Himalayan Plans & Island Peak
Since I arrived in Nepal over a month ago I’ve seen what an Ontario flatlander like myself would call mountains around the Kathmandu valley. Tomorrow, however, I head off to see what Nepalis call mountains.
The trip starts with a flight into Lukla, the most dangerous airport in the world. If I survive that I’ll begin the trek north towards Namche Bazaar and then into the Everest region. My final destination on the first leg of the trip is Chukkung but on the way I’ll stop to stare at Ama Dablam.
Ama Dablam is one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen. It’s not the tallest (almost a full 2 vertical kilometres smaller than Everest) but it makes up for it in sheer beauty. I don’t know why I haven’t been able to get this mountain off my mind but I hope to find out by standing in front of it.
I’ll also be climbing a mountain, Island Peak – that’s the second leg. This definitely wasn’t in the original plans (as I have absolutely no mountaineering experience) but when someone mentioned flatlanders like me can climb Island Peak I took the opportunity.
Island Peak was named for it’s position, a lone peak in a sea of glaciers. It’s often called a “trekking peak” which is a little disingenuous, I think, as I’ve seen the pictures and at 6200m it looks like a proper mountain to me.
Both Island Peak and Ama Dablam are neighbours to Everest so I’ll do the 3-day roundtrip to basecamp and then make my way to Gokyo via the Cho La pass. (Gokyo is where most of the Everest panoramas being sold in shops were taken so the views are apparently stupendous). From Gokyo I’ll make my way back to Lukla and then Kathmandu.
The plan is rough and I have time to go on side trips and follow interesting leads. Carroll and Tom have given me the names and numbers to their sherpa friends in the area so I’ll pop in and say ‘hi’ and see where those meetings go. Total length of the trip, between 20-25 days.
See you all soon!
(Photos: me and packing cat, gear, gear in bag, maps, Ama Dablam, Island Peak)