Updated 11 Oct 2012
1982 roadless Annapurna Circuit
The 1982 roadless
"Once the best long distance Trek in the World"
20-camp 200 mile trek reaching 17,769 feet at Throng La, Nepal.
Using trails, tents, sherpas and porters,
before the road was built.
No cars, no papers, no mobiles, no electricity, no digital cameras.
Aerial view of the Annapurna Massif
Image stitching was used on several photos taken while flying
a course from Ghasa to Jhinu Dada at 20,000 feet over heavy cloud.
The story of a trekking holiday in Nepal, organised by Ramblers Holidays
in 1982, under the name of "Manang Trek".
It has 20,000 words taken from battered logbooks I kept on Trek.
We never saw or heard a vehicle for 21 days, there were just no roads,
only vertiginous trails.
The words are only those written on trek, hot under a burning sun or cold,
by candlelight, weary after a day's climbing, and shortage of oxygen....
I hope they recreate some of the lost charm of the roadless
(There's a lot of comment on Google about what the AC is like now).
See also Huayhuash in Peru.
Anyone on this trek please contact me on
Thanks to Derek Voller of Essex for scanning and tweaking 120
30-year old cardboard slides.
PARTY: 18 total:[photo]
1 Dick Warren (-ologist) |
2 Richard Pearce (Probation Officer) |
3 Mike Marriot (oil rigs) |
4 Alan Dunkley (doctor) |
5 John Palmer (Engineer, webmaster) |
6 Tim Potts (policeman) |
7 Dave Robinson (American, retired, ski-school, businessman) |
8 Tony Mackrill |
9 Eric Duggan (Creative Advertising) |
10 Jane Warren (Hospital Pharmacist) |
11 Sue Marriot |
12 Mavis Gaunt |
13 Christine Harris (Civil Servant) |
14 Mary Hill (Leader) |
15 Anne Joyce (Primary School teacher |
16 Rosie Doughty (Software) |
17 Bina Robinson (wife, retired, ski-school) |
18 Audrey Underwood (retired Civil Servant) |
Profile of part of the old Annapurna Circuit trekking route -
slow climb to the Throng La high point -
steep descent to the Kali Gandaki river -
viewpoint at Poon Hill.
The roadless Annapurna Circuit trekking route -
20 camps from Dumre to Pokhara -
around 200 miles - highpoint the Throng La pass at 17,769 feet -
spelling is very variable!
This trek crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna
massif, crossing Thorung La (5416m), the highest pass on this trek.
Practically all trekkers hike the route counter clockwise, as then the
daily altitude gain is slower and crossing the high Thorong La pass is
easier and safer. Annapurna Circuit has often been voted as the best
long distance trek in the world, as it combined, in its old full form,
a wide variety of climate zones from tropics at 600 m asl to the arctic
at 5416 m asl at the Thorong La pass and cultural variety from Hindu
villages at the low foothills to the Tibetan culture of Manang Valley and
lower Mustang. Continuing construction of a road has greatly shortened
the trail and altered the feel of the villages, so the "best trek in the
world" can not be said to hold true anymore. The Annapurna area was opened
to foreign trekkers in 1977 after the disputes between CIA backed Khampa
guerrillas operating from the area into Tibet, and the local populace
and Nepal army were settled. The original trek started from the market
town of Dhumre situated at the Kathmandu - Pokhara highway and ended
in Pokhara, and took about 23 days to complete. Road construction started
in early eighties both from Dhumre to the north and from Pokhara to
the west and then up the Kali Gandaki valley. The road has now reached
Chamje on the Marsyangdi river valley and all the way to Muktinath on the
Kali Gandaki side. This means that out of the original 23 days only 5
walking days of the trek is still without a motor road. It is apparent
that there will be a road around the whole Annapurna Massif before 2017.
In places new trails and routes have been marked so that the road can be
partly avoided. The existence of the road has nevertheless totally changed
the area and the appearance and the atmosphere of the villages.
Day 01 Tue 19 Oct 1982.
Woke suddenly at 0000 hours after sleeping like a log since 1920 hours.
Couldn't get back to sleep, so snoozed then got Rosie up at 0200. Now
we've phased in to Katmandu time (over the last week in 1 hour steps
per day), so 0220 BST is 0700 KT! Pitch dark outside but I can see stars.
My gut is in phase too, so ready to eat and the opposite. Am wearing
two cheap digital watches, local and Kat time.
Had breakfast, then kept pestering Rosie for 2 hours until she finally
got dressed and ready. Drove in my orange Metro to Corfe Mullen
to pick up Dave Buist at 0530. Dave is a hardware engineer in my
department, we cycled 100 miles to Stonehenge this year. Then had easy
ride in the dark to Heathrow, (weighed 17 stone 7 lbs this morning)
with just one Nature-stop for Rosie when we found a wood between M3 and M4.
Started meeting party members, and leader Mary Hill and Doc.
friendly American couple, Dave and Bina and then had snack in smart buffet.
Flight is 1035 not 0935, 7800 kms, 8h 10m. Eventually our flight was called.
Went through passport check. Rosie was searched and her rucksack too, mine
wasn't. Boarded a 747, not a DC10 as I feared. Nice bright day outside. Took
off 1100 hours. Usual great acceleration. Exhilarating views from my window
seat. Man has completely changed the landscape - houses, roads and fields,
all getting smaller as we climbed. Couldn't recognize anywhere - must be Thames
and perhaps the M2. Looks like Thames estuary. This view is fit for the Gods.
Over the coast at 1114. Goodwin Sands. Flying is a miracle come true.
Lots of ships below, their wakes precise and white. A few wispy clouds below,
their shadows just to one side. As we climb it gets brighter. High cirrus
above us. Entered above 10/10 cloud, so had a little kip. Later, looked down
and saw the plane's shadow "in glory" - a black dot surrounded by bright rings.
Land below getting hillier, occasional snow. Our plane leaving vapour trail
shadow. Put one of my two watches away, now only wearing Katmandu Time. Its
1711 KAT and still no food. Only had an apple since 0730 KAT and I'm hungry.
Had an excellent meal of turkey, potatoes, peppers and spices, cheese.
Superb view of terrain below. Little cloud most of the way, the sun was on
the other side of the aircraft, and as it got lower threw
the hills into
relief. Flew along Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, crossed a short
stretch of water into Turkey. The terrain there got more and more
arid as we went further south, with large area of red soil and badlands.
Crossed into the Mediterranean, over Cyprus. Circled in a holding loop
just South of Cyprus, then crossed into Syria. Watched daylight fail
as we crossed very arid country, occasional settlements. Saw one modern
village in the middle of a great square earthwork and ditch, a much bigger
place in the past. Over Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf in the
pitch dark. Over a brilliantly lit town, expense of lighting no object.
Some oil flares, the only light in the inky blackness. Oil rigs at sea,
the flaring gas flames lighting a glimmering yellow path over the
sea towards the aircraft. Small linear lights scattered round must be
tankers tanking up. Rosie had a meal, but I didn't feel hungry. She kept
some cheese and chocolate though, which came in useful later. Had a snooze.
Think we are descending 2330 hours.
002. Shanker Hotel, Kathmandu [text]
003. The trekking party, Kathmandu [text]
Day 02 Wed 20 Oct 1982.
Over Bombay 2350 KAT. Strings of lights everywhere below. Outside
temperature 28C=82F. Maybe we are in a holding [loop]. Touchdown 2353 KAT.
Very hot and humid immediately we got off the Jumbo. Bombay airport a lot
scruffier than Heathrow. Went to the gents. An Indian saw me approaching,
opened the door, directed me to the pissoir, later poured soap over my
hands from an old coke tin and gave me torn up bog paper to dry. He then
wanted a tip of course, but I had no rupees.
When our next flight was called, to Delhi, Rosie's handluggage was searched
and her penknife confiscated. They were in doubt about her dressmaking
scissors, but finally relented. We boarded yet another Jumbo, and this time
sat with Tim Potts on a front row, lots of leg room.
Air hostess sat opposite me. Haven't the gall to photograph, so will try
and describe in words.
Silver painted toenails, gold-coloured thong-type
sandals, brown, tight, Indian-style trousers. Green jacket, with decorated
"waistcoat" over. Gold bangles on wrists. Silver painted fingernails.
Jet black hair in small bun behind. Large red "third eye" above other two
well-made-up natural ones. Two small button earrings, high green collar.
Third eye is "stick-on", rather like a bit of blue-tack except red.
Diamond pin through lower nose. Dark skin and eyes.
Small meal, had snooze. Landed at 0400. Tim Potts smokes quite a lot.
Rosie has lost her new eyeshade. Delhi was 72F, and humid. Joined
a party from our group getting our cases off the carousel. Remarkably,
nothing lost, though one of my 3 luggage straps vanished. Hung around
in limbo waiting for something. Feeling bit tired now.
Rosie suddenly discovered her confiscated penknife hadn't been returned,
and we raised bureaucratic cane until eventually, remarkably, we got it
back after dashing back and forth between officials and milling crowds.
They do seem to take a little bit of paper seriously. Waited in the same
damn hall as 2 years ago until our plane was called, Rosie was searched
thoroughly as usual, and her penknife again confiscated!
Took off in a Royal Nepalese Airlines Boeing 727 at 0830. Didn't have a
window seat this time. Fed again, and more forms to fill in. One of the
air-hostesses is in Tibetan dress and is like a doll. Landed at
Katmandu in bright sunshine, they said 81F but it felt hotter.
After much pushing and shoving, we piled into a small bus and got to the
good old Shankar
at 1030, luggage arriving later. We got room 610.
Momentary embarrassment when Mary and Allen were put together. Feeling
tired, but, when cases arrived, got everything organised for kit-bag.
Had a good shower then went down to good lunch in the magnificent
dining room. Half-way through the meal Audrey had a sort of grand mal
at the table. She was taken upstairs and seen to
by Allen, but I haven't heard how she is. Rosie and I had a short kip,
then took a rickshaw ride to Durbar Square, from where we walked back, looking
at trinkets and carpets. Carpets about 6' x 3' seem to cost between
£70 and £100.
At 1830 went to see Lalupate Cultural Group. a sort of folk dance show
just round the back of the Shankar. I was going to sleep on my feet,
but woke up again because the dancing was really colourful and lively.
Beautifully dressed girls drumming and fluting, short cameos of 5 minutes
each for about 1 hour. Back for a drink then bed. Went straight to sleep
with lights on at 2030 and slept like a log
007. Durbar Square, Kathmandu [text]
012. Fruit stall, Lagenkehl [text]
Day 03 Thu 21 Oct 1982.
Woke suddenly at 0530, pitch dark, pressed my watch light, waited till my
eyes focused, back to sleep again. Woke again suddenly at 0645.
Daylight, foggy, woke Rosie, got dressed, walked round garden, sat on
chair under the big tree. Strange birds strutting and calling. Best sleep
I've had for years. Man polishing a Russian car. "You want taxi?". No.
Coughs, hawks and spits. Have they all got TB? Birds like starlings, but
yellow bills, dark green heads, grey bodies, white bars on wing and tail,
yellow legs. Pigeons are exactly same. A trek is just setting out from
the hotel. They seem to speak in Dutch, German even English. Nice blue
kit bags (Hauser). Met 2 of our party in grounds, but seen no more yet.
The hotel is walled with wood carvings, very intricate, of Hindu gods
waving lots of arms. A German trekker, boots and crew cut, climbing
breeches with braces, went into ladies because he didn't understand
"gents"! The Germans all seem very well dressed for trekking.
Had nice breakfast with Allen (doc) and some of the others. Scrambled
eggs, toast, marmalade, milk, orange juice. Last night the others
had a meal (which we missed), had a drink and a talk from Allen. He
said to drink 8 pints a day at low altitude (heat) and almost as much
at high altitude (dry air) to avoid dehydration. Also not to pat the dogs
(rabies). Kit bags would be arriving at noon today, must be ready at 0630
tomorrow, we are leaving at 0700 tomorrow.
Set off in the bus for Swayambunath. Drove out of Kat, then along
the ring road, which was built by the Chinese (because it is only 80 miles
from China). Climbed steeply in the bus nearly to the top of the hill.
The area was swarming with monkeys (its called the Monkey Temple), cats,
dogs and even chickens. The usual trinket salesmen
selling the usual array of little Buddhas, Gurkha knives, old coins,
prayerwheels etc. Great view onto Kat, but too misty for photography.
Saw man with huge boil 3 times as big as his nose. Took photo and gave
him 10 rupees.
Then on to Patan, first to the industrial section just outside.
Visited the Tibetan Refugee Carpet factory. Fascinating place. A tin
building full of Tibetan men and women making up the carpets on frames,
with a sales room in front. We bought 4 small antimacassars for 115 R each
(about £5) but couldn't decide on a carpet. Must come back later. 6' x 3'
are 1175 R, about £53. Buying them here cuts out the middleman. Then
on to similar "factories" of tin bashing (metal work in thin brass) and
wood work, the latter were interesting. There was a lovely carved
chest for £200 and
a carved writing desk for £250. Problem would be getting them home.
Then onto Patan proper, and a look round the fine buildings, with the
usual fascinating collection of beggars, trinkets, kids, and animals.
Back to the hotel for lunch. Got our kit bags, sleeping bags etc
After Lunch, the sky clouding a bit. Off to Bhakatapur to look
at a different life style, set of buildings and a square where
thousands of pots were being "thrown" on a wheel, using a dark grey
clay. They were being dried in the sun.
Off to Pashupatinath as the sun got low on the horizon.
Nobody being burned on the ghats, and only Hindus allowed in the temple.
A saffron robed priest
guarded the entrance.
I spoke long and earnestly to a Japanese type, who understood English
and explained to a Tibetan who then spoke to the priest. I wanted
a bit of rock from the temple for my workmate Subodh Agrawal, who is
Hindu and for whom this is an important temple. Eventually he went and
brought back a huge piece. Too big I said. He went again and this time
brought a fist sized piece. The rest of the party were either waiting
in the bus or watching in fascination. Pity the priest wouldn't allow
photos of the transaction.
In the gathering gloom we shot and bumped off to Baudenath
to see the huge Stupa. Most of the people in the surrounding
houses are Tibetan and don't seem quite as pushy to sell their
goods as other Nepalese.
Back home again, and great exertions to pack everything in out kit bags,
which must be ready by 0600 tomorrow. I got mine done in about 1 hour
before evening meal, but Rosie continued until I lost my temper about
midnight and turned the light out. We had a good meal at 2000, Star
Lager costs 34R (£1.50). Tim (6'3") has been on Ramblers Stubai
and Otztal and to Norway. Rosie sat with Mary Hill (Leader) who has
some hair-raising stories to tell.
We couldn't sleep, so wrote up our logbooks till 0230!
029. John with kids near Dumre [text]
030. Rosie crossing river near Dumre [text]
Day 04 Fri 22 Oct 1982.
Woken at 0600 by telephone call. Rosie was having a nightmare.
Up quickly, and cases and kit bags downstairs. Breakfast from
huge brass tray. Bananas, hard-boiled eggs, toast. Set off in
bus at 0718. Drove like maniac along road from Kat towards Pokhara via:
...little sleep with nightmare! I wondered where I was, then I thought,
Gawd No! wot have I let myself in for? The guy addressed me as Sir!
I must have sounded like Elaine Stritch!! Orft we jolly well went at 0715
in a bus towards Dumre...
The road rose for the first few mile, then seemed to descend forever
following the Trisuli river till it came to the junction of the Marsyandi
and Trisuli, when it followed the Marsyandi to Dumre, where we got
off. It was much too bumpy to write on the bus, the road was tarmaced
all the way, but very bumpy. The driver drove like a madman. He does this
trip every other day. There are some terrific views. Rice is being grown
on every horizontal inch. There are convection clouds but it is hot and
We debussed at Dumre, walked a few yards, crossed a river,
and had lunch.
Thangkot 0718 |
Mahadev Besi |
Belkhu 78F |
Trisuli river |
Pokhara 130 km |
Kathmandu 70km 0903 |
Beni Ghat |
Kurin Ghat |
Mugling (teastop) |
Satrasava Phant 1053 |
Dumre 1103 |
Averaged about 35 mph
Then followed the dusty trail with odd lorry or car passing.
There is cannabis growing in a lot of gardens, like a tall hollyhock with
white flowers. We saw lots of common mynahs, drongos, big spiders, big
water boatmen, rice everywhere, maize cobs stored and many unidentifiable
things growing. Led with Tim to Tortorre, where we found we had
passed the camping site and had to retrace our steps for at least half an
hour to a field just to the West of the main trail.
Tents were set when we got there, and we lay around chatting and drinking tea
until the meal was
served about 1830 in the mess tent, on a table, with a fine red table cloth,
and chairs. And we had one bottle of Kukhri Rum between us! Very good meal,
4 helpings of clear soup, "mice", cauliflower, "gravy", rice pudding and
sultanas, cocoanut, and tea and rum. Chatted till 2000 then bed. Insects
trilling and singing all round. People say they've seen fireflies.
Rosie has got her anti-mosquito high-pitched whistle device going. She'll
have to stop.
....a boots off crossing of river. Mavis fell in 'cos she didn't
take boots off and wade like me!
032. Locals surrounding thief at Camp 1, Chambas
033. Thief at Chambas with Boudha [text]
Day 05 Sat 23 Oct 1982.
My trousers have worn through between the crutch. Stitched on a patch
of blue nylon as the dusk fell. I think we still have the prisoner with us.
He has been seen round the other side of the school house, bound.
Had a very pleasant evening meal, during which we were told that
tomorrow we would have to take
the thief, together with two local policemen, to the police headquarters
of the valley at Besi Sahar. So Tim (a policeman) took down
statements from those involved (Dave and Bina Robinson, Mike Marriott
[the name means 'little Mary' he says] and two others). They also gave
estimated values. We were also told that there were thieves about in the
village and we should take great care with our belongings, all inside and
tied to tent-poles if possible.
The excitement started at midnight. I had been asleep 3 hours and Rosie
had just fallen asleep after changing orientation from my snoring.
Shouting was heard, lights, more shouting. Somebody (Mike?) grabbed
hold of a hand he saw coming into his tent.
A pilferer was raiding tent after tent, had already got 2 kitbags
and 2 rucksacks. The hue and cry was raised. Dave and Bina's kitbags
were missing, including boots. Apparently a cordon was thrown round the
field, and the man caught coming back for some reason. Much more shouting,
running, and a man was brought back to the Sherpa's tent with the gaslamp,
held tightly by both arms. He was held on the ground and thrashed over 25
times with the Sirdar's belt by the Sirdar, surrounded by sherpas and
porters. He didn't shout much, but groaned. Then he was dragged off and
practically all the stuff recovered. More hitting and Dave's monocular
also found. The man was tied ankles to wrists and left outside the tent.
Went back to sleep about 0200, and woke at 0530.
With the dawn,
villagers and children came and surrounded the thief, while presumably
read a sermon by the Sirdar.
Later, still tied, he was led down to the
village, for further justice.
In the meantime, had a good breakfast of porridge, omelette, toast and
mango jam at 0630. Rosie last as usual getting her bag ready and putting
on her make-up. Then off about 0730, got into
Tortorre quite quickly,
and continued on along dusty cart track above river, through several little
villages. Very humid but 90% cloud.
Kalimati where we had lunch 88F. Trudged on to Kalimati, where I
had the usual fun with the kids. Gave one of Mum's silks away to
man (married 23 years) who later stopped me and gave me 3 bananas in
Super swim at Paundi Khola, Mary and some of the girls starkers.
Then trudged on to the camp site entering
camped in a field at the foot of a steep hill up which about 10 houses
Rosie is miserable, having a cold and Fred. I have sore
feet and a sore crutch. Otherwise no problems. The weather is warm and little
cloud now. Am writing all this by flickering
candle-light at 2051. Went to sleep at about 2100 but woke suddenly
....Loose Wallah had a lot of previous convictions, he was beaten up
in order to obtain confession! (They know how to treat criminals here
by Jove!). Apparantly other criminals were seen by Mary etc who had
obviously been beaten up. Police station included local jailhouse.
036. 2 boys playing "Frere Jacques"
on savangi near Turture [text]
037. Entering Syuribar with mule train [text]
Day 06 Sun 24 Oct 1982.
Mary, Mike, Dave, and others went and made their depositions to the
District Commissioner. Mary said he didn't understand much, asked for
it all to be translated into Nepalese, that the total
lost (and recovered) came to 16,000 R, and that they all fell about
laughing when she said she was unmarried. The case is far from over, Mary
has to stay tomorrow morning to deal with our trek permits. The prisoner
was dealt with fairly roughly, they said, when he was asked questions.
Had a good meal, soup, chappatis, meat, potatoes, tea and rum. Rosie's
miserable as usual, a streaming cold and Fred. I've still got sore feet
and still haven't been for a crap.
Up and out about 0545. Cloudy sky, some mist. At dawn the dogs stop barking
and the cocks start up instead. There's quite a breeze. Dawn comes quickly.
Somebody around the few houses is beating a big drum spasmodically, but I
can't find him. First the cooks came round with tea to the tents, then
with the bowls of hot water for washing. Rosie is unhappy, she has a runny
cold and Fred. She always gets a cold on holiday. I've got very sore feet.
As I sit at the breakfast table alone, writing, I'm surrounded by paddy
with green rice, banana trees, several other kinds of unidentifiable trees,
a low scented herb, the incessant chatter of insects, trekkers staggering
out of their tents, hawking and spitting, the sound of tent zips, banging
and voices from the cooks.
Set off at 0720. Clouds ahead cleared, first views of Phangu, Manaslu and
Himalchuli. Manaslu spectacular 3 sided pyramid. Stopped at a stream for
a wash, but it was not hot enough yet (0925) to encourage any of us to go
for a bathe. A lot of police passed by (about 10), heading in our
direction. Had another rest at Falek Sanghu, Lamjung, opposite
the Hotel Mati. There's a clapped-out horse with saddle cloth marked
UNICEF. Apart from the Hotel, another
stone house, 3 wooden houses and that's it.
Walked hard again, in gathering heat and sun, until we reached a little
valley with stream rushing down to meet the Marsyandi. Tom, X and I were
first and had a lovely bathe to get all the sweat off. Then the rest of
the party came. We are having lunch here. Everybody had a lovely bathe
here, including the two water buffalo. About 40% cloud now. Very hot in
the sun. All the cooks etc are on the South bank, we are on the North.
The prisoner is there too, chain wrapped round his left wrist, but
attached to nothing. Two policemen with him, khaki uniform and red beret
with brass badge. The prisoner is in blue T shirt and shorts, bare feet
and doesn't look happy though he has
just been fed. There's another chap with the police, also in blue, who might
be a prisoner though he's not chained.
Set off again, through lovely fertile valley scenery, green rice on
stepped paddy fields everywhere, some quite nice buildings, until we
reached Besi Sahar.
Fine views now, when the cloud lifts, of
Annapurna 2 and 4 and Lamjung. Here we camped on the school playing
field again, and had great fun with the kids.
040. Fodder carrier, Syuribar [text]
042. Annapurna 4 on left, Annapurna 2 on right,
from Besi Sahar [text]
Day 07 Mon 25 Oct 1982.
After evening meal, asked Doc to visit my tent. His verdict: nothing to
worry about not crapping yet, quite normal since most liquid evaporated
from body. More worried about my feet. I've got foot-rot, caused
by athletes foot and wearing infected socks and not drying feet properly.
Must change socks, he will try and get some foot powder, and must keep feet
dry and sun them if possible. Keep socks clean and dry and change them as
often as possible. Don't go for swim then put wet feet in socks. Bed 2100.
Up just before dawn to clear sky and Ann 2 and 4 lit by sun. Very
spectacular. Have had a good sleep. Todays going to be hot if it doesn't
cloud over. Breakfast around open air table, porridge etc, set off about 0730.
Started climbing a bit more, but more like trekking, river valley steeper,
lovely pointsettias around, reached suspension bridge at Khudi about
1030 where we had lovely bathe in very cold, white water. Allen and Mike getting
garnet out of rocks and lots of mica around.
Set off again about noon, very hot, wearing my big hat, feet killing me,
blisters on blisters, only way to anaesthetize them is to keep walkin,
climbed valley slowly, still rice around, cicadas singing, valley sides steeper,
a lovely waterfall, went through nice little village of Bhul Bhute
or something. Halted
1400 hours. Very parched. Rosie gave me some water, Bless her!
Continued on, hot, but getting cloudy. Eventually came to another
suspension bridge, just beyond which was a paddy filed, now bare earth,
surrounded on 3 sides by steep sides down to rivers. I went straight
down the side near the suspension bridge and had a very cold swim (3 strokes).
My feet are very blistered, I think I must wear two pairs of
socks tomorrow. Nyadi Khola
048. Marsyandi valley after Nyadi [text]
051. Waterfall after Jagat [text]
Day 08 Tue 26 Oct 1982.
Up at 0530 to cloudy skies. Went straight out and had a crap. Hooray!
People are late getting up because it is quiet here (apart from rivers).
No dogs, drums, cockerels, kids etc. My mouth was very parched. Last
a couple of the young porters amused themselves by climbing up the anchor
cables of the suspension bridge and down the main pylon. My beard is
sprouting now - quite prickly. A lot of the hillsides around here are
terraced and lightish green - rice (2nd crop) I presume. The porters
seem to be small, dark, have crewcuts and very muscled legs. Dress in
shabby clothes and shorts and flip-flops.
Started off at 0740, up fairly steeply, still in rice and cicada country.
Met the occasional trekkers in 1s and 2s.
Got to Bohun Danda 0922 after long climb.
Nice place, lovely view.
Posted 3 postcards here. Nice little village, kids, 2 'hotels', small general stores,
but no oranges, singer sewing machines at work, great view from main 'square'
Then down a long way, which seemed all wrong. Eventually we were level with
the Marsyandi again at big suspension bridge over to Sange. We had
lunch on East bank. I had a quick dip, freezing cold, very fast river,
thoroughly dried feet and aired them. With Rosie's help I washed my grey
socks and hung them on my rucksack to dry.
Saw green parakeets in a valley with many bamboo trees. Also French marigolds.
Still the occasional babana tree. John bought (with my money) some oranges
from a hamlet, he picked them from the tree as the natives had to use a
pole to knock them off!
Crossed over to the West bank and started climbing quite steeply along a
corniche path cut into the near vertical
cliff. Reached Jagat at 1500. Looks like we are going to camp here.
We squatted on rocks and watched the local repairing or making a Ferris
wheel for the kids. The design seems to be identical in detail to ones
we have seen elsewhere, maybe there is an itinerant Ferris repairer.
Jagat. Steep valley sides towering above, Marsyandi roaring away hundreds
of feet below. One earthen footpath through village, strewn with boulders.
Kid, dark skin, bare bottomed, crying until I gave her a Mittai
(a sweet). Houses made of piled up rocks up to 2 feet across and wood.
Thatch of rice stalks. Chickens and chicks scratching around, a sleeping
dog. A thin dirty old woman, who disappeared quickly. Millet growing in
fields, also pumpkins and what looks like lettuce. Some young goats. A
couple of German trekkers go by. A dirty bottomless boy, crew cut. The
little girl has an orange she wants to sell for 1 Rupee. She has jet
black, dirty, shoulder length hair, bare feet, blue skirt, earrings
about ¾ inch across, bangles on both wrists. She's about 8 I suppose.
This must be one of the dirtiest villages. The people are of Tibetan stock
I believe. Here comes a goat herd, about 25 of them. Girl in charge, in her
teens, has reaping hook at her back. Goats are being tethered on wooden
platform. Right outside our
tent door, about 20 feet, they've finished the Ferris wheel, have decorated
it with flowers and consecrated it by chopping the head off a cockerel and
throwing the still kicking body back and forth over the wheel.
They've smeared blood around and now the kids are going to have their ride.
Hope it doesn't break. No, the men got on first. Much hilarity.
After evening meal, Mary read us out the details of the Hindu festival that
goes on for 4 days about now. To prove the point, the locals put on a display
of dancing for us, making a proscenium arch out of bamboo and dress material.
Two young girls and two older girls, beautifully dressed with lots
of jewelry, danced with soft feminine movements while the men fooled around.
Most of our Sherpas had a go too, and we had a whip-round for some local
good cause or other. The evening ended suddenly when I tried to teach the
local comedian limbo dancing under a bamboo pole and fell on the only
gaslight, plunging the scene into blackness. Mary said the nearest filament
is probably Katmandu. Bed 2230, while the locals got down to the serious
business of drinking chang (local beer) and rakshi (rice wine).
Sorted out John's feet. Alan says he's a silly boy only having 2 pairs
of heavy socks and no thin inner socks......(before "Ferris Wheel" started
up there was a chicken slaughtering ceremony. Head chopped off, then body
chucked about over the wheel.....Forgot to metion yesterday initial cockerel
slaughter with garlands of flowers etc. Head was chopped off with reaping hook
at Jagat, then still writhing body thrown about over Ferris wheel).
052. Bridge near Jagat, with Jane & Boudha
056. Bagachap Gompa with "Solicit" box
Day 09 Wed 27 Oct 1982.
Up at 0545
Bloody cocks crowing. The porters, Sherpas etc seem to be just as early.
I thought we'd get some more kip this morning. Cloudless at the moment
(0624) as I sit on the rock watching people emerge and pack their sacks.
The Proscenium arch is still there. A lot of our group drank chang and
rakshi last night at some time, I hope their guts stand the strain. Down
the valley I can see a little village halfway up the side. Why halfway?
Transport? Sun? Safety?
Set off at 0740. Feet killing me. Two socks on right foot, one on left.
Anaesthetizes after half hour. Saw some scarlet minivets (birds). Long
hot climb. Huge gorge. Stopped knackered 0843.
Stopped again 0944
in a cave formed by a huge boulder just above a couple of primitive
huts about 300 ft above the Marsyandi.
Earlier tried some stream water
and puritab. Deliciously cold after all the hot drinks I've had. Lovely
cool breeze blowing here. Lots of lizards on the hot upward track, 3
inches to 1 foot long, scuttle into grass on side of trail as I approach.
Stopped at Tal for lunch. Its a large moraine plateau, where for
a mile the river runs more or less flat. Had to walk some way for a bathe.
I was the only one to completely immerse myself, because it was a bit cold.
I've been drinking a lot from streams plus puritabs. Cold water is lovely.
After lunch, started a long slog up again
with occasional rests, through tremendous gorge with vertical rock sides.
Eventually, about 1600, got into Dharapani. Quite a primitive
place, cows wandering in single track through village between about 30
houses. Gave an old man one of Mum's bangles with an opal on, it looked
looked pretty expensive to me, and he seemed overwhelmed. Continued on for
another 10 minutes to Dharapani Hotel, where we camped in the 'garden' in
A side valley leads to Tibet, Allen says, about 5 miles.
Rosie went all the way back to Dharapani to wash her hankies. She seems to be
colds going away.
Arrived at Dharapani village about 1600. Mountain Travel Trekkers
had pinched our camp site so we've camped in the grounds of
My feet are hell, but I hope they will start to get better
now. Its quite cold (1810, over 6000 feet). Those thick candles are pretty
useless because they burn through unevenly. A lot of ordinary candles, cut
to half length, would be better but they would have to be mounted so that
they don't fall over.
Had good meal of tomato soup (dried, 3 helpings), chapati rice, potatoes,
???, and pineapple fritters, tea and rum. Chatted till 2000 when I went to bed.
Allen's cold has gone to his throat and he can only whisper!
Met the Aussie girl with English-American chap at the Hotel (they came in
mess tent). They are back-packing and staying in "hotels", often just a roof
with sheep etc shitting everywhere!! There are apparantly 700 people about
to go over the bloody pass!!! (including Nepalese).
057. Women weaving with kids, before Chame.
064. North East face of Annapurna 2, after Chame.
Day 10 Thu 28 Oct 1982.
They are on the Eastern bank
of the Marsyandi about 200 yards South of the bridge. There are two pools,
underneath enormous boulders and right next to the freezing river. The
temperature of the pools is idyllic, the same as a hot bath, and there's
just room for 2 people in each, so there was quite a queue. After Rosie
had bathed, we went back to the tents, on the West bank by the bridge, and
changed into our cold weather gear. The sky is clear and its
going to be a cold night. Down the river is a magnificent view, of
Manaslu I think.
Dinner, everyone warmly dressed, its about 40F outside. Had egg soup,
potatoes, egg, yak meat and rice, followed by Coke, tea and rum. Then
Allen gave us a little talk about the horrors of altitude sickness,
which could start tomorrow, when we go to Pisang, 11,600 ft about.
Clear sky but stars largely hidden by brilliant ¾ moon. There may be
frost on the ground tomorrow morning. Bed 2000
Up at 0540,
much packing before we emerged, its clear and quite a bit colder. Dawn
comes quickly. Tea, wash face and hands and brush teeth in pan of hot
water they also bring round. Table set and breakfast starts at 0640.
The porters seemed to have slept in a cave. Thought I had a sore throat
this morning, but seems to have gone now. Some high clouds coming now,
good. Usual morning chorus of smokers coughing, mostly porters and sherpas,
but quite a few party members (sounds political doesn't it!). Our porter
is waiting for Rosie now. He's moderately tall for his race, wears a
colourful soft pillbox hat, dark mongoloid face, jet black hair. He carries
both kit bags and tent and his own things.
Porters are graded: 30 kg, 60 kg, 90 kg and 120 kg!!!
Set off about 0730. Pleasantly cool, just right for walking, wooded,
temperate scenery, snowy peaks in front and behind.
Steady climb in fine
conditions (60F) through lovely wooded slopes and steep gorges and
thundering waterfalls. Eventually had lunch, much too early, in a
stubbly field at Latemung, about 7000+ feet.
Off again about 1215,
very steady climbing up, through lovely temperate woodland, which has been
chopped down to a large extent. There are large amounts of wood, logs etc
piled by the trail, very picturesque, but I don't think its doing the
environment much good. The soil is washed away quicker, and
big floods are caused in Bangladesh! After quite a long haul, just
starting to feel the first effects of altitude, reached Chame
at 1530 and headed straight for the hot springs.
066. Manang airstrip among mountains, after Pisang
070. Marsyandi river, Camp 9 and Braga [text]
Day 11 Fri 29 Oct 1982.
Then we all rushed off again to cross the river on a lovely little
wooden bridge and climb the hill to get to Pisang before the sun left it.
The place was fascinating,
houses built of piled stones, no mortar and wood. Flat wood roofs held
down by boulders. Cattle downstairs, people up. Earth tracks for streets,
about 40 houses. A Gompa at the back (see description earlier). Houses
joined by ladders. The earth for half a mile around very bare, arid. The
people all of Tibetan stock, very small, wizened, dark, Mongoloid, all
in Tibetan dress, black, straight, coarse hair, greased, girls with platts
ending in red wool, men with short hair, kids with crewcuts. All the houses
seem to have tall stakes sticking above the roof with a white flag on, tall
and thin. In the centre is a long prayer wall with about 50 prayer wheels,
which are spun by passers-by.
Back to Camp, where
the Sherpas had built a big log fire. We all gathered round this till
meal time, talking and trying to avoid swirling smoke and sparks. After
jolly good meal in the mess tent of veg soup, potatoes, yak steaks, other
vegs, and apple fritters, tea and rum, we once again retired to the fire
where we sang (pretty horribly) all the songs (childish and otherwise)
we could think of till 2130. The 5 Sherpas joined in with great gusto
with their Nepali songs, which Allen recorded surreptiously on his
little tape recorder. And so to bed in dropping temperatures.
Up at 0530 after what seemed a nice long night.
I didn't know the time whenever I woke because my eyes don't seem to
focus on the LCD of my digital watch when I light it at night. Not as
cold as I thought - clear sky this morning but only went down to 38F last
night, 40F at dawn. Packed, went down and crossed the bridge to write this
epistle, from where I have lovely view of fine bridge, our tents, and great
white mountain in background which I think is Lamjung.
Much fun, just after breakfast, as the porters were issued with cold weather
gear - baseball shoes, thick socks, trousers, mitts, balaclavas. The shoes
were miles too big, but they have such broad feet.
Stopped for a rest at 0842. The sun has come out and its going to be
a magnificent day. Everyone's walking very slowly (last night Allen
frightened everyone about altitude). The scenery looks like the Rockies -
towering rock walls, pine trees, the thundering Marsyandi.
I got a bit of sunburn on the back of my hands day before yesterday,
and this morning put some green glacier cream on it. I must be allergic,
because it caused the backs of my hands to go red and swell something
horrible. I thought it was water retention caused by altitude but it was
allergic reaction said Allen, and got
me to clean it off with soap and water. 1031, still cloudless, beautiful
scenery. Real logging country and huge rock faces, unexplored and unnamed
by climbers I expect.
Got to lunch spot about 1130, just on West side of yet another rather nice
Had lunch in a clearing, surrounded by big boulders, and
Annapurna 2 towering above us, very close indeed, the NE face seemingly
coming right down to the clearing. If anyone has climbed this face I take
my hat off to him.
Inside Pisang Gompa: very dark, wood floor, one large Buddha at
back, a small candle flame burning in front, above about 300
small buddhas, "books" line the wall on left, woodwork very colourful,
primary colours, "souvenirs of Hong Kong" hanging down from eaves,
many more Buddhas of all sizes, some locked metal boxes, picture of King
and Queen, a Christmas decoration hangs above altar! A Tibetan woman
opened the door for us, 2 Rupees.
From lunch, slow steady climb through deciduous and fir forests, with
tremendous views of great rock walls and snow covered peaks beyond.
Eventually reached Pisang, 10,000 ft, in a remarkably short time.
We all sound more like a T.B. hospital than a trekking party. Ann (Cockney)
has another cold. She already arrived with one to Nepal.
072. Village maidens at Braga festival [text]
074. Village elders at Braga festival [text]
Day 12 Sat 30 Oct 1982.
Up about 0600. We were told this would be a later morning, breakfast
when the sun reached the camp site. When I looked out there
was frost on the ground and it had reached 24F. The porters had spent the
night under a tarpaulin, when I asked one of them said they had been
"a little" cold. Annapurna 2 is still there, towering above us, but showing
a different (North) face from lunch stop yesterday. Rosie has a terrible dry
cough. My hand developed a huge blister, which I lanced with an antiseptic
(over flame) needle before puncturing. Maybe slight headache when I woke,
Set off 0900, horribly late. No cloud, arid, pinetrees.
Climbed steeply at
first, then came to a summit, from where great view of the Manang valley,
Manang Airstrip, and snow covered peaks abound. Then level walk along
broad valley to near Braga, where we had lunch surrounded by about
20 little Tibetan kids, wanting "pendu", "balon", and fascinated by
Earlier, at a "Hotel", itinerant trinket sellers (3 of them)
spread their wares, including skull caps (bone), pendants, "precious"
stones, scrolls of manuscript, carved figurines, knives etc. I bought
Continued on, along broad, very arid valley, until we came to a sign in
English inviting us to walk 100 metres to the Himalayan Rescue Association
Post and have a chat about Altitude Sickness and conditions on the Throng
La. This we did. The Post was well built of stone and mortar, quite large,
with a rear walled backyard with a magnificent view of snow covered
peaks. The bloke was American, and had himself been to 8,000 metres on Everest.
He studied Altitude sickness as a speciality, and gave us a 10 minute talk
on the subject, making it sound very complicated indeed. However, he said
the conditions on the pass were good, he thoroughly approved of our
program of acclimatization, and was keen on the use of Diamox, and even
said that hash (cannabis) may be used one day in pill form to
alleviate symptoms. All very interesting, in lovely warm sunshine.
Donated 20 rupees.
....surrounded by dirty excited little Tibetan lads. John's plastic snake
and 2 insects caused the usual fright at first.
Continued on and got into Braga camp site at 1600.
The sun had gone behind the valley top, and the place suddenly became
terribly bleak, cold and arid. Out tents were close to the Chorten, and
I was glad to get into mine. 1725 hours. Just a few fluffy clouds around
the peaks. Very cold wind. Clear sky above.
Braga built into the hillside,
highly eroded scenery, a smaller Marsyandi bubbling away on the other side.
A Yak (the short hair kind) suddenly bellows behind the tent. The little
kids have lost interest in us. Earlier I bought
a little carved figurine made of yak bone of a Fat Chinaman with bald
head for 40 R. She asked 80 R but seemed mighty pleased to get 40.
Meal of soupx3, yak, potatoes, cabbage, carrots(!), rice, apricots
and pears, tea and rum. Then I went off to bed early. 1915. Very dark,
no glimmer from Braga on the hillside. I have an excellent sleeping bag,
covers my head, long enough and warm. I only needed to wear my shirt and
pants and it got down to 21F last night but was nice and warm. Rosie
wore everything, including duvet jacket and leggings (I think).
He made a comment about an American party who were all taking Diamox
as precautionary measures:"Peeing their brains out on the way up".
075. Chorten near Manang with swastikas [text]
077. Trinket sellers at Manang. [text]
Day 13 Sun 31 Oct 1982.
Woke at 0510, up at 0530, out at 0600. Dawn comes quickly, frost on
the ground, got down to 21F
last night. We are camped on a flat grassy plain, right next to
the small Marsyandi, and to a small stream entering it. About 50 yards
away and above is a chorten. The lower hillsides are either bare earth
or pine tree covered. On the South side of the valley, there is 180°
sweep of snow peaks, continuous, must find out what they are. To
short-haired yaks blow belligerently occasionally. I am writing this
with mitts on. The backs of my hands are painful, Allen says its only
sunburn, but I think its water retention and allergic reaction to
something (nettles, glacier cream?) as well. 0615 and none of the party
up, though its full light. The morning chorus of zips and hacking coughs
will start soon. Sat on a stool, which I got from the mess tent, which
is where the porters and/or Sherpas
slept last night. No headache at all this morning, and a good nights sleep,
I must be acclimatizing OK, The tents stay here for a second night, but we
go on a 1,500 ft climb today. 0620: The tea ceremony, tea, cups and sugar
brought round by the tall, cheerful Assistant Sherpa and another Sherpa.
"Tea-Tea" they cry, to be met by groans from within the tents.
After breakfast, set off at 0800 in an "acclimatization climb". 1,500 ft
up the valley side to a Gompa with a great view of Annapurna 3. The main
group did it, very slow but continuous trudging, in 1.5 hours. The tall Sherpa
RAN! on ahead and opened the Gompa for us. Usual dark, 700 little Buddhas,
one big Buddha, prayer scrolls etc.
Rosie arrived about 1023, she had taken it slow and steady, felt a little
light headed, like most people, but otherwise little headache. Close behind
were Dave and Bina. A small party left us and continued on up the ridge,
but I waited for Rosie. The ridge is in fact a fine, long lateral moraine,
with a companion about 500 yards North. In between, at the top, we can just
see the snout of the retreating glacier, which vanishes over our horizon.
When eventually the extra party returned, they had been up to the glacier
and could see the Base Camp area for Annapurna 3. It must have been a fine
We then descended, slowly because of the effect on the knees, coming down is
so easy compared with
going up. The sun is quite fearsome now, there must be a lot of UV flying
around. Like yesterday, a big wind has built up in the afternoon, and
now (1400) is really hammering at the tents as it goes UP the valley.
At 1600 we all rushed up the slope to Braga (400 yards) and watched the
Buddhist festival. There were 3 or 4 boys banging drums on sticks with
curved sticks as strikers. Following were some more men banging cymbals
or blowing short horns.
Also 2 or 3 senior gents, all fantastically
dressed in dirty but colourful Tibetan garb (except for their shoes!)
All the young ladies of the [-] were out together
all in Tibetan black folded-over dress. The kids were dressed in devil
masks and 2 or 3 youths had two ancient percussion rifles and a tin
box full of black powder, with which they made an enormous bang every
10 minutes. The whole procession was followed by half the town and all
the tourists camped below. They also carried a plank with a little clay
figure of a female in a most erotic position, so perhaps that is what
all this was about. It went on for about 1 hour, and then they headed
for the Gompa and most of us headed back to the tents because it was
getting very cold.
Had a good meal again,
I had 4 bowls of soup. Am getting to like the taste of Yak meat. The
guide came in and said that tomorrow it would get cold, so no more Khukri
rum, and also we must wear something on our heads! I went back to the tent
and repacked, leaving the poor bloody porter to carry everything except
what I absolutely needed in my rucksack. Then went out and had really good
crap - 3 giant turds in 10 seconds. Its only the 2nd time on this trek!
There appears to be a bit of friction between Mary and Alan. Mary does not
think much of him, it appears. Also, she and other girls think he asks
too many personal questions, but I think that as a doctor he has to know
what pills people are taking before prescribing anything else.
078. Lunch stop above Camp 10, Thante [text]
079. Porters on scree above Camp 10, Thante
Day 14 Mon 01 Nov 1982.
nobody there, but the marvellous
porters, cooks and Sherpas soon had
firewood (from the depleted hillside, we helped ourselves),
hot tea, tents and the
sun came out for a bit too. We are surrounded by big snow covered peaks
in the distance, but the nearby hills are very arid, just with scrub, a
few choughs flying.
Gathered round an excellent fire as dusk fell, then into the mess tent
for the best meal yet, dal soup and some sort of hash, apple fritters and
cake. No alcohol. Then round the fire again till all the wood used up.
The rest of the wood we've collected we shall have to take up to the next camp.
Up a bit later to a nearly clear sky. It was cloudy last night so a bit
warmer, only got down to 24F!
set off towards Manang at 0800. Usual slow pace.
closely packed stone houses, reached by ladders, their ground floors
Streets very narrow, dirt, open sewer running down them.
Managed to find Post Box next to tiny blacksmiths, and posted about
7 cards, 1 of them Allen's which said (to his sister?) that our group
were intellectually boring!
Climbed very slowly out of Manang - through very arid scenery, only
berberis and cotoneaster microphyllis (both very thorny),which seem to
grow everywhere. Kept coming across the Mountain Travel group, which
had a horse for tired ladies. We lunched beyond them, with a fine view
of Chulu but among very desolate scenery. It is warm in the sun, but
quite a few clouds around and the UV is strong I think. My left hand
is very blistered and my righthand fairly so. I have to wear my mitts
all the time. There are quite a few choughs circling above us, and the
Continued on up more and more barren scenery, some cloud came, the wind
rose and it became very cold. We plodded on, saw a group of porters etc
in the distance but it turned out to be the Mountain Travel camp site.
Against rumour, they are having a high camp like us before going over
the pass. When we got to our camp site,
080. Ascent to Throng La, after Camp 11 (Top Camp)
083. Dualagiri from above Camp 12, Ranipoa
Day 15 Tue 02 Nov 1982.
Woke 0510, up at 0600, out at 0630. About 0400 half woke to find myself
Chain-Stokes breathing - the depleted CO2 had stopped me breathing for
a bit and I suddenly desperately needed O2. Not very nice, bit like
asthma when I was a kid. Otherwise a good warm night. I slept with socks,
long johns, thermal vest, trousers, thick shirt, gloves and balaclava
on inside sleeping bag and was as warm as toast. Last night it got down
to 14F and 20F at dawn. Rosie's sleeping bag was wet with condensation.
I wonder what the next camp will be like? The marvellous Nepalese brought
the tea round again, in 12° of frost!!
Had 3 plates of porridge for breakfast, and a "mattress" with mango jam.
Then we set off about 0730. Cloudless day, climbing slowly up a tributary
of the Marsyandi, through a very dry valley, great cliffs on each side
bare of almost any vegetation, while beyond tower great peaks covered
in perfect white snow. The sun is dominant - in the sun it is acceptably
warm and I would probably get very sunburned if I didn't cover myself
almost completely. Out of the sun, the cold wind is penetrating, even at
this time of day. There is just dead grass growing here and the odd
chough floating above.
Stopped for lunch after about 2.5 hours moderate walking up a dry valley
and across a little bridge. Lovely sunny day,
no clouds. Finished lunch at 1200 and the punishment began.
Three of us,
Tony, Richard and JCP, in that order got to the Top Camp after
2 hours walking at about 1400.
The scenery breathtaking and the toil shattering. We climbed very steeply
and went through a rather nice little cleft, giving us new views of
further climbs to another high point, from which we saw a magnificent
moraine. We were surrounded by cooks and porters slogging upwards, they
really are marvellous. The last 200 yards just about finished me off.
I had a bad bout of bonk. My blood sugar just got too low. My breathing
has been excellent,
no coughing, no headache, no problems. I just have to blow my nose with
my fingers occasionally. Pardon my writing, I'm shivering. We're pitched
on snow and my clothes are still sweaty.
Rosie arrived about 1 hour later, also shattered. Hari had carried her
rucksack and Allen had chivvied her all the way. But she got there.
Everybody has got here and its still light. Bina has a bad cough, so
have most people to varying degrees. I think our altitude is 16,500 feet,
which is the highest I have camped, and I think the first time I have
camped on snow. We had our meal in our tents, I went to bed early (1900)
wearing everything, long
johns, vest, thick shirt, 2 thick sweaters, 2 prs thick socks, all crammed
into a mummy-type down sleeping bag. I slept well and warm, even though
it got down to 8F outside, 24° of frost. Lovely moonlit night I'm
Frost inside tent! Last night, Mary, Alan and the Sirdar got into a huddle
about Bina 'cos she's suffering from cough and altitude sickness. She's
still with us. Alan wanted her carried straight up and over to Muktunath
084. Temple at Muktinath. [text]
086. The hill village of Jarkot, below Muktinath.
Day 16 Wed 03 Nov 1982.
Today started at about 0230. I woke to hear a strong wind rattling the tent
and some rumpus going on among the porters and cooks. Decided to go back
to sleep, and woke again about 0345 to hear more rumpus, Rosie snoring and
sounds of impending tea being brought round. I had a slight headache and
felt sick, so had no tea or breakfast, but both symptoms went quite
quickly, and we got ourselves ready in the tent for a very cold morning,
with no cloud and full moon, beautiful. Set off about 0545, and Allen and
I stuck close to Rosie.
The pace had to be very slow because of the
altitude, and Rosie was feeling rough anyway so we made agonisingly slow
progress up to the Chorten at the top of the Throng La about 0730.
We saw dawn come up with a lovely red glow in the Eastern sky while
the full moon was still above the Western mountains. The are around
Throng La is very stony, with practically nothing growing except a sort of
tiny flowering moss. At last, 17,700 feet! I photographed around, then we
continued on, down, the difference between heaven and hell. Once again
Allen and I stuck close to Rosie, who went down slowly. Bina still has
a dreadful cough, and I think has lost her voice. I had a most excellent
crap behind a rock, and thought I had found a Yeti footprint in the snow.
Allen and I looked round and photographed, but the consensus of opinion
was a snow leopard. Continued down for an awful long way, half the valley
very arid, the other half covered in snow (about 6" deep). Eventually
reached lunch stop at 1115, with everyone else. Still a most beautiful day,
the sun is very dangerous for me at this altitude (13-14,000 ft?). Just a
few little fluffy convection clouds over the distant mountains.
Continued on down
the arid valley towards Muktinath, which we could see dark against
the brown earth.
On the horizon is a great line of mountains snow covered,
starting with Dhaulagiri on the left. As we descended, bore left to have
a look at the temples. Muktinath is an important place of pilgrimage for
Hindus and Buddhists. Only recently has Muktinath and the Throng La been
opened to trekkers.
The Buddhist Gompa is characteristically tatty, but the
Hindu temple, like a pagoda, quite smart We weren't allowed in, boots or no.
Off to one side is an ancient temple from which water issues, and inside,
is a natural (methane?) flame, this auspicious combination of earth, fire
and water is responsible for the religious importance of Muktinath.
The people in the valley are supposed to be
Thakali, but round here they look Tibetan. The Tibetans are less inclined
to beg, more to sell or trade, a prouder people.
After pitching tents, and performing a much needed sort out, changing from
cold to warm weather gear, a group of us went on a pub crawl round
First to the Muktinath Hotel, where we all had rackshi, the local rice wine,
from pewter mugs, for 2 rupees. Quite nice. Couldn't have a second round
'cos we'd drunk the place dry, so continued on. Other places also were
either too small, too dirty or too dry, until we got to the North Pole Hotel,
where I tried some chang, a sort of beer made from millet I think, rather
like alcoholic milk
Back to the mess tent for evening meal, chatted and bed about 2030
Had a look at Muktinath religious sanctuary with its trees and streams,
and both Buddhist and Hindu shrines. Also 108 fountains, shaped as cows'
heads where pilgrims splashed "holy water" on themselves.
088. Below Ranipoa, on way down to Kali Gandaki river.
090. Village roofs, after Jomsom. [text]
Day 17 Thu 04 Nov 1982.
0519. Am sat on a chorten on a hillock 200 yards from my tent, overlooking
Rasipoa and waiting for the dawn to come up on Dhaulagiri. It is a cloudless
night, full moon and below freezing. I managed to get dressed an hour ago
without waking Rosie, but undoing the [tent] zips did. Somebody (Dave?)
was snoring terrifically in the next tent. I went and had a good crap,
a good start to the day. I can see 2 lights from the porters' fires.
One of our party (Audrey) has just unzipped and gone off to the loo tent.
In the far distance a
dog is barking continuously. A slight breeze is picking up and
behind me, up the Throng La Pass where we came yesterday, the sky is
looking red. About 0600 I took the photo unfortunately, Dhaulagiri is not
red, just white. Used about 2 sec exposure, Mary's tripod and the delay
mechanism so as not to shake the camera when the shutter opened. Rapidly
After breakfast, which was outdoors and very cold, we set off about 0800,
downhill, through very arid scenery except for an aqueduct and planted
trees that look like willows.
Eroded scenery with lots of little caves
in vertical hillside (how the hell did they get to them?), and remains
of old villages. Went through Jankot,
interesting. When the sun hit us, everything changed, we stripped and
the day became beautiful, clear, clean air, blue sky, see for miles.
The Mountain Travel people apparently yesterday did the whole way from
our lunch stop before Top Camp to Ranipoa! They are spending the day at
Ranipoa because they are so knackered.
We walked down the steep path until we could see the spectacular bed
of the Kali Gandaki, laced with braided channels. The terrible aridity
of the place, with huge snow covered peaks in the background. The fierce
sun burning down from a clear sky. We lunched on the river bed, covered in
rock powder and stones and boulders.
A beggar came and squatted near our
group. I went and tried to converse but he had little English. One of our
Sherpas translated for me. He was 50, of Gurkha stock, and a beggar. He
got married at 10, but his wife left him when he was in Poona. He had
been to Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Katmandu and Mustang. He wrote in the
back of this log book (he could write!). I think it says he is like water,
comes from nowhere and goes nowhere.
Saw wild rose bushes and some low potentilla looking bushes but which
were very prickly. Also some small cacti, non prickly.
I showed him my "goods for sale" (Mum's
beads and scarves etc) and he showed me his, which were smooth, egg-shaped
semi-precious stones. I sat by him for some time, feeling rather strange
about how different our lives were which had met at this point, to part for
ever. I gave him Mum's rather nice carved ivory bracelet,
which he at first refused. Later he gave me one of the egg-shaped, smooth
semi-precious stones. I thanked him, got up. Namaste'd him, and walked off.
We walked down the bed of the river to Jomsom. Sounds easy doesn't it!
But the stones made it hard going on my feet, and there was the famous wind,
blowing up the biggest gorge in the world, between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna,
into Tibet. The wind was fairly warm, but raised a lot of dust, the sun
burned down, and it was a tired, dusty trail of trekkers that finally
entered Jomsom, passed the Army Barracks (not as grand as the name) and
reached our hotel (the Snowland) right opposite the Control
Tower of Jomsom Airport (a grass strip with ski-jump-like Southern end).
We are staying here instead of under canvas, because of the strength
of the wind. Tim, Chris, Rosie and I are in room 102, and there is hardly
room to walk, the beds are edge to edge. Presumably the other 5 rooms in
the Hotel are equally full.
"He was 50, of Gurkha stock, and a beggar. He
got married at 10, but his wife left him when he was in Poona. He had
been to Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Katmandu and Mustang.He wrote in the
back of this log book".
The message from the beggar on the Kali Gandaki translates:
"I am a Nepali beggar, from place called Gadwara, I am like
a water (rolling stone) that has no boundaries, can go anywhere."
Translated by AB Gurung, from my local Gurkha Restaurant.
089. The beggar from Gadwara.
Walked round the town until dark, and found the post office - at least
we found a post box. Mary regailed me with stories of her life, she has
a first degree in German, subsequent one in Economics, and has lectured
at Brunel and Universities in East Germany.
We went back to the
Hotel for evening meal, and then the fun started. An incredible evening
in which we and the Sherpas sang and danced late into the night (2200!).
Alcohol in all forms and hash were consumed, old McDonald and his farm,
the Hocky Coky and we all staggered back to bed feeling very rough.
No lights of course! 1 toilet for all, hole in ground with 2 porcelain
foot positions.....Tony brought his hash and made up reefers!! Had a go!
091. Between Jomsom & Tukche [text]
092. House at Kabre, after Kalopani. [text]
Day 18 Fri 05 Nov 1982.
Up at 0600, feeling even more rough. Another night like last night
would finish half of us off. We all looked rough, but downed our porridge
and set off about 0800, just as a Twin Otter came in to land at Jomsom
air strip. At this time the wind not very strong, is blowing down the
valley, the sky is clear.
We walked along
the dusty track to
Marpha, a rather nice paved village. Beyond we
came to an apple farm, and here gorged ourselves on delicious apples at
5 rupees per Kg. I didn't peel mine, wonder what will happen. The wind
turned round about 1000, and by 1200 was blowing strongly up the valley
again. On the right, glimpses of the towering white peak of Dhaulagiri.
At Tukche, well into the tree line again, with a school soccer
pitch in the middle, we climbed onto someone's roof for lunch.
is less wind for the cooks, and maize spread out to dry in the sun. Had
a good crop earlier, and we've seen plenty of wayside traders, with
goods spread out.
Went into back room of teahouse at Larjung. Very dark. Wooden table.
Earthenware stove in corner with space for shoving more fuel and holes on
top into which pans etc fit exactly. Black dog wandering around. Small kid
also. Cockerel coming and going through backdoor. Strips of Yak meat hanging
from ceiling to smoke. Shelves set into adobe wall holding pots, pans, china,
an old alarm clock, a tennis ball, culinary odds and ends. Floor, bit dirty,
made of wooden block 1' x 3'. Wooden ceiling, poles across supporting more
flat planks. Square hole 1' x 1' in middle of ceiling for smoke (closeable
I suppose). There seem to be another 2 or 3 rooms.
To get here we walked along a very windy, but interesting corniche path
out into the vertical
cliff of the West side of the Kali Gandaki flood plain. Now 1426.
Walked hard under cloudy skies, just a faint suggestion of rain, and
passing through increasingly wooded scenery, on an up and down path and
finally reached Kalopani Guest House, with sore feet, at 1609.
My feet need chiropody I think. Little nails are long.
Just after we got here, it started raining and got very cold. We migrated
to the Guest House, and ordered hot drinks and shivered, until the poor
bloody porters arrived with their 60 kg loads and got our tents up.
Then we went into these, warmed up as best we could, and waited until
evening meal, which again was in the Guest House. My appetite is good now.
We left at 2030, and bed immediately because it is a long day tomorrow.
Still drizzling. Terrible coughing next door (Bina).
We had our lunch on the roof of a building where the sweet corn
109. Annapurna South from Lamdrung village. [text]
Day 19 Sat 06 Nov 1982.
Up at 0530, feels a bit damp. Coughing on a grand scale renews. Largely
women. Poked my head out, super view of big peaks each side, but cloud
was coming up the valley with the warming day and it looks like being
a grey day.
Started walking about 0730, and kept going till about 1215. It was
generally cloudy, the sun occasionally broke through, but it didn't rain.
The countryside was spectacular,
the roofs started becoming sloped, vegetation denser, cicadas again.
Cannabis grew by the wayside and we descended perhaps 3,000 ft. The
Kali Gandaki completely changed its character from a broad flat plain
to a spectacular narrow gorge, with terraces climbing into the sky.
The trail became steep, with thousands of steps cut into vertical
rock walls, which, on average we were going down thank goodness.
We stopped for lunch by the huge waterfall dropping from the West bank
at Kabre. My map has been ruined by sweat from my back.
Then on again, at quite a rate, but for a stop at Dana, where
we hung about in
a tea shop, waiting for the porters to make more progress. The
countryside was lovely. The weather was not. Lowering clouds presaged
rain, but it didn't actually start to drizzle until we reached
Tatopani. Steep hillsides, lush vegetation, high humidity, warmer,
roaring river through rocky gorge. Buffalo, chickens, goats, many mule
trains going up stream, with bells and plumes and carrying what looks
like rice. Sugar cane, rice paddies.
Then a high rate into Tatopani,
just beating the drizzle. Had to wait a little while for the tents.
down into the river and washed my hair in the "hot springs". A trickle
of pretty hot water feeds a pool of cold water large enough for about
1 person. It needs some organization to get a good wash. Do better
tomorrow, a rest day, with shampoo. Waited in the guest house kitchen,
sipping rackshi and watching the cooking going on conducted by the women,
then grand meal in the mess tent. Bed 2100.
We are now level with the beginnings of bananas. Also cicadas are back
with us. Saw a few fig trees just above here. Also a Himalayan Griffin
where we stopped for elevenses (I had hot chocolate).These birds are
similar to Lammergeier except shorter tails.
095. Dhobi Day at Camp 15 (Tatopani) [text]
Day 20 Sun 07 Nov 1982.
Up at 0520, and down to the hot springs for a divine wash and shampoo
in Vosene. It was partly cloudy and pattering with rain when I first looked
out, but quickly the sky became cloudless. I washed my socks before breakfast.
The cicadas are going mad. Great
view of Nilgiri up the river from the Camp site. I suspect the cloud will
pull over by lunch time again and it may rain in the afternoon.
After breakfast, went for a stroll through the town, which seemed only
about 300 yards long on each side of a stony track, but the houses are
all made of stone, and there are several little shops selling just
about everything and quite a few tiny teahouses and hotels. 0938 the sun
has just reached down the valley and hit Tatopani. The cicadas are going
berserk in the trees, water buffalo wander and shit at will, hens scratch
in the dirt. On the opposite valley side, a huge thin waterfall descends
hundreds of feet. I am sat on a school wall surrounded by 4 boys watching
me write this. Now here comes a girl
and 2 more boys with books carried on their heads. Oranges grow on trees,
pumpkins are stored on roofs, banana trees grow in back gardens, the sound
of the Kali Gandaki is ever present. The green valley sides rear right
up to the sky, very close.
Wandered back to the campsite, to scenes of miles of washing hanging
out in the sun between the tents, and dubbined my boots. Then lay in
the sun, while Tony borrowed Rosie's eyebrow tweezers to pick the seeds
out of his hash!
After lunch in the mess tent, stayed in tent compound and slept, Rosie
stitched my trousers, everything dried quite well (84F although mostly
Got cooler towards evening, but clouds stayed
high. My right little toe has a blister that hurts when I walk. Allen
had a look, but there's no real solution. Bought 200 grams of cheese
from shop opposite Namaste Lodge Restaurant (in whose back garden we
are staying). The cheese is absolutely excellent, but costs 8 rupees
per 100 grams. Sewed a bit more patch into my trouser crutch, its wearing
away fast but should just make Pokhara, when I will give it to some
poor bloody porter. Rosie and I went for a stroll and met 2 interesting
characters. One was a Dutchman, travelling in sleeping bag, boots and
little else. He started in July and was due back home in March. He had
taken 2 months to do what has taken us 2 weeks. God knows how he got
over the Pass. He seemed a sensible enough fellow, saying how we were tied
down by routine, and cheap travel was quite possible. He said nobody
really checked his trek permit and he had no problems there. The other
character was an Indian, from Calcutta, leading a trekking group I think,
aged 41. He urged us someday to see Amatain in Kashmir.
We sat on the patio of the Restaurant, I had a coke, and we watched all the
trekkers pass and repass. There are a lot of them, many travelling in
2's and 3's. Tatopani seems a cross roads for trekkers. Most of them
don't look too disreputable, perhaps because of the hot springs.
Had a few drinks before and during evening meal, and Rosie got
a bit merry, bed about 2030.
Bought 4 spare batteries and 2 loo rolls (made in China). Perhaps I
can afford to quit hankies for my remaining cold.
.....Chatted to a Dutchman travelling alone, very cheaply, dressed in old
sleeping bag, easten bit of material round his loins, boots without thick
socks, and later an Indian from Calcutta, who said we must visit Kashmir.
....The porters were doing what all good porters do on their rest day,
when they have been paid, they spent their day in mess tent playing
cards and gambling.
096. Breakfast at Chitre (Camp 16) [text]
Day 21 Mon 08 Nov 1982.
Cloudy, cool, everything back to normal, breakfast over by 0715 and ready
to go. Went down the Kali Gandaki a little way, crossed over on yet
another suspension bridge, then climbed, at first very steeply, up the
valley of the Madi Khola. Quite a few clouds mercifully masked the sun,
as we climbed up millions of steps. Rested by a stream at 0916. Set off
again, through lovely temperate 45° scenery, but with less alacrity
till we reached what may be the outskirts of Sikha at 1000. And
here we stopped, on a porters platform with a fine view down the valley,
and had lunch. And had my first Star Beer lager at 25 rupees.
Eventually, at 1200, meal came, excellent, beans, big chips, corn bread
and pineapple in juice.
Set off again, climbing up and up all the time, countless steps set into
the hillside by somebody, and lots of porters platforms, the odd tea house.
Sikhra, which we passed through immediately after lunch, was a very pleasant
place, attractive, picturesque and peaceful.
Continued on up thousands of steps, until eventually reached Chitre,
in darkening clouds.
We hung around until the tents arrived, then I walked 10 minutes up the
track looking for a village, but only found about 10 houses and some kids,
who now surround me as I write this. The
time is 1640, and it is almost raining. A herd of goats is passing,
and it is cool with 10/10ths cloud. One of the brighter lads wrote
his name on the back of this book.
...down the valley a little. Finally turned left over a bridge, then
another bridge then left straight up a hill....the vegetation has
become less subtropical and more temperate with British ferns and one
or 2 Prunus Subhirtella-type trees. There is now a helicopter flying
overhead (A Shufti Wallah?).
....Saw our first rhododendron trees today after lunch. Kids around this
area give you an orange flower (French marigold?), then ask for "mittai",
balloon, pen etc.
We are camped at the back of Pahadi Lodge and Restaurant.
Out tents are around a big swing for kids of all ages, made of 4 tall
spruce stems about 30 feet high, bent over towards each other, holding
a cross bar for the plaited bamboo rope. 1717 and getting dark. Quite
Had most excellent meal of soup, rice, dal sauce, veg (Nepali style)
and dunkies. Bed about 2000
A boy's name from Chitre.
097. Morning at Buddha Lodge, Banthanti (Camp 17)
Day 22 Tue 09 Nov 1982.
Here we huddled into the single room, wooden building with a fire in the
centre and quite a few other trekkers round the
wood fire. Over the next 2 hours, we consumed hot tea to warm us up,
were served with lunch by the magnificent cooks, and managed to warm
ourselves in front of the hot fire and dry everything. Marvellous.
A parallel episode concerned Jane. She is the smallest member of the group,
maybe 7 stone. Last night she got something rather like dysentery, and had
to be carried in turns by the Sherpas up the pass, after which she walked
down but is now asleep. Leader Mary says we should be careful to avoid her
else "it" will go straight through the whole group.
Up at 0545 to
another cloudy day. I was sleeping on a particularly hard surface last night,
which bruised my hip so I couldn't sleep on my side, so I kept waking up,
so I had a lot of strange dreams, about going by bus from Worksop to London
and coal mines. Had good wash and crap, now first at the open air breakfast
table writing this while a very slight drizzle descends.
After breakfast we started about 0730. What a day!
We left the main path and went through nearly virgin forest, and as we did
it started to rain and rained harder and harder. We climbed and climbed,
it seemed to be a never-ending hill. The forest was really lovely,
(in other circumstances), huge trees covered in moss,
innumerable shrubs and small bushes, little streams, earth and mud.
We struggled ever upwards, saturated from sweat and rain, while a grey
pall hung over everything. Eventually, about 1130, we actually reached the
summit, where we were supposed to have lunch. However, it was pouring
with rain that was almost sleet, there was a cold wind and fog everywhere.
Instead, we continued downwards, slipping and sliding along the track for
another 1.5 hours
until we reached Buddha Lodge, in Bantahti.
Stayed in front of the fire for a long time,
broken by evening meal at about 1730 in the mess tent. Then we talked in
a desultory manner, then Rosie and I filed back to the fire, which filled
the room with eye-closing smoke. We chatted to an English couple who
had started at Dumre and come across country along nearly trackless country
in about 3 weeks. Bed about 2000, still drizzling slightly.
Climbed in worsening weather up to Deurali Pass.....
Jane has got some stomach bug, vomiting with diarrhoea, and had to be
carried between Okum Dorje (white polo sweater) and Buddha Ungi (smiling
098. Forest in sun, after Banthanti (Camp 17)
100. Annapurna South from above Banthanti [text]
Day 23 Wed 10 Nov 1982.
I went back down to the river for a good wash, it was very cold.
Stuck my head out of the tent at 0600 and Wow! Not a cloud.
And a sickle moon!
We are camped in a high-sided gorge with grass, ferns, and foliage
drooping down the side.
The sun will soon
rise above the canyon walls. Everyone is cheerful. It reached 40F last
night, but I think the cloud clearance is recent and it feels cold now.
Everything is drenched of course, especially my rucksac. Middle-aged
chick cheep and peck round my feet as I sit at the newly erected
breakfast table. The river tumbles behind my back.
Wood smoke is
billowing from the Buddha Lodge, tea and tatopani is served, and the
trek party swings into action again.
It was quite cold under the clear sky before the sun got down the steep
We set off about 0800 and walked through beautiful woods
with the sun slanting through, with occasional glimpses of
South, Hiunchali and
Machapuchare. The forest was really lovely, though
slippery. We walked generally down, stopping occasionally at a tea shop
or convenient grassy spot, until we reached Gandruk
About 1100 the mist or cloud rolled up, hiding the mountains, but it
stayed warm as we descended and we had the sun occasionally. Eventually
we reached Gandruck
full of well constructed stone houses, great views across the valley
and of the mountains.
Here we lounged on stubble-cut paddy fields
and had lunch. This is one of the Sherpa's villages, and most of the
villagers are some relation of his.
After lunch, we descended to the Madi Khola, about 2,000 ft
below, extremely steeply, on about 4,000 quite well cut steps. Over
the bridge, then we camped about 100 ft above the river, at about 1500.
We are camped on another stubbly paddy field. While we sat in a ring
and chatted, we found a fairly large green praying mantis, about 4"
long, a beautiful creature, and then Alan turned up with a leech on
feeding away merrily. He bravely left it on, everyone took photos, then
we salted it and I caught it in a bottle and he slapped an Elastoplast
The headman of the village of Landrung, about 1,000 ft above us,
came down to see if we would like a dance troupe to entertain us. We said
yes, at 1930, after dinner. We donated 3 rupees each, total about 50 rupees
(£2.50!). We had a good meal, during which Mary ate about 3 times
what I ate, and then went out under a cloudy but warm sky. Pitch dark of
course. Gradually, dozens of people came down from the village, set up
their primitive stage on a paddy field above, chorus, drums, accordion(!)
(very ancient) and tambourine. The festivities started at 1930, and we
were treated to an incandescent-lamp-lit local series of dances, with
singing, a master of ceremonies who introduced in the local tongue and
blew a whistle to start and stop acts. All very good fun, the drum
rhythm I find enjoyable. People were getting tired though, and we had to
call a halt at about 2130. How they managed to find their way back home
in the dark up 2,000 steps I don't know. Bed about 2200.
Moss-covered rhododendron trees everywhere......
came to a clearing where there was a tea shop and many Mahonia
trees and bushes
103. Machapuchare from below Deorali Pass [text]
104. Lamdrung and paddy fields from Ghandruk.
Day 24 Thu 11 Nov 1982.
Up at 0600 to a high clouds day, but of blue sky. Still seems warm.
Had pleasant breakfast in the open, then
started up the hill, up thousands of steps, but got to Landrung
in about half an hour, by about 0800.
Then continued through very
pleasant sloping-paddy countryside to a tea house (Hotel Medi) at
0932. Not gaining any greater altitude yet. Contoured round, not sure
just where we are, and stopped for lunch at 1100 by a suspension
bridge just as we entered the forest. Big and little trees, cicadas,
funny bird calls, but a bit cool, clouds higher up the steep col sides,
and my bum is getting numb sat on this porters platform.
After lunch, started going up very steeply through the forest, though
we also entered the clouds so we had no distant views of mountains
or hill villages. The forest was very attractive, greenery of all sorts
everywhere, cicadas, bird calls. We toiled upwards slowly, and eventually
reached the top, where there was the inevitable porter's platform.
That may be the last long climb we do in Nepal. From there on we
descended gradually, along a sometimes rather greasy track, sometimes
down many steps, through thinning forest until eventually about 1400
Tony and I found ourselves at a teahouse in Dhampas.
a coke and biscuit and waited for the rest of the party. The usual
collection of kids arrived, but several of
them had the Indian begging
mentality (a doleful expression and regular repetition of "hello balloon",
"hello one pen"....) rather than the usual cheerful Nepalese character.
One boy, possibly aged 10, had something badly wrong with his health,
and looked all skin and bone, literally no meat on him at all, the
first I've seen in Nepal this time.
1600 and its started raining and we've retreated into out tent. The cloud
came down, we transferred to the mess tent and had an enormous meal of
dal soup (x4), excellent meat, potatoes, other vegetables, followed by
pineapple fritters. I managed one helping and
then felt bursting. Mary had about 3, I don't know how she does it.
Bed full and in rather damp conditions about 2000. Woke up at 0200 and
had to pee between the front door inner and outer. Slept better after that.
It looks like Tony now has Katmandu Quickstep. Also Jangbu
has gut troubles.....
We are now above Bananas again. Saw loads of Campanula just below
lunch stop. Some people have seen brown monkeys......
We climbed up to about 8,000 ft before and after lunch and down to Dhampus
at 5,900 ft. Vegetation lush, temperate, various birds flitting and
chirping including 1 thrush type with crest and yellow under wing. It
did not sing like a thrush though......
In foreground, 50 yards from tent, a man is busy housebuilding, putting
stone upon stone. Tony is in his tent with temperature and stomach ache
and has just been examined by Alan. Is it the "5 Star Bars"?
106. Maize on stilts below Ghandruk [text]
108. Lamdrung village & Nilgiri mountain
Day 25 Fri 12 Nov 1982.
It was an old paddy
field covered with rubbish, but at least it was quiet, no traffic and
hills all round. We got here about 1500, to find the tents already
pitched (they had got here by bus I think). I went for a walk, they
have a nice craft centre next door and I watched the plane from
Katmandu fly in with new trekkers, all
nice and clean. It was an Avro 748 turboprop I think.
Back to the camp site, and we had a good meal in the mess tent.
we had gone into the adjacent hotel back door (Tibetan owned Himalayan Hotel),
and all had rums and cokes, at my suggestion. After the meal we trooped
back and repeated the process until a riotous party had begun again,
to the astonishment of a French group sharing the same room. We were
uninhibited, doubtless due to the alcohol, and strangely the French were
much more staid, but some of us, principally Tony and Eric, dragged some
of the French birds into the chaotic dancing. At last, Jangbu
the Sirdar, blew his whistle and we had to go to bed 'cos the hotel was
closing at 2200!
Woke to rain pattering on the roof and in the cloud. Can see about
10 yards, no glorious views of the mountains. Very muddy outside.
Into the mess tent for breakfast, poring with rain outside. Set off
about 0730. Descent down hundreds of steps again, through the mist
and the rain until eventually, wet inside and out, reached the flat
bed of a large
river. Here I took off my waterproof overtrousers, which are pretty
useless because the trousers get wet with perspiration anyway.
I rolled up my ordinary trousers and walked in "shorts", which was
very comfortable. The rain turned to drizzle and gradually died away,
but most of the cloud remained. We were able to dry off as we walked.
We went through villages in which more people emerged, and the women
looked much smarter in attractive series. Gradually we came nearer to
"civilization". We saw our first car for nearly 3 weeks - a Landrover.
Then power lines. Then an Indian version of the old Austin Cambridge.
We had lunch at the Tibetan village of
Sukhet and were pursued relentlessly by these determined and
hard headed trinket salesmen and women. They really give one the hard
sell for things you don't really want and are not worth taking back home,
but a lot of money changed hands for Tibetan jackets, boots, belts,
prayer wheels, carvings, beads, boxes, woolly hats etc. There was a small
carpet factory, which I didn't go round, and someone said there was less
choice than at Patan. Here Rosie got bitten by 2 leeches on the right
We continued on, and eventually entered the outskirts of Pokhara,
not a nice introduction to civilization. Awful fumes from honking
diesel taxis and buses, rubbish everywhere, dozens of scrappy little
shops selling anything, with open drains flowing and kids playing
in the dirt.
After a long slog along Tarmac roads, we found a camp site on the
other side of the road from the airport lounge.
110. Kids near Lamdrung. [text]
111. Bamboos trees near Pokhara [text]
Day 26 Sat 13 Nov 1982.
Woke about 0500 to a great deal of jabber and clatter from people round
our tents, locals and porters I suppose. Both Rosie and I felt a bit odd
after the drinks last night, so got up about 0600.
There was a lot of
cloud, but high, and it came and went, revealing the occasional great white
wall of the Annapurnas and the superb peak of Machapuchare. Common Mynah
birds here as common as starlings back home, and they are everywhere at
the moment. Had a good crap, think I was constipated. Rice porridge for
breakfast. Now hanging
around in the hotel lounge waiting for check-in time, 0945 or something.
When we went, first we had to open all our kitbags, were searched through
before going into the aircraft hold, then we had the usual personal frisk
(ladies behind curtains). First a Short Skyvan came in to land, but that
turned out to be the Jomsom plane. A few minutes later a 748 came in as
well, and we all climbed aboard. Rosie and I were at the front on the
right side, and I could see into the cabin, with all its instruments.
The take-off, about 1030, was bumpy because Pokhara airport is just a
grass strip. The flight was only about 40 minutes, and the weather
at Katmandu rather similar to Pokhara - cloudy and cool. We got our
kitbags and went to the Shankar. Civilization! I changed into my tidy
clothes and shoes, cut off my beard, had a shower and shampoo and a lunch
of a mountainous plate of various types of meat. Its marvellous to be
clean again. I have lost quite a lot of weight, I think everyone has.
Today (Saturday) seems to be the Nepalese Sunday - the banks and cash
desks are closed and I can't change any money. I've already borrowed
100 rupees off Rosie and only got 10 R left. So I had to borrow 200 R
off Dave. That should last me till tomorrow.
Spent a couple of hours packing, and got my suitcase ready.
Then Rosie and I went for a walk down town. We walked as far New Road
and got back in the dark, quite an achievement with no street lamps and
stepping on shit every few yards. The streets round the bazaar were packed
solid with people. Trying to get an English language newspaper, I heard the
news that Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Premier, has finally died and his place
has been taken by Andropov. We went round a few shops trying to get a
cassette of a popular song that the Sherpas have been singing on Trek.
Rosie sang it and the shopkeepers hunted but no luck. Couldn't
find any Parbat cigarettes either, to poison Derek Tripp with (my boss).
Back at the Hotel, found them all drinking in the bar, with beer 35R a
bottle (nearly £2!). We then went and had another huge meal, but had
to queue for service like the canteen because there was a ball being held
in the usual dining room.
Then off to the Hotel shop, where we were shown about a dozen good quality
carpets, and I bought a blue one with kaleidoscopic dragon design for
1400R (nearly £70). Took it back to the room and wrapped it up. Bed
finally at 2200. Shall I sleep in a soft bed after so many hard nights?
Around 0400 a cacophony of sound rose from private home behind tents
and cooks and Sherpas. By 0500 it sounded as though another party
was in full swing.
112. The Loo tent, Rosie emerging. [text]
114. End-of-trek knees-up at Pokhara (Camp 20)
Day 27 Sun 14 Nov 1982.
Up at 0600 after
good night's sleep (in spite of warning of soft bed after hard ground)
to cool, foggy morning. Fog soon cleared to sunny day. Down to breakfast
in normal magnificent room, and then Rosie and I hired a taxi with Dave
and Bina to Patan to look round the carpet factory and salesroom.
I did not buy anything but it was really nice to go round the carpet
weaving room again, full of attractive little Tibetan girls, a lot of
whom spoke quite good English, and joke with them. Dave bought 4 small
carpets. The taxi dropped Rosie and I at Durbar Square, and we
shopped round for odds and ends and walked back to the Hotel by 1230
for the lunch
After lunch, out again and Rosie and I walked deep into Kat, round
dirty, narrow streets smelling of urine and excrement. The range
of tourist goods is very limited, and one soon finds the same thing
on display again and again. These are either cheap and nasty (Durbar
Square) or slightly better price and quality (New Street).
Other streets cater for everyday needs of the population - food,
utensils, consumer goods, in grimy conditions with mangy dogs
Back to the hotel by about 1730 as dusk was falling. I was quite tired,
mentally and physically, after trying to find a present for Rosemary's
Dad. At 1830 we are going off to a restaurant for a last meal with the
Sherpas, since they are too inhibited to come and eat at the Shankar.
At 1830, when at last Rosie joined the group, we went out of the Shankar
drive, turned right, and walked along the road for 10 minutes to the
restaurant (Nepalese) on the same side.
Here 18 of us and about 6
Sherpas at a long table had a super Nepalese meal (spicy) and quite a few
cokes and gins and rums and danced and sang till 2300, when Rosie and I
walked back and went to bed, pished as a row of buckets, after a good day.
Went to Dreamland Restaurant with Jangbu and Sherpas in evening.
Bloody good Nepalese meal, savoury followed by sweet followed by
savoury! Rum and cokes to follow meal and gin and oranges for
others. Okum would be top of the pops given half a chance in the U.K.
Usual sing-song after meal, half of us and half of them.
.....I did buy one item in Durbar Square. A pendant jade set in silver
....or so the man said....for 80 rupees. He wanted 135 originally.
Yesterday also saw lovely speckly birds with a crest, think I've seen
these birds on Trek
Day 28 Mon 15 Nov 1982.
Up at 0600 to a foggy morning. Early breakfast at 0730, then walked down
to the bus stop between the Lake and Ratna Park. Here caught the blue
Japanese bus to Lagankhel for 85 pice. Good ride, full bus,
still foggy. At Lagankhel, changed buses and took the bus to Godauri
for about 50 pice. Bus was packed with fascinating humanity, had to stand.
Lovely countryside, wasn't able to photo any of it, unwinding like a
runaway old move. At Godauri, everybody got off, and I walked for about
10 minutes through "stockbroker belt" scenery and fine houses to
Royal Botanic Gardens (50 pice). Only moderately interesting, they had
a bog-garden, cacti, a fine big oak. Also a greenhouse where they sold
specimens. Then back along road and just caught next bus back to Lagankhel.
Had a quick look round the market and the circus there, then onto the
Katmandu bus back to the hotel by noon.
Good lunch, in meantime, Rosie had finished her packing and we had all
vacated our rooms and moved all luggage into one room. Then she and I
went for a walk back down around the New Street area, trying to spend 170 R
I had left, but only managed to find 50 pice! Eventually bought 2 more coin
sets in the hotel shop. Much fun while we took a group photo on the
front lawn, a table full of cameras on automatic and a member of the
hotel staff taking lots of photos. Then Jangbu (the Sirdar) and Hari arrived
to say goodbye and hang traditional white cheesecloth scarves round our
necks. Hari is the quiet Sherpa who wants to join the British Army like
his father and Uncle. He says there is much respect for soldiers where he
lives (in Ghandrung). We checked our luggage into one minibus, then all
climbed into a mini-bus and drove to the airport.
No real problems. They don't take Nepalese rupees at the Katmandu Duty
Free shop! Boarded a 727 and took
off at 1900.
"Country Life" (Mountain Travel group) are with us again,
we can't seem to shake them off. Good meal on the plane.
As we came into land at Delhi, we flew over miles of lighted
streets and houses, and we could see point flashes of light everywhere.
It proved to be fireworks - bangers, rockets and Roman candles that
were being used everywhere to celebrate the Hindu [Festival of Lights]
year 2103. Landed 2015. When we got off the plane, it was 76F and
problems getting through the bureaucracy, then taken by bus to the
Akbar Hotel, a magnificent hotel. We had room 1035 - on the 10th floor.
A meal immediately - and the price of drinks was magnificent as well -
42 R (£1 = 16 R) for an orange juice (me) and an orange and vodka
(Rosie), about £2.60. Bloody ridiculous. Rosie started wowing about
her food at meal, which made me even more bad tempered. Went back to room
and had jolly good shower and shampoo. Nearly midnight. Air conditioning
works so we can have windows closed to keep noise of fireworks out.
When we reached Delhi, the official at immigration would not, at first,
let Dave and Bina through without visas, anyway somehow Mary persuaded
and he stamped their passports with a 2 day visa stamp. This hotel is
near one of the many roundabouts in a massive suburban area of low-rise
Day 29 Tue 16 Nov 1982.
So begins the longest day (43 hours before we got to bed at home).
Up after a good night's sleep, down to breakfast early. Mike and Sue
are off on a 4 hour coach journey to the Taj Mahal, the rest of
us are staying in Delhi. We got into the coach at 0900 and were driven
round New Delhi in the gathering heat, stopping off at Various places.
First we went to the Biria Hindu Temple, large, ornate and rather
garish. Shoes off, except for Audrey, who is a bit of a pain. Then
on to Raj Ghat, where Gandhi was cremated. I was impressed by the
simplicity and peacefulness of the place, also by a slab engraved
with "Gandhi's Talisman", which I photoed. Then the Red Fort, the
big tourist attraction judging by all the buses around. The place is
huge, sprawling, lined with curio shops that rip one off we were warned,
but strangely un-memorable and un-interesting. Nearby was an army
barracks, and 6 soldiers
were practising on bagpipes and drums in a corner under a water-tower.
They weren't very musical but it was nice to hear. Next to India
Gate, rather like the French Arc de Triomphe across a huge Boulevard.
Down here to the end with fine government buildings on each side,
and what I think was the Presidential Palace at the end, all recently
built and impressive. Then back to the hotel via the area with all the
Embassies, China, Vatican, US, UK etc in new and posh surroundings.
We ate in the Shish Mahal restaurant, where we helped ourselves to food,
which was extremely good and as a result felt very full.
But back on to
the bus again at 1430 and drove to Connaght Place, where Rosie and I
looked round the posh, fixed price
Central Cottage Industry Emporium for 90 minutes but I just couldn't
find anything I really wanted to spend my 450 rupees on (about £28).
Also went to have a look at the Underground Bazaar, but had run out of
time and it was frightfully crowded and smelly anyway.
Back to the hotel, a quick Vespa taxi to the Railway Museum, which
unfortunately was closed, but we could see into the area quite well.
There were a number of steam locos, one big passenger and one big
Beyer-Garrett type. Walked back to the hotel via a station, a cinema
and a general look at the very poor people living in grotty tents
by the roadside. India's problem seems to be over-manning, there are
doing every job and the bureaucracy and confusion results.
At 2000 to the Panch Mahal restaurant, where we had a huge, very rich,
all vegetarian meal to the strains of a live classical Indian band
of drums and sitar.
Excellent food! Half was Western salads etc and half was Indian
vegetarian. Sweet consisted of all sorts of dishes including
chocolate mousse, fresh fruit salad, egg custard, trifles etc.
All this proved a bit too much for some people,
and when we retired to our 2 common rooms to try and get some sleep
on the floor before the early morning, Bina and Mary were sick and
several others unwell.
Meal was served on great tin trays (round). All the food was placed
in small tin containers around edge of tray with rice in middle. The sweet
was also on a tray. We had live Indian music with Sitar and Tabla (drums).
There was a plump female Indian vocalist who sang X-legged on floor.
Day 30 Wed 17 Nov 1982.
Off to the airport at 0230, after a few hours fitful sleep on the floor.
Here the inevitable happened, and we found ourselves still waiting at
0700 for a plane that was due to take off
at 0435, due to "Technical difficulties".
We were all roused at 0200. I tried to go for a pee about 0130
only to find both bathrooms occupied by Bina and Mary who had
Delhi Belly with a vengeance and were being sick with diarrhoea.
Others had slight attacks of Delhi Belly without vomiting, but wind,
stomach pain and farting! Alan had to get up off his patch of floor
and give Bina an injection in the bathroom!
Eventually took off at 0910
Delhi Time, after frustrating wait at almost every point. Didn't feel
hungry, hardly touched breakfast. Eventually barely audible excuses were
broadcast - baggage mistakes, plane had to return to Bombay, air traffic
control problems at Bombay and Delhi. Still here we are, 1045 Delhi Time,
bright sun, have to wear dark glasses to see out of window, passing over
arid eroded scenery. 1050 Crossed Karachi,
very spectacular and over Sea
of Karachi. More land 1120 then sea - spectacular dry eroded landscape.
1214 over land again, with oil tankers moored off shore,
descending slowly, rugged terrain with fluffy clouds over. Lower and
lower, a terribly arid place, lines of fierce eroded hills. Great long
lines of sand dunes, pipelines over, tracks of vehicles. Getting really
low now, can see individual lorries on a tarmac road across the sands.
Landed 1226 Delhi Time. Modern Airport, 2 Mirage fighters parked.
Dubai. We were allowed out of the aircraft and into the Transit
lounge for 20 minutes. Driven in an extremely posh bus. Super modern
airport buildings. Went round Duty Free shops. Lots of things, but a
Pentax ME +1.4 lens cost $382, about £225.
I think it costs about £130 back home. Didn't buy anything. The
area was cloudy with a few puddles,
remarkable, it must have rained recently.
Took off 1400 Delhi Time, served with lunch I didn't want, tried to
get some sleep. Then watched a film about escaping from East Germany
in a balloon, Night Crossing, with John Hurt [released 5 Feb 1982].
Then more food and just
a taste. Kept reading round and round the air mail edition of last
Monday Times I got from Allen - good paper to read if plenty of time.
Nothing to see out of window - 10/10 ths cloud over Europe.
Eventually came over England, still 10/10 cloud, we are worried we
may be diverted to Manchester or somewhere, started losing height,
looks like whiteout outside,
didn't come below the cloud ceiling until about 500 ft, then saw
London below, came in over Richmond Bridge, landed about 1615.
London Time. Got luggage fairly quickly, then nearly first through
Customs (had to pay £1.50 of duty on carpet) and out of main
exit point, to see Dave Buist waiting. Good old Dave. Hurried goodbye
to a few of our family of 4 weeks, then through cold and wet and dark
into Multi-story car park and into my Metro, which was OK. Dave drove us
all way back to Broadstone, lot of traffic being about 1700. Both very
tired - Rosie asleep on back seat.
So ends out Nepalese holiday. Here's to the next time.
About 0700 we were told we could go back behind the security desk for a snack,
some of out party went but nobody informed Security and it was ages
before they were allowed back again to departure lounge. It was farcical!
Carried in triple-belted blue Globetrotter case:
Small rucksac | Boots | 2 prs thick socks | 3 prs coloured pants |
2 thin shirts | 1 thick shirt | Thick trousers | Thin trousers |
2 Navy sweaters | Thick cagoule | Waterproof overtrousers | Wool mittens |
Balaclava | Sombrero | Long Johns | Thermal vest | Glacier cream kit |
Uvistat | Toilet paper | Hankies | Blister plasters | Panadol | Enterosan |
Puritabs | Daraprin | 2 water bottles | Dubbin & rag | String | Torch |
Torch batteries | Swim trunks | Polybags | Fibre tips | Prism compass |
Housewife | Troll pouches | Fat candle | Matches | Dustbin liners |
Padlock | Battery razor | Small towel | Balloons - sweets - pens for kids |
Camera belt | Flip flops | Self adhesive tape | Clothes line |
Belts for case | Spare belt | Handwipes |
In case: Rubber insects for kids | Vosene |
Mini torch | Spare laces | Pentax batteries | Photo album | Silva compass |
Belts for carpet | Dustbin liners for carpet | Beads for natives |
In small red grip: Sunglasses | Toothpaste and soap |
Pills (distributed) | Biros for JCP | 3 thin log books | Route book |
Comb | Map of Kat | Trek map | Eye mask | Camera | Film 12x36 slides |
28mm | 75-200mm | Flash | Binoculars | Passport | Sterling | Trav.cheques |
Airline tickets | Max-Min thermometer | Wallet | Pentax instructions |
Facecloth | Toilet bag | Toothbrush | Some bog paper | Dig watch + light |
Keys for case | 2 plastic carrier bags |
Wear for travel: Thin trousers | Polyveldt shoes |
Coloured shirt | Coloured pants | Pocket knife |
Use waterproof, rotproof rucksac |
Use new thick socks, thin inner cotton socks, with anti-foot-rot powder |
Trousers wear at crutch, re-inforce there |
Test Glacier creme - may be allergic |
Travel pouches just too small for log book |
Take lots of night-light candles. Bigger candles useless |
Take bubble fluid for kids |
Toy rubber snake great success |
Carry camera around chest and under right arm |
Take chalk - useful for marking cases, kitbags |
Belts on suitcases stolen in transit, 1 in 3 |
Route book good idea - profile, xeroxed route, bearing of mountains etc |
Keep trek map in polythene bag |
Smaller lighter zoom would be useful |
Make sure flas doesn't turn on and exhaust batteries |
Max-Min thermom good idea |
Take map of plane route so can look out of window at spectacular scenery
and know where it is |
Take and use 2 prs thin cotton gloves against sun |
Check camera and lenses by taking and developing a 20 exposure film
just before going |
Slides can cope better than prints with large brightness range of snow
covered mountains |
Report to Ramblers Representative and Leader at 0735
Air India desk, Terminal 3, Heathrow 01-897-6311
Check in luggage, go through Passport Control
Airport Zone Flight Nomin Measured GMT Date Duration
LHR Heathrow +1 AI102 1100BST 1000 19oct1982
BOM Bombay +5:30 09:20 2353K 1808 19oct1982 08:08
BOM Bombay +5:30 AI125 1520K 2050 19oct1982
DEL Delhi +5:30 02:00 0400K 2215 19oct1982 01:25
DEL Delhi +5:30 RA206 0830K 0245 20oct1982
KTM Kathmandu +5:45 01:20 0945K 0400 20oct1982 01:15
Time in air 12:40 10:48
KTM Khatmandu +5:45 RA205 1900K 1320 15nov1982
DEL Delhi +5:30 01:30 2015K 1445 15nov1982 01:25
DEL Delhi +5:30 AI105 0910D 0340 17nov1982
DXB Dubai +4:00 03:20 1226D 0656 17nov1982 03:16
DXB Dubai +4:00 1400D 0830 17nov1982
LHR Heathrow 0 08:00 1615GMT 1615 17nov1982 07:45
Time in air 13:10 12:26
Titles of SELECTED 49 slides used on webpage.
Scans of 240 slides are available on CD, size 1800 x 1200 pixels,
002. Shanker Hotel, Kathmandu
003. The trekking party, Kathmandu
007. Durbar Square, Kathmandu
012. Fruit stall, Lagenkehl
029. John with kids near Dumre
030. Rosie crossing river near Dumre
032. Locals surrounding thief at Camp 1, Chambas
033. Thief at Chambas with Boudha
036. 2 boys playing "Frere Jacques" on savangi near Turture
037. Entering Syuribar with mule train
040. Fodder carrier, Syuribar
042. Annapurna 4 on left, Annapurna 2 on right, from Besi Sahar
048. Marsyandi valley after Nyadi
051. Waterfall after Jagat
052. Bridge near Jagat, with Jane & Boudha
056. Bagachap Gompa with "Solicit" box
057. Women weaving with kids, before Chame.
064. North East face of Annapurna 2, after Chame.
066. Manang airstrip among mountains, after Pisang
070. Marsyandi river, Camp 9 and Braga
072. Village maidens at Braga festival
074. Village elders at Braga festival
075. Chorten near Manang with swastikas
077. Trinket sellers at Manang.
078. Lunch stop above Camp 10, Thante
079. Porters on scree above Camp 10, Thante
080. Ascent to Throng La, after Camp 11 (Top Camp)
083. Dualagiri from above Camp 12, Ranipoa
084. Temple at Muktinath.
086. The hill village of Jarkot, below Muktinath.
088. Below Ranipoa, on way down to Kali Gandaki river.
089. Beggar above Jomsom
090. Village roofs, after Jomsom.
091. Between Jomsom & Tukche
092. House at Kabre, after Kalopani.
095. Dhobi Day at Camp 15 (Tatopani)
096. Breakfast at Chitre (Camp 16)
097. Morning at Buddha Lodge, Banthanti (Camp 17)
098. Forest in sun, after Banthanti (Camp 17)
100. Annapurna South from above Banthanti
103. Machapuchare from below Deorali Pass
104. Lamdrung and paddy fields from Ghandruk.
106. Maize on stilts below Ghandruk
108. Lamdrung village & Nilgiri mountain
109. Annapurna South from Lamdrung village.
110. Kids near Lamdrung.
111. Bamboos trees near Pokhara
112. The Loo tent, Rosie emerging.
114. End-of-trek knees-up at Pokhara (Camp 20)
A copy of the trek from the 1982 brochure, ©Ramblers Holidays.
Walked, written, typed, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded,
and copyright © 2012,
. All Rights Reserved.