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special interest | climbing asia


n WE SUGGEST: Te Nepalese Himalaya n WHY: Home to more than half the legendary ‘eight-thousanders’ — the world’s 14 tallest mountains, the peaks of which tower more than 8,000 metres (26,200ft) above sea level — the Nepalese Himalaya is arguably the most


challenging yet most seductive mountaineering region on earth. Te ultimate test is Everest, which at 29,029ft is the highest mountain on our planet. Best negotiated via its southeast ridge in April or May, the summit can only be scaled by elite ice and rock-climbing mountaineers at the peak of physical fitness. Consequently, fewer than 4,000 people have successfully met the challenge. Te seven- to nine-day trek to South Base Camp from the northeastern Nepalese town of Lukla is much more accessible, however. Although a


reasonable degree of physical fitness is still required to reach the camp — which resides at a lofty altitude of 17,598ft — ice-climbing isn’t typically part of the itinerary, and thousands make the trip every spring and fall. WHERE ELSE: Dubbed the ‘Matterhorn of the East’, the 21,467ft twin-summit of Shivling, in India’s Garhwal Himalaya, is sure to tantalize technical ice-climbers. Notoriously difficult to scale, the dramatic mountain is best attempted between July and September. n


Sagarmatha National Park in the Nepalese Himalaya


SAMPLES


n VENEZUELA: Turpial Travel offers a 12-day trip to Venezuela’s Gran Sabana and Canaima National Park, including six days of trekking on Roraima Mountain and a three-day trek to the Angel Falls. The trip, priced from $1,135 per person, includes comprehensive pre- departure information, airport assistance, nine days of camp or hotel accommodation, road- based transfers including two overnight buses, most meals and English-speaking guides. T: 310 427 3616. turpialtravel.com


n INDIA: Ibex Expeditions operates a 30-day mountaineering package in India’s Garhwal Himalaya region from $3,900 per person, including accommodation, internal transfers, most meals, all necessary documentation and support staff. Guided climbs up Shivling are available for an additional fee. Peak season royalties are also payable, but a 50% government rebate is available until the end of September 2015. T: +91 11 2646 0244. ibexexpeditions.com


n NEPAL: Trek Himalayan offers an 18-day Everest South Base Camp trek in Nepal from $1,325 per person, with select departure dates from September to December 2014. The price includes transfers, an escorted sightseeing tour and four nights’ B&B accommodation in Kathmandu, internal flights, Everest National Park fees, basic/standard lodge accommodation on the trek and support staff, including a professional trekking guide and porters. T: 1 855 676 5777. trekhimalayan.com


98 | ASTAnetwork | summer 2014


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