- We have worked with The National University of Singapore. We regularly run their Technical Mountaineering courses you can read what they have to say about us here
I meant to email you as soon as we arrived back home, but it kept on slipping my mind. So here goes...finally. Strange to think that I've only been back for one week. Think I settled in pretty quickly and now it seems like it's been ages since I've sweated in Mumbai humidity.
Just to make it official and written, the trip was fantastic! I think I am right in saying that it exceeded all of our expectations. Rinku was a brilliant instructor - patient and very knowledgeable (but you know that yourself, of course) and Baghwan was just as super solid and reliable.
I know you said you saw some of our blog posts on facebook, but here's the address again in case that you want to look at it http://uctmscexpedition.blogspot.com/. Feel free to use any of the writing for marketing purposes, should it be relevant. We will speak of Above14000feet highly to all in South Africa 🙂 Thanks so much again for letting us use your house afterwards. It was such a nice retreat from the old town hustle-bustle and the forest behind it is beautiful. I think this wasn't the last time that I visited Manali!
I hope that your expeditions since have been rewarding and successful and that Laddakh still holds many surprises and adventures for you. Good luck with the remaining season.
All the best and hugs from all in South Africa,
- Janna here.
I give Kaushal five stars! He and his crew were professional, knowledgeable well-organized and inspiring. Seven of us did the Kibber-Korzok trek over the Parangla (5600m). Prior to the trek, I had never met three of the folks in our party. Our common interest in doing the trek brought us together and our diverse backgrounds made it all the more interesting. During the day we inevitably spread out, with Kaushal up front (usually with the fellow who is a triathlete) and I usually brought up the rear, slow but steady, with our second guide.
I am fairly fit and backpack in the mountains here in Washington state, and most of the hikes are well under 10,000 feet. I've never climbed the "big" mountains like Rainier. My left knee has no menicus, no ACL and lots of arthritis. I hike with poles. I wear a big brace when doing strenuous exercise. Part of my slowness is due to caution going downhill. Next time I am going to be really fit when I trek, and be more serious about a training routine to prepare myself ahead of time. I would say the better shape you are in, the more fun the strenuousness can be. But let me also say that I had a LOT of fun on the trek! The kind you have from going through some real challenges and making it!
I did worry about altitude sickness. When I do something like this again, I will spend an extra day or two at altitude before heading out. We flew from Mumbai (my son was working there for TIFR) to Delhi, drove to Manali, spent one night there drove to Kaza for one night and one night in Kibber before heading out. I actually had my worst headache in Kaza! Kaushal reminded me to keep hydrated (that was key!!) and he and the other guide helped me with pacing my breathing and lots of other tips that kept me going strong. Very positive attitude, and that helped a great deal. I did take some diamox the day we went over the Parangla and also the day after that. I would bring diamox, in the form of pills that can be cut in half, not capsules, some Tylenol or excedrin. Also a light weight water filter. The filtered water tastes better than boiled water or treated water. I have a little plastic MSR filter that was great. Then you don't have to carry so much water - and if you do get separated from the guy with the filter and need water you can filter your own.
My son and one of his friends had a fairly uncomfortable case of altitude sickness our second day out - so we stayed in camp and extra day and did some explorations, mild exercise. If someone had stayed ill, there were contingency plans to get them out and down. I always felt safe. I think another reason we did well is that the food was really great! Lots of variety, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables at the beginning. We were amazed at all the good stuff they had for us!! And lots of good tea! I did bring some dried fruit and some nuts and way too many Cliff Bars.
And another reason the trek was memorable is that Kaushal is a really interesting guy with a wide range of knowledge about the natural history of the area and lots of stories of his adventures. Kaushal has pads and sleeping bags which are fine. I brought my own backpacking inflatable pad (thermarest) (go to www.rei.com to check it out if you aren't familiar) and my own down sleeping bag and had a little extra luxury. I also loved my Keen sandals (see rei) for river crossings. Low gaiters were usefull for keeping rocks out of my hiking boots. Down vest was nice at night. It did get pretty chilly! We lucked out and had only one rainy day - fleece under a goretex type jacket was good. Layers, clothes that wick moisture, dry fast... Oh - lip protector, sunscreen!! Hat to keep warm in the evening and also a hat with a bill to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face in the day. Binoculars, camera, extra cards and batteries. I like the Camelback type drink tube hydration system, so I can drink as I keep walking. Also use it at night to keep it beside me so I didn't have to sit up to get a drink. I think drinking at night also helped with the hydration. I liked the choice of lodging before and after the trek. From Korzak we drove to Leh to the Harmony Guest House, which was great. Some of us stayed there for another ten days and did day trips around Ladakh and explored Leh. Tashi, the owner, made us feel like family!
So, in a nutshell... Kaushal has a quality operation, I highly recommend him and hope to be in the mountains again with him at some point.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Fall City, WA
- In 2008 we organized the Official Italian Alpine Army Association expedition into the Miyar valley and they gave us a mention in the American Alpine Journal. Read more
We have run trips for 15 years and know a lot of people who came as guests but always left as friends. Write to us if you need a reference for any particular trip.
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