Adventure Makalu Himal, Nepal Nov 2012
Trekking is the best way to see Nepal, getting your trekking boots out there leaving all other kind of other transportation behind. But as always the transportation to the trail head is intense and interesting, let alone this time.
Propeller plane to Tumlingtar, the adventure begins.
When you think there is nothing more to discover in this mountainous country you realize you are once more wrong.
Makalu is derived from the Sanskrit, Maha Kala, a name for the Hindu God Shiva that translates into the big black, not bamboo, but mountain…….You better believe in Buddha’s propeller planes…………………………The first view of the Himalayan range and of Makalu Himal is from here, the plane takes us to the low laying and insignificant village of Tumligtar 400m. A dusty Jeep ride later and we are sort of red earth tanned and in Khandbari, this is the start of our trek, the completed “road” is walked along from here. We lace our boots and hike the first 2 days trying to avoid the “road” which pass all the way to Num. Num is the village at the end of the road, from here the real trek starts. From here we share the trail with donekys, porters, villagers and a few fellow trekkers. THIS IS THE WILD EAST- Trails beaten by people interested in the rewarding qualities of an untouched nature not in commodities. No pizza in sight, no apple pie trail, this is what trekking is all about. Sunrises that gives the early mornings on the trails a meaning. Sometimes the clouds obscure your views but even that is beauty. Close to NumLuma Luma, this day had a near 900 m descent to the Barun Koshi river, after crossing the river we climb to Sedua………. Up and down here we go, but good training for what lies ahead. in Sedua we stay with a local family and experience once again the warm hospitality of the Nepalese people. Next stop is Tashigaon and at 2000m this is the last permanent settlement of the trek. This village is inhabited by the Sherpa people, Tibetan descendants, buddhist believers and famous for their mountaineering skills. It seems that everybody making some sort of expedition needs a sherpa, Hillary had his Tenzing. The big camping groups have theirs, we have none, but we are not an expedition we are in it for the adventure…………….. We are a couple of crazy for mountain views souls. From now on there will only be rebuilt Kharkas ( summer grazing huts) which serve as basic tea houses for people like us who travels without tent and food. From Tashigaon the trail becomes rocky and steep we scramble up up up trhrough waterfalls, bridges and the fellowship of the birds which seem to laugh at us, 4 hours and 1400m later we arrive in Khongma and at the tea house of Pasang Sherpa. Khongma is invaded by clouds we walk in milk white humid haze, finally at sunset the clouds scatter and we get a first look of tomorrows adventure, Up up up, at least that’s what we think It’s here that we understand that the tea house in MBC Makalu base camp and Yak Kharka will be closed. These are the two last days of the trek and at this point they seem vital……. Nightly pee expeditions reveal a starry sky, this is a good sign, tomorrow will be a good day. We are fueled by Dal Bhat (rice vegetables and lenitl soup), which is the local staple diet throughout Nepal and especially in the mountains. This is the standing menu for the rest of the trip. Early morning and we manage to leave before everybody else get’s up. The low human impact changed when a group of 17 german trekkers burst into Khongma in the late afternoon. Us and nature lost it’s meaning when they pinched their tents, dining tents and toilet tents……… As they are going down we leave them happily behind and start our climb and the first real close sight of the snow clad mountains. Climb to tutu la, decend to Kali pokari lake, and climb up again to Shipton La, the highest point of the day. Before Shipton la 4216m the clouds start to roll in, on the north side of the pass we encounter the first snow, although old still slippery we get first encounters of while sliding down to another lake before climbing another pass keke la 4150m and it’s the last joke of the day, from here we descend to Doobato at 3860m. Doobato is no more than a small kharka with 6 short wooden beds, Pemba Sherpa is the owner and husband of Pasang in Khongma. . No sun and we are in it for a cold night, but the stars are there when I curse myself for having drunken too much tea before going to bed. As the rule is we trek down 700m to the Barun Nadi before regaining the same amount over landslides, boulders, rocks and vanished trails to Yangle Kharka, the last opened tea house on the trek. Chopal Sherpa is still hanging in there but we realize that also he wants to go down, it’s getting to cold………
Early morning we depart from Yangle Kharka with 2 borrowed sleeping mats, dry noodles and bisquits. These are facts, the Tea houses are cvlosed, there might be some abandoned kharka which we can sleep in on the way. There are none but us on the trail today. We are here now and we have come to far to turn around, we want to see Makalu and the rest of the mountains up close.
Through alpine landscape leaving the forests and jungles behind, we are entering the core of the valley the birth place of Barun Nadi, we climb on landslides alongside the moraine before the valley opens up and we look straight in the eyes of the Black mountain. We have a rest at a lonely boulder in the middle of this open space which seems to be an up dried delta of a glacier which left the round rocks as a remainder.
It’s been a long day. We have not made Base camp but we have seen mother natures work in her prime.
Overwhelmed we turn back towards the clouds growing in the horizon, soon we are trapped in the clouds and we decide to make a long day even longer by returning to Yangle kharka for a bed and Dal bhat.
We arrive with the last twilight to Yangle Kharka and Chopal who as us never thought we come back in one day.
On returning next day to Dobato we’ll get a surprise. Tired we arrive to Dobatoo ready for a dal bhat, what we get is Pemba sherpa ready to leave for the winter, he is closing the tea house…..
We have no choice but to follow, Khongma is 3 passes away and another long hard day is starting for us……..
A seemingly easy day turned out to be another hard day in Makalu National park. arriving with the sunset again we fuel up with dal bhat and go straight to bed, everything is aching.
Showers are something unheard of for us during this 2 week trek, we live, breed and add to our bodily perfume daily not taking any fragrance away.
There are no Yaks on the trail but I guess we are the missing link of these smelly beasts.Tongba BrothersOnce up all you have to do is come down, so we thought to.
With an open ticket we arrive in Tumlingtar, yes you can fly out in one week, WHAT…..We forgot about Tihar, the nepali festival…..
We hang out in the airline office and I get on the passenger list for the day after. Ferdy gets a ticket 10min before the flight takes off.