Kit joins the Ganesh Himal Panorama Trek

Read Kit's daily blog from the Ganesh Himal Trek in Nepal and get an insight into this fascinating adventure. Day 1. Arrived Kathm... Read more
Kit joins the Ganesh Himal Panorama Trek

Read Kit's daily blog from the Ganesh Himal Trek in Nepal and get an insight into this fascinating adventure.

Day 1. Arrived Kathmandu late and the transfer from the airport to the Shanker Hotel took me through the darkened backstreets of the city. Winding between the potholes, with headlights reflecting off the street-level exhaust fumes and dust, was an atmospheric start to the trip.

Day 2. A colourful day of driving, at first on the Prithvi Highway, to the start of the trek at Arughat Bazaar. There were glimpses of snow peaks to the north and sightings of cheeky macaques in a pipal tree beside the roadside tea-shop where we stopped for our first dal bhat of the holiday. The weird and wonderful Manaslu View Camping Resort provided our lodge accommodation on this first night. Ricky Yonzen, our excellent and engaging guide, here introduced us to 'Ricky Time', a nightly combination of next day briefing, a cultural topic and 'word of the day'.

Day 3. Setting off through a misty Arughat, with lots of friendly faces and one ancient shrine to the elephant god, Ganesh, the first stage of our trek was on the Manaslu trail. Then, at Arkhet, having left the mist behind, we crossed the Burhi Gandaki to enter a much less well known area. A stepped climb took us to lunch at an isolated farmhouse, then a traverse through rice fields with lots of opportunities to interact with the local people, led to our first compact camping place on terraces at Lapu Danda.
Day 4. Gaining height only gradually towards Dhunchet, one of the day's many highlights for me was at the chorten above our lunch stop where, beneath the prayer flags, 2 ladies were threshing the millet crop. Apparently, much of the millet is used in the production of the local hooch, known as rakshi. Then, as we neared our camp at Lamo Dungha, an area given over to growing yellow-flowered mustard provided more excellent and unexpected photo opportunities. We were already coming to rely on the excellent meals cooked up by Kumar Tamang and his team.
Day 5. Himal Chuli and Bhauda Himal were prominent behind us as we trekked up through a 'jangal' of bamboo and rhododendron and pine, whilst across the valley to the north we could see the village of Yarsa. Arriving in the pretty forest clearing and summer grazing ground of Nauban Kharka at 2750 metres, the 'Sherpa' team of Kami, Phurba, Chital, Kansar and Sharita were well on the way to having the camp set up. Looking back from here, we could now also see 'Fish Tail' and Annapurna 2.

Day 6. The first of two 2900 metre passes was less than an hour from camp. Down through forest, up to the second pass, then down again with expansive views across to the long ridge of the Tiru Danda and also our first views of Ganesh 4 and of Paldor, once a popular KE trekking peak. On this pleasant descent we met several local people, including boys of just 12 and 14, who were cheerfully dragging and carrying heavy timber beams down to our overnight stopping place at the village of Lapagaon There is rebuilding work still ongoing in this valley following the 2015 earthquake.

Day 7. To reach our destination today, Borang, we had to drop some 400 metres to the river and cross it twice on spectacular suspension bridges, before climbing back up via a fun stop at a trail-side hostelry (there were some entertaining kids) to our camp on the school volleyball pitch. Another picturesque day with amazing terracing and views of the Ganesh peaks. Plenty of time in the afternoon to do some washing and to explore amongst the streets and fields. Four hours walk down-valley from Borang is the roadhead leading back to the Prithvi Highway.
Day 8. On this second of 2 short days to make the most of the villages and people of the Ganesh, we hiked via a couple of chorten-topped spurs, passing several mule trains, to Sertung. There, from our stream-side camp, we visited the village monastery (a sturdy wooden construction that has replaced the earthquake damaged original) where an impressive 'festival of the dead' was ongoing complete with sonorous chanting accompanied by strident blasts from copper and conch shell horns.

Day 9. We could see the u-shaped Pansang La to the east and it would take 2 days to get there. Today, we ascended steeply on steps via a chorten, mani wall and kani gate to the village of Tipling. Then up through forest to the first of 2 clearings which offer good camp grounds. We had intended to go to the higher of the sites at Marmelung Kharka, but the crew had set up the camp at the lower one by the time we got there.
Day 10. Heading up through Marmelung Kharka, we took a 2-hour lunch at 3500 metres to aid our acclimatisation, before hiking a further hour to the pass, passing a troop of beautiful grey langur monkeys who seemed to be hanging out at a shepherd's hut. Great views east to Langtang Lirung and west to Manaslu and the Annapurnas. We explored the ridge to the north. Then, dinner around the brazier in the lodge was most welcome as the temperature fell to well below freezing.

Day 11. Our route southwards on the Tiru Danda involved all kinds of situations. Ridge-top trails, icy tracks amongst rhododendron forest and open moorland with far-reaching views. At our lunch stop on a cool col, I was pleased to spot a bearded vulture, the only one of the trip. Camp was in a fantastic location at the grazing area of Ghokchet below the Sing La. Another cold and clear night.

Day 12. On this shaded side of the ridge snow had lingered and we ascended carefully and steeply up to the Sing La directly from camp. At 4045 metres, this is a simply superb viewpoint for 4 separate Himalayan massifs and the group was absolutely buzzing. It was down, down, down from here on steps and through forest, with Langtang Lirung now the dominating peak, to the single farm at Gongam. Nearing the end of the trek, the porter crew were in great spirits.
Day 13. Following a different ridge, the Phikuri Danda (a spur off the Tiru Danda), we hiked through great mixed forest for most of the morning and met several groups of local people heading up to Gongam to bring out timber. Later, as we ate lunch on a pleasant terrace above Nyuchet, these same hardy people, including at least one girl, passed us at speed carrying their oversized 40 and 50 kilogram loads. Our final night's camp was beside the sacred pool of Kipsang Pokhari; more reed-bed than pool in actuality. A final night's party around the bonfire was enjoyed by everyone, clients and crew.

Day 14. We were expecting to walk for an hour to meet the bus, but somehow it made it to our camp on a maze of switchback dirt roads. Our long drive back to Kathmandu included stop offs at the home of our excellent and long-serving sirdar, Suna Ram Tamang, and at a sunny roadside diner overlooking Trisuli Bazaar, with black kites wheeling overhead. Completing our journey on the Pokhara to Kathmandu road, our amazing Ganesh Himal experience came to an end.

Kit travelled on the Ganesh Himal Trek in November 2017 and flew to Kathmandu with Etihad Airways

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