This October I undertook a 23 day trek in Nepal called Saribung peak and Damodar Himal and it was probably the hardest of the many treks I have done to date.
My first climb was over 6,000 metres in up to 5 feet of new snow, needing the use of full mountain gear including harnesses, crampons, ice axes and helmets together with successive days of up to 10 hours walking. Thankfully I succeeded in completing the trek with the assistance on occasions of our Sherpa guides. Of the 12 trekkers who started, 11 completed the exercise although on successive days two porters and then our chief guide had to be air evacuated due to altitude sickness.
The trek started with flights initially to Pokhara and then Jomson, then a drive to Kagbeni where the walking commenced with 5 days at relatively low heights in a dry dusty landscape north eastwards to Manang and the town of Lo Manang the capital of what was a small Tibetan kingdom founded in 1380. The initial part of the trek used lodges and we were accompanied by 3 guides and about 10 porters.
The second part of the trek where we camped was accompanied by up to 30 porters, cooks etc. as everything had to be carried – we saw no towns or villages for up to 7 days. The trek headed southeast with camp sites at over 5700 metres, and crossed the Saribung pass which was snow covered at 6020 metres. As well as the snow underfoot conditions were poor with plenty of loose rocks and shale. The trek ended at Koto with a 12 hour drive to Kathmandu: here I had two days to recover.
Although very exhausting, I had a fantastic time, with wonderful scenery all of the way and despite the challenges, I haven’t been put off. Next year’s trek, yet to be decided, is likely to again be in the Himalayas. Watch this space.