The Langtang Climbing Camp is a unique opportunity to include within a two week holiday, a trek to the Langtang Valley, a Classic in its own right and an introduction to the basic skills of mountaineering culminating with the ascent of Yala Peak (5500m).
Within two weeks in Nepal this trip gives an ideal cross-section of all that is the essence of this wonderful mountain kingdom: the alleys, courtyards, palaces and temples of Kathmandu, the terraced “middle hills’, the high glaciated valleys and pastures, the stunning views of the Himalaya, including several of the world’s highest peaks, and an amazing mix of cultures, religions and races. And combined with the trek into the dramatic Langtang Valley the main objective will be to climb Yala Peak, technically straightforward but very much a Himalayan summit with stunning views in all directions and surrounded by high, snowy peaks and glaciers.
This trip will allow participants to have a through grounding in basic mountaineering skills from our experienced and qualified leaders for those who are keen to take up mountaineering as a pursuit, or for those who are curious about mountains and mountaineering and simply wish to give it a try, for the enjoyment of experience alone. Either way by the end of this trip participants will have enough in the way of skills, as well as the confidence gained from the achievement, to go on to greater things in the future-and what better place is there to learn about mountaineering and to be inspired to climb peaks than the Nepal Himalaya!.
Flight to Kathmandu, transfer to hotel, welcome meal and evening illustrated briefing on the trip..
Drive to Syabrubesi, a dramatic ride over the high ridges surrounding Kathmandu with awe-inspiring views including the Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang, Jugal and Rowaling Himal. Introduction to camp life, health and hygienic in remote areas..
The Tamang village of Syabrubesi, makes a fascinating start to the trek. Straightway, we will be climbing up through forest and the occasional terrace of rice or millet, with hazy glimpse of the high peaks beyond, to camp at Lama Hotel (7hrs. 2380m). Evening discussion on the effects of altitude the importance of acclimatisation and how to achieve this safely and well..
Continuing steadily uphill, we pass through the narrowest part of the Langtang valley, a gorge of tumbling forested ridges and rock faces, with the roaring torrent below. Quite suddenly, all this gives way to the wider and quieter glaciated valley as we approach our camp at Langtang village. There is a very strong feeling of having arrived amongst the environment and culture of the high mountains (6hrs.3500m). This is also the cue to think about weather and hazards in the mountains in particular snow conditions, avalanches, problems of cold and the effects of the sun. it is the development of the awareness of these aspects that ensures safe and enjoyable mountain experiences and climbs..
After 2 days of climbing we need to stop and acclimatise. A chance to explore the Tibetan-style Langtang village and get some enticing views of the snow peaks and glaciers from nearby high points. This is also our first chance to start familiarization with some of the specialist equipment that we need for the ascent of Yala peak, fitting crampons rope handling and so on. We will use an area of local crags and rocks to practice tying into the rope, moving singly or together whilst roped up and securing the rope in different way to safeguard out ascent and descent..
A morning's walk brings us to Kyanjin Gompa, the highest proper settlement in the valley at 3800m. the glaciated walls of the 7000m . Langtang Lirung are directly above our campsite by the gompa - the combination of grazing yaks, fluttering prayers flags and Tibetan looking people, all overshadowed by ridges of snow and ice, leaves us in no doubt about where we are. We will spend the afternoon discussing and trying the equipment and techniques needed for walking on snow and ice, including the use of rope, ice axe and crampons. This is also a convenient time to look more closely at the planning and logistics of the ascent of a peak with particular reference of course of Yala Peak..
Depending on progress we will either spend a second night at Kyajin or move to a higher campsite close to Yala Peak. If we do not move, we will do a walk right up to the edge of the tumbling icefalls coming off Langtang Lirung and then continue on to our first (small!) peak of about 4700m for a dramatic view of the glaciers. This will also give us a chance, both during the day and in the evening, to practice techniques of walking and scrambling on steep ground as well as looking closely at glacier terrain, how glaciers work, principles of glacier travel and dangers to ba aware of e.g. crevasses, snow-bridges, seracs etc..
We are now ready to go up to Base Camp at about 4800m nestling high above the Langtang Valley. This steep walk only takes about 3 1/2hrs. but we need to go quite slowing at this altitude. There is plenty of time to revel in the situation and also our first close up views of the peak - with the anticipation of the climb to come! With our increasing altitude and remoteness, we can think about the "what ifs' , how we should react if there is an emergency, what the priorities should be, how to organize help and rescue, and so on. All vital consideration at the start of a mountaineering career..
A last acclimatisation day before the summit. An important day to check over equipment and the planning and organization of the group ready for our summit attempt. Also a day of rest and relaxation, to give the best chance of success in the ascent..
Summit day. A pre dawn start ensures plenty of time for our ascent and allows us to witness the magical spectacle of the sunrise over Nepal. The route traverses stony hillsides and crosses steep "moraine" ridges before stepping onto the Yala glacier. Axe and crampons make the climb of the snow and ice slopes quite straightforward whilst all around the views of mountains, glaciers and deep valleys become more incredible as we ascend. Pulling over a snowy ridge, we suddenly find ourselves on the summit ridge. A new vista is revealed of the tangle of peaks at the head of the Langtang valley as well as mighty Shishapangma, at just above 8000m., over the border in Tibet. At last airy walk brings us to the summit itself. After the efforts of the climb the sense of achievement, the enjoyment of the situation and the amazing mountain panorama will ensure that this moment will be remembered for years to come. Depending on conditions on the mountain, it will have taken between 4 and 6 hrs. to reach the summit. It is now downhill all the way and we descend right past Base Camp and on down to Kyanjin to rest, reflect on the day and celebrate!.
Now well acclimatized and following the valley the easy way-downwards! We will trek all the way to Lama Hotel..
The last day of walking returns us to the sub-tropical world of Syabrubesi, a warm and relaxing place to share a final convivial evening with our Sherpas and porters..
We retrace our route to Kathmandu by bus and as we look back at the snow peaks it will be with the satisfaction of knowing that we have been right in amongst them - and to the top of one of them..
A day to enjoy all that Kathmandu has to offer: a city tour will be included, there will be with the satisfaction of knowing that we have been right in amongst them - and to the top of one of them..
Departure from Kathmandu. The flight out of Kathmandu, with its unique panorama of the Himalaya, is in itself one of the highlights of the trip. Nepal will continue to amaze and impress until the last possible moment!.
The course will be conducted by a highly qualified and certified mountaineering instructor with a support of a local crew. Specifically on the mountaineering side, participants will learn about the effects of altitude on the body, the importance of acclimatization, weather and snow conditions, avalanche awareness and how to travel on steep terrain, snow, ice and glaciers. There will also be an introduction to specialist equipment, including ice-axe, crampons, ropes etc., and their proper and safe use to enable the ascent of both rock and glaciated peaks, at an appropriately straightforward level of technical difficulty. We will also consider aspects such as planning for a climb (not only technical planning but also for domestic arrangements, food, dietary and health considerations etc.), day-to-day decision making in high mountain scenarios and handling emergency situations in difficult and remote locations.
Upon completion of the trek and climb, participants will be awarded ad certificate of Accomplishment, as a proper recognition of their achievement, as a record of the completion of a course in Basic Mountaineering Skills and as a souvenir of what will be a truly memorable experience in the mountains of Nepal.
Apart from the more obvious aspects of a trek and climb in Nepal (see the trek outline above) it is also worth considering the more specific elements involved in such a venture from an educational point of view. A complete range of academic interests can be catered for which can make this trip a valuable resource in itself and these areas of interest can be then be looked at from different standpoint: pre-departure (planning), on trek (participation and observation) post-trek (assimilation and post trek presentation). Such matter will be available from, literally, Agriculture to Zoology! For further suggestions and guidance for interested school and college groups, a separate information sheet is available from Explore Himalaya.
The trek itself will involve 10 days of walking at increasingly high altitudes. Because of the need to acclimatise properly there will be a number of days when we do not move camp and simply do a short local walk and some days when we move camp but may only do 3 or 4 hours of trekking. And most of the days will be on good, well-graded paths, a part of the huge network that links all the settlements in the mountains of Nepal. These paths are frequently used by local people travelling to market, for visiting friends in other villages and for herding yaks and goats and goats and all adding to the interest and colour of the trek. Some of the earlier days at lower levels will be full days walking but the higher we go, the whole tempo of things slows down as we have to adjust to the altitude and have more time to relax and enjoy the fantastic environment. Only as we approach and then climb Yala Peak will need more effort as the effect of altitudes in excess of 4500m is felt. You will find it very easy to slow down and to take it nice and easily! Technically the mountain is straightforward and is over terrain that requires no previous experience of mountaineering skills: any training that is required, for example, in the use of crampons to walk on snow and ice, will be given on the acclimatisation days before reaching the higher parts of the mountain. The ascent simply needs a degree of stamina, determination and the willingness to walk at a slow, measured pace and the summit will be yours!
The trek to and from the peak is a wonderful experience in itself so if at any stage you decide not to do the climb, you will still have accomplished a superb and worthwhile expedition.
One of the great joys of trekking in Nepal is the simple routine of day-to-day life away from the hustle and bustle of city life with only simple questions like "What if for lunch today" and "Where are we going tomorrow" to worry about! The Sherpas, cook team and porters are there to make your trek as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
The day usually starts at about 6am with hot tea brought to your tent followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing your bags ready for the porters or pack animals to start for the next camp, there is a cooked breakfast of porridge followed by omelettes, fired or scrambled eggs with chappatis or bread; there will also be muesli, honey, jam, peanut butter, etc. together with tea and coffee. In fact, take it easy as you do not want to walk on too full stomach!
The morning's walk is usually about 3 to 4 hrs duration and all you need to carry is your camera, water bottle, sun-cream, and hat, may be a spare jacket or sweater as we get higher, etc. Not a lot! And there is always plenty of time to complete the walk so everybody can walk at their own pace, rest when they want, top for photos etc. A good rest and a cooked lunch is followed by usually a shorter afternoon followed by usually a shorter afternoon walk. Sometimes we will have reached camp at lunch time so the afternoon can be spent relaxing, exploring the locality or perhaps doing a bit of washing! Whatever, tea and biscuits will be available later in the afternoon and a full 3 course dinner will follow at about 6-7 pm. People normally head off for their sleeping bags at about 9 or 10, depending on what entertainment the group has come up with during the evening!
The October and November post Monsoon trekking season gives the most reliable and stable weather, typically clear days with superb visibility (bring plenty of film!) with day time temperatures in the mountains ideal for walking and climbing. At night, above 3 to 3500m, we can expect frosts with temperatures at over 400 m down to -410 or -15 degree Celsius. This is not unduly uncomfortable as it is a very 'dry' cold and suitable clothing and sleeping bags makes things very pleasant. The pre-Monsoon season of March and April has the advantage of generally warmer temperatures but a daily build-up of clouds will tend to obscure some views during the afternoon with the chance of a shower as well. Once the sun descends the clods clear to reveal rosey tints on the peaks and high snowfields at the end of the day..
In Kathmandu accommodation will be good quality hotels, in twin rooms with en suite facilities, satellite TV, with mini-bar and all the expected hotel services. On trek, we will be camping two to a ten, using proven, quality mountain tents with fly sheets and sewn-in ground sheets. There will also be a mess tent and toilet tents.
Food in Kathmandu ranges from Nepali delicacies to Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, American etc. the choice is yours! We can recommend a range of excellent and reliable restaurants. On trek we ensure as much variety as possible with a mix of Asian and Western menus, including a cooked breakfast, lunch and a 3 course evening meal. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkable high standards of health over many years of trek organization - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb!
With a bit of care and common-sense your health will not be a problem in Nepal; you will be fully briefed well before your departure for Nepal and also on arrival. You will need to get your own local medical advice about suitable inoculations and any prophylactics before departure. Whilst on trek we carry an extensive First Aid Kit, our leaders are qualified in First Aid Kit and are very experienced in dealing with health and acclimatization matters in remote mountain areas.
One on trek, your main luggage will be carried by porter or pack animals, usually yaks or cross bread, during the trekking day you simply carry a day sac with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek!
Clothing will need to allow for the heat of the lowlands and the sub-zero temperatures of the highest valleys and will range from lightweight mountaineering skills; any training that is required, for example, in the use of crampons to walk on snow and ice, will be given on the acclimatization days before reaching the higher parts of the mountain, the ascent simply needs a degree of stamina, determination and the willingness to walk at a slow, measured pace and the summit will be yours! The trek to and from the peak is a wonderful experience in itself so if at any stage you decide not to do the climb, you will still have accomplished a superb and worthwhile expedition.
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.