Canadian Rockies

27 Feb

Last little mini-adventure was in the Rockies with my wife. We started out in southern BC and skied the slack- and backcountry around Rossland. Then we drove north to one of our favorite places for backcountry touring: Roger’s pass in Glacier NP (where we spent a season earlier).

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This year, we were extremely lucky with the snow pack, which was unusually stable, allowing for some long tours up the Asulkan valley. Combined with stable weather, we ended up spending a lot of time in Roger’s pass. The two most memorable days were probably the trips up Ursa Minor and Young Peak, on which we turned below the summit due to a complete whiteout.

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On a completely different note – and inline with the main purpose of this blog –  a plan for biking this summer is taking form. The venue will be Kashmir and Ladakh, most probably a cycle from Srinagar to Shimla via Leh and the Spiti valley. Really looking forward to get back to Srinagar and to cycle some Himalayan passes 🙂

Hokkaido

9 Feb

Being winter, the bike is resting, and the skis are getting some exercise. Over Newyears, Martin and I headed down to Hokkaido. It was a fun trip, and being to lazy to write about it right now, I’ll let the pictures speak.

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Japan 2016

Langtang

9 Feb

I’ve been busy with bits of everything, but finally found a few minutes to write up blog posts.

This fall, the tradition of combining work in China with spending time in the Nepali Himalayas, continued. While previous years have been focused on running, this year, I went with my new friend Filip, who I met last winter in Kashmir.

Filip had cut off his long hair and gotten new 70ies hippie glasses. As a consequence, I spent an hour looking for him at the airport (although, he was in front of me all the time).

We hired a jeep with Suabry Besi as destination. This is the same place I started out last year. Then I crossed the Ganesh Himal district of Dading to the west, this time we were heading for Langtang and Helambu, to the east. We made it to Dunche, where we got stopped by the police. Our driver said the road was blocked. Thinking it was probably a scam, in order to get us into one of the lodges at Dunche rather than carry on, we asked why, and got the answer ‘rock fall’. Fair enough, but we wanted to see this rock fall, as we would have to cross it on foot next day. The ‘rock’ was in fact a big truck, that had gone through the shoulder, and was now balancing on one side, considering whether to plunge into the abyss or not.

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Fair enough, we spent the night at a shabby place in Dunche. Next morning, we hiked pass the blockade, and hitched a ride on the roof of an already full jeep.

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The driver did the best he could to get us off that roof, throwing his vehicle down the switchbacks down to Syabru.

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After lunch in Syabru, and seeing a helicopter fly in with the corpse of another, seemingly brand new but somewhat warped, helicopter, we set off. Rather than following the river valley, we pushed on up toward Sherpa Gaon, where we stopped to take in the view, from a bench in the sun, before heading down to Llama Hotel.

From there, we moved on along the valley, and arrived in what used to be Langtang, by lunch next day. Now it was just a rumble of moraine, left behind by the landslide which took away the whole village following the second 2015 earthquake. Some new housed were being constructed a bit upvalley, but it was not a very cheerful place, so we pushed on to reach Kyangin Gompa, later the same afternoon. There we checked in to a tea house, which claimed they had warm water, but as it turned out did not. Our overall impression of the place was poor, and thanks to Filip, we relocated the next day.

After an early start, we hiked up some of the hills behind Kyangin. We were a little confused by the map we had, but in the end it did not matter much, as the view was just fantastic.

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After spending some time sitting on a rock, reading a book, and enjoying the thin air, we headed back down to the village, and visited the swiss cheese factory. Actually, it was the new swiss cheese factory, as the original one had been damaged by the earth quake. The manager told us that production was on hold, while waiting for government funding to rebuild the factory, but had some yak cheese to sell us anyway, which we found rather delicious. We were also told that there was a strong cheese making tradition in the valley, introduced by the swiss after WW2. I haven’t looked into the background of this, but have noticed it in other parts of Nepal too. For instance, there is a whole district dedicated to cheese in the foothills of the Khumbu.

The last day in Langtang, we started out by hiking up valley for a few hours, before turning and starting our descent. It would have been nice to spend more time, but I did not know how long the hike back to Kathmandu would take us. Going downhill was a lot faster, and we spent the night at the Llama Hotel once again. From there we crossed the river, and started up the brutal hill past Thulu, where we stopped for lunch. After a whole day of uphill, Filip felt tired and suggested we stop at a small chack on a ridge we had just made it to. I was a bit sceptic at first, but it turned out to be the nicest place we had stayed during the entire trip. It was managed by a young Tibetan couple. They were really nice, had a patio with a fantastic view and cooked the best thukpa soup I have had, to date.

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The uphill continued all of the following day, and eventually took us to the sakred lakes at Gosainkunda. It was nice and all,  but more touristy, and since it was end of season, only one – rather overfull – lodge was open. We took a plunge in the lake (I chickened out, but Filip did actually put himself underwater), then called it a day.

The plan for next day was to scramble up a 5000 m peak overlooking the lakes. We somehow missed the trail, and realized too late. Instead we made a really long push. Getting down to lower altitude also meant hotter climate, and we were rather tired by the time we arrived at the pass, which took us into Helambu. To the south was a sea of clouds, and we sat down for a while drinking tea, which we bought from an old man who lived in a corrugated tin box on top of the pass.

After a nights sleep, the hike continued over ridges overlooking cloudy valleys, covered in rhododendron forest, and with the whole central and eastern Himalayan line-up as a backdrop to the right. I never thought that Helabu would be as fantastic as it was.

Soon we were down among rice paddies and dirt tracks. Before arriving n the Kathmandu valley, we made a detour over Shivapuri peak, then hiked down the infinite downhill. Walking into town from the north is quite an experience. First we made it through farmland, then a district dedicated to breeding pigs, then fish, finally chicken. At the end of all that, there were factories where paper was manufactured old school-style, one sheet at a time. After the paper factory, we got absorbed into the chaotic city life of Kathmandu, crossed the ever polluted Bagmati river, survived getting across the ring road, and made it all the way back to our quite accommodation, tucked away at a convenient distance from Lazimpat and Thamel.

Hopefully, I’ll be adding some more pictures, once I get them from Filip 🙂

 

 

Pamir Highway

20 Aug

Ever since abandaning my plans of a long bike tour in 2014, I have wanted to see this part of the world from the saddle. Finally, it became a reality during the past two weeks.

Just before flying to Dushanbe, I discovered that it is possible to apply online for Tajik e-Visa, with the Gorno-Badakshan autonomous region permit (GBAO). Since getting the latter previously involved visiting some sort of office in Dushanbe, the e-Visa had the potential of saving me 1-2 days. Although it said that processing was 2 work days, I applied  the day before flying, and luckily enough received the visa pdf just in time. The document itself did not look very official – but it turned out to work. No problem at the airport, or any of numerous police check points.

Arriving in Dushanbe was a depressing experience. The city was very run down, in a Soviet kind of way, and pretty much everything seemed dysfunctional. I set out on a quest to send  some post cards. Locating the post cards was easy (took one hour). Stamps were another deal. First post office said that they would have stamps the next day. Taxi ride to the “main” post office took some time. There they reluctantly sold me stamps. (For future reference: TouchNote – very cool mobile app, which generated physical post cards).

Next day, I took a taxi with my boxed bike to the Uzbek border. Within an hour of assembling, I was off. And within another two hours, it was baking hot, approaching 40 C. I cycled past farmlands, and aluminum plant, and the ruins of the ancient fortress at Hisor.

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A bus stop next to the Uzbek border.

Cycling through Dushanbe was much easier in terms of traffic than I anticipated, and soon a slow climb started – which would eventually take me to the Pamir plataue at 4000 m.

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One of very many picutres of the the countries president (for life).

In the afternoon I caught up with a Dutch cyclist, and we asked some locals if we could pitch our tents in their apple orchard.

Next morning I woke early, and being keen on getting riding, said bye to my new-found Dutch friend. The uphil continued, and things changed into a foothill landscape, as the rode got worse.

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This is where the hills and bad road surface begins.

On the third day, the road had turned into a jeepable sandy gravel path, but the scenery was fantastic, with many sorts of rock formations, along a river gorge. Day four was a climbing day, which took me up a 3200 m pass, from where it was all down-hill to the town of Kalai-Kum, on the Afghan border. Before rolling down, I filled up bottles from small streams. Mint was growing abundantly, and the water had a distinct mint taste!

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Approaching the first mountain pass of the journey.

During the long down-hill, my front tube literally exploded (this has happended three times lately, and I will never again juse Continental MTB tubes). The whole business was a bit exciting, with the prospect of falling several hundred meters, if not being able to stay on the road.

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Yet another picture from the road.

Kalai-Kum was an interesting place. Whereas all other villages thus far had a sleepy air around them, this town seemed rich and alive. Perhaps it is the trade with various vegetable extracts from across the Afghan Wakhan that has resulted in this wealth?

From Kalai-Kum the ride continued along the Panj river, which constitutes the border to Afghanistan. Looking across the river, one directly realized the difference in standard between the countries: Tajikistan had houses, Afghanistan mud shacks. I was cycling on a road (more or less), the Afghan side had a iffy-looking path clinging to the rock face. The crags were either way looking like the ones one would expect snow leopards to hang out in, but of course I did not see one.

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Instead I met a Polish man on a scooter (!!!). He had just crossed over from Afghanistan. He was not very impressed, and said it felt utterly unsafe. Close to Mazar-i-Sharif, he had been arrested by Americans, who hold him during a whole day, after which various phone calls made it unlikely that he constituted a threat.

Next stop was Khorog, known as the “capital of Pamir”. Most cyclists stay at the Pamir lodge, but I found out that very many people there were sick, so I went to the next-by Lalmo homestay – which was one of the nicest places (tent excluded). There I met Martin, who had been riding his motorbike around the world during the past 4 years, covering some 400 000 km.

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Old carts of various sizes and types were everywhere, presumably used by the shepherds.

From Khorog I hitched a ride with jeep across the river, into Afghanistan, where I ate a late lunch/early dinner with another traveller whom I met at the Lalmo’s. There was a market, but then not really much more to do, so we went back and spent time in the waterfront park in Khorog instead, from where we watched youths swim in the rapids of the river.

 

Leaving Khorog, the climbing up to the actual Pamir plataue begun. Fortunately I was spared from any altitude problems throughout the trip, but frequently faced with rather horrible head wind (although the predominant wind direction in Pamir is W/N).

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The wind can be quite horrible from time to time, as indicated by the covered faces of these shepherds.

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And this is my own version (picture taken some days later).

Arriving in Alichur, I was utterly exhausted from the head wind, and found a rather shabby homestay. Next morning, it was still windy, and I did not feel very well. However, after climbing a small pass, the wind was replaced by sun, and an extremely long and gentle downhill ride to Murghab (where the wind reappeared).

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Pamir landscape close to Alichur.

Murghab is one of the strangest places I have been to. There were some other travellers at the Hotel Pamir, and I made friends with a British couple my age, living in Hokkaido. It turned out that we shared a lot of common interests and experiences – foremost cycling and skiing. As opposed to other places so far, the food at Hotel Pamir was delicious, and I decided to take a rest day. In the bazaar – consisting of Euro-containers doubling as shacks, I got hold of a spare tube. It was some cheap Chinese stuff, and did not inspire much hope. However, it lasted without a single puncture for the remainder of the trip.

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Downtown Murghab.

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This very interesting-looking mosque lies just a few minutes walk from Murghab.

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And this is Murghab’s gas station.

Next after Murghab, the road offered a 4600 m pass, which was very easy getting up. However, going down was horrible, as the gravel had an awful washboard structure for the next 15 km. In fact, I cycled most of the distance in the sandy mud next to the road, to avoid the shaking. Despite the bad surface and high pass, I managed to put in a long day, and made it to the Karakul lake, where I a stayed with three Mongol Rally teams, overlooking high peaks and the beatiful lake Karakul.

Next morning, weather was not very good. There were a mix of rain and hail storms, but after the first pass of the day, it got much better. The second pass took me to the Kyrgyz border, after 20 km of cycling in no-mans-land. The Kyrgyz border guards made their own situation much more complicated than it needed be, but eventually I was rolling again, heading for Sary-Tash.

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This is the road heading to the Kyrgyz border.

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The Tajik-Kyrgyz border at 4600 m.

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Hills just behind Sary-Tash.

After a tasty meal at a guesthouse, I agreed with a man to pick me up at the Chinsese border pass, 75 km east and 1000 m up in the air. The ride was doable the same afternoon/evening, thanks to an extreme tail wind. I left everthing apart from bike to be light and set out – arriving just before dark. My original plan was to cross the border, and end my trip in Kashgar, which is the first city on the Chinese side. However, I found no cheap (or at least fast or uncomplicated) way to get out of Kashgar. First I would need to go to Urumqi. I could cycle there, but was not keen on 1000 km of Taklamakan desert, so options would be train (do they take bikes?) or flying. From Urumqi, it would take another three or so flight to get home. Much easier then to cycle to Osh in Kyrgyzstan and fly out of there.

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Yet another unlikely color combination.

The road to Osh was mainly downhill, with beautiful scenery. There was, however, a 800 m continuous climb to a pass in between. I was very lucky, as two minutes after sitting down at a restaurant at the pass, a violent thunderstorm with hail and rain broke. It lasted only 20 min, but would have been utterly unpleasant to climb in.

After the storm, the downhill continued. I pitched the tent next to a small river, and watched thunder while cooking food inside the vestibule.

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Typical view from the tent.

The last 50 km to Osh were downhill with tail wind, and went extremely fast. Osh turned out to be a much nicer city than Dushanbe, and after leaving stuff at a hostel, I set out for the Bazaar in hunt of things to pack my bike in. I also got help from my wife, to buy a next day flight ticket. Unfortunately the cheap flights were sold out, but I got hold of a business class ticket with Turkish over Istanbul. At least comfy seasts, and access to the luxurious lounge at Istanbul Atatürk airport (from where I am writing this).

All in all, my little Pamir adventure turned out rather easy, and took just half the time I had set aside – as a result of long but slow days in the saddle. While I was very sceptical to the whole thing in Dushanbe (due to the cities depressing atmosphere), the scenery along the way made this one of my most memorable trips by bike. Its a good thing that there are plenty of other places with mountains and bad roads, perfect for touring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nordkapp-Tehran

22 Jul

 

Ingrid and I just finished the missing leg between Nordkapp in Norway and Tehran in Iran. This was not undertaken as a single tour, but rather chopped up over a few years. And my plan is to to continue slowly inching my way east…

 

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From here…

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…via this route…

…to here.

As for the trip in Norway, it offered some fantastic scenery as always, and miserable weather, as usual. We had at least one big portion of rain every day, and at one point had to haul the bicycles through several snow patches on a gravel road. This turned out to be hard work, as the front dug deep enough into the snow to get jammed by the panniers.

The highlight in Norway was Rallarvegen, which is an old gravel road in the mountains used to build a stretch of the railway between Oslo and Bergen (the two biggest cities). It is a popular cycle destination, but almost everyone else cycles it in the opposite direction. Cycling it our way involved a climb from sea level to 1300 m on rough terrain, but was definitely worth it.

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One of many nice scenes along the little gravel road.

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This was a rather unexpected place to meet a cyclist (but we did).

 

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And judging from these, we guess that there is a lot more snow in winter.

In Fredrikstad, which lies in the very south of Norway, we visited the studio where Ingrid worked with glass blowing more than 10 years ago. The owner was around, and invited us for some lunch. It was very nice, and did not feel like it was 10 years ago Ingrid was living in Fredrikstad.

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Ingrid in front of her old workplace, the glass studio in Fredrikstad.

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Nearing home, the weather had turned wonderful – like here at Italienska vägen (the Italian road) overlooking Mölle village.

This was also the first time we cycled (rather than flew) back home. It was quite convinient to end the trip in a garage, rather than chasing material to pack up the bikes and all gear at a random airport. Having home as a destination also felt interesting in retrospect, as it put the trip a bit more into perspective, than what the fly-in-fly-out trips have done.

This will be a short blog post, I’m off to Tajikistan next week, and hope to get both som preparations for that and normal work done in the meanwhile.

Kashmir

24 Jan

My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when moving through Kashmir.
–– Jimmy Page / Led Zeppelin, from the song Kashmir.

It’s not 1975 and and the summer dust is nowhere to be seen. A testimony of the first observation are two wrecked VW hippie vans, along the road from Srinagar to Gulmarg.

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Definitely Insha’Allah this bus will leave in 10 minutes.

We are three happy friends sitting in a jeep, having spent three hours negotiating at Delhi airport to get our avalanche rescue backpacks through security.

Arriving in Srinagar, we were hurried out of the airport, luggage hurled onto the roof of a jeep and off we went. The somewhat hurried sortie, along a road bordered with armed forces, was explained by the fact that the head of local government had died the day before, and the Indian forces did not want foreigners to hang around longer than necessary.

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Filip making friends.

Finally installed in our accommodation, it was time to check out the mountain. The snow season is typically mid-Jan to early March. Hence we were lucky to have a thick white cover of Mt Afarwat, and a high pressure with sunny days throughout our stay.

Despite the fact that it did not snow throughout our stay, we skied powder lines every day. This is not so surprising, on a broad system of ridges and bowls along a 4000 m + N face, which we shared with roughly 10 other skiers. (Although the number grows during peak season.)

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Why not drop off the nice big Afarwat ridge cornice (given the stable snow conditions)?

The snow situation was relatively stable, and made for good touring. We set out enthusiastically, and somewhat disoriented skied the backside of Afarwat, resulting in quite a hike to get back. Following days made for shorter but equally interesting adventures. The only down side is that skinning up the mountain is hard work at 4000+ m elevation.

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On top of Afarwat (4000+m), with twice as tall Nanga Parbat in background.

Officially, many of the nearby mountains and valleys are closed to civilians due to the ongoing border conflict. However, the military doesn’t seem to care, and it was possible to move freely in this landscape. Talking to Luke, who runs the ski patrol (and, as it turns out shares several of my friends in Kathmandu), we found out that we had been touring what is considered the Pakistani Border. From what he told us, winter is the time to visit: “There are land mines along the ridge line, but with 3 m of snow on top, they won’t set off”.

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Not to be taken too seriously.

However, apart from high military presence, and having Martin (on skis!) chased by a dog belonging to the Indian army down a ridge, we felt completely safe throughout our stay. The locals are very friendly and helpful, and not at all part of the conflict. They are Kashmiri, and not very fond of the Inidian military presence.

Apart from good skiing, we had lots of great food, and met several interesting characters, both local and foreign.

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This is for sure a place to return to, and a good advice to anyone who is confident with backcountry travel on snow. Also, If spending more than two weeks, my guess is that you’ll get away cheaper (including flights!) than if visiting a resort in Europe or North America…

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Martin was wearing his awesome wool Phiran even in bed.

Perhaps there will be another off-topic post, but soon enough bike season starts again!

Running Season

24 Jan
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View of Manaslu, along the way to Sama.

It is low season for biking (at least for me) at the moment. We are looking into some interesting routes for the summer – more on that later – but right now focus has been on mountains.

The Himalayas have really grown on me, and I was not very surprised to find myself in Nepal for a fifth time last November. As usual running / light packing was on the schedule, and I decided to do a fast solo traverse of the Dading district, to then meet up with Richard and the Manaslu trail race.

Dading

Dading is the district beneath the Ganesh Himal, wedged between the Ghorka District (Manaslu) and Langtang. Apart from a cultural heritage trail, linking a few Tamang villages, it receives very few tourists. This particular year the April earth quake, of which Langtang was one of the most affected regions, followed by fuel blockade due to constitional crisis and uprising of the Madeshi people of the southern Terrai planes, did not exactly increase the number of visitors.

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Dading with its abundance of paddy terraces.

A half day jeep ride took me from Kathmandu to Syabru Besi, where I spent the night. Following morning, I set off west. The first day was not overly exciting, but the following week was truly amazing. Running thought paddy fields, occasional villages, high alpine pastures and old growth forest with a Himalayan back drop cannot get much better.

There were zero non-Nepalese, and in fact very few locals on the trails. Finding accommodation was easy, but official guest houses were only to be found in very few villages. I took some time for detours, particularly up the trail to Paldor Peak. Without gear it was not possible (at least for me) to summit it, but hiking well up into the snow made for a nice experience.

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Alpine forest in Dading.

The last day was a bit of an adventure, starting with getting mildly lost in the jungle, to then find the correct trail to the Budhi Gandaki river valley, to then get lost again. After a lot of vertical, I reached the paddy terraces high above the Gandaki, but could find now way down. Finally I found a very tiny well-hidden trail, just to discover that the suspension bridge had been destroyed by the earth quake. A hard climb back up in the afternoon heat, refill of water, and forced jog got me to Soti Khola just after sunset.

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After jogging a bit up and down the Gandaki, the runners of the Manaslu Trail Race, organized by Richard, arrived. I joined them from the second day of the race. I tried to run well, but not so fast as not to enjoy things. The first two days went well. Then, staying at a fantastic location – the Hinang monestary – I got violently sick, and spent the night awake at the sub-zero toilet. No more running for me, but just walking these trails is quite nice (and I ran the thing solo a few years ago, so did not feel I was missing out too much.

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It’s nice that there’s still some of these old school bridges left!

The race itself was amazingly well organized, and it was actually way more fun to spend evening with the other runners than I had expected. Reaching the valley of Tibetan refugee village Sama, we found that the border to Tibet was open for trade (which it is 10 days every year) and saw a caravan of 600 yak make its way across, to purchase ramen and cheap electronics.

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Preparation for the 2015 Sama children’s running race.

Another interesting discovery was Youth Cyber, an internet café at this very desolate location. The place is operated by Nyima in a very modest chack, and if it wasn’t for the satellite dishes outside, nobody would suspect its existence. Spending two nights in Sama to acclimatize, there was also time to visit the home of a Tibetan family, the small local monestary, and make a detour up a ridge toward the border.

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Hinang monestary. Beutiful, and in a perfect location.

Leaving Sama, we crossed the Larkye La, slept in Bimtang, and then jeeped out from down the valley. I spent a fair bit of the jeep ride thinking of what would be a nice itinerary for a possible future run, and for sure a high traverse of Dolpo on the Tibetan plateau is high on that list…

 

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A magnificent view of Manaslu, on a clear sunny day.

Nepal Today

30 Nov

Here’s another non-bike post, this time from Nepal.

Nepal is very complex. I am not pretending to understand it, and this section is merely an assembly of bits of insight gained by speaking to expat friends, Nepalis, and reading news from various sources.

The country has enjoyed stability since end of the civil war in 2007. The high military and police presence we saw back then is long gone. However,  corruption remains a huge issue.

After the devastating earthquake of April 2015, the forever ongoing process of drafting a constitution for the country gained some momentum, and eventually a version was passed. The new constitution has some content that was (I believe rightly) perceived discriminating by the Madeshi people of the southern Terrai plains of the country. They are since declaration of the Independece Nepali citizens, but a bilateral agreement allows for free movement over the Indian border. As a result many Madeshi have family ties across the border. The new constitution contains limitations for the Madeshi. For instance, children born to only one Nepali parent cannot claim citizenship.

The Madeshi started demonstrations against the constitution in September. The government sent down military, who fired live rounds into the demonstrations, killing many. With unofficial support from Moodi, the Madeshi responded by blocking the border, for crossing deliveries of fuel and cooking gas – of which Nepal is 100 % reliant on India.

Since then not much has happened. There is a steady trickle across the border, but it cannot meet the demand. A litre of gas now costs over USD 5, and people have defaulted in cooking on wood, with all its adverse effects. Kathmandu shows no sign of backing off, neither do the Madeshi.

In the meanwhile, China sees this as an opportunity to gain influence, but threads gently, in order not to upset India. The main road between the countries (from Lhasa to Kathmandu) is heavily landslide-affected since the earthquake. Instead, trucks with gas are passsed on very rudimentary gravel roads. I was witness to a convoy traveling across the Tibetan border into Syabru Besi. I also found out that a new road is being planned over a high pass into Ghorka (to Samagaon via Samdo).

The above picture is not shared by all. I know Nepalis who think the constitution is good as-is, and that the southern uprising is directed and fuelled by India, who they claim are after increased influence (or even occupation, as suggested by some radical voices).

A paradoxal consequence of the fuel shortage is grid lock traffic jams in Kathmandu. A well-known “problem” in aviation is that if all planes would need to be grounded simultaneously, there would not be enough airports. Aparently, this goes for buses and cars in Nepal as well.

It will be interesting to see where this leads. The combination of earthquake recovery and complete cut of fuel and cooking gas is not a moral booster.

Next up – after getting hold of a card reader or camera cable, I will briefly about the wonderful experience of running through Dading disctric, and equally wonderful (minus being very sick a few days) joining a friend’s stage race around Manaslu.

Local Ride

25 Oct

This weekend Ingrid, I and my parents went for a little bike “tour” along the river, to a nice brunch place in the city park. While my mum is biking a lot, its a rear occasion to trick dad out biking. We had a fantastic ride in fall weather!

Cycling in Lund.

Cycling in Lund.

This was perhaps also the last bit of riding this year. Later today it is off to Nepal, and mountain running. I have heard from friends that there is no smog in Kathmandu. This is due to a fuel crisis, being the result of the recently passed constitution – and subsequent violent riots and protests on the Terrai bordering to India. A brief background is given in The Economist. It will be interesting to see what the situation is like, and to figure out a way to get to the mountains.

Shoes for Nepal

3 Sep

This is not quite bike related, but perhaps can help to inspire anyway. My friend Richard in Kathmandu manages Trail Running Nepal. One of his activities is to coach promising Nepali athletes, especially women. Several of them have recently appeared (and done great!) on the international trail running scene. To many people in Nepal, a pair of running shoes is a major investment. Furthermore, it is hard to find high quality ones. To support the Nepali runners, I have therefore sourced 61 pairs of new, high quality, running shoes. I’ll bring as many as I can down with me this October, but doubt I will manage to bring them all. If you know someone flying from Scandinavia to Nepal, let me know!

Shoes

Shoes, soon seen on Nepali runners.

As you are probably aware, there has been a big earthquake in Nepal, and there is a large(er than normal) need of international support. Of course, shoes do not provide this kind of support – at least not short term. If you feel that you would like to help out, I strongly encourage you to make a donation to Tuki Nepal. They are a small Swedish NGO, who provide first hand help. That is, not a huge organization, where most funds are lost in administration, bribes, etc…