Nepal 2010

Langtang-Helambu trek

22 October to 13 November

We make a 15 day trek in the Langtang and Helambu region. The first and last days are spent in Kathmandu.

Day 1 and 2.     Flying through London and Delhi to Kathmandu. In the afternoon we take a nap.
Day 3. Kathmandu
Visit the Swayambunath.
(The Monkey Temple)
Buddha on the stairway to the Swayambunath. The all-seeing eye. The stupa. That's why they call it the monkey temple.
Day 4. Kathmandu
By taxi to Pashupatinath. An important place where Hindus burn their corpses. From Pashupatinath we walk to Bodnath. Here you find an enormous stupa. We attent a service at a monastery. video
Cremation at Pashupatinath. Tourists may watch. You should even pay admission. Holy man (Sadhu) tries to hide from photographers. For money you may photograph them. I succeed without paying. Again, lots of monkeys The stupa of Bodnath. Around the stupa it is pretty busy. Shops, restaurants, prayer wheels and birds set the scene. Coincidentally we arrive at the Shechen Monastery. Detail of a painting at the outside of the monastery. We attent a service with lots of hooting and drumming.
Day 5. Kathmandu - Dunche
By bus we travel from Kathmandu to Dunche. A bus ride of 170 km which take eight hours. Halfway the road was blocked by a bus with a puncture. Our driver lends his backup tire. A little later, a bulldozer on the road. The engine will not run and must be purged. A dozen people meddling with it.
At some places there is a bamboo "barrier" along the road. It gives not much confidence. We see a crashed bus beside the road.
Bus off the road. A bus with a flat tire is blocking the road. Bulldozer without diesel is blocking the road. The view is beautiful.
Day 6. Dunche - Thulo Syabru
The first trekking day. We meet our porter Tok. A nice boy who unfortunately does not speak much English.
We walk through a gorgeous landscape. Little boy beside the path. Tok, our porter. The purple backpack is ours. His own stuff tied up with a belt. The village Thulo Syabru. One of the few villages with electricity and an Internet cafe.
Day 7. Thulo Syabru - Lama hotel
We start with a strong descent towards the Langtang River. Then we climb to Lama Hotel. Evening dinner is cooked on a kitchen fire.
Helen with guide and porters. Suspension Bridge with Buddhist flags. We share the path with donkeys. Traditional kitchen with wood fire.
Day 8. Lama hotel - Langtang
We climb to the village of Langtang. Occasionally we see snowy peaks of the Himalayas.
Like other days we have lunch outside.
View of snowy peaks of the Himalayas. We are approaching the tree line. Autumn colors are carefully displayed. We are a group of 8 persons. One backpack for two persons leads to four backpacks and four porters. We usually have lunch outside.
Day 9. Langtang - Kyanjing Gompa
We are above 3000 meters. This is the domain of yaks. Thier milk is used fot making cheese. The wool provides many colorful knitted socks and hats.
Yak. Yak cheese. Yak wool hats. Helen is in the kitchen put to work. She cradles the baby, while mother is cooking dinner.
We are happy with our down sleeping bags garantied to minus 5 degrees celtius.
Day 10. Explore around Kyanjing Gompa
In the morning we climb the Kyanjing Ri. (4330 m) Helen drops out and has a lazy day. I am the first on top. Our porter is proud of me and I am embraced.
Because we are in a national park, you may not be collected wood. Yak-dung is dried to burn the stove.
We are at 3900 meters. It freezes at night a few degrees. Some group members consistently complain about the cold and ask for extra blankets.
Yak dung is dried for heating and cooking. Sunset. Evening light on one of the Himalayan peaks. At the top of the lower Kyanjing Ri I get company of this bird. Tok shoot me on top of the lower Kyanjing Ri. Kyanjing Gompa from the lower top.
Day 11. Kyanjing Gompa - Lama hotel
In the morning there is half an inch of snow. What we have climbed in two days, we descent in one day. A long day. Helen suffers from her left knee.
In the morning there is half an inch of snow. Boy cleaning his hair. Yaks like to use the same trails we do. We keep a safe distance to their horns. Our room in Lama Hotel.
Day 12. Lama hotel - Thulo Syabru
The number of solar panels and satellite dishes are rising. Do not trust too much for the solar-powered shower. Usually, the warm water runs out after two showers.
Satellite dishes and solar panels are coming up. Cellphones spread like a plague across the country. Solar-powered shower. No sun means a cold showers. Beautiful deep blue sky. Autumn colors.
Dag 13. Thulo Syabru - Shin Gompa
The next days we have to climb 2500 meters. It is not too bad. Descending later on gives more problems.
Shop with western trekking needs. Helen and René. Hotel in Shin Gompa. Hotel in Shin Gompa.
Day 14. Shin Gompa - Lauri Binayak
Daily stages are short now because we go constantly up. There is significantly less oxygen in the air. At lunch we arrive to the lodge.
Every other minute we see a magnificent spectacle of clouds. We're back above 3000 meters and meat the yaks again. On almost every summit or pass you may find an expression of Buddhism. Yet another beautiful blue sky.
Day 15. Lauri Binayak - Gosainkund
Overnight at 4400 meters. At night I am panting in bed caused by lack of oxygen. Furthermore, I am plagued by a cold that takes a lot of energy.
We stay above the clouds. The path is often rocky. Helen has trouble with her short legs to overcome all challenges. Holy lake at Gosaindkund. Breakfast around the stove. Burning a stofe with the door open seams to be normal here. We get tea in thermos flasks.
Day 16. Gosainkund - Ghopte
We climb to the highest pass of this trek. The Laurabina Pass. (4610 m) I'm glad we're going down. Tonight some more oxygen into the lungs and relax.
Nice Nepali girl. Landscape near the pass. On the Laurabina Pass. Helen is the problem child of the guide. She gets all day support.
Day 17. Ghopte - Kutumsang
All the meters we have climbed in recent days, we now descend. We are not good at descending and stumble behind the group.
Flower Helen in a gorgeous landscape. Nice views all day long. Flowers
Day 18. Kutumsang - Chisopani
Helen gets more pain in her knee. She lives on pain killers. We are descended to the level of agriculture.
Hen with chicks. Something rarely seen nowadays in werstern countries. Agriculture on terraces. Each square meter is used. Maize and cloths drying. More terraces. It is a magnificent spectacle.
Day 19. Chisopani - Kathmandu
The last paces down. It is more crowded on the path. Electricity and satellite dishes are increasing. Cellphones come alive. Back to civilization.
Woman with firewood. The trail passes through a Tolkien forest. Many farmers have a water buffalo for work in the fields. At lunch mostly I order spaghetti with cheese, egg and vegetables. Helen usually eats soup.
Day 20. Kathmandu
We have all seen in and around Kathmandu. To fill the days we go on repeating to Patan. It's still nice weather. On a terrace we enjoy a drink and recover from the tiring days in the mountains.
Durbar Square in Patan. Schoolgils in Patan. Hindu temple in Patan. Decoration of a Hindu temple.
Day 21. Kathmandu
A local bus brings us to Bhaktapur. One hour on the bus for 25 rupees. (25 euro cents) A taxi costs about 1000 rupees. So it's worth the effort.
With the local bus to Bhaktapur. Guardian of the temple in Bhaktapur. Temple in Bhaktapur. Decoration of the royal palace in Bhaktapur.
Dag 22. Kathmandu
Packing, drinking beer on a terrace, etc.
The greengrocer. The eggs farmer. Expanded dhal baht. (Rice with lentils and curry) Local beer.
Day 23/24. Kathmandu - Schiphol
Due to bad weather in Delhi, we miss the connecting flight from London to Schiphol. We get a hotel room at Holiday Inn in London and come home one day behind scedule. The second time this year. In spring ashclouds from Iceland kept us 5 days in Quatar. Never complain about delays to us.
Final note
Three years ago we did the Annapurna trek. While the Annapurna trek goes higher, we find the Annapurnatrek easier than Langtang. During the Annapurna trek you climb easily to 5400 meters. Every day a little bit up.
The Langtang/Helambu trek is different. For example, you start with a few hundred meters down. Then some climbing and descending. At the end of the day you have climbed and descended a lot. We did not realized this before. The trip was therefore more difficult than we expected. But......we have accomplished and did not want to miss.

Other Nepal pages:    Roundtrip Nepal 2006
Annapurna cirquit.
Portraits of Nepalis.
Helens pics

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