Finally I managed to write down a short version of the trek & adventures that happened during our fabulous trek in the rolwaling region. We went there between the 27th of September and the 12th of October 2008.
2 guys, one not so young and the other still young (I was still under 30 at this time) wanted to go to the Rolwaling and to check-out the Chekigo peak and to pass the Tesi Lapcha to continue in the Khumbu region (Everest region) with the Everest Base Camp and Gokio lakes. Let’s say that it was the original plan, on the day we were leaving Kathmandu.
On day 1, we took the bus to Singati with the best places, just behind the driver. It’s a relief to leave Kathmandu and its pollution, especially for me who spent almost 2 weeks here. The beginning of the road is fine since it’s a macadam road. But the final 5 hours of our 12 hours trip were on a bumpy rocky road. At 7pm, we arrived at Singati in the dark, and someone took us to one of the opened guest house. And luckily our bags were still on the roof of the bus, with everything inside. First diner, Dal-bhat of course ;-)
On the last stop before the rocky road, a group jumped into the bus with 2 Germans that were doing the same trek as us. So the bus was pretty crowed for the bumpy road, which helps to smooth the suspension of the bus.
On day 2, we started the walk to reach Jagat. We could feel how heavy our backpacks were. Dehydrated food for almost 2 weeks (\~14kg), tent, crampons, climbing gears, clothes, water... A total of something between 25kg and 30kg. The beginning of the trail was flat and went quite fast. Since they are extending the road, the trail started to go up and down with some very steep parts. We had our mountaineering shoes on, and I could feel a small hot point on the heel. Gilles could feel even bigger and warmer points on both heels... But we were so exhausted by the weight of our backpacks what we didn’t really notice them, and did not do anything about them.
The last third of the day was a nightmare what made us remember Argentina and the heavy load we were carrying. When we finally reached Jagat and its only lodge, we were fully ready to have 2 porters for the next days, up to Beding or Na. The owner of the lodge, with the help of his daughter who speaks a really good English, found us 2 strong porters for the next 3 days (2 to go to Beding/Na, and one for them to come back to Jagat)... what a relief! The Germans stayed at the same place as it was nicer than the next village.
At the lodge, I took my last cold shower until ...
On the third day, we woke up with pains in the shoulders and in the legs, but we knew we weren’t going to carry as much as we did the previous day :-) We walked with our flip-flops. Gilles must have them because of his blisters, and my mountaineering boots weren’t dry in the morning. For once we could chat on the trail, not being completely mindless due to the weight... We were really enjoying the trail and the nature around us despite the fact that it started to rain. The monsoon didn’t seem to be finished yet. And if it’s raining here, it’s going to snow higher... grrr
After more than 2200 stairs to go up at Simigaon, we were so hungry that we eat a TravelLunch when we arrived at the lodge before taking a nap. We didn’t wait for the porters due to the rain... And at the end of the walk, I had 3 leeches between my toes which turned in red my flip-flop each time.
The next day was supposed to be an easy day, but we did a mistake. We arrived quite early at the next village, around 2pm, which was supposed to be our next stop. But on the map, the distance and time to Beding was 3-4 hours of walk. We thought we could make it before it’s going to be dark so that we could have a kind of resting day the next day. We gave our headlights to the porters since they knew they wouldn’t make it before dark, and we started to walk quite fast. The trail on the map wasn’t really the trail we were walking on, and it didn’t seem to really go forward on the map... we met 2 porters from the Germans who were also heading to Beding for the night, so we thought that it shouldn’t be that long anymore. But it started to be dark and I also started to be tired & hungry... I was even slower than the porters. Finally it became completely dark, and I remembered that I still had my mobile phone with a light, otherwise I would have wait for our 2 porters to walk with them since I could see a shit. After a while I reached again the 2 porters from the other group who had stopped since they didn’t have any light. They looked at me like a miracle coming from nowhere. I couldn’t understand what they were saying in nepali. Afterward we catch up Gilles and walked all together with my small light. After a long walk 2 persons form the german group came to us to help the 2 porters and took their load to the lodge where the rest of the group was staying. But for us, since we were so tired, we could stay in the next house on the trail of a super nice Nepali guy, Dawa Shirri Sherpa. Our 2 porters came just a few minutes after we arrived in the house, and we had diner all together. We were 9 sleeping in the house since no one wanted to continue to Beding. Some food and some sleep, what’s all we wanted!
During the next days we split our load to keep only what we needed for the Chekigo, and left it in Na. We walked up to the high camp for the Manlung La, the pass just below the Chekigo and stay there a couple of days since we got snow every afternoon and evening. We didn’t want to go higher if it’s snowing like this every day. Moreover we could see a shit after 10am, neither had more sun. we went to the base of the glacier going to the pass to leave one bag with some gears, at 5000m. But we never reached any higher altitude. One day we saw a Japanese with 3 Nepalis going up to the Manlung La. I was quite sick with a bit of fever at that time. On the way back we asked them if they saw our backpacks but they denied it... strange, but we didn’t pay attention since it was really cloudy. Gilles went down to their tent to get some drugs for me since we used all we had. The way back in the night with the foggy weather and the snow became a nightmare for him. I was wondering what he was doing since at 10pm he wasn’t back and he left at 3pm. A bit later I could hear a voice screaming my name outside. I went out with the GPS in the pocket to be sure to find the way back to the tent, and went to look for Gilles somewhere outside. We were back at the tent at almost midnight and after the diner Gilles couldn’t go to sleep since his blisters were hurting so much. He had the worst 2 hours of his life with so much pain he couldn’t imagine. You can guess that I could not go to sleep neither... After all these problems: snow, clouds, blisters, fever; we decided to go back home. The barometer didn’t seem to be willing to go high...
With Gilles blisters what were so big, I thought that for once we could use our insurance and call for an helicopter since he couldn’t put on anymore his mountaineering boots. On the next morning I walked up to get back the 2 backpacks with the climbing gears back to our camp, and there something else happened. Our bags had been moved and were lighter... This fucking Nepali guide with the Japanese client stole one of each ice hacks (the Nepali guide I mean), some carabineers, dehydrated food... I went down pissed off and said to Gilles that I was going straight down to Na to get a hold on this bastard. Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with a helicopter as well, in the early morning before the clouds are coming.
I walked fast to Na, and thought that in the lodge where we left our bag, there was a satellite phone. The lodge was closed since the guy went in the Everest region for a few days. Anyway there wasn’t any satellite phone in Na, just in the previous village Beding, 2 hours away. So I went to find the Nepali guide with the Japanese, on one hand to give back some of the drugs I got from the Japanese since I would be in Kathmandu soon and I was feeling much better, and on the second hand to try to get back our gears. It didn’t work actually. He invented a stupid story about a guy looking after cows (at 4900m where you just have rocks ... I didn’t know that cows could transform rock into milk) who they saw after our tent. He said I could look in all their stuffs which were inside the house where they were staying, but it just meant that it wasn’t there. The problem was that the Japanese didn’t speak really English, and it’s the Nepali guide who was translating everything. I couldn’t get from the Japanese what I wanted...
Anyway, we aren’t done with this bastard yet. His name is Ram, a Nepali guide, independent, who can speak Japanese. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his own trekking company is kodama trek (www.kodamatrek.com). I will get soon a picture of him, and we will try to find him in Kathmandu. The world is really small in Kathmandu apparently. And thanks to the NMA we can know with agency bought the permits he needed and then we can find him! And since his an independent, he’s working with his e-mail... You can guess what I’m thinking of... If anyone knows how “fix” it, let me know. This bastard will pay to steal gears from people in the mountain. That’s the kind of things you never ever do if you’re a real climber! It’s simply dangerous and can put people in life danger. So I think he needs a kind of lesson... If anyone reading this knows him, let me know.
Then I also had to fix the helicopter but with no phone it won’t be easy. Someone took me to a group staying in Na who had a satellite phone. We tried all day long but couldn’t get a proper signal to be able to call the French embassy which had our insurance details and could organize a helicopter. Meanwhile we tried the satellite phone, I could get more details about the helicopter rescue and the NMA permit in Nepal from the guide of the group. And there I got to know that if you’re sleeping at the high camp, even if it’s on the way to a pass only, you should have the climbing permit... And if you ask for a helicopter rescue they will ask you about your permit. In a way, we were lucky that we couldn’t reach any one with the satellite phone. So the next day I would go back to the tent and we would go on our own back to Singati and Kathmandu. And thanks to the nice team who help me in Na, I got a wonderful diner with a crazy full plate of pasta with a sort of tomato sauce and cheese!!!! It was such a dream to have some cheese!
The next morning I went back all the way up to our camp, with the bag we left at the lodge, part of the walk. I left it where we should go down and pass by. The way up was long and not really intense in term of food since I just had a few pieces of the “survival food cakes” I had on the way down... super tasty as you can guess. I finally reached the tent and went straight in my sleeping bag to have a rest and discuss with Gilles, and had some fooooood! I explained him everything about our situation and our missing gears.
The day after, we had a terrible day to go down. It started with a nice weather and we walked all the way to the last ruins of houses. There I enjoyed a nice sun break for one hour waiting for Gilles to come down. And by the time we were done with the lunch, the bad weather arrived. I mean, a real bad one. It started to snowy-rain when we were walking in the super steep part, with our nice heavy load.... a pleasure. By the time we reached the village, we were completely wet, and also Gilles’s sleeping bag by the way.
For the way back we took 2 porters as well and this time it was 2 women. And they were much fitter for the job than us... If any of you have arguments about it, let me know, I will recruit you next time! Be ready ;-) And after 2 days of walk we were back in Singati, where we couldn’t get a place for the Kathmandu bus the day after. But after some talk, we understood that we could still sit on the roof for the trip, for the same price (also for the Nepali). The price doesn’t include a seat, but the transportation in any way to your destination, that’s all.
In the lodge, we saw a drunk guy going down the stairs and getting back with another bottle of whisky... The kind of guy you’re hopping that won’t be the bus driver for tomorrow... As you can guess, he was our bus driver! He didn’t seem to have any hangover at all at least.
And then, your bus roof trip started, at 6.30am from Singati, the longest bus trip we ever did in Nepal. It took 15 hours to reach Kathmandu due to different problems and stop. First, in one of the village the people were on strike (there’s not only French people who like to be on strike), so they stopped all the busses. It’s only with a hard discussion between the drivers and the local people that after 45 minutes all the busses could go further. Then a couple of times, people on the roof had to go down because the bus was too heavy to pass a steep part on the road... You need to add the lunch break. Then an extra accident on the road between 2 small transportation vehicles, and finally a flat tire for our bus, which didn’t have any extra tire. The flat tire was due to the heat of the brake... Don’t they learn in Nepal to use the motor break? Another bus stopped and gave its spare tire so we could keep on. At 9pm we were back in Kathmandu, exhausted of sitting on the roof grid since after 2 hours of heavy bumpy road, we couldn’t find any comfortable position so sit anymore. So guess how you would be after 15 hours.
And of course you can find the pictures other here: http://photos.shakeyourlife.com/Nepal/Rolwaling%20Himal%20Trek/