Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Wednesday 14.4.2010 Dharapani - Chame (Day 4)

First glimpses of snow peaks

Sky is clear and sun is going to shine brightly today. After hearty breakfast we'll start trekking in long trousers and shirts. Soon after the sun is hitting us on the path I need to change to T-shirt and shorts. The first two hours is steady climbing and after 600 meters climbing we have a longer lunch break in Timang village. The leg from Timang to Chame feels long, but finally arriving to New Tibetan Lodge at Chame just before 3PM. Quick shower and then we'll have a walk on the streets of Chame. There's even Internet cafes here, but the connection speed is not that fast, therefore I can't upload any photos... Trek has been going well so far. It's Nepalese new year's eve, the year 2067 is coming. There will be big parties on this village tomorrow, with local band and concert at the yard of primary school. However we need to continue our journey and will miss the party...

Rhododenrons and mountains

Altitude: 2670 m, Trekking time: 7,5 hours, total climb 1260 m


Tuesday 13.4.2010 Jagat – Dharapani (Day 3)

Proud Nepalese woman

Wake-up at 6:15 and we’ll start trekking without breakfast, because the food wasn’t too delicious on this lodge. At 7AM we are heading through the Jagat village and start with mild descend. After 10 minutes we see fresh landslide, which has nearly hit one building. The owner of the building is asking donations from the trekkers, because landslide has destroyed nearly everything from him. Between Jagat and Tal there are lot's of landslides and some of them are closed and we need to take higher track over the ridges. When arriving to Tal after 400 meters ascending it starts to rain again and after the lunch I'll buy raincover for my packbag. First time on this trek I need to put Gore-Tex clothes on, when continuing hiking in the rain. Just after Tal we wash our feet on icecold water on the river on the sunshine. The last part of the hike is easier for me than the morning. We try to get to Dharapani before it starts to rain again and first drops are already falling, when arriving to 3 sisters - lodge. There's ACAP check post just next to the lodge and when getting the stamp to the permit, I see from the book that I'm 88th trekker today. There are on average 100 trekkers per day on spring and 300-400 trekkers on autumn. At the same time I'll check if my colleague from Poland has passed this check post already and indeed, their group has checked their permits 4 hours before. It will mean that I'm going to see then tomorrow, when we are going to Chame. The food at 3 sisters lodge is delicious and we are really hungry after the long hiking day. Lasagne and custard pudding for the dinner makes me feel happy. At 7PM it starts to rain again with thunderstorm.

Father and his son :)

Altitude : 1900 m, Trekking time 9 hours, total climb 1350 m


Monday 12.4.2010 Bhulebhule – Jagat (Day 2)

Coming to the Buddhist area

Wakeup call at 6:15 and breakfast at 6:30. I’ll have Tibetan bread and oat porridge with black tea. Breakfast is delicious and huge. ACAP check post is just next to lodge and we get stamp to our trekking permit. Next check post is at Dharapani. First hour is easy terrain, but then it turns into steep uphill to Bahundanda. We climb 500 meters uphill and have good views to the valley from Bahundanda. Short drinking break and then we start descending pretty much the same amount, before we start the ascending again. At middle way from Bahundanda to Ghermu there’s a waterfall and pool, where we have a chance to put our feet to coldish water and refresh them. At half past one we stop at Rainbow restaurant at Ghermu and have the lunch, mixed fried rice. Temperature is 32 degrees in the shadow. I’m sweating and drinking a lot. Last leg from Ghermu to Jagat with hard climbs is tough. I’m happy to see finally Jagat and we take the room from Tibetan Pemba lodge. In the evening there is a powerful thunderstorm with lightning, heavy rain, strong wind. I wouldn’t like to be on the path right now on this rain and darkness. Due to the storm there is electricity power down and there are no lights at all in whole village. We are eating our dinner at candle light. I’ll order onion soup and cheese pancake, and the onion soup is like eating water without any onions.

Nepal, the land of landslides and stable buildings!

Altitude : 1300 m, Trekking time 8,5 hours, total climb 1100 m


Sunday 11.4.2010 Kathmandu - Bhulebhule(Day 1)

Welcome to Nepal

We have agreed yesterday that our taxi driver will pick us from the Kathmandu guesthouse at 9:15AM. We are having buffet breakfast before 9AM in the front garden with pleasent sunshine and with the voice of the singing birds. When driving through the city to the Tourism Information office, from where we should get all the trekking permits, we can see families driving with motorcycles, a man who is cycling with chickens roped in the steeringbar.

After 40 minutes we have trekking permits with us and our driver starts to drive towards Besisahar. There's lot's of traffic on the road and when we get out of the Kathmandu, traffic will get totally stopped in long queues, where we have to wait for a long time... Traffic jam is due to the car accident, where minivan and truck has had a collision on the road. The drive to Besisahar feels endless and finally after 7 hours we arrive just before 6PM. We take the packbags and start walking the street of Besisahar to the end of the village. Just before the end of the road there’s TIMS check post and we show our TIMS permits. They don’t advice us to continue further, because it’s getting dark after half an hour. However we have decided to walk to Bhulebhule in the dark with our headlamps showing the path. We’ll start at 6:30 and arrive to Bhulebhule at 8:30. We’ll get a room from Thorung La lodge, have shower and light dinner before getting to sleep.

Altitude : 840 m, Trekking time 2 hours


Saturday 10.4.2010 Delhi - Kathmandu (Day 0)

On the streets of Kathmandu

The Finnair flight from Helsinki has landed onto Delhi - airport 20 minutes late from the original schedule at half past five on the morning. We follow the Transfer sign, because we don't have Indian visas and therefore we can't pick our baggages and do our check-in for the following flight to Kathmandu. We face at the glass door the friendly guard, who don't let us enter the Transit area, but asks us to wait. After a while there's a long queue behind us mostly from the Finnish travellers from the same Finnair flight. When 20 minutes has gone, man will appears behind the desk, which is located at the corridor and he starts to call queuers one by one to him. He will check carefully passports, flight tickets and baggage claim tickets. We'll wait at corridor when he has finished to check all transit passengers and then he gives us a permit to enter transit area one by one.

We have a long wait in front of us, roughly 7 hours. From time to time there will be airport stuff walking on the transit area and calling passengers to the coming flights. At 11AM, one hour before Jet line flight to Kathmandu should depart, we finally get our boarding passes and we move to security check. My bag will be carefully checked, the camera and laptop removed and checked separately. I'll get approval stamp onto my checked cabin baggage ticket in my bag. At the gate the same checked cabin baggage ticket will be checked still two times, before I'm allowed to enter the plane.

We arrive at Kathmandu Tribhuvan airport at 2PM and fill out immigration and visa application forms. Nepalese visa for 30 days costs 40USD on the airport. When walking out from the terminal there is plenty of taxi drivers competing of passengers. Negotiations will decrease the amount of taxi drive from 450-500 rupees to 300 rupees.

We will manage to get a room from Kathmandu Guest House and immediately after checking in, the same taxi will drop us to trekking agency, from where we are able to get Annapurna trekking permit (2000 rupees) and the car ride tomorrow to Besisahar. Initially we thought to get bus ride to Besisahar, but we need to get TIMS (Trekker's Information Management System) permit (20 USD) before the trek and the office opens at 10AM next morning. Therefore we miss tomorrow's morning bus to Besisahar. At the same time we exchange Euros to Nepalese rupees and are ready to start the trek tomorrow.

Since last year there has been lot's of changes for doing the Annapurna trek: 1) Instead of one permit, you need to have two permits (Annapurna conservation fee and TIMS). This will increase the price of the trek and if you are not doing the trek with organised trekking agency, you need to apply TIMS personally at their office (like we need to do), 2) There are no anymore donations for the Maoists on the route, 3) The road has been built from Beni to Muktinath and when you are walking down the valley you can see buses and cars there. This eventually will destroy the Annapurna trek as a beautiful interesting trek. At the same time we were informed that next year it's not anymore possible to do this trek without porter. You need to get at least one porter from the trekking agency, before you can get permits. This will further increase the price for the trek. During the years 2000, 2006 and 2010 I have seen the change from undeveloped beautiful trek to trekking between the cars and buses on the dusty road :(

Kathmandu and Thamel itself seems to be unchanged. The only remarkable difference from the previous visits is the smaller amount of people (e.g. tourists) at Thamel. Walking and driving is easier today than earlier with fully packed streets.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Part II : Trekking around Annapurna


Spring has arrived to Northern hemisphere, it's April and bunch of rich and ambitious people are currently hiking towards the EBC (Everest Base Camp) at Nepal to start their climbing challenge...

Lakpa Norbu Sherpa is already working there together with ER (Emergency room) and HRA (Himalayan Rescue Association) doctors to help climbers on the base camp who have medical problems during the climb.

I will be heading to Nepal tomorrow, but won't meet Lakpa this time... It would have been great to trek to EBC and meet Lakpa and Everest climbers (few from Finland as well), but the earlier plans for Annapurna are still valid.

The preparation for this trek has been minimal. Yesterday I had a lunch in Nepalese restaurant at Tampere (Katmandu) and that's it :) Now I have to pack my bagpack and just jump to the plane. My second home country is waiting...

I'm not sure how well I'm able to update the blog from the trek, in my first trek to Annapurna there were not even electricity at villages, but nowadays the electricity is provided nearly all of the villages.