Nepal Appreciation Thread: You been there? Stories/photos!


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Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 6, 2011 - 11:11pm PT
Mustang is a finger of Nepal that juts northward onto the Tibetan plateau. It mostly sets north of the Himalayan Mountains and is very dry, since the mountains block storm systems.

Every day, at about noon, the south wind starts up and blows hard until sundown. This is due to warm jungle air from the south rising and blowing up the Kali Gandaki River valley.

We all got real tired of the afternoon wind-storms.

Mustang is a very arid environment and has been grazed heavily by sheep, goats, and yaks for thousands of year. In most areas only well defended
spiny plants survive. Peissel's 1967 book mentioned that only nobles had any trees.

A pleasant surprise for me was that native trees are being
propagated; and most villages with streams had a lot of trees.

After our second day we camped nights between 12,000 & 12,500 Ft. elevation and crossed at least one, usually two, 13,500 to 14,000 ft.
passes every day. Low temps for trip were low 20's F. and it got into the 50's or 60's almost every day.

Mustang has a rich history as a trading center between India & Tibet. The kingdom was first united in the late 1300's by the legendary King Ame Pal.

His descendents still had the title of King and ruled Mustang for the Nepal government, until the new democratic government of Nepal took over civil administration of Mustang October 2008. One of the highlights of our 2008 trip was having formal tea in the palace with the newly ex-King Jigme Palbar Bista,and his son. Most all the locals still consider him King, and his son will soon replace him as the new non-King.

The population of Mustang are ethnic Tibetans, and various sects of Tibetan Buddhists have both active and deserted monasteries and shrines in every part of Mustang.

Traditionally, the second son of each family becomes a Buddhist Monk.

The oldest monastery we visited dates to about 800 AD.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Mustang!


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 6, 2011 - 11:23pm PT
Thanks Fritz! I've never been to Mustang. Actually I've never been west of Kathmandu just north and east to the Sikkimese border and down to the Terai to the jungle parks and Lumbini.

I've seen lots of photos of Mustang and read about it but somehow your short description really helped orient it for me in both time and space.

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Dec 6, 2011 - 11:39pm PT
Some of these photos are really amazing.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 7, 2011 - 07:17am PT
Good news for the Nepalese Tourism Industry

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) The United States says it has canceled a warning issued against travel to Nepal earlier this year because of the improved political situation in the Himalayan nation.

The U.S. Department of State says it believes the conditions in Nepal have changed considerably over the past year, incidents of political violence and the threat to U.S. citizens have significantly decreased and the political situation is stabilizing.

Nepal is trying to recover from the years of communist insurgency that ended in 2006 only to be followed by political instability. Recent agreements between the political parties have given hope that things would return to normal in Nepal.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Nepal every year to see or trek the Himalayan peaks.
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Dec 7, 2011 - 09:33am PT
I too, tried to "help the locals". Thing was a 100kg sack of cement. Didn't even get it up.


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2011 - 10:37am PT
Thanks for posting up that photo from the top of Ama Dablam. Well done man. You have any other photos of the route?

That photo on the grass with the kids looks like its straight outta Moab.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 7, 2011 - 11:35pm PT
Here are some more Mustang, Nepal photos.

We spent two days in Lo Manthang, the 15th century walled Buddhist Fort-City that sets in an irrigated desert at 12,400 Ft.

Having read the Peissel book about how it looked in 1967: pre-treker, I could appreciate there were changes, but it still functions as a "living city."

When we were there at the end of Oct. 2008, there might have been 30 tourists in the city, and the streets were generally deserted. It does have electricity, but we were spared the agony of "internet email kiosks."

One of my friends on the trip had donated generously to the American Himalayan Foundation. As a result, we had been assigned a guide, who spoke great English, was a relative of the King, and was in all ways: a wonderful person to show us around the city.

By the way!! I did get to see the results of some of that donated money building schools and restoring historical sites in Mustang.

After our two days in the city, we cleared town and headed south. There is an actual road that enters Mustang from Chinese Tibet, connects to Lo Manthang, and then continues a few miles south, before ending in a series of "wash-outs."

There are fears that this road will someday connect to decent roads to the south, and enable "tour-buses" to access Mustang from Nepal. Don't lose sleep over it. It is more likely that there will be "tour-buses" from Tibet.

More Mustang tomorrow!


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 8, 2011 - 12:03am PT
I don't know how widely the movie Himalaya was shown in the U.S. but if you haven't seen it, you should. It's fiction, filmed in Mustang and nearby areas, and very true to Himalayan life. There is a separate CD of the sound track I have also, with authentic Tibetan music and singing done with modern instruments.

The old man who is the star of the movie is a celebrity among local mountain people in Nepal. They all recognize him and play the video and soundtrack in their homes. I got to see him and his family when they attended a large Buddhist religious service in Kathmandu a few years ago.

It's true that everyone who lives at high altitude who has relatives or who can afford to go to Kathmandu for the winter, does. Other than the weather, this is also because month long Buddhist rituals and teachings are given in the winter in Kathmandu, Lumbini, the Nepalese birthplace of Buddha, and his place of enlightenment, Bodhgaya, in India.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 8, 2011 - 12:31am PT
Jan: Thanks for your input. I have seen & enjoyed the movie. It seemed very authentic.

I agree that folks at elevation in Nepal want to move lower for the winter. I didn't know many went to Kathmandu. Makes sense to me, but it would take weeks to walk out to a Nepalese road from Mustang.

Pokara is the nearest city, but is about a two-week hike. Wintering there could be pleasant.

Trad climber
San Diego
Dec 8, 2011 - 10:34am PT
As requested, a few pics from Ama Dablam:
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 8, 2011 - 03:51pm PT
Wonderful shots of Mustang. Thanks for posting.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 8, 2011 - 10:26pm PT
More Mustang! The big mountain view & more exotic adventure part tonight: FOR SURE!

Much of Mustang is composed of layers of soft sedimentary rock. The various streams and daily windstorms have eroded it into scenic cliffs that often contain man-made caves. The caves date from very ancient to medieval times and are generally inaccessible. Some still have Buddhist shrines inside and have been maintained as holy sites by local villagers.

We camped above a small town, and then hiked up to a protected Buddhist Cave Site the next day.

Luri Gompa. A steep trail leads up to the structure and caves that enter the rock above it, with a Buddhist shrine and wall paintings in the caves.

Next day we hiked back down to the Kali Gandaki, forded it, and again climbed up out of the deep canyon to the west-side plateau, and Mustang's second-largest city: Tsarang.

Buddhist Monastery at Tsarang. While we were there 12-14 monks were doing afternoon prayers. They did loud quick chanting of prayers with bass drums for cadence. Every now and then they would clash cymbals or blow tones on 3' long prayer horns. They do this morning and evening for several hours.

Opposite the large and well maintained Monastery: is the old, and un-occupied: "Royal Palace."

A Buddhist monk toured us through the the multi-story & charming structure. It will need huge sums of money to keep it from just collapsing one of these days.

The monk then showed us various old and rare artifacts in the museum.

We then headed south again, on different trails and visited another protected Buddhist Cave two days later.

Prayer Walls (Mani Walls) The longest prayer wall in Nepal sets in a scenic valley in Mustang. Buddhist legend says it is built over the intestines of the giant demon that was slain a few miles away. The blood of the demon is visible in stains on the nearby hills. This wall stretches for about 1/4 mile. The lower level is painted to match the cliffs in background and the upper level is all carved stones with prayers

OK! Enough for tonight. I'll get to photos of Annapurna & Dhauligiri tommorrow for sure. Unless Stein & Chris show up for an Lunar Eclipse party?

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 15, 2011 - 11:21pm PT
Back to my 2008 Mustang Nepal Trip.

Great to have friends visit, but it just plays hell with my secret life as a Super-Topo Posteur.

Hopefully, I will get to the "big mountains" tonight----but it was a 16 day trek.

We visited another "off the beaten path" Buddhist Cave/shrine/monastery: Chungsi Cave on our way out. It was a long hike down, rarely traveled trails and the a long climb out to another 13,000' plus pass.

Large birds (the birders in our group said probably Himalayan Griffins) at the same pass. They have up to a 10 Ft. wingspan.

We then spent a couple days hiking back down to the Kali Gandaki River, crossed it and then headed east up a side canyon that would (with a pass) connect us to Muktinath: one of the key stops on the "Annapurna Circuit" treking trip.

Along the way we enjoyed an evening above a rarely visited village, with sructures somewhat different than others we had seen in Nepal.

Next day: we were rewarded with great views of the 7th highest mountain in the world: Dhaulagiri,26,795 ft. and 10th highest mountain Annapurna I at 26,545 Ft.
We spent the night on the edge of Muktinath, stared wide-eyed at the hippie-trekers, and snuck hot-showers at a guest-house. We were not quite ready for civilization.

After that, we avoided the trekker hordes (for a while), with one more high pass and one more obscure side-canyon: then hiked the windy-dusty trail/road back to the airport and a guest-house night in Jomson.

Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Dec 16, 2011 - 12:19am PT
Great share folks!
Mustang is very high on my list...maybe in the new year.

Easier to post this;

for me.

Love Nepal!


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 16, 2011 - 10:22am PT
Nepal cat-bump!
Jonny D

Social climber
Fanta Se, NM
Dec 16, 2011 - 12:11pm PT
my favorite thread about my favorite place!
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Dec 16, 2011 - 12:20pm PT
Note the 6 pointed star on the Helicopter wreck outside the Everest Museum. I didn't notice that it was a fake Russian Star,until much later.


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 17, 2011 - 12:22am PT
An alternative to the Friday night cow-flop threads.


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 19, 2011 - 12:08am PT

Mustang rocks.

Mountain climber
Jan 16, 2012 - 10:43pm PT
Nepal - still as beautiful, nutty, and downright inspiring.

Messages 41 - 60 of total 69 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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