My time in the Himalaya began as a climber in Kashmir in 1965. But the years pass, and climbing has given way to trekking.
It started in Baltistan, when the youngest of our three children was seven, and during the last seven years my wife Connie and I have trekked every season, covering the entire span of the Himalaya from Ladakh, through Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, to Nepal and Bhutan.
This year’s trek covered a wonderful circuit in eastern Nepal, starting in Taplejung, crossing four major passes: the Lasiya Bhanjyang (3,420m), Selele La (4,632m), Nango La (4,700m) and Lumba Sumba (5,159m) to finish down the Arun River in Num.
Accompanying us was an old friend, Peter Dean, who had been with us in 2013 when we traversed from Jumla to Darchula in far-west Nepal, skirting the great Api and Saipal ranges. Our support team was led by our friend Ang Tsering Sherpa, manager of the Khumbu Shangrila agency.
His cousin Ang Namgel Sherpa, seven-time Everest summiteer, lead the group, ably assisted by Temba Tashi Sherpa and cook Karma Tenji Sherpa, both of whom we knew from before. Three cook boys and eight porters, three from Taplejung, completed the team — a more reliable group of young men would be hard to imagine. And we knew that this trek might also be our final. Filling missing sections of the Himalaya will henceforth be done with less sense of urgency.
Read Also: A personal encyclopaedia of the Himalaya, Kunda Dixit