To finish off this countdown, (which has been pretty darn fun to do–thanks for coming along), I’ll leave you with two expeditions from the past year. Our climb of Yala Peak, occurred during our Pretty Big Walk expedition in April when we completed another section of the Great Himalaya Trail. We started that project with the Great Big Walk in 2014 and Lungta Livyers in 2018. We have now completed 5 of 7 sections. The second post is a wrap-up from our River with Two Names expedition in August. I will be presenting that trip for Paddle NL on January 23 at 7:30 pm in Hampton Hall at Marine Institute in St. John’s.
This is a summit photo of Marian and I (and Niranjan who trying to hide in the background) on the summit of Yala Peak. We climbed the peak over two days on our Pretty Big Walk expedition. Most folks were surprised since they didn’t know we had a climb planned.
We climbed to Yala Peak high camp (4800 metres) from Khanjin Gompa (after acclimating there for a day and climbing to Little Khanjin Ri at 4300 metres.) We might have climbed higher to the top of Khanjin Ri (4700 metres) but the clouds rolled in and took away the view. The pull to Yala Peak high camp took about 5 hours. It was a contouring up with some steep sections thrown in for character development.
We rested and prepared for the rest of the day. Wake up call came at 5 am the next day and we choked down some porridge and tried to breathe away our small altitude headaches. We decided to proceed and started up from high camp trying to find the ideal “I can go uphill all day pace.” The initial sections of the climb were gentle up which allowed us to find a rhythm before the steeper sections. We were climbing on snow ( and some rock) all the way.
After about 4 hours of climbing, we reached the final ridge which was a bit exposed so our guide folks placed a hand line. You can see me above making the last few steps to the summit and Marian doing the same below.
The view from the summit was incredible and one of the most memorable and clear of all the summits I’ve been on. The weather was stable so we all took lots of photos. Here is our guide Shyam on the summit.
We could see the junction of three glacial valleys and even into Tibet. It was 360 degree mountains and my inner Snow Lion soared.
Although relatively small by Nepal standards, Yala Peak is only 400 metres shorter than Canada’s highest peak and is taller than three of the Seven Summits. It was great to be out finding my climbing legs and my climbing mind once again and we did have to dig a bit deep to start and finish the climb.
The funny story about why we chose to climb Yala Peak has to do with a hotel we stayed in often here in Kathmandu during the fall of 2017. We found the Yala Peak hotel on booking.com and ended up loving the friendly family feel of the place. We stayed there five different times during our various ins and outs that fall. In their lobby, they had a map of the Langtang Valley with Yala Peak at the end.
That planted a seed and when the Pretty Big Walk came together, I realized we had our chance to climb Yala Peak. We dropped by the hotel the other night to show off our summit photo. So done folks climb a peak because it is there, we climbed this one as a tribute to some kind folks in Nepal and to our two new granddaughters, Anna and Sylvia. It was a Pretty Big Climb within a Pretty Big Walk.
Many thanks to Raj at Mountain Sun Valley Treks for setting up our logistics and staffing for the Pretty Big Walk/Climb and to Shyam and Niranjan who climbed Yala Peak with us (as well as making the Pretty Big Walk a grand success through your leadership).