WEEKLY PHOTO: Mountains and prayer flags, Nepal

When I first went to the Langtang valley in Nepal during the Spring of 2010 I swore I’d never go back. At least not by ‘that’ road. It had taken 9 hours to bounce and bump to the road head and this was probably the most gruelling part of the trek. In fact, it was so bad that I extended my trek to avoid a journey back along the same road. So, when returning to Nepal in Autumn 2012 I surprised myself by suggesting to my partner, Simon, that Langtang would be a good place to head after I finished working on a trek to Everest Base Camp.

The thing is Langtang is a beautiful part of Nepal and, considering it’s close proximity to Kathmandu, is a lot less visited than the Annapurna and Khumbu areas and the preserve of independent trekkers. However, there was also a new attraction, I was relieved to discover that the road had recently been paved. My journey in 2012 was so much more pleasant and half the time, and I tip Langtang to be the next area to receive more attention.

I not only wanted to trek but, this time, wanted to climb one of the valley’s peaks. I chose Naya Kanga (5844m), the highest peak along the ridge in the picture above. I acclimatised for the climb by climbing the peak opposite it, Tsergo Ri (4982m) which, as with many of Nepal’s summits and passes was topped with colourful prayer flags. This photo was taken from the summit of Tsergo Ri and clearly shows the route we would take to the summit of Naya Kanga, across the glacial bowl to the left before climbing the curving, snowy ridge which the photo looks directly onto.

Simon and I summitted Naya Kanga on 18th November in perfect conditions and crisp blue skies. We returned to our base camp, were reunited with our comedy porters, Pisang and Puoli, and walked out of the mountains over the Ganja La pass, a worthwhile objective in it’s own right.

If you are short on time, not keen on taking on taking Nepal’s internal flights or simply want to escape the crowds Langtang is a great region to both trek and undertake a mountaineering expedition. There are some western based companies which organise trips there each year and will take care of all your travel arrangements but it is also possible to organise it yourself, as I always do, in Kathmandu. With a couple more days in country put aside for planning this is easy to do.

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