Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Trek in Langtang Nepal

(some pictures c/o Jonjon Villareal)

Scenic mountain trails towards Kianjin Gomba.
(Jonjon, John and Ching)
Part of my 2005 Cho Oyu expedition itinerary was a short acclimatization trip in Langtang province (of Nepal), before moving to Tibet. Langtang was the closest climbing destination from Kathmandu where you could trek or climb in 10 days. Looking at the map, I concluded that the most feasible practice and acclimatization climb would be Yala peak (5,540 meters), the mountain relatively near our planned trekking destination of Kianjin Gomba.

A glimpse of Himalayan mountains,
as seen from Gomba

My Langtang group trip was almost canceled until four other Filipinos, primed and all set to go, popped up and joined me. I was happy to have Filipino-speaking companions. It would have been boring to be solo-Pinoy. My team was made up of two colleagues from my office (John and Ching Valdezco) and two colleagues from UP Mountaineers (Jonjon Villareal and Josaw So). We were later joined by our guide – Danima Sherpa.

In one of the tea-house,
the group ready for the trek
(L-R: me,John, Danima, ?, Ching, Josaw, ?)

We trekked for a few days, passing through very scenic rural areas, and getting fantastic glimpse of gigantic mountains. I still vividly recall visiting one village where we observed rural folks in their traditional clothing – busy working with their newly harvested crops. I’m used to the sight of Pinoy farmers harvesting rice and extracting palay (rice grains), but I think I saw some sort of traditional ‘wheat grain processing’ from the villagers. With the traditional method combined with a nice original ‘costume’, I felt like I was back in time.

beautiful flowers were just everywhere

We continued our trek over grassy fields and ridges and through wet and

passing over a windy ridge
 muddy forests and after less than a week, we arrived at the target village of Kianjin Gomba. I predicted we’d have perfect sunny weather, but what we got were monsoon rains and jumping limatik (leeches). But Nepal was Nepal. The beauty of its mountains was always there for us to see. We later enjoyed two to three days of good weather which allowed us to see snow-capped Himalayan mountains, a view which I promised my group to see.

steep going, some members stop by
a waterfall for a photo opp
 Our two female team members explored the village while three of us, not

Langtang boys playing with Sprite bottles
 counting our Sherpa guide, made an attempt on Yala peak. Unfortunately, John got sick at the base camp (4,400 meters) and aborted his summit push. That left two of us to continue to reach Yala. My fellow summiteer, Jonjon, much later accompanied me in my first acclimatization trip during my Everest climb.

villagers busy with their harvest

John, Jonjon and myself at Yala BC,
day before the summit climb
That was an interesting and memorable climb. We spent the last five minutes scrambling on rocks on the slippery, unstable, knife-shaped ridge of the summit. There was the danger of a 1,000-meter vertical fall on both sides of the ridge. We made leaps of faith over several crevasses and did tricky rock climbing over unstable, even collapsing, rocks. I trusted
Danima, Jonjon ahead of me - passing
thru a glacier towards Yala
Danima’s instinct and judgement, after all – he would have not been one of the best 8000m guides, including several Everest trips - if not for his deep expertise.

With those (seemingly?) dangerous stunts during our climb , I thought I got the best of this climbing adventure.
At Yala peak

We soon descended and went down to Kianjin, then later retraced our steps back to our starting point.

After Langtang, we headed back to tour Kathmandu. My companions flew home after three days and I stayed to get ready for my bigger trip ahead – climbing Mt Cho Oyu.


Julie said...

These photos are lovely. Out of curiosity, what's next for you Mr. Wanderlust?

Garduch said...

no firm plans yet ;p let's see if the plan to organize an 'open climb trip' to Nepal will push thru (2014)