The following is a guest post from Allen Bullard, who I had the pleasure of meeting on a volcano in Indonesia and who subsquently (perhaps stupidly) agreed to climb my 2009 birthday mountain with me, despite the fact that I had a gimpy ankle. His Twitter name is @borntotrek, and there’s a good reason for his choice: the man loves mountains. Not only does he love mountains, he is very good at scaling them and has often returned to Nepal to climb and relax. It takes a special kind of person to find 5000m+ mountain passes relaxing. This year Allen decided to head back to Nepal and opt for a much more grueling trip: the Makalu Base Camp trek, winding high up Makalu. Here’s what Allen has to say about his trip.
Makalu Base Camp Trek in Nepal
In April this year I got the opportunity to join an expedition in Nepal who were trekking the Arun valley to Makalu base camp and over Sherpani Col. This route involves technical climbing and takes you to an altitude of approximately 6200 metres as well as a glacier crossing. This was my fourth visit to Nepal, and I’ve previously trekked The Khumbu (Everest), Annapurna and Langtang regions. All of these I walked independently, carrying my own pack. All of them took me over 5000 metres. But very few people trek the Sherpani Col route through the Himalaya’s – it’s difficult and expensive to organise, and is rated as one of the most challenging and dangerous treks that can be done in Nepal. To say I was nervous about taking this on would be an understatement, but I think life’s all about challenging yourself and it sounded like an incredible adventure. It was also an opportunity for me to see how my body would react to breaking the 6000 metre barrier.
It turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. We contended with temperatures as low as -30 degrees and spent more than 12 days over 5000 metres. During the 3 days I spent on the glacier over 6000 metres I found it almost impossible to eat and even walking 50 metres left me gasping for breath. I was up in the mountains for 30 days and came back a good 10 kilos lighter. It’s given me a whole new respect for those guys who go out and climb serious peaks.
It was also one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and while I questioned my sanity at times while I was up there it was also one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Jodi is a great friend and I love her website, so when she asked if I wanted to share some photos from my trek the answer of course was ‘Yes’.