trekking Langtang


the Kathmandu to Syabrubesi bus trip is horrendous

the driver driving a million miles an hour

swinging the wheel wildly left and right

my stomach going with it

mandarin all I’d had for breakfast


8 hours for 120k’s

some of the roads more like tracks

hugging the mountainside

our treadless tyres inches from the plunging gaping river

hundreds of

maybe a thousand

metres below

Syabrubesi a reasonable size town

a bunch of hotels

take your pick

tables outside in the sun

warmer than inside

cold rooms no heating

we walk to the suspension bridge

passing the school

kids lined out



at ease

I presume they’ve stopped that in the west

certainly the bamboo stick the teacher’s using

we go through the checkpoint

over the bridge to Old Syabrubesi

just looking out for the way for the next morning

the map now making sense

our only guide the yetizone blog

from a trekker in 1999

we find a bakery

the Welcoming Hotel Cafe

Pul Pul urges us in

we sit in the sun

eating his cakes drinking his tea

a nice guy in his 50’s maybe 60’s

shows us his oven


four men carried it over the suspension bridge

only four I say

heavy, I add

expensive, he tells me

he talks us into having breakfast with him in the morning

twa 2014 (11 of 11)


we get up at our hotel

drink tea

and start walking

go through the checkpoint

names copied down


get the tea and cake at Pul Pul’s

we’ve only walked for 20 min

but it’s a teahouse trek after all

what’s the point if you don’t stop at all you can?

we get going again at 8:30 am

it’s 45 min to the suspension bridge

and an hour and a half to Domen

20 min to Hotspring

just a pipe not a spring

3 hours to Lama Hotel we’re told

the usual first night stop

At Bamboo we eat a potato omelette

then climb steeply through forest

the river blue blue far below

Hotel Langview Lodge

Rimche is another half hour

really hard work uphill

climbing 800m to 2399m in the day

our yetizone guide

read 9km 4 hours 20min trekking time only

we took a lot longer

drinking tea


watching the wildlife

the area renowned for non shy animals

yaks to langurs

macaques to wild goats

and maybe he’s a fast walker

or there’d been some changes since 1999

Rimche is

a good place to stay

looks back down the valley

we chat with Germans

Czechs an American a Nepali

feeling good about the walk

thinking already we might extend it

Dahl Bhat on the menu

and Chinese, Korean, momos, apple pie

no shortage of choice

Day 2

downhill half a gentle hour from Rimche is the Lama Hotel

a group of various tea houses

the path climbs then down again to the river

deciduous trees and scrub

trees covered in lichen



and the first view of white caps

through the treed and rocky foothills

2 hours from Rimche to sign-posted Riverside

gently uphill through the trees

climbing higher steeply enough

the Nepa Maps 1:50,000 Langtang

available all over Kathmandu

has Riverside lower than the Lama Hotel

some inconsistency

Riverside probably Gumnachowk 2769m on the map

400m up from Rimche

a constant climb

a snack by the gushing river

the local woman who made us honey lemon tea sitting and drinking with us

the trail climbs steeply after that away from the Langtang Khola

much steeper after Riverside

tree hoppers, wagtails, peacocks

looking back down the trail we see a peak sticking up

us at about 3000 in the sun

now up out of the trees

We got to the army post of Ghodatabela at 3030m about 1pm

should have stopped there but went on till 3pm

the next place up Thyangsyap Village for a pancake

thought about staying Chyamki

near Langtang Gompa

another day much longer than we’d read

but we went on through

a guy with nice looking pony told us it was an hour and a half to Langtang

but it took us two and a half

we thought he payed more attention to his pony than time

the ponies up there in really good condition

and anyay we stopped a long while to watch flocks of birds

diving acrobatically

blue green in an incredible reflective light

as they dived and darted swirling in the currents

finally getting to Langtang at 5:30pm

nearly darkness at 3430metres

hard work the last hour

9 hours on the track

but fantastic views

and worth the effort

twa 2014 (4 of 11)

Day 3

the yetizone said 2.5 hours to do the 7km up to Kyanjin Gompa

but it claims it’s a 247m ascent

the map states 400m

we took 3 hours just to make the first Gompa

past Mundo

where we’d had a tea

the town with a long line of prayer walls

a 90 year old Tibetan man

who’d been in Nepal 30 years

stopped to talk to us showed us a Tibetan calendar

describing the animals with an english word and animal sound

another man working out the front of his house

told us that when he was 11

65 years ago

he remembers the first westernersss coming

Swiss so big everyone was scared of them

but once realising they were friendly

they relaxed

and the Swiss came back and built a cheese factory

at Kyanjin Gompa

crossing a suspension bridge

two old men

in their 80’s perhaps

approached us

wizened old men just off a mountain somewhere

one fascinated by my white side burns

feeling the soft hair

and laughing

happy to see us

the day was getting longer

late afternoon

me stumbling

maybe the altitude effecting me

when two other men

heading home from a day’s work

coming right up to me

I wobbled on the rocky path

the younger man caught me

and we all laughed

talked a while

where from?

smiles all round

and as they left the older guy

speaking Tibetan

took pleasure reminding me I nearly fell over

found it hilarious

we were slow again compared to the guidebooks

but what was the hurry anyway

out on the road

talking to the locals

much better than sitting early afternoon in a tea house

though once the sun goes

and the wind comes up

at 3830 metres

you want to get inside

arriving mid afternoon at Kyanjin Gompa

a settlement with tea houses

the Langtang Lirung glacier running down to the back of a monastery

we know we’re there

surrounded by peaks

day 3 gets you up amongst it

one of the great advantages of the Langtang trek

and we wander in the cold

buy some yak cheese in the factory

mesmerising Himalayan peaks

all round

porters going east of Tsergo Ri

Day 4

we head out of Kyanjin Gompa at 8:30am

easy across the meadow at first

till the altitude kicks in at about 3600m

more acrobatic birds like schools of fish

billowing surging in the air currents of a gully

the white backdrop behind them

and the summit of Tsergo Ri

our goal day 4 at 4984m

up ahead of us

a challenging walk

the wind whipping off it

half an hour out of Kyanjin

we get to a river that flows down to the the Langtang Khola

the trail hard to follow

we should have stayed high to the left

to the north

but that not obvious

though on other side of the river the trail goes up over a ridge

and onto a saddle the runs up the west face of Tsergo Ri

we struggle to find a way across the semi frozen river

luckily seeing some porters to follow

then round a corner

the wind comes up

a silica blast wind

off a 6000 metre plus peak

that nearly drags us off a ridge

and while the porters disappear round the mountain to the east

we watch two Czechs going up to the north

slowly climbing toward Tsergo Ri

the snow whipping off it now

two and a half hours in we shelterin a stone hut

a yak windbreak

peaks all around us

the summit out of touch now

we have lunch sitting out of the wind in the sun

deciding not to risk going up any higher

instead looking south west to Urking Kanggari at 5863

about 5km away as the crow flies

the Kangja La Himal

spreading east

peaks reaching up to near 6000 metres

the sun sparkling off the river below

its roar reaching up to us

a distant hum

twa 2014 (5 of 11)

We got back to Kyanjin Gompa

bought some more yak cheese for the trip back down in the following days

climbed above the town to watch the sunset

a magical view

and few tourists in January

we got back to Syabrubesi in two days

shocked at how steep we’d come up

downhill not always any faster

though we stopped to eat our Tibetan bread yak cheese sandwiches

and many a glass of hot lemon tea

Tsergo Ri



~ by Drifting, Rambling on February 3, 2014.

One Response to “trekking Langtang”

  1. Love your work Tim. Soooo Jelous

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