During the summer of 2017 a group of 10 of us embarked on a trip to Langtang Valley, Nepal, to attend a basic technical mountaineering course. For many of us, this would be our first foray into the mountains. In the months that led up to the course we trained our bodies and had learnt some basic technical knowledge and skills. By the end of the semester, we were all excited and ready for our adventure in the Himalayas. After a day or two in Kathmandu, we set off for Langtang valley. The crisp, cold mountain air, the green valley and the sound of the flowing river was a much-welcomed change from the dusty and chaotic streets of Kathmandu.
The first couple of days were tough on our barely acclimatised bodies. This being said, the gorgeous views of the mighty snow-capped giants that dominated the valley made it a pleasant experience.
For about 5 days our typical day would usually be 6-8 hours of trekking, reaching our next guesthouse late in the afternoon. We would then have some short lessons on mountain safety (AMS, Proper acclimatisation, Navigation). Nights were usually spent in the dining room talking about anything under the sun.
We then reached the last village, Kyanjin Gompa. The village was beautiful. We stayed there for a few days to practice some abseiling and jumaring at the nearby boulder.
After about a week we left the comfort of the last village and headed onwards to our objective, Baden-Powell peak (Scouts peak). The trail to the base camp of Scout’s peak was beautiful.
Base camp was located at a stunning location. It was my favourite sleeping spot in the whole trip. It was on a small plain of grass with a small stream flowing through it and had a breath-taking view of Langtang Lirung.
We then headed up to advanced base camp where we would spend another few days learning snow and ice craft before applying everything we have learnt to use during our summit attempt on the peak.
We travelled across the nearby glacier to practice some basic crampon techniques which would come in handy on the summit attempt and was also introduced to the basic techniques of ice climbing on top rope.
Then came the day for the summit attempt. We were all excited and some even nervous for what was to come. We started off at around 3 am. For most of the first part, the climbing was mostly on moderate snow slopes and it was not necessary to rope up.
The terrain started to steepen and applying what we had practiced in Singapore, we ascended about 50m of fixed line before we reached a vast plateau.
We were then split into two roped teams. After crossing the snow field and making a traverse, the slopes started to steepen again. After two more short sections of fixed lines, we were at the summit.
We were afforded only a few moments at the summit to take in the panoramic views before the clouds came in and obscured everything. All 10 of us made it to the summit and descended safely.
We all had our own reasons for embarking on this trip. For some it was a stepping stone in their mountaineering journey, for others it was to push personal boundaries and step outside comfort zones to experience an adventure, for some it was simply to be in the mountains. Regardless of the reason, I am glad to have shared the experience with everyone on the trip. The three weeks in the Himalayas were extremely memorable. Though some of us might no longer pursue mountaineering after the trip, I hope that the journey had been an unforgettable one for every one of you and that we will all continue to appreciate the mountains in our own ways. For those reading and are interested in mountaineering, I encourage you to take the first step and join TMC and let your heart sing in the mountains!