(Am I allowed to call it A Climb? An Expedition? It feels more than a simple trek, and definitely represents a step up from previous trips. About 800m up from my previous high point – the Drölma La on the Mt Kailash Kora. And that didn’t require anything more than a daypack for 4 days. But I digress.)
Here’s a summary of the itinerary we got from Val back in January. I’m not sure how it will spread out over the 27 days we have between leaving Kathmandu for Paphlu and returning to Kathmandu. The Trakshindo to Kharikhola section is familiar from 2011 and 2016, as is Chukhung to Namche (2011), and Namche to Lukla (both trips).
- Drive to to Paphlu (2500m) (9-10 hours). If we arrive early enough, trek to Trakshindo, otherwise stay in Phaplu.
- Trek to Kharikhola (2069m) or Nuntala (2200m) depending on where we camp previous night, via the Trakshindo La pass (3071m) and we will drop some solar lights at one of the communities on the way.
- Trek to Pangkongma / Pangom (2850m) little settlement above Kharikhola where we camp near the Gompa.
- Depending on how everyone is doing I have 2 routes for days 5 & 6:
– Trek to Ning So (2850m) via Pangkongma La (3174m), steep descent to the village of Sibuje (2770 m) then undulating trail through the forested river valley to Ning So (2850m).
– Trek to ‘Jungle Camp’ (3160m) via a tea house at 3280 m and high point of the day at 3350 m. Steep descent back to the river. After lunch undulations through the forest with some steep sections of trail to ‘Jungle Camp’ (3160m).
Option B: Trek via Nashing Dingma, Chlum Kharak and Chumbu Kharaka
- Trek to Gotay (3600m) following the Hinku Khola
- Trek to Tagnag / Thangnag (4350m) beside the Hinku River to the small gompa at Gondishung. From the gompa it is an hour’s walk over moraines to the Yak herders settlement of Tagnag.
- Acclimatisation day at Tagnag / Thangnag. Day trip up towards the moraines below Kusum Kanguru (6367 m). Practise with ropes and harnesses and crampons after lunch.
- Trek beside the Dig Glacier to Khare (5000m).
- Acclimatisation day and skills training, with more practice techniques and safety procedures to be used on our climbs.
- Climb to the Mera La (5415m). Overnight at Val’s Mera La camp.
- Climb easy snow slopes on Mera Peak to a high camp (5800m).
- Climb easy-angled snow slopes and short steeper section to Mera Peak central summit (6476m) or north summit. Long descent to Mera La (5415m) and on down to Khare (5000m).
- We have some spare days and depending on weather we may take a day after the climb resting before heading up the Hongu Valley.
- We spend the next few days trekking up the Hongu Valley via a few camps (1) one very close to Chamlung BC (2) another one close to Baruntse and (3) a further one situated below Amphu Lapsta.
- Cross Amphu Lapsta and descend into the Imjatse valley opposite Imja Tse / Island Peak. Camp Island Peak BC.
- Climb Imja Tse / Island Peak (6183m) from BC or move up to HC and climb from there.
- Trek Island Peak BC to Lukla via Chukung / Chukhung (4730m), Dingboche (4410m), Kyangjungma and Namche (3440m), Monjo / Manjo (2835m) over 3 long days.
- Walk from Lukla to roadhead.
- Drive from roadhead to Kathmandu.
In other news, I bought my travel insurance from the BMC (Alpine & Ski cover) last Tuesday and my La Sportiva G2 SM mountaineering boots plus ski goggles, fleece balaclava and hand/foot warmers arrived on Wednesday. Excellent service from Expedition Kit Hire and FedEx.
Packed today. Buying Dirhams tomorrow morning and going out for dinner at the Saravana Bhavan tomorrow evening.