Our 2015 treks and expeditions
Remembering our wonderful journeys
Here is a list of treks and expeditions we have previously advertised.
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!
We care about each and every trek all the same.
* means these wonderful people have trekked multiple times with us.
+ means summitted the expedition peak.
2015 Nepal wild trails
This is the first trekking season after the earthquakes. Also Kim spread her wings, with Kamzang Journeys. And GHT success!
More wonderful high route GHT exploration, we find an alternative high route from Simikot through to historic Mugu village. It is a remote route, through little-visited villages, peaceful high altitude yak grazing areas and with expansive mountain panoramas. And real exploration!
28 Oct-20 Nov, 24 days — expedition style — Jamie McGuinness — US$2980
Team: Kees T****, Roger Nix****, Gaye K**, Romany Topsfield***, Paul Murrill**********, Ryan and Apurna
Crew: Bali (Bal Bahadur), Saribung Kaji, Indra and Aiteram (sherpas), Tawa (cook) Pirkey Tamang, Pasang Shiny Pots Tamang, Tashi and the acrobatic Makalu lads Phu Tenzi and Lhakpa (kitchen), Kami Tamang as porter cook and 23 strong porters
Those elusive passes of 2012 eluded us no longer, although partly by a dose of good luck, and plenty of amazing weather. We found the way across the "Okhale Lek" with local guides into an enchanted valley with chest high grass and ancient forests, with only the tiniest of a hunter's trail, and are likely the very first western trekkers to cross this pass. Continuing we were blessed with mostly wide, easy trails, quiet forests, many tranquil camps and fine trekking, although still real exploring as locals were scared of the snow and cold so we had to work out our own routes over a series of passes.
Part of our route now becomes an adventurous alternative to the straightforward Simikot to Rara trek, and this is timely as the government has announced and started building a road from Gamgadhi to Mugu and the Tibet border, which will be no fun to walk along as part of the GHT. Instead some of the route we just explored will make a good alternative. There is an online guide slowly on the way.
Sadly Paul, after getting to the top of an extremely tough pass without incident, sat on a rock that moved, and put a bit of a hole in his head, and although wanted to trek on, was heli-evaced with infection starting to show; thank you, Romany, for being an excellent doctor. Thankfully, he has already mostly recovered and will be back.
What a memorable trek, thank you everyone for joining, and I really hope to see you in the future!
Jamie's GHT2 Mugu Wild Flickr album
The foreign part of the team: Gaye, Roger, Romany, Jamie, Ryan and Apurna, and Kees: missing Paul Murrill
Dinner in a Kimri school classroom, note no lights (we used ours) and only wooden benches, shamefully ultra-basic...
Wahoo, what an adventure! In 2012 we were the very first to complete the Saipal missing link, but over some heinous passes. This time we refine our route with kinder passes to truly open up this new section of the Nepal Great Himalaya Trail. It is authentic culture, a stunning variety of scenery and real exploration in four weeks.
4-31 Oct, 28 days — expedition style — Jamie McGuinness and Bali — US$4980
Team: Alan Kerr*****, Celesta*******, Marco C, Roger Nix***, Jim Robinson*, Greg Danforth** (-Leslie B, -Shaun C)
Crew: Bali (Bal Bahadur), Saribung Kaji, Indra and Aiteram (sherpas), Tawa (cook) Pirkey Tamang, Pasang Shiny Pots Tamang, Tashi and the acrobatic Makalu lads Phu Tenzi and Lhakpa (kitchen), Kami Tamang as porter cook and 24-26 strong porters
Success! We found the main missing pass, the Zimgang La, and had an incredible time, too. Thank you all for joining.
So the high route/extreme route Nepal Great Himalaya Trail has a new and the last extension, and instead of ending in Simikot now ends at Darchula (or similar), as it should. From start to finish we didn't meet another trekking group, and indeed Project Himalaya has trekked this route twice now, and nobody else has - yet. The new GHT maps will reflect this route, eventually (and now do).
This is the toughest trek in the world. Really ... ! (Excluding treks requiring ropes and/or crampons etc).
Jamie's curated Flickr album below with embeded controls:
The trekkers: Alan Kerr, Marco Camozzi, Jamie McGuinness, Jim Robinson, Greg Danforth, Roger Nix and Celesta Fong
There were also 10 core crew and 24 porters ...
Custom Dolpo to Mustang
Upper Dolpo to Mustang for a team of partial previous clients, and arranged in conjunction with Expedition Himalaya.
Sept-Oct, 34 days — expedition style — Dawa Gelje
Team: Clive**** & Catherine****, Michelle, Bruce, Wilma, Bill, John, Jennifer** and Clare
Crew: Dawa Gelje, sherpas: Da'Dendi, Nima Gyalgen, Mingma; kitchen: Da'Gyalgen (cook), Arjun Tamang, Lhakpa Tamang, Ang Nima, Pasang Tamang, Ang Kami; and 18 porters with porter cook
Our trek went brilliantly, crew were great, food excellent, and we were unbelievably lucky with the weather!
Upper Dolpo, a Tibetan border region of hidden villages and monasteries tucked away in remote Himalayan valleys, is Nepal's Shangri-La. Join our explorations to the most far-flung of Dolpo's destinations - Shey, Phoksundo Lake, Panzang valley & the high route to Mustang.
2015 Ladakh short summer
Our summer is shorter than normal, affected by the Zanskar landslide. Ladakh was not affected by the Nepal earthquake at all, however tourism was still down significantly, partly due to the earthquake.
Jamie explored new trekking routes and unclimbed peaks in Tibet.
Ladakh Passes *private
The Markha Valley is a classic trek yet homestay trekkers skip the highlights. Our itinerary is a delight with time to explore and a wonderfully remote end to the trek.
Sept, 14 days — Leh to Leh — expedition style
Crew: Lobsang, Ram Lal and mules, Raj as cook
I would like to thank you all for your invaluable contributions to this unique experience. I think I speak for all my friends when I say that the trek was great, the itinerary very well chosen (I particularly enjoyed the segment after Nimaling and the Changthang valley), Lobsang was the bestest of all guides and his team was also quite competent and attentive. Regarding Lobsang, I was impressed by his special gift to read our needs and offer solutions even before we had a chance to verbalize anything. He also knows all the best camp sites and trails and is quite resourceful. Raj was our cook and he did an excellent job. The helpers were quite attentive and always ready to make themselves useful to us. I was also impressed with how gently Ram Lal and Sirouch treated the horses, unlike other parties that we crossed paths with on this trip.
Thanks again, Adriana
Kim and Jamie - thanks for a wonderful trip!!!
Eileen and I had a enjoyed everything and appreciate all the planning and advice. Felt we were very well prepared.
Lobsang was a terrific guide. He is very professional and organized - I appreciated his sense of humor (glad he put up with
Very impressed when Lobsang divided our tips openly and equally among the crew. He also included the two drivers with a smaller share. Such a strong display of leadership - guessing each of the crew would love to work with him again!
Appreciative of the strong and very competent supportive crew - they worked!
And the food was delicious!
The pace of the hiking up the Markha Valley was very good for the group. Although some might go faster or further, the pace throughout was good for the group.
Felt that Lobsang read the group VERY well.
We decided to forgo a rest day and keep moving to average out the days. Thought this was a good decision!
John & Eileen
One of our most adventurous, stunningly beautiful treks. From the Markha Valley villages to the Jumlam, an ancient trade route through Ladakh's remote river valleys, we trek through remote western Ladakh to the Suru Valley. It's a trek of rare wildlife, far-flung villages and monasteries, high passes, canyons and river valleys. A photographer's dream!
A new twist on our most popular trekking route. Following ancient salt routes, we trek through spectacular regions of high lakes (Tso Moriri & Tso Kar), high passes, remote villages & rare wild and bird life, fording rivers and camping with the Changthang nomads. This year's highlight is a local Buddhist festival near Pangong Lake and two idyllic days at the lake.
Check out Gary Goldenberg's series of photos for Leh and the trek:
The Markha Valley is a classic Ladakh trek and naturally we climb in the Nyimaling area but there is so much more to the region. Crossing into a surprisingly wild and stunningly scenic area right next door, we succumb to the temptation of exploring an old resupply pass and a peak that has fascinated Jamie for a few years.
* This trek-climb replaced the Zanskar Traverse that wasn't possible because of damaged bridges.
During winter a landslide partially blocked the Tsarap River above Phuktal Gompa (affecting our Chadar expedition at the bottom of the page too) and finally that dam broke in May without loss of life thanks to Indian Army intervention but the event still broke virtually every bridge downstream and so affecting all Zanskar treks. So this trek went from 4-5 bookings back to just one, sadly, and I elected to still run it and change the itinerary to the Ladakh Peaks & Passes. I'm glad that I did.
What wildlife! We really saw it all apart from a snow leopard, even if we did see prints of one. So we saw and photographed wolves, marmots, blue sheep who put on a number of extraordinary shows, Tibetan argali, pikas, golden eagles, lammergeiers and more, and a surprising owl even.
We also climbed Dzo Jongo East (6218m) and were almost shocked off in a sudden hail storm. Of course Jamie is an itinerant explorer and we climbed no less than three passes not on the Olizane centre map, although in deference to our Ladakhi horses, we didn't actually cross the 5865m pass as this might have been too much for a couple of them (they have a tough winter leaving them not as strong as their Himachal brothers. I was wishing for Ram Lal's superb strong horse-mule team, but we were not a big enough team for his 17 horses).
Thanks for Phil for enabling the trip (even if it ran at a loss, it was worth it) and thanks to Phuntsok and crew for those delicious Asian meals and wonderful service. I can't wait to return!
Phil says "Great trip, I have lots of photos to sort out!"
See my Flickr album and note it was a period of unusual flooding in Leh and parts of Ladakh:
Back seat: Phil, Bishnu and Phuntsok, with Jamie in the front - Jamie
2015 Tibet Spring Earthquake edition
On the north side of Everest we were shaken by the huge 25 April Nepal earthquake and aftershocks. The Chinese authorities closed the area in Tibet affected, including Everest BC and so we had to abandon our expeditions. Around 12,000 people were evacuated from border areas close to the quake zone.
A travelling and trekking adventure with chaotic Kathmandu, Lhasa with its eight wonder Potala Palace, holiest Jokhang and monasteries and a jeep safari to Everest base camp. We then touch Everest on the highest trek in the world!
23 Apr-13 May, 21 days — jeep safari & expedition-style — local guide & Jamie McGuinness — US$6480
Team: Adam Read and below
Private team (different dates): Team Oz BC card sharks
Due to the 2015 Nepal earthquake this trip was stuck in Lhasa and never reached Everest Base Camp. Thanks, team, for being so patient.
An otherworldly travel adventure; chaotic Kathmandu, Lhasa with its impressive gompas, palaces and monasteries, then the vastness of Tibet with a highlight among many, the view of Everest's impressive north face.
23 Apr-4 May, 14 days — jeep safari — private trip
Team: Richard Auricht and Lil Routley
Due to the 2015 Nepal earthquake this trip was stuck in Lhasa and never reached Everest Base Camp.
First, we experience historic and modern Lhasa, the Potala has to be seen to be believed, then in the shadow of Everest we climb high, seriously high.
23 Apr-16 May, 24 days — jeep safari & expedition-style —
local guide — climbing guide Jamie McGuinness — US$12,980
Team: Dave Auricht, Chris Bryce and Dan Gray
Wow, this team was at the airport when the earthquake struck and still flew out to Lhasa an hour or two later. After that close shave, they were then not allowed to go closer to the mountain, bummer.
Additionally other teams (the Ozzie card sharks) we were providing logistics for never got beyond base camp. Bummer.
Guide-assisted with full support, surprising flexibility, the best weather forecasts, spare oxygen, email and plenty of other services. Above all we are dedicated to your safety and success.
8 Apr-6 June, 60 days — Jamie McGuinness
Team: Olivier Tran and Felix Tan with the extras Satoshi Tamura and Frank Marchetti
Quake edition... After establishing ABC the Nepal earthquake shook us. The news coming out of the south side was hard to believe initially, especially as there wasn't a single injury on the north side (don't ask Jamie about the dog bite). Thank goodness the 1000m rock face glowering over ABC held. However, sensibly the Chinese authorities through the CTMA closed the mountain for the rest of the season and told us to leave as those aftershocks didn't stop.
2015 Nepal Spring
Amazingly, all our trekkers and crews and their families are OK after the massive earthquake although virtually every one of Kim's regular crew lost their village house, and she is raising money through her Kamzang Fund to help them rebuild.
Kanchenjunga, tucked into the far east of the Nepal Himalaya, is one of Nepal's most remote and spectacular trekking regions. We'll take the wildest routes, including the north base camp and Olanchung Gola, as we explore this region of Limbus and Tibetans. One of the (many) highlights is the high Lumba Samba route to the Makalu Barun National Park, part of the epic Great Himalayan Trail.
[Jamie says] Don't panic... Kim and her team decided to carry on trekking as a way of staying out of the initial chaos in Kathmandu due to the Nepal earthquake.
Kim and Lhakpa immediately gave their porters freedom to return to their villages, getting paid for their walk out unloaded and transport back paid (even if that would leave Kim and team with having to take a helicopter out) but since they were at virtually the farthest point from a road on the trek, knew roads were damaged and couldn't find out more, but did know that there were few deaths in their particular village, virtually all of them opted to keep trekking as conditions were bound to be better in a week, and travelling as a team has real advantages too. So, as older Brits might say, "Carry on Camping" (from a series of slightly salacious-for-the-time movies)...
A wild trek through the most far-flung reaches of Upper Mustang!
The Tibetan Buddhist kingdom of Mustang is home to the last Tibetan nomads of Nepal, a land of walled cities, fortresses, traditional villages, sculpted canyons, Neolithic caves, fossils, and Himalayan peaks soaring above the Kali Gandaki River gorge. Note our 18 days in Upper Mustang!
Snow edition; with no cooperation from the weather gods, large, late falls of snow provided extra challenge that the crew and team heroically pushed through.
Success on all six previous expeditions! The standard route "features" 2000m of scree - not for me. Instead we climb the superior Plaza Argentina route and as a double bonus we traverse the mountain, and as a triple bonus for Everest aspirants we talk over the big mountains, gear, strategies, everything Everest.
7-27 Feb, 21 days — all trek & mountain services — Jamie McGuinness
Team: Toni Wilson, +Matthias Loeu***, Stephen L, Jeff** and Diane** G
See Jamie's Flickr photo album.
We did succeed but not in style. The weather was too good to be true for the beginning of the expedition and the opposite later in the expedition, get the picture? Until our C2 the weather was perfect, great for steak and salad on the way in (thanks, Ramon), base camp explorations and the first load carries. However at C2 it snowed, far more than suggested by the forecast, and lasted longer and increased the slog factor to C3 (Colera), however in position everything looked ok. In the morning it wasn't though, with Jeff and Di sunburned (Aussies forgetting suncream, it happened?!) and Steve feeling off colour, cause unknown. So Matt, Toni and myself set off, the snow increasing the climbing work.
Aconcagua has a particularly long summit day by any commercial climbing standard, and at the feared Caneletta, this was my first time the spin-drift wind was really howling and it really wasn't pleasant, and still only half way. We retreated to a spot with little wind and watched. Toni was semi-exhausted, Matt was still keen and the wind seemed to be dropping so when Raffi (Swiss from another team) came along Matt joined forces, which was particularly fortuitous for both of them, as Raffi's partner could then turn back a little later.
With the advice that if the wind dropped it doesn't matter if you return at 6pm or even 8pm in the super-clear weather, that killed the idea of a turnaround time and associated worries, and the Swiss machines pushed on, all the way to the summit. Congratulations!
I would love to have been with them however I trekked down with Toni, who had judged her energy levels particularly well, turning around before getting completely shot, so we plodded down from something like 6400m with glorious views. So I can't truthfully say that is 7/7 for me personally, but at least one of the team did succeed for a 7 out of 7.
For Diane and Jeff, who probably did the most training, the trip was a real, focused expedition rather than a trek with a climb, and a real challenge to both of them, that their smiles certainly rose to. Completing the Aconcagua 360 and sleeping at virtually 6000m is very tough, and Jeff was a real soldier, especially when his trekking boots were lost, so trekking out in plastics. Hardcore!
2015 Ice Winter
The Chadar is perhaps the most adventurous trekking trip there is.
We trek the semi-frozen Zanskar River while frost smoke wreathes the trees, in the company of Zanskaris still using this ancient trade route. This is THE must do trip for the seasoned trekker!
11-29 Jan, 19 days — expedition style — Leh-Leh — Ade Summers — US$3250 including gear
Crew: Lobsang and winter team
I never tire of saying the Chadar is an adventure, one of the greatest there is, and that also means it is prone to surprises. There was a huge landslide more than 100km up river in a remote area and with the river level at a hydro plant dropping, a heli was sent out to search why, in a surprisingly professional way. The Tsarap Chu was blocked by a huge landslide, damming the river and a lake formed behind. This is one of the most dangerous situations, especially for trekkers in an enclosed inescapable gorge, and the authorities closed the Chadar, calling back our trek team on the river. A good call but an end to that adventure, sadly.
PS finally the dam broke in May, destroying virtually every bridge along the Zanskar River to the Indus.