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Great Himalaya Trail Part 1: Kathmandu

Our hotel view

After two days of flying, Buckey and I arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday. We have been running around and getting organized for our hike, exploring the tourist district of Thamel (pronounced Tah-mell), and eating lots of food and drinking beers and milk tea.

For the first stretch of our hike, we are going to eastern Nepal.

Exploring Kathmandu

We have a rough itinerary as follows:

  • Tomorrow we take a bus to Bhadrapur. It is a 16-hour bus ride. We could have opted to fly in 45 minutes, but it’s much cheaper to take the local bus. The day after, we will likely catch a jeep ride to Tharpu to begin our hike.
  • From Tharpu, we plan to hike to the India border. Then we will backtrack to Tharpu and walk to Taplejung. This section will take about a week to complete.
  • It will take about 5 days to do the next stretch of our trek, which is Taplejung to Tumlingtar. We’re sticking to the low route for the first two weeks of our hike. The weather forecast says snow and freezing temperatures for the low route, and we don’t want to deal with even colder conditions on the high route.
  • From Tumlingtar, we plan to hike up to Makalu Base Camp. There will be snow on a few of the passes, so we’ll see how it goes. If we don’t make it that’s OK too. If we do make it all the way up, it should take about 2 weeks.
  • We will return to Tumlingtar and continue on to Lukla, the entry point for the Everest region. This will take about 5 days.
  • At Lukla, we will hike on up to Everest Base Camp and Gokyo. We’ll probably do a few of the passes. We plan on spending about 3 weeks in the Everest region. After Lukla, we will walk to Jiri and take a bus back to Kathmandu where we will relax and get organized for our next stretch. All of this should take about 2 months.
The monkey temple

As far as gear and food for this stretch goes, most of this section has guest houses where we can stay. We are bringing all of our camping gear along, as well as 7 days of food. Most of the camping will be during the first week and potentially a few nights during Makalu Base Camp.

We had to get trekking permits (TIMs cards) for the Everest and Makalu regions. It was difficult to get the Makalu permit, as the person at the TIMs office thought we needed a guide for this section. After convincing her otherwise, she made a phone call and ultimately issued the permit.

Got to see my friend Pasang

In Kathmandu, we visited the monkey temple. A baby monkey snuck up behind me and grabbed my leg. Buckey has made friends with every person he’s talked to at our hotel. He’s also discovered his love for momos, which are a meat and spice filled steamed dumpling. We have a favorite local momo spot by our hotel, where we both got lunch and tea for 360 rupees (about $3.60).

I also got to see my friend Pasang, who is a climbing guide from the Everest region. I met him in 2015 when I hiked the 3 Passes Trek. He’s running for mayor of his home village Khumjung, near Namche Baazar.

Baby monkey

3 Things from Buckey:

  1. Kathmandu is pleasantly chaotic.
  2. The food is better than I was anticipating.
  3. I like the city, but I’m ready to start trekking.

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