Latest news from the Himalaya and Karakoram

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

#myTMCbuff now available to purchase!


Photo: #myTMCBuff (credit: The Mountain Company)
Who doesn’t need a brightly colored Buff - to keep your head warm, shelter you from the sun or just to look cool?  We worked directly with Buff to create a Prayer Flag inspired design, fine tuned in Spain and had them blessed at a Buddhist religious ceremony called a Puja while in Nepal. 

Photo: Puja ceremony to bless #myTMCBuff (Credit: Robert Mads Anderson)
Now these are available for sale (£20 or US$30) with all proceeds to benefit the The Mountain Company's social fund for use as a hardship fund for our guides and local Nepal charity organisations that are most in need. 

If you are coming out to Nepal on one of our treks this Autumn/ Fall season then you can purchase #myTMCBuff from one of our team at your briefing and debriefing meetings in Kathmandu. 

If you are not coming to Nepal this year and would like to purchase #myTMCBuff you can order one now by sending a message through our website. Please note that these will be dispatched by post in late November and if you ordering from overseas there is an additional US$5 charge for postage (total is US$30 + US$5= US$35).

Our first shipment of Buffs went out to the 28 attendees at our inaugural TMC training session in Kathmandu - including the guides, chefs and cook boys who were all in attendance.

If you check out hashtag #myTMCbuff on Instagram or Facebook you will be seeing them in action already. Once you get yours then please feel free to post a photo of you wearing the Buff under #myTMCbuff.

Roland Hunter


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Trip report for Ladakh Sky Trail GHT led by Almas Khan in August/ September 2018

Photo: Tsomoriri lake from our view point on last day (credit: Almas Khan)
In August/ September 2018 we operated our 5th Ladakh Sky Trail GHT in northern India. Almas Khan is the leader and organiser for this trek and this year we had an international mix of 11 trekkers coming from New Zealand, Australia, USA and UK.

As mentioned in previous trip reports our Ladakh Sky Trail GHT is a unique itinerary designed by Almas and travels through the best of the three areas of this region: Ladakh, Zanskar and Changthang/ Rupshu. For most of Ladakh Sky Trail GHT we follow rarely trekked trails and this is only possible due to the local knowledge of Almas and our local Ladakhi guides. If you like to really get off the beaten track and explore a very remote region of the Himalaya away from other trekking groups then this would be a great trek for you to consider.

Photo: the monastery at Lamaruyu at start of trek (credit: Almas Khan)
Our Ladakh Sky Trail GHT group arrived to Leh on August 14th and on 17th drove to Lamayuru (3,500m) and 18th they started the trek. Overall the trek went well, they kept to the itinerary arriving to Tso Moriri as planned and drove back to Leh on September 8th.

As with all of TMC western led treks we track their progress while in the field through SPOT gps check ins, you can view the Google Maps for our 2018 Ladakh Sky Trail GHT

Photo: Google Maps for Ladakh Sky Trail GHT in August 2018
Almas sums up his experience leading this group as follows:

“It was good to have a larger group this year. The temperatures on our trek this year were about 5 degrees Celsius warmer when compared to last 3 years. The water level for river crossings was about six inches higher but not very cold - it made the river crossings more enjoyable. All group members acclimatised very well and we did not have any problems with altitude sickness, having three nights in Leh before the trek starts is definitely working. It was also good to hear from the clients that the trek was very beautiful and the food was great.”

As for all or our treks in the Himalayas we received bespoke weather forecast from Michael Fagin at everestweather.com. The weather for our 2018 Ladakh Sky Trail GHT trek was fine with mainly sunny weather and there was only light precipitation after Tshokar lake till they reached Tsomoriri  Lake but most of it happened at night and made the walks less dusty.

Almas explains in his trip report to us that "the high altitude camps towards the end of trek were warmer compared to previous years and the temperatures barely got to freezing. The condition of the trail was good as it did not snow much in Ladakh and Zanskar last winters."

Photo: Skui Pata village (credit: Almas Khan)
The Mountain Company has a pledge through AITO Project Protect for our groups to collect at least 200kg of rubbish/ trash in the Himalaya and Karakoram during 2018. Our 2018 Ladakh Sky Trail GHT collected 7kg of rubbish from the trails and around campsites and this is less than our target of 1kg per trekker however this is mainly because there is a lack of rubbish on this rarely visited region of Ladakh.

Almas explains in his trip report to us that "most campsites at are clean as it’s a less used trek. Towards the end of the trek in Rupshu valley you see a bit of rubbish and most of it from the nomadic shepherds."
Photo: Hanimal village (credit: Almas Khan)

We have received excellent feedback from the group on the quality of Ladakh Sky Trail GHT itinerary and our organisation, I have copied one AITO review received below:

"22 day trek. Fantastic landscapes and culture. Very rewarding. Excellent food and organisation. Highly recommended. The Mountain Company and trekking guide Almas Khan are top operators and can be trusted. They know the region and were very responsive both before and during the trek. Without question we'd use TMC again as our preferred trekking company for the Himalayas." By Stu, Ladakh Sky Trail GHT 2018

I would like to thank Almas and all of the Ladakhi team including guides, cooks, kitchen helpers and horsemen for doing a fantastic job helping on another successful Ladakh Sky Trail GHT. Almas will be back in Ladakh again next summer leading our 2019 Ladakh Sky Trail and please get in touch if you are interested in joining him.

Roland Hunter

The Mountain Company