Nima (cook), Rana (liaison officer), Gombu (kitchen boy, now our sirdar), Garry

This is now:

This is how:
From Garry - My appetite continues healthy. Last night:
1 large pisco to stimulate before interview at 5.30
I bowl of totilla chips and 1.5 glasses pino grigio in garden with Louis Miguel
Out to dinner:
whole bowl of seed things.
I bowl of courgette and potato soup and bread
I corn on the cob and butter
2 full plates of chicken with bread
2 large plates salad
2 bowls ice cream and maple syrup
I slice apricot tart
3 glasses superb rioja

Having forgotten to tell you about yesterdays breakfast of fresh orange juice, tea, coffee, cereal, tablets, lunch of scrabbled eggs on toast and tea, I should have said that this present diet is in contrast to my usual - no food at breakfast (all the rest), a light lunch, a big plate of beans/lentils/rice/veg followed by some squares of chocolate and three glasses of wine. I like both diets.

Can't let this go at the moment. I cooked a large and stupendous pie tonight of lentils and onions with fresh carrots from a neighbour's garden, with a mashed potato and cheese topping. Fresh green beans from another neighbour accompanied. Chocolate squares (best from Waitrose which makes me sort of dribble while I'm eating it), a glass of Pino Grigio during cooking and half a bottle of a Beaujolais with.

I put the dishes away - and ate the rest of the pie while I was doing it, mouth now faintly zinging with the hint of chili I put in. Must go and lie down.

I believe Garry blames all this, if 'blame' is word, on some eating pills which he scoffs to combat some hideous old man disease. Now it's perfectly obvious that our chance of making this first ascent is rather slim, ahem, but the journey is the thing, isn't it?

Garry has posted a good account of our goings on here at I don't mind him calling me a 'neo-con-libertarian', but I whinny at this:
We did climb the Eiger eventually via the Mitteleggi Ridge, but not on that shambolic first trip
In fact I soloed the west ridge (pd), but stopped just below the possibly corniced summit without a belay as the cloud rolled over me. Here's the photo to prove it: