28 Oct - 04 Nov 2014 Langtang

Between Yak and Yeti…
Matt: Trekking for one week under crystal-clear Himalayan skies almost alone through the incredible mountain scenery of Nepal's Langtang region, which borders Tibet, climbing to the 4,850-m high Kyanjin Ri and gazing at awesome glaciers and towering 7,000m snow peaks.




“You don't need to climb a mountain to know that it's high.” 

Matt (1st day of hiking: 28 Oct 2014): Leaving Syabrubesi in the morning, applying an old trick to prevent acute mountain sickness and thinning my blood with a daily dose of 2 x 500 mg of Aspirin, registering the independent trek at the local tourist-police post (neither guide nor porter are necessary for the Langtang Trek) and hiking hereafter for 6 ½ hours along the deep gorge of the Langtang Khola from Syabrubesi (c. 1,450 m altitude) to Changdam (c. 2,460 m altitude) through densely wooded terrain where grey langur monkeys (Semnopithecus entellus) frolic.















Matt: Spending the first night of my trek in The Friendly Guest House +9779841737788 GPS: N 28° 09.68' E 085° 25.80' at Changdam (clean enough, adequate twin room with shared bathroom and hot solar shower for NPR 200.- or US$ 2.- per night for the room).















Matt (2nd day of hiking: 29 Oct 2014): Hiking for 7 hours (inclusive one hour lunch break at Thang Syap) from Changdam (c. 2,460 m altitude) to Ghumba Village (c. 3,400 m altitude), following the Langtang Khola through a forest of hemlocks, maples and rhododendrons and enjoying fine views of the 7,234-m high Langtang Lirung.















Matt: Overnighting in Nema & Tenjin's small guest house at Ghumba Village, the Hotel View Point +9779741289107 GPS: N 28° 12.89' E 085° 29.76' (clean, basic, adequate twin room with shared bathroom, hot solar shower and great mountain views for NPR 200.- or US$ 2.- per night for the room), and spending the evening together with my host couple who share many interesting facts about their life high up in the mountains: from Nepali wedding and funeral traditions via the subtleties of yak keeping and cheese making through to the distillation of strong raksi, the homemade local hooch (NPR 100.- per big mug of hot raksi).















Matt (3rd day of hiking: 30 Oct 2014): Climbing for 4 hours from Ghumba Village (c. 3,400 m altitude) to Kyanjin Gompa (c. 3,860 m altitude) and passing quite a few groups of noisy, newly-rich Chinese tourists, annoying members of the emerging master race of the 21st century, who treat their local guides and porters very badly.















Matt: Taking up quarters in Chhowang's humble Hotel View Point +977994100009 GPS: N 28° 12.75' E 085° 34.08' (clean, basic, adequate twin room with shared bathroom, hot solar shower and stunning mountain views for NPR 200.- or US$ 2.- per night for the room) and exploring the remote village of Kyanjin Gompa which consists of c. 25 guest houses, two yak-cheese factories and one abandoned Tibetan-Buddhist monastery.















Matt (4th day of hiking: 31 Oct 2014): Climbing for 2 ½ hours from my hotel up to Kyanjin Ri (4,850 m altitude), a viewpoint with superb views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers and finding clear and most compelling evidence of the yeti, the abominable snowman of the Himalayas: (i) spotting very big bipedal footprints on an inaccessible glacier c. 200 m below; (ii) picking up a piece of thick brown fur which looks very similar to the yeti scalp found in the Pangboche monastery; and (iii) hearing a very distinctive spine-chilling, howling sound which undoubtedly doesn't come from the mountain wind...















Matt: Meeting David and his friends, good Americans, socially competent and physically fit missionaries from the Calvary Chapel South Maui, who came all the way from Hawaii in order to propagate in this remote Himalaya valley our Western values by using the Bible as appropriate method - competition is always good for the spiritual business.

Matt (5th day of hiking: 02 Nov 2014): Hiking uneventfully downhill for 8 hours from Kyanjin Gompa (c. 3,860 m altitude) back to Rimche (c. 2,300 m altitude) and following thereafter the contour path to Sherpa Gaun (c. 2,600 m altitude).















Matt: Overnighting in Dindu's hospitable Tibet Guest House +97710670057 GPS: N28° 09.72' E 085° 23.92' (spotless, basic, adequate twin room with shared bathroom, hot solar shower and stunning mountain views for NPR 200.- or US$ 2.- per night for the room).















Matt (6th day of hiking: 03 Nov 2014): Hiking uneventfully downhill for 3 ½ hours from Sherpa Gaun (c. 2,600 m altitude) back to Syabrubesi (c. 1,450 m altitude) and rewarding myself with a large bottle of ice-cold San Miguel beer (NPR 250.- or US$ 2.50 per 650-ml bottle) from the Philippines; cheers Konni and y'all!

Matt: Riding shotgun in the local bus from Syabrubesi back to Kathmandu's Macha Pokhori bus stop (145 km, 8 ½ hours, NPR 340.- or US$ 3.40 per person) and seeing first-hand the leftovers of a recent deadly bus crash where a similar bus packed with nearly 100 people including tourists and locals heading home for Deepavali had veered off the mountain highway only a few days ago.















For Raoni, Tien and Ronja:
Vom (i) amerikanischen Bigfoot aka "Sasquatch", vom (ii) schottischen Ungeheuer im Loch Ness ("Nessie") und vom (iii) atlantischen Riesenkraken (gigantic octopus) habt Ihr ja bestimmt schon vieles gehoert. Falls nicht, fragt Konni. Auf meinen frueheren Land- und Seereisen, als ich noch juenger war, hatte ich bereits versucht, diese aufzuspueren und zu fotografieren, was mir aber leider nur teilweise gelungen war.
Dieses Mal, in den Himalaja-Bergen, im abgelegenen und nur spaerlich besiedelten Grenzland zwischen Nepal und Tibet, ging es mir darum, den abscheulichen Schneemenschen (abominable snowman) "Yeti" zu finden, ein geheimnisvolles zottiges Wesen, halb Tier und halb Mensch. Auf meine entsprechenden Fragen bestaetigte mir eine ueber 90 Jahre alte Sherpafrau bei Langtang, dass dieser Yeti ca. zwei bis drei Meter gross und ueber 200 Kilogramm schwer sei und dass ihr zweibeinige Fußabdruecke von bis zu 45 Zentimetern Laenge bekannt seien. Diese Fußspuren im Schnee wurden ausserdem mehrmals und von unterschiedlichen Expeditionen in 5,000 – 7,000 Metern Hoehe gefunden und ueber laengere Strecken nachverfolgt. Die Antworten dieser Sherpafrau habe ich persoenlich ganz genau aufgeschrieben.
Als ich nach einem anstrengenden Aufstieg auf den Gipfel Kyanjin Ri in einer Hoehe von nahezu 5,000 Metern angekommen war, habe ich mich sehr aufmerksam nach dem Yeti bzw. nach seinen Spuren umgeschaut - und habe genau am gegenueberliegenden, leider voellig unzugaenglichem Berghang deutliche Spuren gesehen, die auf den Yeti hinweisen.
Als weiteren Beweis habe ich inmitten einer Yak-Weide ein Stueckchen dickes, braunes Yetifell gefunden und dieses in meinem Rucksack auch gut aufgehoben. Falls es nach meiner Landung in Toronto nicht durch die CBSA eingezogen wird (bestimmte Tierprodukte, u.a. auch Felle, sind aus Artenschutzgruenden von der Einfuhr ausgeschlossen), kann ich es vielleicht sogar vorzeigen.
Am ueberzeugendsten jedoch war ein unheimliches Geraeusch, das ich nachts in der Berghuette mit meinen eigenen Ohren gehoert habe. Am Steilhang gegenueber heulte und jaulte es so fuerchterlich, dass ich mir mit den Bettzipfeln lieber ganz schnell beide Ohren zustopfte. - Welche geheimnisvollen Wesen kennt Ihr?
From Nepal, with Love!


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