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Last century's previous treks and expeditions

Here is a list of what treks and expeditions we have previously advertised and ran pre 2000.
The links may lead to updated versions of the info pages.
* means these wonderful people have trekked at least twice with us.

Our Fall 99 treks

Wild Ladakh - *exploratory trek

Across the main Indian Himalayan chain lies the enchanting moonscape of Ladakh. Tibetan culture and captivatingly beautiful mountain desert-scapes. Rugged colourful rock contrast with the azure rivers and green village oases. Monasteries cling to rock faces and Buddhist chortens dot the immense landscape. From near Manali, we cross over the challenging Kang La and trek to Leh the wild way, drenching ourselves is the best of 'Little Tibet'. Yak curd, tsampa and starry nights. Lead/organized by Joel Shone, a Ladakh addict from way back, and a great guy to trek with.

Dates: 1 Aug - approx 25 Aug. Service: basic expedition-style by Druk Expeditions.
Team: Joel and Jamie. Crew: the Bhutanese monks.

Ha, the Kang La proved to be too logistically challenging, after being bureaucratically challenged on the Indian visa front, so we opted for the more standard Darcha to Padum. We rescued porters, admired/loathed naked Germans and Jamie met some of the same people he trekked this route with in 1992! While it seemed everyone else was flooded out we survived dry in a Mountain Hardwear tent and a single-skin Ferrino but the journey from Padum to Leh was the highlight (in the Trip diaries section)...

Oh, and Jamie climbed Stok Kangri. He would like to say solo but a dog followed him up.

Cho Oyu Expedition 8201m

Wanna climb something HIGH but as straightforward as big mountains get? Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain on the planet. Our expedition is for climbers who don't want a their hands held by a mountain guide the whole way. A western climber will manage the logistics and offer limited advice/assistance on the mountain. There is full sherpa support, all familiar with Cho Oyu. The way we operate best suits expeditions that are more or less self-contained, or for particularly strong experienced climbers.

Dates: end of Aug - early Oct. Service: expedition style; we begin in Kathmandu, climb from the Tibetan side, and return to Kathmandu. Cost: US$6500, 3925, without supplementary oxygen (except for emergencies).

Amazingly enough we had several groups amounting to around 16 climbers. All expeditions summitted with at least several members. Jamie summitted without sherpa support. See the newsletter article. This expedition was arranged by Suman Pandey.

Kanchenjunga Magic & Tengkoma climb 6215m

Huge rewards for those intrepid enough; an ancient culture and scenery to rival the Everest region. A classic trek, classic expedition style from the middle hills to the north base camp where avalanches rumble and glaciers groan on the world's #3. But wait - there have been several special peaks announced for the Kanchenjunga region, so we also attempt the most straightforward, Tengkoma.

Dates: 11 Oct - 4 Nov 99, 26 days. Service: expedition style. Leaders: Jamie McGuinness and William Davidson. Cost: US$1980.
Team members: Dave E*, Joel Schone, Martin*, Gary*, Sam*, ... Sirdar: Ram Kaji.

Combined with the Kanchenjunga Wild trip below, this was a full trip with 12 members! Soon it became obvious that William, the co-leader, was not the right person to lead a trek (see the newsletter) and he ditched himself. After that we had someone for the butt of all our jokes and it was a very social and fun trek. An untimely fall of snow delayed us so people for the Tengkoma climb had to forgo it, leaving it to the expedition team.

Kanchenjunga Wild Climbs - *exploratory

High and Wild, Wild, Wild! The region offers the best high altitude exploration anywhere in Nepal - no bull, just yaks - and many valleys begging for exploration. And many peaks. For 1999 only, for those with the know-how Tengkoma 6215m, Ramtang 6601m and Dromo 6855m can be climbed with the minimum bureaucracy. In addition to some rampant exploring to get acclimatized, we aim to get up Tengkoma and at least one of the others...

 

Dates: 11 Oct - 17 Nov 99, 38 days. Services: Mixed expedition style and light expedition style, max 8 climbers. Leaders: Jamie McGuinness and William Davidson. Cost: US$2480.

So it was left to us to climb Tengkoma, and 8 out of 8 did! Ramthang and the main peak of Dromo were scary mountains and the previous huge fall of snow made conditions difficult, so 5 of us attempted what we will call "Dromo North" but after 3 days on a glacier we were still not even at the base of it. In better conditions it would be a fine 6400m peak. Meanwhile a few people explored up a long valley but the still deep snow stopped them. So Dave, Joel and Jamie are more determined than ever to thoroughly explore the region - join us in April 2001!

Makalu High - *exploratory

More of the wild stuff, two 6100m passes followed by a 5700m pass.

Team members: Jamie, Joel Schone, Martin*, Gary*, Sam*. Sirdar-cook: Ang Dami.

The hardcore from the Kanchenjunga Wild Climbs were hard - five of us trekked together for 10 weeks! After some classic middle hills trekking it was back it the snow again. Conditions were too challenging to make the crossing safe so we returned, perhaps the only trekkers to have trekked Makalu Base Camp to Tumlingtar in plastic boots. I told you we were hard. See the newsletter section for more details.

Our Spring 99 treks

Classic Khumbu - Everest region *HEC

Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains. We allow three extra trekking days over all other companies for weather hiccups and so that you can acclimatize properly. If you come this far you want to get there! Sure, we climb Kala Pattar (the best view point to see Everest), and there's time enough for Everest Base Camp and to return via Phortse... So far everybody has booked the trek with the Island Peak extension.
This is an HEC (Himalayan Explorer's Club) members trip but other trekkers/climbers are welcome to join.

Dates: 29 Mar - 17 Apr. Service: Teahouse trekking. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1580, UK950.
Team members: John Kottos*, Leon

Two last minute cancellations meant we were only John, Leon and yours truly. It was a good trek. For the most part we had great weather, met loads of Everest expeditions and even saw the beginning of the Everest Marathon. Kala Pattar, tick that and at Everest Base Camp we visited a friend. He didn't summit due to a cold or flu at just the wrong time, similarly read below for our Island Peak...

Island Peak 6189m

If you are acclimatized, why waste it? If you have a dream of climbing a 6000m/20,000ft Himalayan peak then this is the one for you. Join the Classic Khumbu above, or teahouse trek Gokyo alone (or with a porter-guide) and meet us in Chukhung for the climb only.

Dates: 12 - 17 Apr, or 29 Mar - 22 Apr with the Classic Khumbu above. Service Base Camp support. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$520 with the Classic Khumbu, US$750 climb only.

Yep, previously strong John was struck down with a nasty cold at exactly the wrong time and Leon ran out of oomph so we turned around at 6000m very disappointed. The consolation for me was we had planned to cross the Kongma La for acclimatization and both John and Leon thought it was better to save their energy. Mike Grocott and Billi Bierling [still a good friend], two individual trekkers rescued me, they had no gear but I did, so we crossed the pass, nipped up Pokalde and discovered Kongmatse can't easily be done from the Kongma La side... Crossing the pass and exploring was so incredibly beautiful - can't wait to do it again!

Mt Kailash Kora - Tibet private trip

The holiest of holies for Tibetans and Hindus alike, the kora (ritual circuit) of Kailash is their ultimate goal, and it is said 108 circuits is a shortcut to nirvana. We will only trek it once but the breath-taking landscape alone makes this the best 4 day trek on the planet, add Tibetan nomads, lamas and nuns, and the superlatives never stop. But wait! Then there is the adventure getting there... Road? You call that a road? Travelling by Landcruiser isn't a luxury, it is a necessity. From the magic of Lhasa to the southern desert route the adventure never stops!

Dates: Late Apr. Services: Expedition Style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness.
Team: Crystal Healers, Annie and 4 others

Crystal Healers Kailash. Tibet is a nightmare to organize, I know that and despite warning, it still turned out like that. Next time I will organize things completely differently. For all the logistical/guide problems, this was a great trip where the group accomplished its aims. We took a day off on the north side of the mountain for meditation and yours truly managed a second 12 hour kora. A word of warning, the road to Kailash is WINDY every afternoon except during the monsoon.

Naya Kang climb 5846m

The Langtang region's highest - and only - 'trekking' peak! From the summit, there is a classic panorama including Shishapangma 8013m, Langtang Lirung and the sensational Jugal Himal. To the south the middle hills roll to the Indian plains. It may not be 6000m but it sure feels like it, and the same goes for the trek in. It may not be the Everest region, and not as high, but it sure looks like it! Himalayan trekking and climbing as real as it gets.

Dates: Late Apr. Service: Expedition Style.

A private group of eight people cancelled.

Our Fall 98 (Oct-Dec) Treks

Karnali rafting & Chulu Far East 6060m expedition

Adventure plus, but in style. We take the first Karnali expedition of the season for rafting as wild as it gets. Then a stunning trek into the Annapurna region for a 6000m/20,000ft peak climb. A quick trek-climb, but we are serious about acclimatization. Climbing section lead by an Everest summiteer. No previous climbing experience required. Joining for the climb only is also possible.

Dates: 26/27 Sept - 27 Oct 98. Service: full service custom expedition style, max 5 clients. Cost: US$3450
Climb only dates: 7/8 - 26/27 Oct 98. Service: as above. Cost: US$2590 Optional: 2 day Bhote Kosi rafting add US$100, 2 days

Whaaaa. We didn't get to do the Karnali - next year! But the trek and peak climb went well - see below.

Wild Karnali rafting expedition

No fire-side exaggeration required, this is the adrenaline trip. The plentiful grade 5 rapids will make even the coolest cucumber gulp in disbelief. In the steep canyons and massive water, surviving Freight Train and The House of God will get you high for life. This is Ultimate Descent's first post-monsoon run of the season, ie the biggest, most scary it gets. Sure you can book this yourself, but we meet you at the airport, arrange your stay at the comfortable Kathmandu Guesthouse then together we fly out to Nepalgunj, which saves an arduous 18 hour bus ride. The rafting put in is two days trek in then we raft for 9 days to reach the nearest road. Again we save the killer bus ride back by flying.

Dates: 26/27 Sept - 10 Oct 98. Service: custom Cost: US$890

Chulu Peak Climbs 6060-6500+m

Play time in the Annapurnas! These are super-budget attempts on a few of the Chulu peaks. The idea is you trek in by yourself, then meet us at the closest village to base camp. We provide most of the climbing permits, hardware and the camping equipment. What is more, we will carry in your plastic boots etc, so that you can teahouse trek super-light on the way in.

Dates: meet in Kathmandu 26 Sept 98. Service: Light expedition style once away from lodges. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$ 500-780.

The climbing team turned into 4 Scots. After lots of acclimatization time at Chulu East base camp we took fright at the long route on the mountain and attempted Chulu Far East 6060m instead. The weather was less than kind and, knowing that Rob Hall was also a kiwi, everyone elected to turn back 100m from the summit. Although most people were tired, if the weather had been better we would have made the summit, no problem. As we had plenty of time we waited a few more days to make another attempt but the weather didn't improve.

A team of three then continued onto Chulu West where, despite lengthy acclimatization, one person suffered the altitude and so two turned back. It was left to me to salvage the team reputation, so after ensuring everyone was off the mountain safely, I soloed the peak.

Churen Surprise - *exploratory trek

Never heard of Churen Himal Base Camp? Neither had I but arriving, it blew my mind! Starting in Tansen and finishing near Pokhara, the 15 day trek is similar but infinitely superior to the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Pleasant untouristed villages en route and the odd inspiring mountain snapshot then a jaw-dropping 360 I can touch 'em high mountain panorama.

Dates: 29/30 Oct - 23 Nov 98. 15-16 days trekking. Service: expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1090.

Some people wonder whether we actually run these sorts of treks, or merely advertise them. After this trek we know we should run more! It was a classic in every sense. What villages on the way in and out! picturesque, friendly and untouristed. The mountain region was also spectacular, although it must be said that a little sickness at this point prevented everyone from enjoying the high regions to the full. Jamie explored a new better trail out (most suitable for trekking into the region) and even found snow leopard mother and cub footprints.

Mera Expedition 6476m

Mountains so big, you fall over backwards looking at them! Midnight blue skies, crunchy snow and a 6476m peak to explore. No climbing experience necessary: although the route is heavily crevassed there are no other major obstacles. Most people fail on this peak only because of acclimatization. We do it smart. We take a adventurous route in then explore untouched valleys to acclimatize for the climb. Bad weather? No problem, we have a few days up our sleeve. Bonus: Christmas in Kathmandu! organized in association with HEC (Himalayan Explorers Club).

Dates: 1 - 26 Dec 98. Service: Mixed expedition style and light expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1880.
Team members: Al Aubin, Peter P, Rob A*. Sirdar: P Pasang.

This was a classic trekking-climbing trip. Real wilderness and we met only two other trekking groups during the whole three weeks. Our Smart Panch Pokhari acclimatization route in was well worth the extra days and also did its job - we were so well acclimatized that nobody had any problems sleeping at 5000m. What was really surprising, given that it was real winter, was that during our first summit attempt, it wasn't even cold. One person reached their altitude limit at 5400m, another at 6000m, and one more tired at 6400m. On our second attempt the view from high camp proved to be so good that none of the team felt like going any higher... It was left to Jamie to salvage the expedition's reputation, so he summitted the mountain twice. A truly superb and very experienced trekking crew helped to make this a wonderful trek for everyone.

[Phurba Pasang encouraged me to look higher, and suggested Cho Oyu, Which I climbed (with some assistance from P Pasang) in 1999, the start of my 8000m guiding.]

Our Spring 98 treks

Wild Kanchenjunga - *exploratory trek

Winter Adventure to Kanchenjunga base camp. You gotta be crazy! Yep. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world and the trek there is tough but very rewarding. This is a super-budget trek.

Dates: 7 Feb - 14 Mar 97. Service: Light expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1390.
Team: Rodney.

And WILD it was! The weather was kind, fine every day and no snow up there. The wind only flattened our tent once. Quite simply the north side of Kanchenjunga offers some of the best high altitude exploring anywhere. Jannu North Base Camp and its north face has to be see to be believed; this alone was worth the whole trek, but it just kept on going and going. Endless valleys, and try as we might in five weeks we only had time to explore a few. There are many more left. Kanchenjunga's north face is also spectacular, and we managed to find a 6000m viewpoint not far from Pangpema. We also crossed Sallale to visit the south base camp region. Scenic, but the north side is better... Rodney and myself were completely blown away at what a fantastic experience the whole thing was.

Classic Khumbu Spring 98

The spring version of the trek that people want. Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains. We allow three extra days over all other companies for weather hiccups and so that you can acclimatize properly. If you come this far you want to get there! Includes the Chitwan Experience for a perfect end. Rafting the rough and tumble Bhote Kosi an option.

Dates: 18 Mar - 9 Apr 98. Service: Teahouse trekking. Cost: US$1720, NZ$2450.
Team Keith Parsons* & Edwina Dalziel*, and others

Our best yet! We had a fun team of seven trekkers. The crew did a sterling job and only one person, the three score ten, among us, didn't summit Kala Pattar (and she asserted at the beginning of the trek that the experience was going to be more important than one view...). We know that all future trips will be as good as this was.

Our Fall 97 treks

Everest High Altitude - *semi-exploratory trek

A spectacular adventure. We explore all the high valleys of the Khumbu (Jamie is updating his guide book Trekking in the Everest Region). Teahouse trekking. Can be tailored to suit your aspirations. Max number of trekkers is 3.

Dates Kathmandu to Kathmandu: 3 - 27 Sep 97. Service: Teahouse trekking. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1000, NZ$1800.

Great trip but enjoyed by only one person. We visited Gokyo and climbed to a new viewpoint then crossed the Cho La to Lobuche. From there we trekked to Chukhung, visited Mark Whetu and his team who were warming up on Island Peak for Shishapangma.

Pisang & Chulu West

Pisang is 6091m and Chulu West is 6419m, and both are relatively straightforward. Join for the climbs only or a package. Small group of climbers. This is not a fully guided climb, although we can provide this service.
Oct.

Dates: Oct - Nov 97. Service: Base Camp Services. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1380, NZ$2000.

With a couple of last minute bookings seven of us met at Ghyaru. We spent two nights at Pisang base camp then moved to high camp. The weather for summit day was shite. We did reach the snowline but powder avalanches were already coming down... One person suffered pulmonary oedema but this was quickly spotted by her climbing partner and they descended safely and without drama. Rather than make another attempt the next day (everyone was tired) we headed to Chulu West base camp. Here we met a large Peregrine group heading out after failure on the mountain. From a high camp at 5600m we left late for a scouting trip. A good trail promoted us to turn it into a summit attempt. Unfortunately the trail blazed by Peregrine didn't go particularly far. By 4pm we were well above the 6200m Bill O'Connor suggests is the peak height. By now we were tired and the visibility had gone. So we turned around at approx 6350m The peak is probably 6419m high. Nobody wanted to accompany me for a second summit bid after a rest day. More detail from the diary...

Tukuche Peak 6920m

Big peak time. Anyone else keen? Price is dependent on the number of climbers. The cost is for the expedition permit, liaison officer and base camp services. It is not a guided climb, although this could be arranged. More details on request.

Dates: Late Oct 97. Service: Base Camp Services. Leader: Jamie McGuinness.
Team: Reid T*, Andy Emms*, Richard. Guest: Suzanne (and Torrey Goodman). Crew: Pasang.

The main mover pulled out of this so I extended the Pisang and Chulu West climbs to include Chulu East as well. Four of us plus one who accompanied us to base camp only set off from Manang. We took the less used route in, a great walk. At high camp we were all set to attack Chulu Far East 6060m the next morning when it started snowing. A metre of snow and 36 hours later our hopes were dashed. Only had to abandon the tent once because of noxious gases. Chulu East 6200m was also out of the question.. We had also planned to cross the 5600m Namun Pass instead we explored a 4000m ridge running off Manaslu. It was a great trek and included a visit to a village where they couldn't remember when the last foreigner visited. A highlight was being invited to sit down and share the village rituals for a festival. This mainly involved marigold garlands and raksi (local moonshine). We rolled down the hill afterwards.

We finished the trek-climb with the wild Marsyangdi rafting trip, the best way to end a trek. It was an absolutely classic rafting trip. So although were didn't succeed on any peaks a good time was had by all. More detail from the diary...

Quick Khumbu and Island Peak 6189m

Why Kala Pattar (close to Everest Base Camp)? Because its there. No, really it's a stunning trek. Once acclimatized, why waste it? We will cross the 5535m Kongma La and attempt Island Peak 6189m for extra rewards.

Dates: 8 Nov - 3 Dec 97. Services: Teahouse trekking and light expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$2080.

Seven of us set off for the trek and all except one made the summit of Kala Pattar. We had the option of staying an extra day to get the last member up but he preferred to move onto Island Peak. Reid and Andy (from the last marathon set of peaks in Annapurna) joined four of us for Island Peak. We trekked directly to high camp where we were just about blown off the mountain. Conditions weren't any better the next morning but four out of seven set off with three of us summiting. We fixed rope along the summit ridge in case anyone was blown off.

Khumbu 6000m exploring - *exploratory trek

Midnight blue skies, crunchy snow, 5700m high passes and a peak or two are waiting just for us. December is the finest and driest month.

Dates: Early Dec 97. Service: Light expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$cheap.
Team: Reid T**, Andy**, Wayne Fowler*, Leighton

Wayne (NZ) and Leighton (Wales) who had just trekked to Gokyo joined myself, Reid and Andy for an attempt of Parcharmo, crossing the Tashi Labtsa and the climb of Ramdung-Go.

We camped virtually on top of the Tashi Labtsa to try Parcharmo 6318m. A -12C wind and no sun eventually turned us back at approx 6150m. Reid's nose was beginning to freeze, and he felt rather attached to it... Over the pass we camped in an ice fall and awoke to snow (8 Dec). We were in absolutely the worst place to be when a huge dump of snow hit us (2-4 metres, seriously!). What should have been a two or three day walk across glaciers and moraine turned into a VERY TOUGH 5 day slog thru horrendously deep snow. We arrived at the nearest village completely out of fuel and food but alive. December certainly wasn't the finest and driest month.

What a memorable and formative trek this turned out to be.

More than 2 metres of snow fell, perhaps as much as 4 metres.
Reid on a convenient big rock, Andy in orange where there is no rock,
Wayne behind standing on a rock, Leighton sitting on one. Photo by Jamie.

Christmas Quick Khumbu

This is the trek that people want. Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains. We allow three extra days over all other companies for weather hiccups and so that you can acclimatize properly. If you come this far you want to get there! Includes the Chitwan Experience for a perfect end. Timed to suit the NZ education staff Christmas hols.

Dates: 23 Dec 97 - 15 Jan 98. Service: Teahouse trekking. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: US$1720, NZ$2450.

Everyone enjoys this trek but due to a lack of advertising only two NZ teachers came along... We all made the summit of Kala Pattar, and all had a wonderful trek!

Our Fall 96 treks

Our website came online in 1996, and finally we were able to reach a much larger audience without expensive and barely productive magazine advertizing. A huge thanks to Russell Holland, internet evangelist, in NZ for building the site.

Paldor Peak 5928m

Lets spend Christmas and New Year in the silliest, most isolated way possible.

Team: Shane, Sue B, Renate and Jamie

We did... My Avocet altimeter-watch gave out at nippy -25C in our fly (Sue and I didn't take a tent). Everyone summitted.

Island Peak Alpine Instruction

Lead by Ian Roberts, a qualified mountain instructor, the week long mountaineering basics course covers setting up belays and glacier travel then you practice these on the 6189m Island Peak.

What a success! Equator ran 3 climbs back to back and to cap it all Pauline and Rob successfully climbed Ama Dablam, 6828m.

Jamie and Suzanne ran all over the Khumbu climbing, pass-hopping and bed-wetting.

Wild West Dolpo Dho-Tarap

The best of Dolpo. Wild trails for some wild tales and feast on the unique Tibetan culture of the isolated Dho-Tarap valley.

Team members: Michael Cohen* - and the first person to book via the internet and email

Classic trek! Flooded rivers and a beautiful Sherpani didn't slow us. Even saw part of 'Seven Years in Tibet' and 'Caravan' (called 'Himalaya' in Europe) being filmed.

Himalaya Trekking 1995 treks

Wild Dhaulagiri-Annapurna

Oct 95
Team members: Malia, Ulrica, Mike and Alison

What a trek. This was the second time we have run it and surely not the last!

Ulrica and I took in a 6300m peak in Hidden Valley while Michael and Malia made the summit of the 6035m Dhampus Peak. We were blessed with perfect weather and almost perfect conditions but even these took their toll on less well-prepared groups: at least 5 porters horrifyingly DIED because of altitude sickness and cold. The porters were working for 3 of the major Nepal trekking companies with foreign-booked groups (Dutch, French and one porter from an unidentified group).

The reasons, as submitted in a report to TAAN (the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal), were bad itinerary planning and disregard for the porters. Running the trek the conventional direction (as Peregrine, Exodus and others ran it and still run it) there is no way of acclimatizing sufficiently to cross the two 5200+m passes and sleep two nights at 5000m. It is foolish to expect lowland porters to carry (or indeed have) blankets sufficient for the -20 to -25C temperatures in Hidden Valley, or to expect them to carry their own food and fuel for 6 days. This just goes to show that even the big and surely better companies are not as responsible as they should be or that their clients would like.

(Since we trekked the Annapurna Circuit first over the spectacular Tilicho Lake route to acclimatize and didn't even take porters, only sherpas who slept in the same tents as us and ate the same food we weren't exposed to the same problems.)

See the Trip diary.

Nepal's Wild West part II

The western half of Nepal is almost untrekked! Unbelievable but true. Derestricted in 1989, only Dolpo has lured trekkers, yet awesome mountains, vast panoramas, diverse unsullied cultures and picturesque villages mean trekking at its absolute best. Join Jamie exploring, either for all, or several of the stages, and set the level of comfort according to your budget. The stages are: the Himalayan goat caravan route to Jumla, Rara Lake National Park, then Tibetan-style Simikot and further.

Dates: Nov 95. Service: Light expedition style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: NZ$1950.
Team members: Neil and Moira

Neil and Moira wanted an easy but little trekked hike. We they got one and a half out of two. Everywhere Neil and Moira turned heads. To the village Nepalese in the west all foreigners are a curiosity but a 6' 8" redhead and a blue-eyed flaxen haired woman... In the true exploring spirit we stayed in villages where possible, generally camping on the roof of a house, and often ate local food. Even our sherpas were surprised by the lack of development out there and the poor quality of the dal bhaat. Danuru did a great job of translating their language, the precursor for modern Nepali, but more than a little different.

Most travellers hope that untouched areas like this remain undeveloped but the reality of their difficult life is far less romantic. While they don't need Coke or computers a little healthcare would significantly improve their lot. Particularly horrifying was the place of women. When a Chhetri woman is about to give birth she must leave the house for fear of polluting it by spilling blood. This usually means the cow shed. Then during the birth and for the next 11 days nobody is allowed to touch her. Not only that, she must collect water away from the village and give herself a half-hour ritual wash before each meal that she eats (prepared of course by her). Naturally the child mortality and malnutrition rate are horrifying. The widespread belief that houses can't have chimneys for fear of letting in the night spirits and the resultant smoky interiors that even drove our crew out can't help the epidemic proportions of TB and chest infections, neither of which are a problem in healthy people (such as visiting trekkers)...

The trek from Jumla to Simikot was relatively gentle, not rising above 4000m but the lack of camping spots meant a few of the days were longer than comfortable. The first part of the trek to the beautiful Rara Lake was wonderful with a variety of villages and great camping spots. The rest of the route along the Karnali to Simikot, while pleasant, has less to recommend it. But the area around Simikot has incredible potential. There are numerous passes and grazing areas and several ranges of unknown 6000m mountains from which Mt Kailash and the 7728m Gurla Mandhata should be visible. Who is keen?

 

Classic Khumbu and Wild Khumbu

Sept 95

With Kit, Andrew and Malia, Gyalgen and Kaji, Jiri to Kala Pattar. Then Andrew and I, with Dawa crossed the Amphu Labtsa and Mera La. Also used the trek to update for 2nd edition of Trekking in the Everest region. Take more climbing gear next time!

Jan-Feb 95 Exploring Nepal's Wild West

Jan-Feb 95
Team: Jamie and Bharat

A 40 day trek in the middle of winter. We began in Tansen, crossed the Jaljala and into Churen Himal Base Camp, then trekked under and into Dolpo and Phoksumdo Lake. In the end we helicoptered out of Dunai (thanks, Tashi).

Himalaya Trekking 1993-94

The beginning of Jamie's "The Himalaya Trekking Company" that became "Himalaya Trekking" as Jamie decided not to form a company. The name changed to Project Himalaya in 1996 when Jamie launched the website.

Nov 94 Wild Annapurna-Dhaulagiri 94

What a WILD trek! We started with the Annapurna Circuit, crossing over Tilicho, then up to Hidden Valley. Fourth time lucky, I make it over Dhampus Pass. We scrambled Dhampus Peak and trekked around Dhaulagiri.

Nov 94
Team: Matt, Tom and Fred

Dec 93-Jan 94 Everest - Classic Khumbu 93

Dec 93-Jan 94
Team: Jean and Anne, teachers from Gisborne

There was only one way to get out of NZ and that was to get a group together. Great trek.

Pre-1994

A personal list, Jamie's treks pre Himalaya Trekking.

Dec 93 Annapurna: Siklis

A quick exploratory trek staying in local houses. Didn't meet another trekker.

Oct-Nov-Dec 92 Everest

My research trek for the first edition of Trekking in the Everest region. I trekked in from Jiri, soloed Island Peak, failed to cross the Amphu Labtsa, climbed Pokalde and crossed the Kongma La, crossed The Cho La, visited Cho Oyu Base Camp on the Gokyo side and from Tibet over the Nangpa La(!), crossed the Tashi Labtsa, all solo and lived! I walked from Tsho Rolpa to Dolakha in only 2 days, and with plastic boots on, to get back to Kathmandu in time for Christmas.

Sep 92 Ladakh

With Maja, Andrea and two other Swiss people. We trekked from Stok then the Markha valley and through the isolated Jumlam. We took little-used routes all the way to the Shingo La. An absolutely classic trek.

Dec 91 Everest

Lead my first trek, 13 people for Peregrine, Jiri to Kala Pattar. Peregrine moved to using local leaders after this. I realised that I could organize a trek like this easily and more cheaply. Himalaya Trekking (Project Himalaya) began gestation!

Nov-Dec 91 Everest

First time to the Everest region! Walked Jiri in, explored all the high valleys, crossing the Kongma La and Cho La then out the Arun. Namche to Hille in 5 1/2 days. Guzzled two tins of sweetened condensed milk after that!

Oct 91 Kathmandu Valley Rim

Adventure in only three days. Was nearly attacked by wild pigs while sleeping up near Shivapuri. Wouldn't have done to die almost in sight of Kathmandu!

July 91 Pakistan: Karakoram

Met Mark Miller waiting for the Skardu flight, and after being cancelled five? times, we flew. Starting in Hushe we visited Chogolisa Base Camp and K6-K7 BC. Memorably, on the way in the cook and porter went on strike requesting additional money so Mark told them to b!gger off, and we shouldered their loads, leaving them unpaid. Mark was later killed in the Kathmandu PIA plane crash.

Apr 91 To Mr Puru's home

A visit to a middle hills friend's house. The real Nepal. I carried his daughter on my shoulders when she tired on the trail. Memorably, in the middle of the night we were called to a nearby village as they thought I might be a doctor. There was a man gasping in a stuffy updtairs room and I suggested that he be moved outside, but explaining I was not a doctor. Wailing started and I wondered what was going on. We left a little later. A few hours later he died, and because he died outside, the house did not require Brahmanic ritual purification, so I was credited with predicting his death - uh-oh.

Mar 91 Annapurna Circuit

Started Gorkha and finished Pokhara. Soloed Pisang Peak, saw a snow leopard walk past me while sleeping outside, visited Tilicho, slept on top of the Thorung La, had another go at getting over to Hidden Valley, unsuccessful again. Great trek though.

Nov 90 Langtang valley

I have some free time: lets go trekking. From Shyabru to Kyangjin and a little exploring.

Dec 88 Makalu Base Camp

Met a guy over dinner: lets go to Makalu Base Camp. So  we did, with a porter. He got altitude sickness once over into the isolated valley so I continued alone. Spent 17 days alone exploring, until a Polish expedition came in. Then it snowed so I walked out in 5 1/2 days to Hille. Climbed my first 6000m peak.

Oct-Nov 88 Annapurna Sanctuary and Circuit

Began from Pokhara and trekked Annapurna Sanctuary first, then camped at Dhaulagiri Icefall, twice attempted Dhampus pass, but got lost in the cloud each time. Crossed Muktinath to Manang in a day. Fantastic trek.

For starting trekking with the right philosophy I have to thank Jungly John, and our meal in Freak Street. Keeping it real, without guide books (I changed my mind on this later), I trekked with only a map. Yes, I had to ask the way lots!

Sep 88 Ladakh

Age 22, this was my first Himalayan trek. After being sick in Srinagar with amoebic dysentery I recovered in Leh then trekked the Markha Valley trek. Local companies suggested I needed eight days food and rather than booking with them, I bought this and headed off using the cute foldout Artou guidebook. I left Leh late and so for the very first night out had no water. ... On the last night found that it isn't possible to cook instant noodles over 4 candles!

Prior to this I travelled, starting with hitchhiking around New Zealand, travelling and working in Australia, then 2 months travelling in Indonesia.

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