/ western Nepal

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sheffieldchris - on 12 Nov 2013
After any tips or advise regarding a trip next year to western Nepal.
We will be going in October 2014 and potentially trying to climb mount Api at over 7000M as well as a second team doing unclimbed peaks or routes around the 5500m to 6000M range

has anyone been to this area?
Where can I get further information about this area.

Thanks in advance for any pointers well received.
Damo on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to sheffieldchris:

I have an interest in the area and did a lot of research for a proposed trip this year. I ended up going elsewhere and just got back home last night. We ended up going not to west Nepal really but first trying the western end of the Dhaulagiri range along the south via Gurjagaon (not good) then bailed and went to a peak at the far eastern end - Tasartse - but were hampered by the bad weather that hit Nepal mid-October for a week or more. Fellow UKCer radson was also in the region, nice pics will follow soon no doubt.

My original plan was for an unclimbed 6000er in the Api area and I discussed this with a lot of very experienced people - people with a lot more recent experience of exploratory Nepal trips than me. There is a widely known problem of roads and trails being washed out and/or abandoned south of the Api area, partly due to weather, partly due to no visitors, partly due to the Maoist years. Whatever.

The last team that I know much of, for sure, that went in the south side is the 1993 Slovenians that bagged three big new routes. Other teams, only a few, have been up the Seti to the east of here, toward the Raksha Urai peaks and the Urai Lagna, west of Saipal. Last year two Germans made the 2nd ascent of RU3. Find it on Facebook.

Porters and/or horses are hard, maybe impossible to get, and most recommend bringing your own porters from KTM. I have mixed feelings about this, as our small porter crew this year were not good at all and this is now a common comment from groups going in to odd and/or remote areas. In 93 the Slovenians walked from Gokuleshwar and a recent exploratory trek by Project Himalaya bussed to Dharchula then motored some way east before walking toward Saipal and Simikot.

For the area north of Api a few teams have been in recently, but don't think they climbed anything. I know some Japanese have been poking around the southern and eastern sides of the Api area, kinda south of the Raksha Urai range, but there are no published reports. Much older reports with some nice photos are available by wasting days at:
http://www.himalayanclub.org/the-himalayan-journal/search-the-journal/

Julian Freeman-Atwood and other Brits have done some good trips further north and east of here, out of Simikot etc, and those accounts are in the journals etc. More people are going to Simikot nowadays, but not so much further west. Lots of people (relatively speaking) are claiming to do the GHT but not really starting or finishing west of Simikot as the GHT is supposed to. I'm not sure how far north of Dharchula you can go without striking access/permit problems as you're on the Indian border and getting close to the Nepal-Tibet border (for Kailash pilgrims etc).

Go for it. Good luck.
Damo on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to sheffieldchris:

Forgot to mention that despite the usual blathering from Nepal's Ministry of Tourism and the NMA etc about opening up west Nepal, with lower peak fees and all that, they never amount to much and the reality is most agents don't have the first clue about any peaks or access there.

If you don't have someone lined up already, just find ones on the net that offer Api treks, email them and see how much rubbish they talk, then choose the least crap one. And take extra cash for the eventual reality. I've dropped my former agent based on this last trip, so I can't recommend anyone unfortunately. Jamie McGuinness at Project-Himalaya.com is one of the few westerners, along with Paulo Grobel, who knows what is what in the area. Paulo runs excellent trips and has a great Nepal mountain guidebook, in French only.
Dave - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to sheffieldchris:

Theres an article in the current 2013 Alpine Journal about exploratory mountaineering in West Nepal which might be of help. Don't suppose you need more members in your team do you.. ?
L.A. on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to sheffieldchris: A British Army team went to Api in the 80s. Report + pic here
http://www.alpinejournal.org.uk/Contents/Contents_1981_files/AJ%201981%20167-171%20Agnew%20Api.pdf

As Damo has said porters/ponies are going to be hard to come by. Also if youre going in October then be aware that Dashain is 25 Sept to 9 Oct 2014 which will make them even harder to find. (Diwali is Early Nov which could also cause a problem on the way out ?)
Paulo Grobel has done more than most out that way It might be worth emailing him to ask who hes using as an agent on those trips as 98% of the agencies advertising Api/Saipal treks dont have a clue about the logistics involved in that area.
Paulo's book that Damo mentioned is on the Raksha Ural area and doesnt have anything on Api but youre welcome to borrow it if you want but his website covers that and many other trips, and is a real treasure trove of Nepali climbs
http://www.paulo-grobel.com/05_expes/03_topos.htm

http://www.paulo-grobel.com/05_expes/Fiches_PDF/blog_West/01_changwathang_2013.htm

Damo good to hear you got back ok. Interesting route? Did you by any chance get a look at Peak Europa behind Tashi Kang?
Damo on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to L.A.:
> (In reply to sheffieldchris)
> Damo good to hear you got back ok. Interesting route? Did you by any chance get a look at Peak Europa behind Tashi Kang?

Thanks.
No.
No.

:-)

Did not get high enough to see anything S or W of Tasartse. Radson might come back with something, he was on the south side. I think 'Peak Europa' really should be called Sandachhe Himal, for various reasons. Access to Tasartse on the S/E side is ridiculously easy but the route is crap. Might be better in late winter/spring with a good hard snow cover. Just fresh wet snow over steep loose wet scree and rubbish slabby rock when we were there.

TK has a very long but accessible E ridge that gets quite steep at the top. In hindsight we should have tried that instead. Above about 5500m the snow seemed to stick around longer on the faces and maybe made nice neve.
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sheffieldchris - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to sheffieldchris:

Damo thanks for the reply lots to start the ball rolling.

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