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Our 2002-2003 treks and expeditions

Here is a list of treks and expeditions we have previously advertised and ran.
The links may lead to updated versions of the info pages.
It may appear that we spend our entire lives trekking. You would be almost right!

* means these wonderful people have trekked multiple times with us.
+ means they summitted on an 8000m mountain expedition.

Fall 2003 Nepal: Manaslu, Kanchenjunga

Kim's Nar-Phu exploration

To sum up this new trekking region, Nar Phu is a stunningly beautiful, high altitude valley system in upper Manang surrounded by snow-peaks, high pastures, glaciers and yak kharkas, and adorned with shimmering, brightly painted gompas, traditional Manangi villages, a patchwork of fields, fluttering strings of prayer flags and intricately designed ochre-colored chortens. I met so many wonderful, warm and interesting people during my ten days in the region there and can't wait to return next year!

See Kim's 2003 diary.

Kanchen Gola Wild - exploratory

High and Wild, Wild, Wild! The region offers the best high altitude exploration anywhere in Nepal - no bull, just yaks - and many peaks begging for bagging. We will further explore the outrageous Olangchung-Yangmak region, ie the valley system just to the west of Kanchenjunga, which was opened just last year. The Oct-Nov 2002 trip was a classic. For the Ultimate, begin the trip with rafting the wild Sun Kosi.

Dates: 20 Oct-30 Nov, 42 days. Services: Mixed expedition and light expedition style.
Leaders: Jamie & Nicola***. Cost: US$2780/€2480/1700. (rafting option +$350)
Team: Andy Falgate*, Sharon Taylor, Tremaine Dickenson and Carsten Nebel****.

Our guide reckoned that no trekkers had ever been up to the pass to Tibet we explored; Carsten had a read and found that Hooker was first in 1848(!), so second is hardly second best. An untimely snowfall prevented rampant climbing in the areas we had planned, but we trekked the whole region and got up a 6000m hill and almost got up Bokta.

See Carsten's wonderful diary.

Jamie, sharon, Andy, errant Sherpani, Tremaine, Nicola, Temba and Carsten

Kanchenjunga Double Magic

Delightful villages, unsullied nature, variety of cultures and those mountains... We visit both north south sides for unspoiled trekking at its best.

Dates: 20 Oct-16 Nov, 28 days. Services: Expedition style. Leader: local. Cost: US$1580.
Team: Glenn and Jane Fisher.

Manaslu Magic

Imagine the Annapurna Circuit before it became popular - adventurous and even a little tough, that's the circuit of Manaslu. Beginning in picturesque Gurung villages we trek up to flat roofed Tibetan then, with glaciers groaning nearby, cross the 4910m Larkya La. This trek around the 8th highest peak on the planet is a true classic and we do the region justice, after all, you are not likely to be returning.

Dates: 16 Oct-6 Nov, 22 days. Services: Expedition style. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$2220/€2000.
Tibet tour option to link in: Dates: 2-14 Oct. Leader: our regular Tibetan guides: Cost: US$1200, ask for details.
Clients: Peter & Jenny Talbot, Sharon A.

Joel writes: it is hard to conceive of the beauty of Manaslu in the autumn. I consider it not only the loveliest in Nepal, but also possibly the whole Himalaya.

The start is a middle hills classic, the real Nepal. Wonderful river views, kingfishers, woodpeckers and multi hued dragonflies dance on the breeze. Children give the formal Namaste.

We meet the Maoists, of course; they are unwelcome in the villages, and as everyday life, harvest, school, fetching water, goes on, they extort money. But hearts and high places go together and they are soon a memory.

Above all the character of the land stays with you. Corn, mustard, barley. Incredible canyons on a Ladakhi scale, but heavily wooded. The same Himalayan light that illuminates my dreams plays from side valleys, and then turn a corner and array of glittering peaks greet you.

See Joel's diary.

Fall 2003 Ladakh and Tibet trips

Malcs return - Ladakh, India

Malc Southern, one of our favourite trekkers, returns for his 3rd year. We begin gently with the classic Markha Valley then explore the wild route from Kharnak to Zanskar.

17 Sep-15 Oct, 29 days. Service: expedition-style. Leader: Joel. Cost: $1980.

Kailash Pilgrimage - Tibet

The holiest of holies for Tibetans and Hindus alike, the kora (ritual circuit) of Kailash (Kailas) is said to erase the sins of a lifetime. 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.

Dates: 9 Sep-6 Oct, 28 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Kim Bannister. Cost: US$3660/€3250.
Clients: Peter & Michelle Chen, Sunish Mehta, Donna & Roger Goguen and Maria S.

See Kim's 2003 diary.

2003 Expeditions

Shishapangma Expedition 8012m - guide assisted - Tibet Fall 2003

Jamie has been there before and this time is serious about getting to the true summit. We can do it!

Dates: 31 Aug-11 Oct, 42 days. Service: guide-assisted. Guide-manager: Jamie McGuinness.
Climbing sherpas: P Pasang and Dawa Gyalgen. Cost: $8800 + $600 safety deposit.
Team: +Richard, +Nigel Finnerty**, +Nicola Tsang*, Phil Mansbridge (nearly summitted), Kyle Richardson, David Kisler.
Guide and sherpas: Jamie, Dawa Gyalgen, P Pasang, Temba (all summitted), Topke and Karsang from Tibet.
BC-ABC support: Andrew Lock*.

Success! And we were the only commercial group that made it to the top. Naturally we were aiming for the true (Main) summit, but only made the 8008m Central summit, as did a bunch of notable mountaineers who REALLY, REALLY wanted to get that true summit. Conditions were too tough. Shishapangma is still waiting its first Australian summit.

See the Shishapangma Expedition photo galleries of this trip.

With the summit cake: Richard, Temba, Dawa, Jamie (bearded), Pasang, Nicola, Phil (yellow jacket), Nigel (red jacket)

click for photo gallery. L-R: Richard, Temba, Dawa, Jamie, Pasang, Nicola, Phil, Nigel

2003 Ladakh summer

Remote Zanskar - Ladakh, India

Zanskar is one of the most beautiful populated Himalayan valleys there is. We trek the classic route then branch off to take wilder route than the normal (and miss the road section), which takes us to high villages and valleys little visited by westerners.

Dates: 2-26 Aug, 25 days. Services: expedition-style. Leaders: Joel & Kim. Cost: $1980/€1760/1250.
Team: Beau vH****, Helen**, Curt Tarnoff, Tom and Mary-Ann Varty, Gary Campbell, Jason Schone, Erica, Tom C and Tom H.

See Kim's 2003 diary and Joel's diary.

Caravan | Short Caravan - Ladakh, India

We traverse a good chunk of Ladakh to one of our favorite Himalayan places, Lake Tso Moriri, to meet the nomadic changpas as they herd yak across the high pastures. Fresh curd, yeasty chang, salt tea and finish in the remote kingdom of Spiti via the stunning Parang La.

Caravan: Dates: 2 July-3 Aug, 33 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Joel. Cost: $1980/€1760/1250.
Team: Beau vH***, Evan and Helen*, Matthias* and Helen*.
Short Caravan: Dates: 10 July-3 Aug, 25 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Joel. Cost: $1980/€1760/1250.
Team: Roberta.

See Kim's 2003 diary and Joel's diary.

Caravan 6666 - Ladakh, India *exploratory

We have a few great plans that tie in with the Himalayan Caravan.

Dates: 2 July-3 Aug, 33 days. Services: expedition-style. Leaders: Jamie & Nicola** (with Joel at the beginning).
Cost: $1980/€1760/1250. Team: Richard Nacin**

Light and easy, between us we climbed five 6000m peaks including our coveted 6666 peak, and explored part of the high plateau between Pang and Tso Moriri.

See the Caravan 6666 photo galleries.

Zanskar Spring - Ladakh, India

Zanskar is just gorgeous trekking, we experience it shaking off winter and spring happening, a truly classic time to trek, yet we probably won't meet any other trekkers. Our 3rd time in this season, each previous trip was the stuff of legends.

Dates: 2-27 June, 26 days. Services: expedition-style. Leaders: Joel & Kim. Cost: $1980/€1860/1250.
Team: Garrett Dundon, David Donaldson*, Steve Donaldson, Zane Dickey, John Soos, Jack Sherifkin, Joachim Avanade

See Kim's 2003 diary and Joel's diary.

John Soos has two photo galleries of the trek, start with Ladakh.

2003 Everest Spring

Everest Expedition 8848m

See www.NIEverest.com - Success! And we have a photo gallery too.

Team: Richard Dougan (leader), +Terence 'Banjo' Bannon and David Sharp**.
Crew: Ang Furi Sherpa, Temba Sherpa, +Jamie, Karsang, Topke and Dorje.

click for the Everest Expedition photo gallery

Tibet Explorer

A jeep safari to experience the timeless Jokhang, the eighth-wonder architecture of the magnificent Potala, the Dalai Lama's summer palace and more. We stay three full days in the heart of the picturesque old Lhasa city and of course you want to see Gyantse's famous Kumbum, Shigatse's huge Tashilhunpo monastery and the jaw-dropping view of Chomolungma from Everest Base Camp.

Dates: 15-28 May 2003, 14 days. Services: all inclusive. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1980/€2250/1400.

Cancelled due to SARS.

Anniversary Hillary Khumbu Traverse

A 50th jubilee Everest trek, and yes, we visit Everest Base Camp. We know many of the big Everest names and will meet many of them on the trail, last year we met Jamling and Tashi Tenzing (with Peter Hillary), Guy Cotter and many others.

Dates: April, 22 days. Services: teahouse trekking. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: $1980.
Team: Bob Moul.

Everest ABC trek - Tibet

We begin at Rongbuk, the highest monastery in the world - and go higher, to camp 3 on Everest at 6400m! This is Advanced Base Camp for the expeditions and it is the highest trek in the world.

Dates: 30 Mar-21 Apr, 23 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Jamie McGuinness. Cost: $3350 or $2950.
Team: Michael P***, Dr Lyou, Mr Hooi.

Kinnaur Explorer Bike trip

A seat of the pants or rather seat in the saddle exploration along the old Hindustan-Tibet highway.

Dates: 3-17 Jan.
Leader: Joel Schone.
Team: Michael P** Corrin H*.

And it was definitely exploratory even though Joel had scouted the region previously. It wasn't 'smooth as silk' but was definitely a memorable adventure.

Michael said:

Firstly, thank you (and Kim) for a GREAT bike trip. It had a winning combination of unexpected/spontaneous adventures, ready flexibility, a harmonious, friendly group and reliable, expert support (driver/cook). Also, I think we were all very grateful to have a bike mechanic with us (Corrin!). It was good to be able to be able to talk with you about Indian history and culture and reminisce. Towards the end of the trip, you asked me if I had kept a journal. Well, I would have done if you had mentioned it at the start - there sure was plenty to have recorded! There were a few unplanned events which I prefer to forget, such as the hair-raising taxi journey to Delhi, or the anxiety of getting lost at Wangtu (a god-forsaken place, if ever there was one) but then they did add to the overall excitement! I am considering the options for another trip this year. A suitably large bribe to my boss to secure more long leave may be necessary...

See Joel's diary plus a few photos of the trip. Also see Kim's diary.

2002 Fall - Kanchenjunga & Everest

Christmas High Khumbu & Island Peak 6173m - Everest trek

Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains, by visiting Gokyo Lakes, Everest Base Camp, Kala Pattar and climbing Island Peak. We allow two 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! All other foreign companies use tents. We can't work out why, when the teahouses are so good...

Dates: 9 Dec-2 Jan, 25 days. Services: teahouse trekking and light expedition style.
Leaders: Jamie (& Joel & Kim for parts). Cost: US$2220/€2250/1420, trek only: $1980/€1980/1280.
Team: Peter P**, Graeme L, Michael P*.

Instead of Island Peak we went exploring on an easier peak but this still wasn't within our three trekker's capacities. So as a bonus we took a brief reconnaissance of Lumding Kharka. What a trail, surely one of the wickedest in the Himalaya, steep, and so small you couldn't even tell you were on it half the time. We found out later it had been virtually unused for 5 years. We will be back.

see the Christmas Khumbu 2002 photo galleries (needs a big screen and fast connection).

Kanchen Gola Wild - *exploratory

High and Wild, Wild, Wild! The Olangchung -Topke Gola region, ie the valley system just to the west of Kanchenjunga, was opened this year and we will explore it. Properly.

Dates: 21 Oct-1 Dec, 42 days. Services: Mixed expedition and light expedition style.
Leaders: Jamie & Joel (and we aren't gay!). Cost: US$2680/€2680. Status: full.
Team: Bob R***, Brian F**, Jeff S, Andrea & Jonas, Peter & David Wood, Filip VS, Heidi K, Andy L, Richard N* and Nicola*.
Crew: Sirdar: Keepa. Cooks: Mehk B Tamang, Temba & Dawa. Climbing sherpa: Nawang. Sherpa: Lhakpa.

Off the map literally! Really out there too, absolute classic with a wonderful bunch of people.

See Kanchen Gola '02 photo series.

Click for the gallery. What a team, and here are the 14 porters and 16 or so staff plus us!

2002 Ladakh & Tibet summer

Caravan Explorer 6000

Our classic Caravan route, with a bit of high altitude "exploration", of course.

Dates: 26 Sep-20 Oct, 25 days. Service: expedition-style. Leaders: Joel and Jamie. Cost: US$1600.
Team members: Bob R**, Carsten***, Lance T, Nicole***, Malk**.

Yep, four out of five have trekked with us before. Four out of five don't drink rum either!?

The second section turned out to be one of the highest altitude treks anywhere, we crossed a 5800m pass, explored up a 5900m one and trekked up a few 6000m hills - and failed on the peak we really wanted, due to weather. God it was cold!

See Carsten's diary and photos.

Zanskar the Hard Way - Ladakh, India *exploratory

WILD. Since '99 we have had some unfinished business, the high and glaciated Kang La. But we don't stop there, the wild Jumlam calls, with the option of a peak...

Dates: 5 Sep-5 Oct, 31 days. Service: expedition-style. Leaders: Joel and Jamie. Cost: US$1980/€1980.
Team: Eric* and Charlene*, Nicole**

From emails it is so hard to guess what people are like. Eric and Charlene were a delight! Eric, with witty comments to match Joel's, Charlotte with knowing looks and sly digs, and a fondness for rum, roll on Happy Hours! Nicole improved her Tibetan with the crew and had to put up with lots of French jokes - every French group we met turned back, we even met one of them twice, but Nicole didn't. In fact she joined the next trek as well - tougher than all the rest of the French put together!

The trek - we called off the Kang La section because conditions just didn't seem right, and lucky we did too. We crossed the more normal Shingo La while it was snowing for two days, and was nearly knee deep. As usual our team performed heroically, and with good judgement. Lobsang and myself broke trail until the horses caught us, and then they showed what they were made of, easily breaking trail faster than we could, strong as strong. Other horsemen-groups turned back.

I just love the upper Zanskar valley! So beautiful and great trekking. Again we slightly adapted our route because of broken trails, instead of trekking via Shade we resupplied in Padum then off into the Jumlam. God, those gorges! Lobsang said 108 river crossings, and this number gives you a clue... This is a journey of penance - especially as Jamie didn't bring any other boots, and when he couldn't jump, took his boots off. Joel more sensibly had old boots, Nicole a pair of running shoes, and Eric and C, Tevas. The Jumlam is a classic! We will be back. See the Jumlam photo gallery.

Back on the main trail at the Zalung Karpo La, the trek up to Nimaling and then over the Kongmaru La has to be some of the best couple of days trekking anywhere, the huge feeling of space, the delicate colours, the panoramas. Then that final gorge, unlike the others but also utterly captivating. The peak? conditions were a bit tough so we opted for a lower hill and were rewarded with savage winds but a good view. Another memorable trek, even if nobody could draw.

Mount Kailash Pilgrimage for Peace

An inner and outer journey with Paul Dallaghan of Centred Yoga, a very special trip to Kailash.

Dates: 10 Sep-6 Oct, 27 days. Services: expedition-style. Cost: US$3495.
members: Paul Dallaghan, John, Nancy, Kim, Sarah, Katie, Rose and Svemir

Kailash Pilgrimage - Tibet

The holiest of holies for Tibetans and Hindus alike, the kora (ritual circuit) of Kailash is their ultimate goal. 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. And then it is said a kora erases the sins of a lifetime, something Kim has been in need of for a while... This is the trip of a life time so we do it all and do it properly, from the magic of Lhasa to the southern desert route the adventure never stops.

Dates: 10 Sep-6 Oct, 27 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Kim Bannister. Cost: US$3495/€3495.
Members: Joel K

Traditional Zanskar

Across Zanskar by the classic trading route - a popular trek, but still the most stunning one in the western Himalaya. Gompas, high passes & harvest time in the villages.

Dates: 11 Aug-6 Sep, 27 Days. Leader: Joel. Cost: cheap. Team: Wendy

I am not allowed to say anything much, but Wendy did have a really relaxing holiday.

Gompas of Zanskar

We cross the popular Zanskar region by a little known route, visiting Phuktal, Karsha, Rangdum (!) & Lamayuru Gompas then finish in Leh. The starting point is Sarchu reached by jeep from Leh or Manali.

Dates: approx July 15th - August 13th 30 Days. Leaders: Joel & Kim. Cost: cheapish, but not cheap enough for Israelis.
Team members: Offer (Israeli, but nice!) and Sean.

Markha Kharnak

What a friends for, but to continue trekking with. A spur of the moment trip, nice as nice.

Team members: Louise**** (yes, fourth trip in a row), Kim, Joel and Don***.

Zanskar Spring - Ladakh, India

Experience Zanskar shaking off winter and spring happening, a truly classic time to trek.

Dates: 4-31 May, 28 days. Services: expedition-style. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1500/€1750/1050.
Team members: Louise***, Peter & Susan, Don***.

Last year there was no winter snow, this year the winter-spring snow was so deep that they didn't meet a single other trekker. The heroics of our star crew was the stuff of legends. See Joel's and Peter & Susan's diary.

 Cho Oyu Expedition 8201m - Tibet

Wanna climb something HIGH but as straightforward as BIG mountains get? Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain on the planet. Our Spring climb is a fully supported and guide-assisted effort, but with more freedom than any other foreign company gives. We think innovatively and differently from most other companies and have the energy to get you there. If you pay this much money you want the best shot you can get...

Dates: 14 Apr-28 May, 45 days. Service: guide-assisted. Guide-manager: +Jamie McGuinness. Cost: $8800/€10,000 + $600 safety deposit.
Kitchen crew: +Tshering Bhote.
Team members guide-assisted: Tony Bragg, +David Sharp*. ABC support: Caroline and Allain, David Lim.

On the guided trip Tony came down with an unexpected but recurring problem and quickly decided when feeling sick there are better, more comfortable things to do in life. He will be back. Myself and Dave summitted on 14 May, as did Tshering, our cook (who has also climbed Everest). Note that we said we would run a guided expedition no matter how many bookings we got. We ran this expedition with only two bookings. If we say we are going, we will!

We also provided BC-ABC support for a few people: David Lim tried Shishapangma, getting to approx 7700m in deep snow and on Cho Oyu, climbing on a difficult day, got to approx 7800m before the steep fixed ropes took their toll, a great effort by someone who only has power equivalent to one and a half legs. Allain and Caroline suffered some bad luck, first Caroline's face swelled badly after some sun and then Allain found it difficult to acclimatize. So while none of our ABC service clients summitted, we provided good, flexible service that everyone appreciated.

Tibet Explorer

A jeep safari to experience the timeless Jokhang, the eighth-wonder architecture of the magnificent Potala, the Dalai Lama's summer palace and more. We stay three full days in the heart of the picturesque old Lhasa city and of course you want to see Gyantse's famous Kumbum, Shigatse's huge Tashilhunpo monastery and the jaw-dropping view of Chomolungma from Everest Base Camp.

Dates: 14-27 Apr, 14 days. Services: all inclusive. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1980/€2250/1400.
Team members: Louise**, Andrew, Michelle*, Rebecca, Jean*, and Sue-Ellen (plus Pemba) in the photo below.

This was such a FUN trip! Stories to come, perhaps, there is a quick photo gallery and the best, a reunion in 2003...

2002 Spring

High Khumbu & Island Peak 6173m

Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains, by visiting Gokyo Lakes, Everest BC/Kala Pattar and climbing Island Peak. We allow two 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! All other foreign companies use tents. We can't work out why, when the teahouses are so good...

Dates: 18 Mar-11 Apr, 25 days. Services: teahouse trekking and light expedition style. Leaders: Jamie & Joel. Cost: US$1980/€2250/1400.
Team members: Kasumi, Brendan & Sarah, Louise*, Andy (my brother)

Yes, we saw a snow leopard! Our plans for Island Peak changed since Brendan, normally healthy, suffered some sickness, so instead Andy and myself went up the wild Kyajok valley for some exploring.

Zanskar Chadar & wildlife - Ladakh, India *exploratory

The winter alternative to the eight passes from Zanskar out to Lamayuru is the frozen river. Yep, it is a wild and COLD trip. Winter is also the perfect time for spotting snow leopard, wolves etc.

Dates: 28 Jan-28 Feb 32 days. Services: light expedition style. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1550.
Team: Brian*. (yep, we ran with only one person)

WILD!!!

But first there was the idea of walking in from Manali with the supplies and checking out the route. The main Himalayan chain gets a bit more snow though, as is well known. Here was Joel's experience:

Lobsang and I got back from the Rohtang 10 minutes ago, lucky we did not take porters, we got thrashed, gale force winds and 3m snowdrifts, but ringing Leh they tell us its calm and sunny. Talk about a vision of hell! So Lobsang will fly up with Brian and me and its going to be superlight weight!

See the photo gallery Chadar or Joel's diary and photo gallery.

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