Nepal has featured high on my list of destinations that I simply had to visit for many years now. A strange timeline saw me booking flights in April, just as the earthquake rocked the country. For the months prior to our November departure the earthquake dominated peoples discussions, with concerned questions relating to a country that had been toppled as seen through the media. Don’t get me wrong, there were signs of destruction that we witnessed but as a whole life continues moving forward with other challenges (at the time of visit India had stopped the flow of fuel into the country, crippling the infrastructure) now at the front of the mind.
Quieter than usual?
Having not visited the country before, I can only go off what we were told time and time again throughout the trip. The aftermath of the earthquake is not so much in the destruction it caused, but instead on the number of people who had cancelled or postponed trips to the country. The main tourist hub of Kathmandu, Thamel, was extremely quiet, and the trails in the Khumbu Valley were apparently 90 percent down on visitor numbers to previous years.
I just uploaded a new gallery to my website showing some of the landscapes from the trip (that you can see here). Here’s a few more that I picked out for the blog. As I mentioned, this was my first trip to the country. It poses quite a few challenges and travel is not always comfortable but I simply can’t wait to go back. You should go there too.
Kathmandu in all its chaos. two nights proved ample to arrange permits and flight tickets.
There’s something great about the domestic terminal at Kathmandu. I can only imagine how crazy it must be during the Spring expedition season.
Passing security, still wearing beanie and down jacket. “Do you have any guns or knives?”
The short, but well documented, 35 minute flight from Kathmandu to Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla.
This was my first trip using the Sony camera systems. Dust management is really key with these mirrorless bodies, but loved the portability of the cameras. The trip only made me want to explore more uses for the cameras and i’m currently buying more into the brand.
Having flown in the day before, we woke super early in Namche Bazaar to go exploring.
The earthquake had done quite a bit of damage to the town of Khumjung, with a lot guys working hard to rebuild.
At the lower elevations (under 4000m that is) clouds would roll through in the afternoon making for some atmospheric walks.
Early morning light on the approach to Namche Bazaar.
Almost everything in the Khumbu valley is brought in on foot. Here a porters load consists of some corrugated steel.
Our porter Bhagyaman had a less imposing load. At around 35kg though, it still packed a punch.
Early days in the foothills.
The landscape unrolls as you explore each valley. The walk from Pheriche up to Dzongla is right up there as one of my favourites.
Taking things higher and to the more barren landscapes as we looked to climb Lobuche East.
Lobuche East high camp and the only team on the mountain. It felt strange climbing a peak in such solitude.
Everyone else had left me so I waited for sunset by myself, well layered up.
Not a bad spot for a crampon point. Descending from Lobuche East on another beautiful day.
I can’t wait to go back.