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Merriment and Happiness Newsletter
Namaste, dal bhaat and hello everyone!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Joel and Jamie *. In Kathmandu there has been far too much merriness and happiness, the parties and fun are only just winding down now (I wrote that two weeks ago, but now that Joel has left, I have time to complete this). After two weeks of tippling every evening, I decided enough is enough. Socializing doesn't always require alcoholic lubrication. Unfortunately it was Jason and Katherine's last night, and K obviously needed help, so I sipped her beer behind her back and saved someone from getting thrown up on, probably. Instead she got Tom & Jerry's rocking with Abba. So last night I said again 'enough is enough' (and not just to Abba). Walked into a new restaurant and they handed us a free tequila each. Bloody hell. Kathmandu never stops.
Does that account for the timeliness of the greetings? *
Everyone who has met Joel will agree he is quite a unique character, and that is what I thought, at least until I met Jason, his brother. Bloody hell. We had just finished watching 'The Jerk', Steve Martin, finally getting to see the movie that was discussed ad nauseum on our 68 day Kangchenjunga and Makalu 1999 episode, and the channel changed. Faster than you can say 'True Grit' (yep, quite a few won't understand that, but many will), before my brain had even registered that the channel had changed, within a millisecond of having seen one obscure bit of the film both yelled out at exactly the same time 'The Dirty Dozen', 'by so and so, oh, and there is Lee Marvin who was actually in the army...' and I swear we had the entire history of every actor, who they shagged/married or didn't, other flicks they starred in etc. From both of them. At the same time. Scary! And the other stories, ohmygod, I nearly wet myself a few times.
We have had so many really fun treks this year, and we sincerely hope that everyone enjoyed them as much as we did. XXX did:
"civilized life ain't all that civilized. need details for India. something to look forward to."
"... want to do Kanchenjunga too, XXXX wants in to, but he is on a budget, can he get a job cleaning up after ponies, or breeding them whatever, you know how canuks are. I will do nothing with or to the ponies."
As many people found getting back home, normal life it seems is, well, normal. Escape! We are ready and waiting for you.
And due to successful marrying of Jamie's organizational abilities - Joel, do that shit # - and Joel's entertainment skills - where does all that shit come from? # - we are endeavouring to run most trips with both of us as leaders - double trouble, you might call it. Perhaps we should change the name to Insanity Treks Unlimited, as vouched for by having a record 4 physiatrists coming to study the phenomena last year, and hopefully at least one more next year (John?).
# see religions of the world, Sam's bar, Kathmandu
We miss you guys! Honestly, each trip was fun and we both have many good memories and more than a few stories (!) of every person who came with us. We would like to see all of you again.
So if I haven't emailed, the reason is I am only just getting on top of the backlog, not helped by my computer being out of action for 3 days.
FYAOO (gotcha with that one? For Your Amusement Or Otherwise) this is the latest stuff that has been writ to be red:
...it was too much Sherpa rum...
Find out why Lobsang is no longer a teetotaller...
Yak steak and more yak, yak, yak-aemia
Stuff the Jamie thrashing, how many different coloured thong bikinis did Tom buy his new wife? The answer is here...
'The next chore is another special high altitude one that probably isn't mentioned too much for reasons that will become obvious. The body is around 72% water, and as I am fond of saying, at altitude, the other 28% is snot, well it feels like it. It is only when trekking the miracles of snot become obvious. There are a multitude of kids, and even my good friend Sam...'
If one believes in signs, then we were given plenty. Approaching full moon we witnessed a lunar eclipse then at Camp 2 at 6425m we were struck by a shaker of an earthquake. And lucky not to die. We were camped beneath a large serac...
Titbit from a Pakistani paper: Pakistani coast guards burnt 7 tonnes of heroin, 90 tonnes of hashish and 200kgs of opium...
And for more timeless classics like a Holiday in Kargil, go to the main Trip diaries page...
And second to last we would like to bore you with the trips that we are running this year (we hope your New Years resolution was to catch Joel out with a movie question or come and see how gay we look with our matching North Face jackets). More details on the web site...
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, as if that isn't enough, we also have an optional climb of Tengkoma, a straightforward climb.
Dates: 26 Mar-22 Apr, 28 days. Service: expedition style. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$2120.
Kangchenjunga NSW *exploratory
Is it co-incidence that the trip is 42 days or is there a deeper meaning? Yep, meaning enough time for the north and south base camps and the west. West? We explore west to the base of the 'Chewbacca La' (for Star wars fans), a valley begging for exploration.
Dates: 26 Mar-6 May, 42 days. Services: Mixed expedition and light expedition style Leaders: Joel & Dave E Haun. Cost: US$2680.
Private trip but ex-clients may be able to join, either as mountaineering companions or as fully guided clients. Duncan and the team are warming up for the big one - Everest, from the Tibet side.
Cho Oyu warm-up in Langtang
Whether you are going to the peak or not, you are welcome to join. Langtang valley and Gosainkund...
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. If you pay this much money you want the best shot you can get... All staff have worked/summitted on the mountain previously.
Dates: 15 Apr - 29 May. Service: guide-assisted. Guide-manager: Jamie McGuinness. Senior climbing sherpa: C Pasang. Cost: $8500.
Hillary and team did it in 1953, we do it in 2001 (but we skip the Everest climb...) We begin with the wonderful Gokyo lakes region, including the 5340m Gokyo Ri, cross the Cho La to Kala Pattar 5600m and/or Everest BC then cross the infrequently used Kongma La for Chukhung Ri 5559m. 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: 10 May-3 June, 25 days. Services: teahouse trekking. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1860.
Festivals and passes of Ladakh - India
The Hemis festival is a stunning mix of colour and culture, and to add to the unique experience we trek a pleasant route seldom attempted. Part of the profit will help build a new school, which of course we visit. Have a great experience and give something that will last!
Dates: 27 June-19 July. Service: expedition style, Delhi to Delhi. Leader: Joel Schone. Cost: US$1980/£1350.
Across the main Indian Himalayan chain lies the enchanting moonscape of Ladakh. Share tea with Tibetan nomads in the 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. Our wild route is virtually unknown and untouched, seven (!) 5000m passes but is a true classic. For the not so superstitious we attempt peak 6666m near Tso Moriri (the superstitious or non-climbers are welcome too.
Dates: 23 Jul-30 Aug, 39 days. Service: expedition-style. Leaders: Joel and Jamie. Cost: US$1980/£1350.
Yep, we have become the Kangchenjunga experts...
Dates: 15 Oct-11 Nov 2000, 28 days. Service: expedition style. Leaders: Jamie & Joel. Cost: US$2120.
Kangchenjunga 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 and then there's that west valley...
Dates: 15 Oct - late Nov, 39-42 days. Services: Mixed expedition and light expedition style. Leaders: Jamie and Joel. Cost: US$2680?.
Christmas High Khumbu & Island Peak 6173m
Experience the Sherpa high country and the incredible mountains, by visiting Gokyo Lakes, Everest BC and climbing Island Peak. 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! Bonus Christmas turkey in Kathmandu. All other foreign companies use tents. We can't work out why, when the teahouses are so good...
Dates: 30 Nov - 26 Dec, 27 days. Services: teahouse trekking and light expedition style. Leaders: Jamie & Joel. Cost: US$1950.
And lastly, as Hunter S Thompson wanted to write with big letters on an Americas Cup yacht so that it would first show when keeling over,
"Fu*ck the Pope" *
Jamie and Joel (and we aren't gay!)
From me (hereinafter called "the wishor")
To you ("the wishee")
Please accept without obligation, implied or otherwise incorporated by operation of law, our best wishes and greetings for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the summer solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, and for a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2001, with due recognition to those who consider that the commencement of the said calendar year 2001 marks the beginning of the new millennium, but with due respect for those who do not and for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, sexual orientation or dietary preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:
1. This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal at will.
2. This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
3. This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.
4. This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.
5. This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
6. The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
7. Any implied references in this greeting to "the Pope", "God", "the Lord", "Father Christmas", "Our Saviour", or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive or immortal, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.
Got it! Hear from you soon.