Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012 Himlung Expedition

We travelled to the Lost valleys of Nar and Phu over the past few weeks (October 2012) to climb Mount Himlung, a 7126 meter (23,379 feet) mountain on the Tibetan border with Nepal.  We nearly reached the top, deciding to turn back for the sake of safety.  We felt very far from home up there on that day, the wind constantly droning and us quite alone in a big place with minimal gear.  Himlung presented an interesting challenge this Autumn 2012.  While there were ~4 teams in base camp, none of us had encountered the mountain in these conditions.
Crevasses were bare and lain open, the route not straightforward as in past years on most of the mountain.  We ended up needing a lot more rope and manpower for breaking trail to get as high on the mountain as we did.  It was 12 pm, and clouds were rolling in that could potentially obscure the entire mountain as it had the two days prior, obstructing our view and the way down.  We had to turn back; and
such a difficult thing to do after so much effort, hard work, and preparation.
 No regrets really.  We gave it the best we had, with what we had, and came back safe.  That is what is most important.  The photos below to show the sheer beauty of where we were lucky enough to spend a few halcyon days in this wild range.  

The team gathers in Kathmandu, our landcruiser loaded for the bumpy journey into the Marsyangdi gorge.

We trekked into Phu in 7 days through the waterfall rich Marsyangdi gorge.

portions of the trail leading into the Nar and Phu valleys are carved out of the mountain side.

the ancient Khampa settlement of Ghyaku in Phu valley.

  Kanguru Himal towering above the winter village site of Kyang in Phu valley.

the spectacular ancient village of Phu.

locals transporting grain from the working fields to their homes.

a ladder leading to granary storage in one of the upper houses of Phu.

Locals in Phu pose for a photo amongst their harvest.
a Phu boy with his small load heads to the fields.  The entire family helps with harvest.

We perform a puja with a local lama from Phu, asking for the mountains blessing to climb on her slopes.  View a video of the lama's chant.

We begin climbing.

camp 1.

a climber breaks new ground just above camp 2.

camp 3.

the team climbing on the mountain (upper left hand corner) with all of Himlung Himal in the background.