When I think about Nepal, I mostly think about high mountains and high elevation. One aspect I don't consider much is the jungle. But shit is brutal. One day I'm sweating buckets down low in the jungle, the next day I'm getting snowed on up high in the mountains. The stark contrast in terrain in Nepal is pretty wild.
But hey, at least the jungle is monkey country. And monkeys are fucking cool!
Still, in my opinion, jungle hiking is the hardest part of the GHT. The mountains? I take care of business there like a boss. Because mountains are what I do.
Traveling to a far land to undertake a major hike is always intimidating. Especially since I tend to go big on my first visit to a new region. But once I start hiking, it just feels natural. The mountains may be different, but hiking is still hiking.
However, the Himalayas are proving to be different from the rest.
After a short flight from Kathmandu. A two-day Jeep ride. A five-day hike to 5,143 meters. I was finally at the start of my trek - Kanchenjunga Base Camp.
I think feeling intimidated is perfectly reasonable when standing beneath the third highest peak in the entire world. Just damn.
There was never any doubt that I was going to make this trip. I have always felt that any serious hiker just had to make this prigrimage. To the mythical land on the other side of the Earth. To the rooftop of the world. To the hiking kingdom of Nepal.
It's been a long time coming, but the time has arrived. As my thru-life begins to come to a close, it seems appropriate that I visit the Himalayas this year. The year I spent gasping for air on a daily basis in the Andes and Rockies. It's only right that I end it breathless beneath the almighty - Everest.
Well, that was hard.
But it was the kind of hike that I had hoped for: hard, scenic, and alone. I thought I knew Colorado, but there are so much mountains! My goal was to summit at least 100 peaks during my loop. The official result: I killed it!
148 13ers plus 6 14ers and 1,500 miles in 80 days (5 zeros included). Not too bad in my opinion.
However, I did earn myself a demerit for making one consequential mistake that sent me home for a week. That's a day I'm still trying to forget. But from the brink of a season ender, I came back though.
Overall, the hike was a success! So...
I sometimes have a hard time resisting a pretty face. As a result, I ended up taking a side trip to Vestal Basin. Because there's no easy way to loop the basin, I had to do an unpleasant bushwhack from the Vellecito. All that work just because I had to see the prettiest mountain in all of Colorado - Vestal Peak!
After bagging Peak 3 and the Trinities en route, I was finally where I wanted to be - standing beneath the awesome Wham Ridge of Vestal.
It had been quite some time since I last climbed in the Grenadier. And even though it's a repeat, I couldn't resist such a fun peak.
Wham! Bam! Damnnn! I did it again!