Tuesday, September 5

Langtang Summary - 500m from summit of Everest

Nothing like a punchy headline
I am currently using a Chinese computer so can't understand any of the headings. I'm also unable to add pictures at present as they won't let me load the CD that contains them! I'll try another place later...

Langtang is a wonderful valley, although is feeling the impact of the political instability in Nepal. In 10 days I only saw 3 other trekkers - professional card players - more about them later. I did not have the best weather as its still very much the monsoon season, so it was only clear for two of the ten days (the last two).
As I have the ability to track my heart rate, altitude and temperature, here are some of the stats:

Started at 708m
Highest altitude achieved = 4,998m
Gross meters climbed (i.e. measuring every meter that is an ascent = 8,490m
(hence the Everest headline - thats climbing from sea level all the way to 500m below Everests summit
Net meters climbed = 5,999m

On average gross ascent = 850m/day
On average net ascent = 600m/day

Day 5 had largest gross ascent = 1,780m
and also the largest net ascent = 1,287m

So as this is the final training that I will be doing I was very happy with altitude gains and how well I felt. I also spent three nights and Kyanjin Gomba at 3,800m which was great preparation for aclimatising at base camp (BC) at 5,000m.

There were two highlights: as Raymond has mentioned, one was watching the yak herders making butter and cheese at 4,500m in a very rough and ready stone house. I had some fresh warm yak milk which was very welcome at the time. There were infact closing down the higher "camp" and moving to a lower level in preparation for the comming winter. I some how got volunteered to help them carry some of there aparatus down

The second highlight was on the 1st of September, my last trekking day and the day I had planned to start going down. The weather was clear and the whole village moved their way up to Tsergo Ri.
Tsergo Ri sits immediately above Kyanjin Gompa, the highest settlement in the Langtang Valley, approx. 100 km north of Kathmandu.

Its the peak on the left...

The reason was that new prayer flags were to replace the old ones that had been up for a year. There was a great festive spirit in the air. Three Lama's were blessing the flags and villages. Plenty of food, Sherpa home made alcohol from rice - "chang" and "rakshi" distilled from potatoes, dancing in a clockwise direction around the flags and throwing of flour and rice into the air. I got some great video, but in the process got completely covered - it was a great occasion!

I was also chuffed as at felt fine at 5,000m, and the climb had also been relatively easy - slow constant pace not allowing my heart rate to rise above 70% of max. I then though had to beetle down to catch up on my plan as I had to get back to KTM on the 3rd. I dropped 2,400m that afternoon and ended up arriving at Rimche at 8:30pm - after two hours of solid rain and darkness...

The bus ride back was a mamoth 13hours, in a very cramped, local overloaded smelly bus - but at least I was in KTM on the 3rd.

A goup shot of some of the villagers from Kyanjin Gompa on the top of Tsergo Ri

Tentatively sipping Raksi...
(A test for good raksi is toss some of it onto a fire and see if it burns!)

This is with the Lama (red hat). They were all so welcoming

Decided to stay an extra night (bit of risk that I would not get back in time to do the shopping required for my "mountain" food, but as you can see was well worth it - this was the putting up of new prayer flags festival on Tsergo Ri (4984m)

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