Chasing Snow Leopards

18 days walking in far Eastern Nepal, mostly in the Kanchenjunga region, right up near the border of Nepal and Tibet. Snippets of our adventure and stories that unfolded along the way. Every trip back to Nepal is different. Different companions, routes, and circumstances blend together to create an interesting mosaic of experiences which are unique. As always, small encounters with people and immersion in the culture of the ‘mountain people’ left my heart warm and excited to return for more. Continue reading “Chasing Snow Leopards”

A slow paced journey: Walking Across Nepal

Note: this article was published in the NZOIA Quarterly publication back in 2014. Often we share the epic stories, the physical challenges and the hardships of longer expeditions. I wrote this to give an insight into the joys of slow-paced travel.

I have naturally itchy feet, always further aggravated by the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Last year as I walked out of the theatre, I vowed to succumb to the itching and set off on a longer journey.  A few weeks after completing my first NZOIA assessment I found myself embarking on an unsupported traverse of Nepal with Tom. On our third day we had covered the distance we had planned to do in one.  It didn’t seem to matter. Our destination soon became merely a distant focus, a direction to head in. Continue reading “A slow paced journey: Walking Across Nepal”

Journey through Dolpa

Note: we finished this trip in June 2013.

Diary excerpt: Some people are drawn to wild places; our hearts beat stronger. Here I see life in all of its vastness, all of its beauty, and its extraordinary depth. My heart dances, it beats stronger in these mountains. Life is stripped to the bare necessities; it’s impossible not to see what is most important.

Something about this place vibrates through me, like the sound of the conch shell in morning prayer in Saldang. It flows through the valleys like faded prayer flags dancing in the wind, elevating the soul of everyone who passes through. It’s more than just a connection to nature, but to a culture and community of people with so much history and depth.

Continue reading “Journey through Dolpa”

sat phone update May 29

In Jomsom! Tonight we had our first shower in over 70 days. Glorious. Has to be experienced personally to be fully appreciated! Who’s up for the challenge?! We also had 2 dinners each and 8 cups of hot chocolate and sweet milky tea, each! Yum. Today there were so many incredible eagles soaring all around us as we zoomed over our last pass. Proper blog update and photos coming in next few days 🙂

second sat phone update May 26

Successful pass crossing but we chose to take a ‘local trail’ down as a shortcut. Turns out it is a heap of shit! Stranded by more snowmelt. If you saw our sleeping spot you’d crack up. We’re sleeping in a sea of boulders and the path is nearly fit for mountain goats!! Will be able to continue in the morning again. Not sure how much sleep we’re going to get but will drown our sorrows with more porridge!

sat phone update May 26

Sweet campsite at 5000m, just making porridge to send us over another pass today. Tried soaking it and woke up to frozen solid oats 🙂 At this altitude we are usually happy with luke warm tucker anyway. You should have seen our dinner last night – a sludge of beaten rice, oats, potatoes and barley flour… with some masala and salt to flavour 🙂 Kagbeni in 3 days!

sat phone update May 22

Before 11am and we have been stranded by rapidly rising snowmelt river already. Managed to do five crossings but wet up to belly button. Too dodgy now so an early camp it is! You have to work with nature here or you get dominated. In one week we will be able to devour a yak burger, chocolate croissant and apple pie at Kagbeni – Annapurna. You have no idea how damn excited we are. OK maybe a little!

sat phone update May 21

Went over another 5,000m+ pass two days ago and then found PEANUT BUTTER, we polished off a whole jar by the spoonful! We are now basking in the morning sun at 4,500m ready to tackle a 5,400m pass. Lately we have been stunted by swollen streams and forced to camp early – snowmelt turns the smallest trickle into raging brown torrents with rolling boulders in the afternoons. There are lots of SNOW LEOPARD footprints where we are now – not just a myth after all! Tonight will be our 18th night in a row at over 4,000m. We’re loving life – so many laughs and more new friends.

sat phone update May 15

Ended up spending 6 nights in Shey Gompa. Such an amazing time with the lama and his wife. She had tears in her eyes when we left. She sent us on our way over another 5,000m pass with a small bag of boiled potatoes and some clumps of raw sugar! Spent two nights in Saldang – magical. We cant get enough of Dolpa, the scenery is spectacular… the people even more so. We are puffing lots over 5000m but apart from that we are great – potatoes are coming out of our ears. Thanks for sat messages! We are high in spirits, there is something very special here.