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  1. #1
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    TR: The inbetween season

    After coming back from South America there were work outings where we brought skis to scratch around on the ice



    And saw the clouds roll in



    And back out.



    There were non-work outings where we also scratched around on ice (freak)



    Or took to the air because the snow was so bad (tobi).



    The scenery never gets old though.



    There was some October snow and a very mushy first tour.



    And just as I was getting into the pre-season spirit of darkening evenings and cold mornings I left on a three week trip to do glaciological fieldwork in Nepal. I had been there once before, 2 years ago, and back then it was easy walking up to our study site on a glacier near Dhaulagiri. This year, our trip started just 2 weeks after the Cyclone Hudhud disaster, where many trekkers died on the popular Annapurna circuit because it snowed a ton. This was very avoidable and very sad. A satellite image showed snow remaining on about 80 % of our route and after some debate I decided to drag skis along for easier on snow travel.

    Have some music.



    Everything works a little differently in Nepal and in addition to our team of 5 scientists we had a huge group of support staff, including several sherpa guides, a three man kitchen team and around 25 porters. I was the only foreigner, the only woman and of course the only skier, all of which was pretty interesting at times. The trekking agency taking care of logistics was told about the snow situation beforehand and asked to provide proper shoes for the porters, which they neglected to do. We reached snowline a day into our trip and it was suggested that the porters could drip candle wax on their cotton slippers to waterproof them. Predictably, they refused to go on after spending a day wallowing in knee to hip deep depth hoar. (I would have quit much earlier.) This led to a bunch of complications in terms of work and we didn't get much done but everyone got back off the mountain without major issues, which there could easily have been so many of.

    Just your average Nepali road. We drove for two days from Kathmandu to Marpha, from where we started walking. It took 7 hours to drive 70 km.



    Village with terraces



    Marpha. It's a really dry area so wood ist stored on the roofs.



    Vulture infront of Nilgiri, as seen from our first camp at 4200m



    Looking into upper Mustang



    Himalaya-glow on Nilgiri



    Porters with Tukuche peak and Dhaulagiri in the far background.



    Porters on the way to the second camp at 5000m





    The cook tried out my ski gear at our second camp. He was a total natural going up. Going down was more complicated. Most of the guys had never seen skis before. I don't think they really get the point of taking the skins off.





    Nilgiri and Annapurna one peaking over



    Third camp. At this point the porters were in strike and somewhere pretty far back with our stuff. We had some leverage because we happened to reach a camp spot where one of our sherpa consultant's guide uncle had left a big, expedition style dining tent full of food and fuel and other tents, as well as a few cans of beer. He and his group were evacuated by helicopter in the Hudhud aftermath. The porters got there eventually but that was as far as most of them could be talked into going. (I would have called everything off after seeing their shoes but that wasn't my decision.)



    We set up another big tent from the guy's uncle's stash. It blew away during the night, which was an exciting adventure for all of us inside.



    Standard mountain view



    Waiting for the non-skiers to show up at the highest camp (~5300 m) by the glacier terminus.



    Yeah, that looks like it sucks.



    My homie Amrit the cook had a cool hat.



    One of my colleagues approaching





    Once again sitting around watching people without skis posthole. This time with the added fun of being on a pretty unpleasant, barely snowed in glacier.



    Annapurna one



    Moon



    My bivy spot and first light on Dhaulagiri. Since the majority of the porters weren't carrying our stuff anymore we had one big kitchen tent (blue) and the small green one instead of the very roomy tent arrangement they usually go for. The kitchen crew and sherpas plus a couple of porters were in the big tent, the "scientific team" in the small one. I decided outside would be much better than 4 people in a 2 man tent.



    Dude finds some supportive snow for a change



    General chaos



    Oh shit is that a crevasse?



    Haha jk it's fine

    Last edited by klar; 11-26-2014 at 02:51 PM.
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  2. #2
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    Drill team



    We carry stuff on our heads team



    Finally heading back down



    Last light on Dhaulagiri



    Posing with my skis. Skiboots irrelevant.



    Things to do when there is no wifi.



    I was very happy to have skis even though I used them purely as a mode of transportation and cursed my heavy pack when I was carrying them. It may be stupid but I don't like having some 16 year old kid in shit gear carry my skis along with 30 kg of other stuff so I mostly lugged them myself, much to the fascination of my colleagues who carry tiny day packs with a water bottle and maybe a puffy.

    Find the odd one out



    [



    Raven posed for me.



    All down hill from here





    From here I shaved about 500 m off the remaining 2500 m vertical walk down to the village by skiing some refrozen crud. Those were easily the best turns of the trip.



    Back in town we did some sightseeing and then drove back to KTM, with a stopover in Pokhara, where we also did some sightseeing. Tibetan refugee "camp" which is just another village by now, but the land was given to refugees who fled after the Chinese took over Tibet by the Nepali government.







    Grows like a weed…



    Farewell dinner



    Dance party!



    The guy on the floor is doing some kind of very expressive dance while the guy with the missing tooth is singing. The whitest girl alive is trying to avoid having to sing by attempting to dance. Music did not come from a stereo. There was one drum and singing.



    Sunrise on the Annapurna range in Pokhara



    Lake in Pokhara



    Pokhara museum. Yeti eating potato.



    More information about yeti.



    It seems like many people have this glorified idea of the sherpas (and other Nepali mountain peoples) as some sort of mythical mountain tribe who work happily for the western climbing tourists because they enjoy being outdoors and have a special, spiritual connection to nature. The reality is that most of them are very poor and make a meager living by hard, physical labour and taking risks that western guides would often consider absurd. Just before leaving I watched Higher and I can't help but feel like the film could have done so much more to show what makes Nepal unique, in good and bad ways. Also, how about a shoutout to the people who carried the shitton of camera gear up there?

    There was a great Nat Geo series about sherpa culture recently.
    Video about why sherpas climb
    Sorrow on the mountain.


    Typical Kathmandu power lines.



    More text and pics from Nepal.

    I got back last week and have been slowly readjusting to winter mode, with mornings on glacier corduroy and recently even a few scenic skintracks and pow turns. These early winter days always make me want to bake cookies and curl up on the couch with a book in my ski underwear and do all those nice cozy winter things I never actually do because I have too much work and general stuff going on. I would be so happy if I could ski and read fiction all season. Oh well. Old friends are back, as are some newer ones, and the cold air and long shadows feel like home.











    freak looking small


    Between shadows, out of the inbetween season and on to winter.

    Last edited by klar; 11-26-2014 at 03:12 PM.
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  3. #3
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    Yay a klar tr!
    The pictures of the mountains in Nepal are very nice. Someday maybe I'll see them myself.

  4. #4
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    wow

  5. #5
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    Well played, sir. Well played

  6. #6
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    Another great post. Thanks

  7. #7
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    Aug 2013
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    Even though I enjoyed the longer version of the Nepal trip too (it made me hungry for foreign food), I really like the short sentences in this one. And the pictures are bigger too! Win!

  8. #8
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    Wow, you are getting so good with the TRs!

    Thanks for sharing all of this.

    And you are right, that guy in the yellow totally stood out

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sf View Post
    Well played, sir. Well played
    hahaha, this is funny.

  10. #10
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    and the cold air and long shadows feel like home.
    love this
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2014
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    klar, you are living the dream

    I can't wait to see the rest of your trip reports this winter

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by grskier View Post
    hahaha, this is funny.
    Well, the guy in the yellow is pretty badass

    Quote Originally Posted by Brecher View Post
    Even though I enjoyed the longer version of the Nepal trip too (it made me hungry for foreign food), I really like the short sentences in this one. And the pictures are bigger too! Win!
    Not so happy with how pictures display on the blog but too html illiterate to fix that.. the food was nice, I kind of miss the chilli in everything. How about a TR about you and the football team, that sounded interesting!
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by klar View Post
    How about a TR about you and the football team, that sounded interesting!
    Still in the middle of everything and working way more than I had initially planned, so the exploring so far has been zero. Also not sure how interesting this would be to others But hey, you never know...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Australia
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    Man, thanks for sharing! I also thought the same thing about TGR's Higher...

    Anyway I'm trekking to Everest BC in a few years time, love seeing trips other people have done over there.

  15. #15
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    Great adventure and great photos! You lead quite the exciting life.
    It looks like there is some pretty good ski potential this time of year in Nepal, no? I've often thought that would make a good post South America ski trip.

  16. #16
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    Yay! Win.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by llyon View Post
    Great adventure and great photos! You lead quite the exciting life.
    It looks like there is some pretty good ski potential this time of year in Nepal, no? I've often thought that would make a good post South America ski trip.
    Hm, I don't know. Define good ski potential? The amount of snow we had this year is very unusual, it pretty much all fell during Hudhud. Normally October and November are the prime trekking and climbing months with dry, stable, post-monsun weather and snow only high up. People do go to ski during this time but they ski the exact same peaks other people go to without skis. See also the Higher film, where they camp on dirt and carry to the glacier every day. That's probably what you are looking at in a normal year, unless you go for the 7000m+ peaks.

    I think it would be interesting to go in actual winter. Not really sure what that would be like with weather and access to the towns in the valleys because all tourist infrastructure shuts down. Supposedly it snows down to Marpha. If that is true you could do 5000m+ ski tours from the valley.

    This is Hidden Valley (5100m or so) in November 2012

    PA079130_1 by klar01, on Flickr

    This is taken from almost the same spot in 2014, same valley just a slightly different perspective

    IMG_4775 by klar01, on Flickr
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  18. #18
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    Your pictures/stories are some of the best on the internet.

    You make the country of Radagascar proud.

    Hoping to get out on that traverse with you this upcoming winter.
    Shameless spam: Trip reports and Gear reviews and if you want to support what I do follow me on Instagram @KyleMiller411

  19. #19
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    Absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing.

  20. #20
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    Nice TR. Bummer about the science and logistics, do you get to go back next year?

  21. #21
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    wow
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  22. #22
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    Feckin sweet TR Klar. Solid work in all ways! Photos were stunning!
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
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    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  23. #23
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    Awesomeness.
    "Typically euro, french in particular, in my opinion. It's the same skiing or climbing there. They are completely unfazed by their own assholeness. Like it's normal." - srsosbso

  24. #24
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  25. #25
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    Quite impressive. Thx for sharing.

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