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Nepal - Dave Sudell

Our autum visit to Nepal was a huge success thanks in no small way to the LMC's man in Nepal Saroj Nupane and his team at Beyond the Limits. We trekked around Manaslu via Gorka, Arughet Bazzar, Saroj's parents village of Basseri, Jagat, Samdo and the Larkya Li pass (5200M) and then decended to Dharapani where we joined the Annapurna circuit for Pisang, Manang and the Thorong La pass (5600M) before descending to Johmston and flying out to Pokrah.

Regrettably Pisang Peak defeated us, the ascent being via the north shoulder which is a rock scramble up fixed ropes and not the snow fields we were expecting. We managed well to 5600M before deciding that scrambling up slabs covered in loose scree and debris was not for us. Having left high camp at 3am our rate of progress would mean submitting late afternoon and a real risk of decent in the dark. Pisang peak was a reasonably graded snow plod but the snow disappeared several years ago (global warming?) and has now left a long and exposed shoulder of rock slabs and scree to be ascended to the summit snow field.

Our party, made up of Julie, Vicky and myself. aided and abetted by Saroj our sirdar, Tensing our excellent porter cook and Sujan our porter. Assisted at times by Dendi a very able mountain guide and his mountain porter Beri. An excellent team supplied by Saroj.

Being a small party had many advantages one being that we spent many evenings sitting by the fires in the kitchens of the lodges we stayed in. 'Fly on the wall' observations of the Nepali way of life was a great honour and sitting in whilst the yak driver distributed his gifts to his family on his return from Tibet was a rare privilege. We will never forget the smile on the child's face at being presented with the new shoes!

The weather was generally very good but we missed out on the views of Manaslu from Samero and Samdo (ie the east) due to unseasonable cloud and rain. Saroj mentioned that this type of weather had also occurred during October of last year. Thankfully it cleared as we ascended the Larkya La and apart from some snow in Manang we otherwise enjoyed clear sunny days which afforded the stupendous views of Manaslu from the North, the Annapurnas and Dhalugheri.

All in all an excellent trip, we can all highly commend the services of Saroj and his team.

Saroj has a website at - www.beyondthelimitstreks.com