Monday, 10 September 2012

Woooo, mountains!

Hello again,

The other day, my flights were finally paid for and confirmed. It felt odd to see an overwhelming proportion of my bank account's contents disappear in one fell swoop, but the reality of being away for seven months has suddenly become real and tangible. I thought this might be a good time to provide an outline of what I will actually be doing in all this time, and also provide an incentive for me to figure that very same thing out. Given the high likelihood that I will get completely carried away writing these posts this will happen over several entries - I'll do my best not to be too boring...

The first stop of The Trip will be in Nepal, flying to Kathmandu from London via Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; the company I booked with clearly exploit all possibilities to make these round-the-world trips affordable - probably wouldn't have come up with that particular flight plan myself...

A three-week trek around the Sagarmatha National Park and to Everest Base Camp will take up most of the time in Nepal. This involves climbing some accessible peaks which require no more than scrambling - which is just as well as I have no mountaineering experience. 

There is an upgrade which involves a summit attempt at 6187m Island Peak, one of the most-climbed "trekking peaks" in Nepal which involves some sections of fixed-rope climbing - Steve and I are currently debating doing this, as the risks of altitude sickness rise quickly and are very, very real and nearly inevitable at that kind of altitude.  

Island Peak - pretty imposing. Credit to Alexandre Buisse - more on his site below!

If you're wondering what the attraction in doing this is (and maybe even more so if you're not), look at the photos this guy took on a similar trip. (Seriously, LOOK AT THEM. Not dissimilar to Jimmy Appleton's Photography which a fair few of you may be familiar with, but with much more of a mountaineering/trekking/climbing focus. I've been exploring his galleries for weeks now and would encourage everyone to do the same, some absolutely incredible stuff in there.)

Anyway - our time in Nepal will conclude with a few days in Pokhara, a town west of Kathmandu which has some stunning lakes and opportunities for a cheeky bit of paragliding. Going there by bus takes about half a day but the views (like in most of Nepal, frankly) are supposed to be stunning and it will hopefully be a bit more laid back than Kathmandu. 

I suspect that this is going to be a recurring theme almost everywhere I go, but I have a feeling that I will leave Nepal with a heavy heart, wishing for more time there - to linger, for the most part, and become a bit more immersed in everyday life in such a fascinating country which so many people (including, unfortunately, myself) breeze through for a trekking adventure. One of the advantages to starting travelling early rather than leaving it for later in life, though, is that the possibility of returning...but that's pretty definitely getting ahead of ourselves!

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