Journey Reports

Nepal   January 30th 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal
The Great Adventure

On top of the pass

Jakob & Ernest:

The most beautiful paths are not always the simplest!

If you want to cross Nepal from West to East, you have two options. Either you stay all the time in the south of the country, where the landscape is almost flat, or you pass through the middle of the country via passes, incredibly bad roads and many detours.

You know us by now, and you can imagine which way we found more interesting and adventurous. We already described a lot of the route in the last report. In the last few weeks, however, the roads have become even worse and we reached our mental and physical limits several times.

On January 6, we celebrated Ernest's second birthday. You are now asking yourself what it was. Several times on the high-alpine roads, which were of course completely non-asphalted, we had to drive past diggers. These excavators dug themselves into the rock walls to expand the "road".

On the afternoon of the 6th of January, we waited once again for the sign of an excavator driver, and then pushed our bicycles over the coarse stones, alternating scrutiny between the deep valley to our right and the crumbling rock face to our left. Jakob was already past the dredge and waited. The moment Ernest was right under the unsafe rock wall, several large boulders broke loose and crashed down onto the road...

Jakob's warning and that of the excavator driver perished under the loud sound of the debris avalanche. Ernest began to run, while stones and dust blocked the road half a meter behind him. With a little shock and good luck he got away again...

THE Pass

Some 300km off-road are now behind us. In this section we found the highest pass of our tour, measuring 3.200 m.

We needed two days for the climb. Our path led through a 15m wide and half meter deep river. There was no bridge. On the first day, there was 800m difference in altitude across dust and mud. In a small village we moved into a dark, small room in a so-called hotel. The linen in such descents is generally not changed, which explains the 1.50 euro price for one night. Electricity is also not to be expected before it is getting dark, and then, of course, not constantly.

Getting a bathroom in such areas is of course nonsense. The shower was in the middle of the village and consisted of a water hose and a concrete slab. We were able to enjoy a 3° cold "shower" (without shampoo or soap, of course, since our culture bag was already sufficiently equipped with toothbrush and toothpaste) in the worn-out underpants to the curious looks of the villagers, cows, goats, buffalos and chickens. The toilet could always be found behind every bush.

Still in the dark, we went off the next morning. We had 22 km of distance and 1,400m upwards to the pass. The trail became steeper and steeper, and we were forced to push our bikes. Slowly we struggled up the unpaved road until we had the first snow under the wheels.

After a 7-hour fight against cold, oneself and the mountain, we arrived on the pass, incredibly exhausted. With tears in our eyes and jubilation we celebrated the highest pass of our tour. Surely, this summit was one of the most emotional and beautiful moments in the last 9 months.

Off-road bus and cultural shock

After a few days of well-deserved break, we went on off-road to Pokhara, the next stop. The eternal dust and mud on the streets became slowly too much. Going up and down, we were rarely able to do more than 10 km/h. We always had to push the bike and to clean the chain. Somehow, just before the last pass, the gearbox failed from Ernest's bike, and we had to take one of those notorious off-road buses. The bicycles have been put onto the roof, and then the next 40 km in almost 5 hours driving time were managed. Giving away control of one's own life was already difficult, as did the high-risk road and driver's style of driving. Well, someone up there pays attention in such situations, as we found out.

In Pokhara in a mountain bike shop we got repaired the gear change. In this city we got our first great cultural shock. After a month of deepest pampas, we suddenly saw tourist masses: Japanese and Chinese, as always difficult to keep apart, Europeans and above all Americans. In the shops we saw Toblerone, NUTELLA, Snickers, Haribo and other healthy things, which an adventurer needs for his mental balance once in a while. The restaurants offered pizza, lasagna and other treats, and even a German Bakery was on site. All this seemed paradise to us. After almost two months with the same food (rice, vegetables, curry and bean soup) there was finally, finally a change.

During the morning walk for buying bread rolls, the 7- and 8-thousanders in the distance told their respectful, but also proud "good morning".

The asphalt road had us back. Kathmandu is now just a stone’s throw away. Again and again, the snow-capped kings of the Himalayas emerge and show us how beautiful and graceful our wonderful planet can be.

After a month in Nepal, 1,000 kilometers, 22,000 upwards and 21,000 downhill heights, we arrive tomorrow in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu.

{Translation from German: Webmaster}

 i20170130-01 i20170130-02Jajarkot in the evening^ Jajarkot in the evening ^
Jajarkot in the morning^ Jajarkot in the morning ^
Our beloved roads^ Our beloved roads ^
 i20170130-06 i20170130-07 i20170130-08Musikot^ Musikot ^
 i20170130-10 i20170130-11 i20170130-12 i20170130-13 i20170130-14Rukumkot^ Rukumkot ^
 i20170130-16 i20170130-17Last section before the 3,200m pass^ Last section before the 3,200m pass ^
 i20170130-19Nearly done!^ Nearly done! ^
 i20170130-21On top of the pass^ On top of the pass ^
 i20170130-23Machapuchare (6,997 m), from 32 km distance, from the south (Pokhara)^ Machapuchare (6,997 m), from 32 km distance, from the south (Pokhara) ^
Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), from 70 km distance, from south-east (Pokhara)^ Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), from 70 km distance, from south-east (Pokhara) ^
 i20170130-26Manaslu (8,163 m), from 67 km distance, from south-southwest (Vyas)^ Manaslu (8,163 m), from 67 km distance, from south-southwest (Vyas) ^
11,000 km^ 11,000 km ^
Kathmandu!^ Kathmandu! ^

Comments to this report:

Joan writes:

February 01st 2017, 19:21

Impressionants fotos!! quines alçades, tu Ernest, estàs fent el meu somni realitat, ja saps el que m'agrada la muntanya, tota la vida he somiat amb el Nepal i les seves muntanyes!! si ho veus i ho vius tu, es com si jo hi fos!! una abraçada ben forta!!

Burkhard writes:

February 02nd 2017, 20:43

Eine Freude, euch auf eurer Reise zu begleiten!, beeindruckend. Ist das nicht wunderbar, an seine Grenzen zu stossen und sie immer weiter rauszuschieben? Da wird man fürs spätere Leben programmiert, euch wird so schnell nichts mehr umhauen, kein Berg,kein Fluss,kein Wind und kein Wetter. Ihr werdet andere Menschen sein, wenn ihr zurückkommt. Danke für die Fotos und den Film, liebe Grüße aus dem fernen Leutershausen und weiterhin viel Abenteuer wünscht euch mit lieben Grüßen Burkhard

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