Mardi Himal Trek report 2015

Trek organizer: High Camp Trekking
2 Clients: Blandine Machat and Agnes Pouse (French)
2 Nepali staffs: Norsang Lama and Fursang Tamang
Trek date: 22nd of November to 3rd of December 2015

22nd of November 2015: I managed Airport pick up for Blandine who I met after couple of year communication regarding Trekking in Nepal. She got our contact through our satisfied costumer.

23rd of November 2015: Agnes arrived to Kathmandu in the afternoon. She is Blandine’s trekking partner for Mardi Himal Trek. They know each other who are school friends. We did trek preparation in Thamel (tourist center).

24th of November 2015: Kathmandu to Pokhara 200km. 

I arrived at Utse Hotel when Agnes and Blandine just finished breakfast. Then, we went to tourist bus station to traveling to Pokhara for 200km. The Bus left Kathmandu at 7:00AM. We had tea/coffee and lunch on the way. We arrived in Pokhara at 3:00PM. We went to New Elite’s Guesthouse (It has Lake view comfy rooms. Recently, it is upgrade 2 levels more) at Hallen Chowk by Taxi. We drop our bag in the room and rest for half an hour. Then, we did side walk on the Phewa Lake and went to Tal Baharahi Temple on the middle of the Lake by Canoeing. We had dinner at Moon Dance restaurant at 7:00PM. There was reduced menu due to shortage of cooking gas in Pokhara.

25th of November 2015: Pokhara to Australian Camp2020m/1:30hrs.

Australian Camp

Australian Camp

We had breakfast at Sweet Memory restaurant at 8:00AM. We catch taxi at 9:00AM and reached at Kande 1750/30km at 10:00AM. Then, we started kick off from Kande (trail head of Mardi Himal trekking route). We walked through Kande village and forest to reach at Australian Camp 2020m/1:30hrs. We met bunch of women who were going to collect wood due to lack of cooking gas. We arrived at Australian Camp for lunch. There are several nice lodges and tented felicities at Australian Camp. We went to Angel lodge where the Canadian couple reached before than us. We supposed to see Sunset views on Annapurna from Australian Camp. But, there was low clouds and did not see Sunset. Korean group arrived in the evening. Agnes teach us a game (a kind of mind reading). Fursang played well. I did not play well. Blandine and Agnes had dinner together with Canadian couple at 7:00PM. Then, I talked about hiking for tomorrow.  Blandine and Agnes went to bed with expecting Sunrise views tomorrow.

26th of November 2015: Australian Camp to Forest Camp (Kokar) 2570m/6hrs.

Forest Camp

Blandine and Agnes

The weather was not good even in the early morning. We did not see Annapurna and Sunrise because of low clouds. The Canadian couple camp up here for short trip to see the Annapurna, Machhapuchhare, Sunrise and Sunset etc. But, there was no Sunrise and no Sunset. Everyone said better weather on next time. We had breakfast at 7:00AM. Then, we were ready to go Forest Camp with passing Pothana and Dheurali with leaving busy trail of Annapurna. It is walking into the dense forest of Rhododendrons, Oaks and Sliver between Dheurali and Forest Camp. I carried packed lunch for four of us because there is no teahouse between Dheurali and Forest Camp. We arrived at Forest Camp at 3:00PM. We had plenty time for washing and shower etc. English man arrived in the evening. He asked how is the condition of trail and teahouse higher up? He was doing own trip without guide and porter. I supplied information to him. We had dinner together around lovely heater at 7:00PM.

Frost Camp

Teahouse at Forest Camp

27th of November 2015:Forest Camp to Badal Danda 3250m/4hrs.

Himalayan flower

Himalayan flower

It is lovely to hearing the birds singing around the Forest Camp in the morning. It was not clear weather again. We had breakfast at 7:00AM. Then, we went to Rest Camp (teahouse is closed) and Low Camp through Oaks and Rhododendrons forest walking 2hrs. We had tea at Low Camp 3000m.It was low clouds and chilly day. We met Australian guy and his guide at Low Camp. They were also going up same as us. Our plan was go to Badal Danda (new teahouse)at elevation 3250m just above the treeline. There is one teahouse with 5 rooms of 10 guests capacity. I made a phone call for room reservation from a couple of days before. Australian group of 5 trekkers were spending nights from last two days because weather was not clear. We arrived at Badal Danda for lunch. We had lunch at 1PM.

Badal danda

Teahouse at Badal danda

It was a bit windy because it is situated on the ridge. The lodge owner (Laxu Man) did on fire wood heater at dining room. The small dining room was warm and a bit smoky after heater was on. Blandine was opening door to go out for rest room. Suddenly, she felt dizzy (nearly unconscious). I was nearby Blandine and graved her arm immediately. The teahouse owner, Fursang and I were afraid. Teahouse owner was guessing that she suffered from High Altitude Sickness and suggested to descending to Low Camp. Fursang and I carried Blandine to her room. Then, Blandine felt a bit better after 5 minutes and started to talk with us. I requested to Agnes keep talking to Blandine to make concentration, do not sleep. I served tea and hot water in room. I checked them in room time to time. Blandine said I will be okay. Both girls came at dining room for dinner order at 5:00PM. Now, Blandine looks that she is recovered. The Australian group just arrived from High Camp. They went to High Camp in the morning. They said the weather was clouds and did not see the Annapurna. Blandine and Agnes had dinner at 6:30PM. I told to Anges and Blandine that please do not hesitate to wake up me if you have any problem of high altitude sickness in the mid night. Then, they went to bed with plan to see Sunrise tomorrow at 6:30AM.

Blandine and Agnes did not have headache or short breath when they were at Badal Danda. Blandine said that she climbed Kilimanjaro. Agnes said that she do not have any high altitude hiking experience in the past. I am sure that Blandine was not suffered from High Altitude sickness. I guess that she got dizzy from smoky atmosphere at dinning room or heat and cold balance was not good. As usual, I suggest to clients that do not go higher up if you have breath difficulty in sea levels, heart disease and pregnancy etc.

28th of November 2015: Badal Danda to High Camp 3550m/2hrs.

Mardi route

South Annapurna and Hiuchuli

I wake up on Sunrise time at 6:30 and took a picture of Mt. Machhapuchhare 6993m of this trip on first time. Today, it looks a lot better weather with high clouds and amazing view of Machhapuchhare from our teahouse yard. The Australian group, Blandine and Agnes went to behind of teahouse to see the South Annapurna and Hiuchuli as well. We had breakfast at 7:30AM. I asked to Blandine how do you feeling now? She said that she is good and let’s make trip to High Camp today. It is walking about 2 hours. When we went to High Camp through the ridge above treeline, the weather was better and better. There are two basic teahouse at High Camp 3550m at the movement. There is going to build a new teahouse at High Camp by a local from Landrung on next couple of year. We went to Mr. Sudip Gautam’s teahouse. Mr. Gautam did hard work to promote of Mardi Himal Trek route. There were two staffs and we had lunch at 13:30PM. Dinning room was a bit smoky again because meals were prepared by using wood due to lack of cooking gas.

Mardi High Camp

Two teahouses at Mardi High Camp

We planned to do a bit of training (go high and sleep low) in the afternoon. We saw a Daphe (national bird of Nepal). It was low clouds again and did not see much around. It was noise dining in the evening. The local’s from Landrung are going to build new teahouse at High Camp soon. A Swedish guy also came up with local people. He said that he is doing volunteer English teacher at Landrung High School. But, he camp up to Mardi High Camp without preparation, no idea how cold here and no idea how nice view up here. He was showing us his thin jacket and felt coldness. He asked us how far are you going? I said we are going upper view point early in the morning tomorrow. Then, we will go back to Pokhara. He said that he thought no more way higher up after he reached at High Camp. The local did not inform him. He was disappointment and planning to descending either Badal Danda or Low Camp with Local’s in this evening. We went to bed early because we have to go Mardi Upper view point early in the morning.

29th of November 2015: High Camp to Upper view point 4200m/3hrs.

Views of Annapurna

Agnes and Blandine – the splendid views of Annapurna on the background

There was noise at kitchen at 04:30AM. Fursang and I went to kitchen and knew that a Swedish guy came up again. Now, he looks that he is going upper view point with using blanket of teahouse. Pradip Gautam and swedish guy left High Camp at 5:00AM. I requested to make tea and banana pancake (I brought banana from Pokhara and had last two pieces when we were at High Camp). Agnes and Blandine came at dining room at 05:30AM. I served them banana pancake with tea. It was surprise breakfast from them because chef total he will not prepare breakfast due to lack of cooking gas. We left High Camp at 06:00AM. The weather was clear; no windy, Mt. Machhapuchhare and South Annapurna were up front of us. We were exciting to go higher up. Four of us headed to Mardi Upper view point through the best ridge walk with views of 360 degree. We took several photographs of beautiful Machhauchhare and Annapurna and group pictures of four of us. It was a bit adventurous day in the high altitude. But, we went to Upper View Point at 4200m with moderate pace. We saw Mardi Himal, Machhapuchhare, Gandharva chuli, Annapurna III, Ganggapurna, Annapurna I, South Annapurna, Hiuchuli, glaciers, way to Annapurna Sanctuary on the bottom and green hill etc. We spent an hour at Upper view point. It was sunny day and no windy.

Machhapuchhare

Machhapuchhare view from the best ride walk on the Mardi trekking route

Norsang Lama

Norsang Lama is leading this trip and also taking photograph during the trip

Pic of the day

Pic of the day – Blandine is photographer

Mardi Himal - Upper view point

From left, Blandine Michuat, Norsang Lama and Agnes Pousse

Green hill

There can see not only mountain but also green hill from ridge walk on Mardi route

Upper view point to Low Camp 3000m/3hrs.

Sunsent view

Sunset on Machhapuchhare; view from Low Camp

The trail was clear and no icy on the way to Upper view point and Mardi Himal Base Camp at that time. We decent to High Camp and had lunch at 1:00PM. We left High Camp at 14:00PM with planning descending to Low Camp. It was easy to go down hill. We easily arrived at Badal Danda again. The 5 monks were reading holy book and praying to the Buddha, god and goddess to protect the new house from bad evils and for good health to everyone who stays at this teahouse. We had tea and watch the monks were reading. It’s time to descend to Low Camp for 45 minutes. We met English man and women (two different groups) at Low Camp. They were going up with guide and porter. There are two basic teahouses at Low Camp. There was beautiful sunset view on Mt. Machhapuchhare from Low Camp. All guests had dinner at 7:00PM. I talked to Agnes and Blandine regarding alternative route (either go to Sidding, Lawang or Landrung, Jinu – Hot spring) to go back to Pokhara because we have an extra day. But, they decided to go Pokhara from Dhampus (it was our original plan) and relaxing in Pokhara for a day. I said that it’s a good plan. Then, they went to bed. All the European guests went to bed. Then, guides, porters and teahouse owner were sitting around the heater. We mostly talked about unexpected border blockage and fuel crisis that made daily life challenging from a couple of months. We had Dal Bhat around the heater. Then, we went to bed.

30th of November 2015: Low Camp to Pothana 1960m/6hrs.

Agnes, Blandine and Fursang

Agnes, Blandine and Fursang are taking rest. Fursang is providing his great job as porter/carrier

It was beautiful morning. Sun just arrived at teahouse yard at 7:30AM. We had breakfast with stunning view of Mt. Machhapuchhare. We had breakfast before than other groups because we were going to Pothana/Dhampus. Other groups were going to High Camp that is shorter day walk than us. We left Low Camp at 8:45AM and arrived at Forest Camp at 10:00AM. We enjoyed tea and spent half an hour because Blandine and Agnes liked this teahouse than others. We filled up our water bottle for next four hours jungle walk between Forest Camp and Dheurali. There is no teahouse and no water source between Forest Camp and Dheurali. We did not meet no one on this dense forest walk. The trail was covered by dry leafs and confusing sometime. We arrived at Dheurali at 14:30. We joined on busy trail of the Annapurna. We had lunch at Dheurali and headed to Pothana for next an hour walk. Here is a lot luxury teahouses than Mardi Himal route/higher up. Mardi Himal is a newly opening teahouse trek in the Annapurna region. We stayed at See You lodge that has garden with panoramic views of Annapurna ranges. We saw beautiful sunset view with enjoying Nepali beers. It was beautiful weather when we were descending to Pokhara. We played cards game and talk sightseeing in Pokhara and Kathmandu etc. We had dinner at 7:00PM. It was a lot better meals here than higher up.

31st of November 2015: Pothana to Pokhara 3hrs.

Dhampus village

Dhampus village

Everyone was watching the Annapurna on Sunrise at 06:30AM. It was beautiful morning. We had breakfast at 7:00AM. No rush today because we have short day walk to Pokhara. We left Pothana with exit stamp of ACAP check post. We arrived beautiful Dhampus village at 10:00AM. We had tea before go to Phedi down hill on next one hour. We have seen top of the Mt. Dhaulagiri I (8167m) and panoramic views of Annapurna ranges from Dhampus. I made a phone call to Dilip (Taxi driver) to arrive at 10:00 AM but we arrived at Phedi at 11:30 AM. I informed to Dilip that we wanted to visit Tibetan refugee camp at Hengja on the way to Pokhara. We have to wait half an hour to visit monastery inside because monks were having lunch when we arrived there. We went to Pokhara after visiting monastery. We drop our bags at room and then went for lunch at 14:00. It was a free afternoon.

In the evening, we had dinner at Boomerang Kangaroo Pub. It has cultural dance show for their guests at 7:00PM. Blandine, Agnes and Fursang did group dance end of the show. I was a photographer.

Resham firiri - resham firiri

Resham firiri – resham firiri – cultural singing and dancing at resurgent in Pokhara

1st of December 2015: Fursang left Pokhara early in the morning. He supposed to arrive in Kathmandu at 1:00PM. Blandine, Agnes and I had breakfast at 7:00AM. Then, we went to visit Gupteshowar Cave, Dave’s Fall (water fall) and Mountain International Museum. We back to Lakeside (tourist center) at 1:00PM. It was free time in the afternoon again. We had dinner at 7:00PM.

2nd of December 2015: We left Pokhara at 7:30AM with catching tourist bus to Kathmandu. We had breakfast and lunch on the way. We arrived in Kathmandu at 15:00PM. Then, Blandine and Agnes kept their bags in the room and went to visit Hanuman Dhoka (Old Royal place) that is 15 minutes walk from Thamel.

3rd of December 2015: I met Blandine and Agnes at 8:00AM. Then, we went to visit The Great Boudha Stupa and Pasupatinath temple in the morning. We back to Thamel for lunch at 1:00PM. Then, we went to visit Sawayambunath (monkey temple) in the afternoon.

4th of December 2015: Blandine left Kathmandu in the morning. Agnes left Kathmandu in the afternoon. Mardi Himal trek has been finished. Overall, it was nice trip. Thank you very much Blandine and Agnes, for visiting Nepal post quake and during the crisis of fuel in Nepal. You were both nice and easy going people.