Open Letter to Participants of Our Himalayas Trek from 15-25 March


Dear all,

In a few days we’ll all be leaving for Kathmandu and Lukla to begin an adventure of a lifetime trekking in the Himalayas on the way to the Mt Everest Base Camp.

Maxby and I will be leaving by MAS MH170 on Thursday 14th March at 0855 am, and our return ticket is MH171 on 25th March at 12.20pm. I see from the list that a couple of you are veterans of previous climbs….Derrick and Kenny in particular, so for the rest, let me give you a few pointers.

Its a tough climb, but not that tough that you cant do it..
If, while trekking, you are dead tired, and you begin to question your sanity as to what the hell you are doing there, when you can be very comfortable in front of your TV set at home, look behind you and you might see Maxby or me struggling upwards with a huge smile on our faces. We are always the last. Just remember, if a 68 year old man like me, and a 78 year young Uncle Maxby can do it, so can you. At our last trip, the oldest person was 72 year old Raymond. And he did just fine.

And this is not a race, so take your time about walking as slowly as you want to or as fast as you can. We will not usually trek mor than about 10 to 15 km a day. Pause as often as possible, and try and shoot your beautiful surroundings and tell yourself that you are among the lucky few to be here. The wide grin that Maxby and I have on our faces is because while we are suffering, we remembered the tremendously good feeling inside when we finished the last two treks we did in the Annapurnas. I tell you, this good feeling will be with you for as long as you live. And each time you think about it, I guarantee you’ll have a grin as wide as ours. And when you return, you’ll have keepsake photos that not many people will have. Beware. The Himalayas is addictive. If you go once, you’ll want to go again and again.. This will be my 10th Trip into the Himalayas. Three were walking trips and seven were by a 4×4 across the Himalayas of Tibet and Nepal.

To shoot better photos, try to bring at least a 0.6 GND filter, or better still a full set of Lee Filters of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9. If you have a CPL, bring that as well. A tripod is a must, as well as wide angle lenses such as the 16-35 range or the 24-105 range. And try to shoot photos which overlap by at least 30% which you can then stitch into dramatic panoramas with Photoshop’s automate photomerge function. You’re going to shoot pictures, so bring all the lenses that you need. Dont listen to those people who say a phone camera s all that you need, because of weight. I’ll be bringing along a 16-35, a 24-105 a 200 mm prime, a metx flash with remote trigger, a LCD light, and also a small torchlight.

I attach a jpg file of our trekking route. Please print a copy for your self, and get it laminated so that it wont get scrunched in your haversacks. It’s probably better to print this long map in four A4 pieces. The map is a very detailed to scale document I prepared from downloading and combining 120 individual screen captures of google earth. So its extremely accurate.

Everyone should bring some comfort food, because after the second day I guarantee you’ll get tired of the Dhalbat and the rice they will serve you everyday. We usually share what we have, so bring a bit extra. I’ve got 4 cans of corned beef, 16 packs of curry chicken, sambal ikan bilis and kurma. I’ve also got sambal stock for good old fashioned hot and spicy nasi goreng kampung. Cup noodles are also good for breakfast. What I miss most up there are usually meat, because there simply is a dearth of that up there because of poor refrigeration facilities. I kept thinking about canned sausages while I was up there last time, so I might bring some. Soups are also goo to bring….the packet variety to which you simply add hot water

And dont forget sweets, lollipops, biscuits and chocolates to giveaway to the local kids, after you’ve shot their photos. Miniature Mars and Bounty Bars and Colour pencils, exercise books, ball pens, balloons etc are also very welcomed. Try not to give cash.

Hopefully by now you would be in the last stages of your exercise routine to stretch your muscles. Heh heh heh….. I started yesterday, and I intend to do 6 km on my walking machine at 10 degrees incline and speed of 5.5 to 6 km per hour. My hearbeat maxxed out at 128 during my exercise routine and I feel quite good. Blood pressure is normal at 132/80.

Warm Clothes …..North face wind cheaters and rain proof jackets and quick dry shirts, are best purchased in Kathmandu. A light pashmina jumper can be bought at extremely good prices in Kathmandu. You will need a walking stick….which can also be bought in Kathmandu. I use layering with a couple of tee shirts to keep warm at night, including a turtle neck long sleeved cotton pringle . I use disposable cloth underwear purchased from Guardian or Watson. Too inconvenient to wash. For daytime, I wear a collar less tee shirt under a wind proof North Face shirt, over which I have my usual Photographer’s vest. I only put on a North Face wind cheater/ Jacket if the wind blows. Warm socks can also be bought in Kathmandu. Oh, bring along some Immodium or Lomotil plus charcoal tablets just in case you get an upset tummy. Some anti-biotics like Ciprofloxxain 500 would be good too. And buy one of those light disposable raincoats from motocycle shops or from Guardian. They can be very useful when it rains in the mountains.

And most of all, please break in your trekking shoes. I get the soles of my trekking shoes sewn by a local cobbler as insurance, because the worst thing to happen is for your the sole of you brand new Camel trekkers to come apart during your second day of trekking. It happened to me and also to Wil Thimister.

Other than that, just bring your humour. I guarantee you’re going to have a good time.

That’s it. See you in Kathmandu

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