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Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas


Postby Mountainlove » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:09 pm

Date walked: 24/10/2012

Distance: 200 km

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Everyone seems to know the trek to Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna circuit, but the Langtang/Gosainkunda/Helambu treks are something which not many know about or think are not that great.

The reasons why I decided to give that corner of Nepal a chance were easy…

1. You can reach them by bus. No flight delays which have been reported from a day up to 2 weeks…no fun when you have to catch a plane back home.
2. A cheaper trek ( no airfare required)
3 An area with a lot less trekkers (in comparison to the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit)

The only real requirement I had this time was to find some mountains to climb on the way.

I spend a lot of time doing research and realized that most mountains in the Himalayas require a fee of a minimum of 350-500 Pounds (and that’s just to allow you to climb the mountain) Looking into it I needed a group (to keep the cost down) and a set schedule, both things I try to avoid.

I stated looking into free mountains (mountains anyone is allowed to climb- usually below the snow level at around 5000 metres) and after a lot more consideration decided on a selection of 3 free peaks ranging from 4773m – 5145m each.

Just like the last times I booked the trek the day before I was due to set off ( it does not take more than a couple of hours to arrange everything) and at 6am the next morning I was ready to set off and only had to wait for my porter/guide I had booked to show me the way and carry my backpack.

There are a lot of pros and cons to hire a porter, but for me the pros are outweighing the cons.

- It is not always easy to know which path you need to take and directions are not always given
- The porter-guide has a knowledge of good guesthouses and places you are not aware of
- They can speak the local language
- Hiking above 3000 metres is challenging…carrying a heavy backpack does not make it any easier, so to be able to give that burden to someone else is great
- You employ someone who would not have a job otherwise and for them 15 kilos is pretty light (they are used to carry 40 kilos and more)
- If you want to learn some words Nepali any porter guide will be happy to teach you

By the time my porter-guide Boras arrived I liked him straight away and we set off to the bus station. Please forget everything you know about busses…Nepals busses are something which you will not have experienced anywhere else. The bus which awaited us was no different. At least 20 years old, with seats which are probably perfect for the much smaller Nepalese people, but being 5.9 I was struggling to find a place for my legs.
We set off and within the first hour I had seen at least 10 people saying good bye to their breakfast (and that included locals) The journey which I can only describe as the worst one of my life, came close to the program…Ice Road Truckers – in south America. At least 3 times I thought I could say good bye to my life, but have a look at the video to see for yourself….
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As for the journey, here is a short day to day description…


Day1. Kathmandu 1000m - Syaphrubesi 1503m
Between 7-9h for just over 60 miles…yes 60 miles!! Afterwards you will be happy to be alive and probably don’t fancy to walk anywhere apart from (the pub if there would be one) or alternatively the village of Syaphrubesi which is pretty.

Day2. Syaphrubesi 1503m - Lama Hotel 2455m

For me it was the hardest day as I was struggling with jetlag and did not had a proper sleep in 3 days. Walking 7h uphill to a height of 2500 metres was hard going and I was more that happy to arrive. Be careful as Lama Hotel (it is a place name not a single hotel) has only 6 guesthouses and gets full pretty quickly. You can also stay at Rimche which is 20min before Lama Hotel and a lovely place (and some of the best showers of the whole day)

Day 3. Lama Hotel 2455m - Langtang 3430m
I thought it was a lot easier and the whole walk took 5 hours. Lovely views towards Langtang Lirung which is the highest mountain in the area (7272m) Langtang itself is a great place and worth a walk around during your free time in the afternoon…lots of guesthouses here as well, so no need to worry.

Day 4 Langtang 3430m – Kyanjin Gumba 3830m
You will really start to feel the altitude here and even though it is a short day – the walk takes about 3h you will be struggling and the first signs of altitude problems can show up (headaches and nightly nosebleeds for me) Kyanjin Gumba is a great place. Make sure you stay at least 2 days as there are a lot of day trips you can do. A must go is the Yak cheese factory…the most amazing cheese you will eat! During the afternoon I took a walk towards the Langtang Lirung glacier. It takes about 2h and you get fantastic views and climb up to 4200m which will aid your acclimatisation.


Day 5 Kyanjin Gumba 3830m – climb Kyanjin Ree 4773m
As I was not fully acclimatised I was struggling to climb a mountain which was at Munro height (1000m climb) from the starting point at Kyanjin Gumba…but was rewarded with the most amazing views after nearly being killed by a stone avalanche on the way up….obviously I did not stick to any paths. For the full report including some great pictures check out 'Kyanjin Ri 4773m - Himalayas and the epic with the avalanche .'

Day 6 Kyanjin Gumba walk towards Numthang 4940
This was the most impressive level walk. Height gain is a mere 200m and you are surrounded by one of the most spectacular countryside you will see. Mountains to either side of you, Yak and horse herds, a lovely river and the knowledge that Tibet is only 10 miles away – a must do walk!

Day 7 Kyanjin Gumba 3830m to Lama Hotel 2455m
If you have a tent and equipment you could walk the 3 day trek over the Kangia La pass, but this requires some knowledge and skill. The easy option is to return back to Lama Hotel. A long day – it will take about 6.5h but as it is mainly downhill it will feel so easy. If you suffered from altitude problem it will also be the best cure.

Day 8 Lama Hotel 24455m – Thulo Syaphru 2250m
It is a downhill walk, followed by some steep uphill bits but by now you are fit and will feel amazing. So it is no problem and the walk takes about 5h. Thulo Syaphru is a great village and will give you the opportunity for some great village photos…had my first Everest beer here and was in heaven while the bottle lasted.

Thulo Syaphru 2250m Shin Gompa 3330m
It does not look long, but it is a tough steep walk up a forest for most of the day. You could walk to Laurebina, but I would advice against it, as you would miss the greatest lodge I stayed in (Red panda lodge) It is free (well up to you how much you want to give for the night) has great views, an amazing dining room (you appreciate the small thing in life again) and the second cheese factory on the way …although the first one is still the best!

Shin Gompa 3330m – Gosaikund 4300m

You will feel the altitude again on this bit, but the first part of the trek will see you properly acclimatised. The walk which will be around 4h is stunning with great views towards the Everest and Annapurna region and the beautiful Gosaikunda lakes. You will also be pretty chilly at night. Room temperatures did not exceed 4C and were recorded as low as -10 and that’s inside the rooms. You will have plenty of time when you arrive. I recommend a trip to the ‘wee hill’ (4550m) , right across the lodge…you will have stunning views and have climbed a hill before dinner - perfect!

Gosaikund 4300m– Surya Peak 5145m
A proper mountain without any real paths is waiting for you to climb it. It is easy to get lost – especially in bad weather so take a guide. Its when I realized my guide had no clue were he was going and instinct led me up and down the right mountain…one of my best climbs I have done.
If you don’t fancy the climb you could walk around the lakes or cut a day short here…the lodges are very basic and cold, so it will be one of your worst nights which some might want to double. If you see the holy man in front of the main lake give him food in return for a blessing- it feels mega special.


Gosaikund 4300m – Thadepati 3690m
Say good bye to your knees…it is downhill from here, after you passed Gosaikunda pass at 4600m (pretty easy) A long day of nearly 8h awaits you and it is mainly downhill which you will hate after the first 3h. The lodges are also getting pretty basic and you wont find anything above a bucket shower. But you are on cloud level which will result in some amazing photo opportunities.

Thadepat 3690m – Kutumsang 2470m
If your knees are not sore yet they will be after that day. The walk is getting easier as you are below 3000m and during the afternoon there will be some rare sunbathing opportunities…it was the first time I felt like being on holidays and another beer was in order to celebrate the achievement so far.

Kutumsang 2470m– Chisapani 2165m
The walk will be mainly through the villages of rual Nepal. Pretty stunning and the walk will lead you through terrace fields, huge Bamboos and you will experience how the locals really life. I enjoyed the walk but the last settlement was a let down, as it felt rather modern and the flare of the teahouses further up was lost. It is also a day on which you will have thepleasure of real dirt track roads again. But be warned…this part of the walk is long. It took me 6.5 hours and my friends arrived well after dark. So leave early.

Chisapani 2165 – Sundarijal 1460
The last 3h of the walk leads you trough a pretty forest. Wild orchids can be found everywhere and you will walk down at least 20000 steps or so it seems. The bus to Kathmandu awaits you on the other end (20 pence for the 1h journey) and it leave regulary…around every half an hour.

Cost for the trek
Guides, Porters or Porter/Guides
You will have to calculate 18 USD (per day) for a porter/guide. A simple porter who will just carry your backpack is 12 USD. A guide, who will speak very good English will set you back 40 USD.
- Tims (your trekking permid) 1000 Rs
- Park Entry (for all main parks) - 3000 Rs as from Oct 2012
- Bus: 500-1000 Rs

Food and Accomodation per day: Recommondation is 2000 Rs a day, but I did not spend more that 1000-1500 per day.

Tip: If you travel with friends you can ask for free accommodation and tell them that you will all eat in the lodge instead. It works most of the time as the lodge owners make most of the money in selling their own food. I saved a lof of money in that way.

On the internet you can find package deals, which take care of everything. They usually work out a lot more expensice, so I don’t recommend it.

1 Pound is about 130 Rs (Rupees) (November 2012)

The whole trekking trip cost me 400 Pounds. Including the airfare, which was 600 Pounds a 3 week trekking trip to Nepal, including your hotel and food(10 Pounds for a decent place in Kathmandu) does not have to be much more than 1100 Pounds.

What to bring
The warmest sleeping bag you can find (there is nothing worse than a cold night), during the day you will mainly walk around in a t-shirt (even in November) so plenty of those and 2 fleeces for when it gets colder, 2-3 trousers, gaiters (not necessary but they keep your trousers cleaner), walking boots (one pair is enough), Flip Flops, water and wind proof jacket, Down jacket (you will really need it for the cold evenings) Hat and gloves.

What else you will need
Toilet paper, baby wipes, cold medicines, headache tablets, at least 50 water purification tablets (a litre bottle of water will set you back about 1.50 Pounds…expensive as you will need at least 4 a day) sunglasses, earplugs, spare batteries – charging batteries will cost you money and electricity is not available everywhere, head torch, playing cards and a book, a lot more storage on your camera than you think you will need, flavourings for water- as you will get fed up with plain old water, sweets- they are expensive to buy (a Snickers/Mars bar cost up to 3 Pounds) Tea bags, metal water bottle (can be filled with hot water and used as a hot water bottle), walking poles.

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Everest from your plane window on the way to Nepal...it does not get any better

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7h of hell to get to the starting point of the walk...typical view out of the window

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View towards Langtang Lirung Glacier

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Walk towards Numthang

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Views which you wont forget easily

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Early morning clouds

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Dramatic clouds

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Yaks

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Sunset - view from the lodge

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Typical lodge room

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Enjoying a beer with a great view...it does not get better

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My guide Boras,friend Artur and myself on Surya Peak



And for some more photos and videos of the trek , please have a look here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEwJovtRRUA&feature=youtu.be
Last edited by Mountainlove on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby mrssanta » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:55 pm

absolutely fantasticML, cant wait to see more.
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby ChrisW » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:55 pm

Just beautiful ML, though that bus journey looks much worse than the over exaggerated dangers of Ice Road Truckers.....your bus going across that scree slope looks like genuine danger but what a wonderful experience, I'll be back to see those photos later :clap: Thanks for sharing this incredible experience and the (remarkably reasonable) costs associated. :D
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby Benjaminnevis » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:05 pm

What else you will need
Toilet paper,

Ha Ha am guessing they must use a hose then ML. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby KeithS » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:03 pm

ML

Will you stop posting such amazing reports with incredible pictures of this sensational country! :mrgreen: It so much makes me want to go back.

Only joking, it sounds like you had a fantastic time. Well done and I look forward to hearing more of your trip.

Keith
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby trekker53 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:34 pm

Another good story ML. I like all the advice you've given as the last time I took a Nepalese company, Nepal Vision and Trek I think and even though I got very good service, your trip was a good bit cheaper. Next time I 'll refer to your notes. Keep the stories coming.
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby clivegrif » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:29 pm

Fabulous stuff - you clearly must have one of those 'No Fear' tee shirts that says 'Beaten Paths are for Beaten Men'!!

Would love to go back to Nepal, its a fantastic country and you really do it justice.

Superb!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby simon-b » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:41 am

Namaste, ML. An excellent expedition and some really brilliant photos.

A friend and I did a trek in Langtang Valley and climbed Kayngjin Ri in 2001. But we didn't do anything like as much as you did!
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:06 pm

mrssanta wrote:absolutely fantasticML, cant wait to see more.

Just managed to upload some more photos into a slideshow on youtube...enjoy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEwJovtRRUA&feature=youtu.be


ChrisW wrote:Just beautiful ML, though that bus journey looks much worse than the over exaggerated dangers of Ice Road Truckers.....your bus going across that scree slope looks like genuine danger but what a wonderful experience, I'll be back to see those photos later :clap: Thanks for sharing this incredible experience and the (remarkably reasonable) costs associated. :D

You are right about the over exaggerated dangers of ice road truckers...doing that journey in Nepal felt a lot more real and rather more dangerous...concidering how many people were in the bus.

Benjaminnevis wrote:What else you will need
Toilet paper,
Ha Ha am guessing they must use a hose then ML. :lol: :lol:

A hose would be too much technology up there...it is more a bucket with freezing water...and I came across many empty buckets :lol: :lol: 8) Not good news when you count on water :D


KeithS wrote:ML
Will you stop posting such amazing reports with incredible pictures of this sensational country! :mrgreen: It so much makes me want to go back.
Only joking, it sounds like you had a fantastic time. Well done and I look forward to hearing more of your trip.
Keith

Many thanks Keith...got so many stories to tell and when I learned one thing...all our outdoor gear is highly over rated!! Still cant get over watching people in flip flops up there. My guide was wearing a shirt and trousers for most of the trek...yes he would have fitted perfectly in any office...his reason...because it is comfortable :shock:

trekker53 wrote:Another good story ML. I like all the advice you've given as the last time I took a Nepalese company, Nepal Vision and Trek I think and even though I got very good service, your trip was a good bit cheaper. Next time I 'll refer to your notes. Keep the stories coming.

Will be posting the last report soon...the climb up Kyangjin Ri at 4773m :D

clivegrif wrote:Fabulous stuff - you clearly must have one of those 'No Fear' tee shirts that says 'Beaten Paths are for Beaten Men'!!
Would love to go back to Nepal, its a fantastic country and you really do it justice.
Superb!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Oh I want that t-shirt :D :D :D I agree about Nepal...it is one country I just cant wait to go back again :D

simon-b wrote:Namaste, ML. An excellent expedition and some really brilliant photos.
A friend and I did a trek in Langtang Valley and climbed Kayngjin Ri in 2001. But we didn't do anything like as much as you did!

Namaste Simon...how did you enjoyed Kyangjin Ri?? I will be posting a report about soon...it was one of my favourite view points I have to say.
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby simon-b » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Namaste Simon...how did you enjoyed Kyangjin Ri?? I will be posting a report about soon...it was one of my favourite view points I have to say.

It's the highest mountain I've ever climbed, and I felt the altitude. But the views made it well worth it.
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Re: Langtang, Gosainkund and Helambu Trek – Himalayas

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:48 pm

Amazing :D
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