Canadian Rockies

This where I live and spend a lot of time enjoying the stunning nature. I am blessed to be able to have all of this beauty within an easy drive from my home. After visiting many mountain areas of the world, I feel that Western Canada is one of the most beautiful and wild mountain environments left on Earth. The following pages contain more detailed account of each individual area of the Canadian Rockies. The photos on each page are a summary of many trips and are updated quite regularly as I continue exploring my backyard. Click on each link to go to the specific page:

Kluane National Park - Yukon

Jasper National Park - Tonquin Valley

Jasper National Park - Mr Brazeau and Maligne Lake

Jasper National Park - Columbia Icefield area

Banff National Park - Wapta Icefield and Bow Lake

Banff National Park - Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

Kananaskis Country

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park BC

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Mt. Athabasca summit

Mt. Athabasca summit

Mt. Robson

Mt. Robson

Valley of 10 peaks

Valley of 10 peaks

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Mt. Lady McDonald and Canmore

Mt. Lady McDonald and Canmore

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Rundle

Ha Ling, Canmore

Ha Ling, Canmore

Mt. Nestor

Mt. Nestor

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

Mt. Joffre

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The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

The basecamp for Mt. Joffre

Cirque Peak

Cirque Peak

Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

Wapta Icefield from Cirque Peak

Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

Lake O'Hara from lower slopes of Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

View from Huber Victoria Col

View from Huber Victoria Col

Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Basecamp for Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Huber

Mt. Huber

The summit of Mt. Victoria

The summit of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Victoria summit ridge

Mt. Victoria summit ridge

Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria

Lake Louise from the summit of Mt. Victoria

Lake Oesa

Lake Oesa

The summit of the Tower of Babel

The summit of the Tower of Babel

Consolation Lakes

Consolation Lakes

The Valley of 10 Peaks

The Valley of 10 Peaks

Sentinel Pass

Sentinel Pass

Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

Kananaskis Country from the summit of Mt. Chester

Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

Mt. Chester and Chester Lake area

Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria

Lake Louise and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

Mt. Lefroy and the Death Trap glacier leading to the Abbot Hut

The summit of Mt. Joffre

The summit of Mt. Joffre

Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

Pink snow on the Wapta Icefield

Wapita Icefield

Wapita Icefield

The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

The Iceline trail and the Yoho Valley from Mt. Rhonda

Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

Wapita Icefield from Mt. Rhonda

Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

Peyto Lake from Mt. Rhonda, small blue Peyto hut is visible below

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Rundle

En route to Mt. Woolley

En route to Mt. Woolley

The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder

The Twins Tower from the Woolley Shoulder

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

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Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance

Twins Tower and Mt. Columbia in the distance

Mt. Little Alberta

Mt. Little Alberta

Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

Mt. Athabasca from Nigel Peak

View to the north from Nigel Peak

View to the north from Nigel Peak

Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme

Mt. Kitchener and Snowdme

Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

Mt. Andromeda and the Athabasca Glacier from Nigel Peak

The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

The pass between Moraine Lake and Lake McArthur

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At the Abbot Pass

At the Abbot Pass

The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada

The Abbot Hut - Alpine Club of Canada

Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy

Lake O'Hara from the slopes of Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Lefroy

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Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy - the view of Mt. Victoria

Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy

Mt. Victoria from Mt. Lefroy

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The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy

The Goodsirs from Mt. Lefroy

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Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda

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Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

Bow Lake from the Observation PEak

Ha Lin Peak in winter

Ha Lin Peak in winter

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Mt. Temple summit in early winter

Mt. Temple summit in early winter

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Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

En route to the Abbot Hut

En route to the Abbot Hut

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The Grand Brazeau 

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Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

Bow Lake from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

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Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

Grizly Peak in the Kananaskis Country

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Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake

Peyto Glacier

Peyto Glacier

Mt. Lougheed

Mt. Lougheed

Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector

Hector Lake from Mt. Little Hector

On the summit of Storm Mountain

On the summit of Storm Mountain

Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara

Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara

Photo by Tyler Stalman

Photo by Tyler Stalman

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Mt. Edith Cavell

Mt. Edith Cavell

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Mt. Edith Cavell summit ridge. The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

Mt. Edith Cavell summit ridge. The Tonquin Valley is visible on the right.

Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake

Spirit Island on the Maligne Lake

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The Iceline trail in the Yoho National Park. Takawa Falls is in the valley below.

The Iceline trail in the Yoho National Park. Takawa Falls is in the valley below.

Mt. Woolley and Mt. Diadem

Mt. Woolley and Mt. Diadem

The Ramparts of the Tonquin Valley

The Ramparts of the Tonquin Valley

Mt. Alberta

Mt. Alberta

On the Peyto Glacier

On the Peyto Glacier

Mt. Aberdeen, Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria from Mt. Fairview

Mt. Aberdeen, Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria from Mt. Fairview

Mt. Assinibone

Mt. Assinibone

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The view from Mt. Temple, the Valley of 10 Peaks and the Paradise Valley

The view from Mt. Temple, the Valley of 10 Peaks and the Paradise Valley

The summit ridge of Mt. Temple with Lake Moraine below

The summit ridge of Mt. Temple with Lake Moraine below

The view of Mt. Nestor and The Spray Lake in the Kananaskis Country

The view of Mt. Nestor and The Spray Lake in the Kananaskis Country

The view of Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

The view of Bow Lake from the Bow Summit

Mt. Hector and Little Hector

Mt. Hector and Little Hector

Mt. Rhonda from the Peyto Glacier

Mt. Rhonda from the Peyto Glacier

The Peyto Lake

The Peyto Lake

The Basecamp for Mt. Brazeau

The Basecamp for Mt. Brazeau

The Grand Brazeau

The Grand Brazeau

The view from the summit of Mt. Brazeau

The view from the summit of Mt. Brazeau

Maligne Lake, Mt. Warren and Mt. Brazeau

Maligne Lake, Mt. Warren and Mt. Brazeau

The summit ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell

The summit ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell

Upper Paradise Valley seen from Mt. Temple

Upper Paradise Valley seen from Mt. Temple

Moraine Lake from Mt. Temple

Moraine Lake from Mt. Temple

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En route to Lake O'Hara

En route to Lake O'Hara

Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Huber and Mt. Victoria

Mt. Lefroy and Lake O'Hara in winter

Mt. Lefroy and Lake O'Hara in winter

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Ha Ling Peak and the Three Sisters from Mt. Rundle above Canmore

Ha Ling Peak and the Three Sisters from Mt. Rundle above Canmore

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Rundle

Mt. Lougheed

Mt. Lougheed

Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country

Spray Lake from Mt. Lougheed

Spray Lake from Mt. Lougheed

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Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

Cameron Lake in the Waterton Park

Cameron Lake in the Waterton Park

Waterton Park

Waterton Park

Mt. Warren and Maligne Lake

Mt. Warren and Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

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Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

Observation Peak

Observation Peak

The summit ridge of the Observation Peak looking north

The summit ridge of the Observation Peak looking north

The view of Bow Peak and Mt. Temple in the distance from the Observation Peak

The view of Bow Peak and Mt. Temple in the distance from the Observation Peak

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

The view from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

The view from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

Wapta Icefield from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

Wapta Icefield from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

The view of the Peyto Glacier from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

The view of the Peyto Glacier from Mt. Jimmy Simpson

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Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Bow Lake

Mt. President in Yoho National Park

Mt. President in Yoho National Park

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Ancohuma 6,427M Bolivia

Ancohuma is the highest peak of the northern part of the Cordillera Real Range. It is 6,427m high. It was our main reason for coming on this trip. It is a six day round trip excursion from the town of Sorata (140km from La Paz). The route has 3 camps: at 4,000m, 5,100m and 5,450m. The climb is not technical (via normal route) but it is LONG! The glacier is also very crevassed and the hidden slots present a real danger so being roped up is a must. We had fantastic weather and very good conditions. We were stopped 150m from the summit by a large crevasse that was too dangerous to navigate for us. Never the less, it was a fabulous experience and a great adventure!

The locals believe that the gringoes go to the top to find gold. According to them, there is a little lake on top of Ancohuma with gold deposits in it and we are on the mission to get it. Why would anyone go up there otherwise?

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The road from La Paz to Sorata. The town of Sorata is at an altitude of 2,800m. I was there in 2010 and always wanted to come back to climb Ancohuma.

The road from La Paz to Sorata. The town of Sorata is at an altitude of 2,800m. I was there in 2010 and always wanted to come back to climb Ancohuma.

The Illampu/Ancohuma massif. The beautiful Illampu towers over the road below.

The Illampu/Ancohuma massif. The beautiful Illampu towers over the road below.

Another view of the Ancohuma/Illampu massif. Ancohuma is the round summit on the left. The massif consists of many sub peaks and many glaciers.

Another view of the Ancohuma/Illampu massif. Ancohuma is the round summit on the left. The massif consists of many sub peaks and many glaciers.

The road ends and the walking starts. We had mules help carry our stuff to the first camp.

The road ends and the walking starts. We had mules help carry our stuff to the first camp.

The first camp at Laguna Chillata at 4000m. It is a beautiful and clear lake which is sacred to the local people.

The first camp at Laguna Chillata at 4000m. It is a beautiful and clear lake which is sacred to the local people.

Our camp at Laguna Chillata.

Our camp at Laguna Chillata.

Then the clouds rolled in and we did not see anything until the morning.

Then the clouds rolled in and we did not see anything until the morning.

The fantastic panorama at sunset from Laguna Glaciar. You are standing literally at the edge of the world looking over the Altiplano and the Lake Titikaka.

The fantastic panorama at sunset from Laguna Glaciar. You are standing literally at the edge of the world looking over the Altiplano and the Lake Titikaka.

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Looking over the Royal Range from Laguna Glaciar.

Looking over the Royal Range from Laguna Glaciar.

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The trail between camp 1 and camp 2. We could not use mules on this section and had to rely on porters.

The trail between camp 1 and camp 2. We could not use mules on this section and had to rely on porters.

These are the trail sections impassible for the animals.

These are the trail sections impassible for the animals.

A small pass at 4,300m.

A small pass at 4,300m.

Approaching Laguna Glaciar. Pico Schultze towers above. We are now entering the world of glaciers and moraines.

Approaching Laguna Glaciar. Pico Schultze towers above. We are now entering the world of glaciers and moraines.

Beautiful Pico Schultze is right in front. We saw a few condors circling above and checking us out.

Beautiful Pico Schultze is right in front. We saw a few condors circling above and checking us out.

Our camp at Laguna Glaciar at 5,100m. This is a very beautiful spot with high Andes all around. This is how far we made it in 2010. I always wanted to come back and explore more of this fantastic corner of the Cordillera Real.

Our camp at Laguna Glaciar at 5,100m. This is a very beautiful spot with high Andes all around. This is how far we made it in 2010. I always wanted to come back and explore more of this fantastic corner of the Cordillera Real.

Laguna Glaciar and Illampu. Illampu is the most difficult mountain to climb in the entire range. The standard climbing route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

Laguna Glaciar and Illampu. Illampu is the most difficult mountain to climb in the entire range. The standard climbing route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

Compare the glacial retreat to  my photo from 2010  (click)! The icefall between Illampu and Ancohuma. In a decade, the glacier moved back considerably. The melting of the glaciers makes the climbing more difficult as crevasses open up making routes impassible.

Compare the glacial retreat to my photo from 2010 (click)! The icefall between Illampu and Ancohuma. In a decade, the glacier moved back considerably. The melting of the glaciers makes the climbing more difficult as crevasses open up making routes impassible.

The upper section of Illampu. The glacial changes make the climbing more challenging,

The upper section of Illampu. The glacial changes make the climbing more challenging,

Sunset on Illampu. This is the star mountain of the entire area.

Sunset on Illampu. This is the star mountain of the entire area.

Drone photo of the Laguna Glaciar and Illampu.

Drone photo of the Laguna Glaciar and Illampu.

Laguna Glaciar

Laguna Glaciar

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The trail from Laguna Glaciar to the High Camp at 5,450m. We are now on permanent snow/ice.

The trail from Laguna Glaciar to the High Camp at 5,450m. We are now on permanent snow/ice.

The views were getting quite spectacular as we approached the high camp.

The views were getting quite spectacular as we approached the high camp.

One of our porters approaching the high camp. Illampu is in the distance.

One of our porters approaching the high camp. Illampu is in the distance.

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The high camp is on the edge of the high moraine. It is a fantastic spot with great views. There are a few flat platforms for tents.

The high camp is on the edge of the high moraine. It is a fantastic spot with great views. There are a few flat platforms for tents.

Looking down to the Altiplano from 5,350m near the high camp.

Looking down to the Altiplano from 5,350m near the high camp.

Panoramic view from the door of our tent.

Panoramic view from the door of our tent.

The altitude of the high camp. My altimiter is off by 180m so it is really 5,465m.

The altitude of the high camp. My altimiter is off by 180m so it is really 5,465m.

The high camp.

The high camp.

Our camp! What a view!

Our camp! What a view!

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Illampu

We would soon be well above this peak on the way to Ancohuma.

We would soon be well above this peak on the way to Ancohuma.

We had to negotiate this maze of ice - not too difficult as you could see the obstacles. The real challenge was higher up where everything was flat and snow covered!

We had to negotiate this maze of ice - not too difficult as you could see the obstacles. The real challenge was higher up where everything was flat and snow covered!

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Gregorio scouting the route for the following night. We wanted to follow our own trail and not wander in the dark.

Gregorio scouting the route for the following night. We wanted to follow our own trail and not wander in the dark.

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At sunrise we were above the ice maze and on the large plateau. This part was the most dangerous for the hidden crevasses.

At sunrise we were above the ice maze and on the large plateau. This part was the most dangerous for the hidden crevasses.

Illampu at sunrise.

Illampu at sunrise.

Plodding up. It was so very cold! My water froze in my pack. We were waiting for the sun to come out but it would be a long time. Once the sun came out, the temperature shift was 50C! It became unbearably hot and the glacial radiation was very intense.

Plodding up. It was so very cold! My water froze in my pack. We were waiting for the sun to come out but it would be a long time. Once the sun came out, the temperature shift was 50C! It became unbearably hot and the glacial radiation was very intense.

Well above 6,000m. Approaching the final section fo the climb. the summit is just above us.

Well above 6,000m. Approaching the final section fo the climb. the summit is just above us.

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The summit part of the mountain. We are 150m below the summit.

The summit part of the mountain. We are 150m below the summit.

Looking down to where we came from.

Looking down to where we came from.

Coming close the the summit ridge.

Coming close the the summit ridge.

This is where we encountered the impassible crevasse. We made the decision to bail.

This is where we encountered the impassible crevasse. We made the decision to bail.

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Looking down to our route. The camp is well below!

Looking down to our route. The camp is well below!

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The rocky summit that towers over the Laguna Glaciar is now very small and well below us.

The rocky summit that towers over the Laguna Glaciar is now very small and well below us.

Add 180m - our approximate high point.

Add 180m - our approximate high point.

One of the hidden crevasses… Rope is an absolute must!

One of the hidden crevasses… Rope is an absolute must!

Working our way across one of the crevices with the summit bulk of Ancohuma behind.

Working our way across one of the crevices with the summit bulk of Ancohuma behind.

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Illampu

Illampu

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Our camp is on the lower left by the last rocky outcrop

Our camp is on the lower left by the last rocky outcrop

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Illampu

Our camp from the glacier

Our camp from the glacier

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Going back to Laguna Glaciar

Going back to Laguna Glaciar

Above Laguna Glaciar

Above Laguna Glaciar

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Our small team; Gregorio, Ricardo, Gilles and I

Our small team; Gregorio, Ricardo, Gilles and I

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Lake Titikaka from 5,000m

Lake Titikaka from 5,000m

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Back where the plants grow!

Back where the plants grow!

And just like that, it is all over! Until the next time! It was a fabulous adventure yet again.

And just like that, it is all over! Until the next time! It was a fabulous adventure yet again.

Huayna Potosi 6,088m Bolivia

Huayna Potosi was our second acclimatization step on the road to Ancohuma. You will see the name “Huayna Potosi” on the window of every agency in La Paz offering a 3 day climb to a 6,000m mountain for novices. It is a surprisingly beautiful experience. The mountain is not technical but it is high. On our way up we saw quite a few people turning around due to altitude problems some of those people could barely walk. Some of the people did not even leave the high camp. The agencies in La Paz claim that the climb is not a big deal just to sell the trip. The altitude makes it a big deal though and if you are not acclimatized it can be an experience you will not forget for a long time, but for the very wrong reason.

The mountain towers over El Alto and it is only a short distance from the city. It has a good basecamp at 4,700m and a high camp at 5,150m. Both camps are permanent structures offering bunk beds and meal service. The climb is really just a high altitude hike with crevices being the main danger. Unfortunately for us we picked a day with high winds (65km/hr) and upon reaching the final ridge at the top, we decided to turn around. The wind was just too strong and it was almost knocking us over. It was a fun climb though and we enjoyed the experience very much.

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We followed the combination of (2) and (5)

We followed the combination of (2) and (5)

Crazy wind near the summit part of the mountain

Our objective from the road. The route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

Our objective from the road. The route is on the opposite side of the mountain.

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The accommodation at the base camp at 4,700m.

The accommodation at the base camp at 4,700m.

En route from the basecamp to the high camp. The main summit is in the cloud.

En route from the basecamp to the high camp. The main summit is in the cloud.

The trail to the high camp.

The trail to the high camp.

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The high camp at 5,150m, the views are quite spectacular!

The high camp at 5,150m, the views are quite spectacular!

The view from the high camp.

The view from the high camp.

We started at 5 am and by the time it started to get light we were quite high at 5,700m.

We started at 5 am and by the time it started to get light we were quite high at 5,700m.

The rope is required for potential danger with hidden crevices.

The rope is required for potential danger with hidden crevices.

The final push to the summit is ahed. We are now close to 6,000m and the wind is picking up!

The final push to the summit is ahed. We are now close to 6,000m and the wind is picking up!

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The final section leading to the summit. The wind became too much for us here.

The final section leading to the summit. The wind became too much for us here.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range, from the upper slopes of Huayna Potosi.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range, from the upper slopes of Huayna Potosi.

Upper section of the mountain dissected by many crevices.

Upper section of the mountain dissected by many crevices.

Panoramic view of the upper part of the mountain with the summit visible on the right.

Panoramic view of the upper part of the mountain with the summit visible on the right.

Coming up to 6,000m

Coming up to 6,000m

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Looking towards the Jungas and the Amazon basin.

Looking towards the Jungas and the Amazon basin.

We are now well above the clouds!

We are now well above the clouds!

Big glaciers at the upper part of the mountain and Illimani in the distance.

Big glaciers at the upper part of the mountain and Illimani in the distance.

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Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range.

Illimani, the highest peak in the Royal Range.

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El Alto from the upper mountain.

El Alto from the upper mountain.

We had to negotiate one steeper slope and some crevices along the way.

We had to negotiate one steeper slope and some crevices along the way.

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Beautiful views to the countless peaks below.

Beautiful views to the countless peaks below.

The view of the lower part of the glacier from near the high camp. It is quite a long way to the top from here! The main summit is in the cloud. We had lousy weather with high winds and the cloud obstructing the summit.

The view of the lower part of the glacier from near the high camp. It is quite a long way to the top from here! The main summit is in the cloud. We had lousy weather with high winds and the cloud obstructing the summit.

High camp at 5,100m

High camp at 5,100m

This small section just before the high camp was the most treacherous. The rocks were covered with ice and it would be an easy slip.

This small section just before the high camp was the most treacherous. The rocks were covered with ice and it would be an easy slip.

Happy to be down: Gregorio and Gilles.

Happy to be down: Gregorio and Gilles.

Ausangate La Vuelta Peru

The Ausangate trek is a “little” gem among the attractions of the Cusco region of Peru. It is not very popular among millions of tourists that visit the more famous Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. The full circuit (“la vuelta” in Spanish), is a six day affair although it can be done in a shorter time. There are a few variations of the trak, one ends at the Rainbow Mountain, another cuts across the front of the range. There is also a longer varsion that traverses the entire range of Cordillera Vilcanota.

Our main objective was to acclimatize to the altitude of 6,000 in order to climb Ancohuma in Bolivia. This trek gave us a perfect combination of climbing to high passes and sleeping at lower elevations. We did not see many other hikers along the way and for the most part, we had the entire place to ourselves. Action Treks Peru from Cusco organized the support for us. The service provided to us was first class. We had a fantastic guide, Odon who told us many interesting things about the region, culture, history and customs of the local people. Yes, one can do the trek without the help of the local guide but, it is nice to give back to the people of the region that we visit and, it is a great opportunity to learn a lot about many interesting aspects of the life on the Altiplano.

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The entire Ausangate Range. The large mountain on the right is Apu Ausangate 6,372m.

The entire Ausangate Range. The large mountain on the right is Apu Ausangate 6,372m.

In order to get to the trek, we needed to travel on the Interoceanic Highway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

In order to get to the trek, we needed to travel on the Interoceanic Highway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The lower slopes of the Vilcanota Range are inhabited by the Quechua people. Their traditions are very colourful and lively. They live in communes consisting of many villages. Each commune has its own laws and rules. The members do not own land or property and all the income from work or trade is shared among the people from the commune.

The lower slopes of the Vilcanota Range are inhabited by the Quechua people. Their traditions are very colourful and lively. They live in communes consisting of many villages. Each commune has its own laws and rules. The members do not own land or property and all the income from work or trade is shared among the people from the commune.

Our first day with Mt. Ausangate right in front of us. It was a nice short hike to our first campsite at 4.400m in Upis.

Our first day with Mt. Ausangate right in front of us. It was a nice short hike to our first campsite at 4.400m in Upis.

Alpaca and Mt. Ausangate

Alpaca and Mt. Ausangate

Our first campsite at Upis at 4,400m

Our first campsite at Upis at 4,400m

Ausangate at sunset from the hills above Upis.

Ausangate at sunset from the hills above Upis.

Mt. Jatunpunta that we would pass by on our 5th day.

Mt. Jatunpunta that we would pass by on our 5th day.

From Upis it was a gentle climb to the first pass at 4,800m - Abra Pass

From Upis it was a gentle climb to the first pass at 4,800m - Abra Pass

Abra Pass

Abra Pass

At Abra Pass, the scenery changed to colourful mountain rich in mineral deposits.

At Abra Pass, the scenery changed to colourful mountain rich in mineral deposits.

Ausangate from the Abra Pass

Ausangate from the Abra Pass

Dry hills around the Abra Pass, a photo from a drone.

Dry hills around the Abra Pass, a photo from a drone.

The Abra Pass at 4,800m

The Abra Pass at 4,800m

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From the Abra Pass we passed by many beautiful lakes and many local families tending to their llamas and alpacas.

From the Abra Pass we passed by many beautiful lakes and many local families tending to their llamas and alpacas.

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Lake Pucacocha and the spot for our second night’s camp at 4,800m. From here the trail divides: one continues around Ausangate and the other leads to the Rainbow Mountain.

Lake Pucacocha and the spot for our second night’s camp at 4,800m. From here the trail divides: one continues around Ausangate and the other leads to the Rainbow Mountain.

The impressive icefall of Ausangate. The same face of Ausangate is visible from the Rainbow Mountain.

The impressive icefall of Ausangate. The same face of Ausangate is visible from the Rainbow Mountain.

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Our second camp

Our second camp

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En route to the second high pass Apacheta Pass 4,850m

En route to the second high pass Apacheta Pass 4,850m

The mountains are becoming more mineral rich. The kaleidoscopic colours are out of this world!

The mountains are becoming more mineral rich. The kaleidoscopic colours are out of this world!

From the Apacheta Pass we had to descend 500m only to re-climb 800m to Palomani Pass 5,080m.

From the Apacheta Pass we had to descend 500m only to re-climb 800m to Palomani Pass 5,080m.

Hiking up to Palomani Pass with fantastic views.

Hiking up to Palomani Pass with fantastic views.

Almost at Palomani Pass looking back from the valley we came from.

Almost at Palomani Pass looking back from the valley we came from.

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Finally, the Palomani Pass - our first time at 5,000m!

Finally, the Palomani Pass - our first time at 5,000m!

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The view from Palomani Pass

The view from Palomani Pass

The Palomani Pass and the mini Rainbow Mountain

The Palomani Pass and the mini Rainbow Mountain

The hills of Palomani Pass

The hills of Palomani Pass

From Palomani Pass we could see this unusual red lake with icebergs. It was very beautiful! The mountain above the lake is Nevado Santa Catalina.

From Palomani Pass we could see this unusual red lake with icebergs. It was very beautiful! The mountain above the lake is Nevado Santa Catalina.

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Drone photo of us and Nevado Santa Catalina

Drone photo of us and Nevado Santa Catalina

Nevado Santa Catalina 5,808m

Nevado Santa Catalina 5,808m

More views from the Palomani Pass

More views from the Palomani Pass

Mineral rich mountains around the Palomani Pass. In 2016 we hiked by the Rainbow Mountain and the Red Valley. A spectacular hike!

Mineral rich mountains around the Palomani Pass. In 2016 we hiked by the Rainbow Mountain and the Red Valley. A spectacular hike!

Ausangate from the Palomani Pass

Ausangate from the Palomani Pass

The wild snow formations on the summit of Ausangate at 6,372m

The wild snow formations on the summit of Ausangate at 6,372m

Ausangate

Ausangate

Ausangate from the descent trail from the Palomani Pass to out third camp at Pampakancha

Ausangate from the descent trail from the Palomani Pass to out third camp at Pampakancha

Descending from the Palomani Pass

Descending from the Palomani Pass

Alpaca and Ausangate

Alpaca and Ausangate

From Pampakancha camp, the trail leads to the fourth high pass Jampa Pass at 5,050m

From Pampakancha camp, the trail leads to the fourth high pass Jampa Pass at 5,050m

Nevado Puca Punta on the way to Jampa Pass

Nevado Puca Punta on the way to Jampa Pass

The fantastic Jampa Mountain

The fantastic Jampa Mountain

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Approaching Jampa Pass at 5,000m and the scenery changed yet again. Every day on this trek we had different scenery!

Approaching Jampa Pass at 5,000m and the scenery changed yet again. Every day on this trek we had different scenery!

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Finally at Jampa Pass - a wonderful view and beautiful mountains. We had such great weather!

Finally at Jampa Pass - a wonderful view and beautiful mountains. We had such great weather!

Juampa Pass at 5,050m

Juampa Pass at 5,050m

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Jampa Pass 5,050m

Jampa Pass 5,050m

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From Jampa Pass, we descended to our fourth camp at Pucacocha.

From Jampa Pass, we descended to our fourth camp at Pucacocha.

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The Action Treks Peru team. Note our Chef in a very formal outfit. His meals were of restaurant quality and I can honestly say that I have never had better meals on any treks in the past 20 years!

The Action Treks Peru team. Note our Chef in a very formal outfit. His meals were of restaurant quality and I can honestly say that I have never had better meals on any treks in the past 20 years!

The beautiful sacred lakes surrounding our last camp. The locals revere the mountain (“Apu” means God - Apu Ausangate) and the lakes. Some of the lakes can only be touched by the local shamans.

The beautiful sacred lakes surrounding our last camp. The locals revere the mountain (“Apu” means God - Apu Ausangate) and the lakes. Some of the lakes can only be touched by the local shamans.

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Salkantay mountain on the horizon (left) - another popular hike on the way to Machu Picchu.

Salkantay mountain on the horizon (left) - another popular hike on the way to Machu Picchu.

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On our way to Pacchanta and the hot springs!  More beautiful lakes and no people!  Everyone is on the Inca Trail!

On our way to Pacchanta and the hot springs! More beautiful lakes and no people! Everyone is on the Inca Trail!

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Beautiful lakes and Ausangate

Beautiful lakes and Ausangate

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Crystal clear lakes at the foot of Ausangate

Crystal clear lakes at the foot of Ausangate

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Sacred lake at the foot of Ausangate. Most likely the source of the water is from an underground spring. The glacial meltoff would not be so crystal clear.  This lake remineded me of the Yellowstone NP.

Sacred lake at the foot of Ausangate. Most likely the source of the water is from an underground spring. The glacial meltoff would not be so crystal clear. This lake remineded me of the Yellowstone NP.

Beautiful scenery of the front ranges of Ausangate

Beautiful scenery of the front ranges of Ausangate

Glacial lake at the foot of Ausangate

Glacial lake at the foot of Ausangate

Ausangate and Cerro Wamanticaya

Ausangate and Cerro Wamanticaya

Ausangate

Ausangate

Ausangate from Pacchanta at sunset.  We had this magnificent view while soaking in the hot spring.  It does not get any better than that!

Ausangate from Pacchanta at sunset. We had this magnificent view while soaking in the hot spring. It does not get any better than that!

The wonderful hot springs at Pacchanta - the temperature was perfect for lingering and soaking in the views.  The local lady even sells cold drinks.  The hot pool belongs to the community.  Different family looks after the pool each week.  Earlier in the day, the pool was full of local people who come to the nearby warm river to bathe.

The wonderful hot springs at Pacchanta - the temperature was perfect for lingering and soaking in the views. The local lady even sells cold drinks. The hot pool belongs to the community. Different family looks after the pool each week. Earlier in the day, the pool was full of local people who come to the nearby warm river to bathe.

The small village of Pacchanta.  Cold Coke and Beer is available!

The small village of Pacchanta. Cold Coke and Beer is available!

Local ladies selling their creations at our last camp. The ladies weave the cloth and make various things from it.  The quality is high and the prices are very fair.  This was a wonderful trek and a perfect way for us to acclimatize to altitude. And, it is only 4 hours away from Cusco! Another fabulous experience in Peru!

Local ladies selling their creations at our last camp. The ladies weave the cloth and make various things from it. The quality is high and the prices are very fair. This was a wonderful trek and a perfect way for us to acclimatize to altitude. And, it is only 4 hours away from Cusco! Another fabulous experience in Peru!

The Great Himalaya Trail - Summary of Completed Sections

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This is an ongoing project for me and it gives me a good reason to return to one of my favourite regions in the world. I have been trekking in the Himalaya since 2001. So far, I have completed the following sections and crossed the following high passes of the Karakoram, the Zanskar and the Himalaya Ranges (The Great Himalaya Trail, situated in Nepal, is only a subset of this larger and longer journey). Click on each link for the trip report and photos:

Nepal Himalaya Treks (1,515km) and main passes:

1.     Kangchendzonga Himal 250km, Selele Pass 4,290m

2.     Makalu Himal 80km, Shiphton Pass 4,000m, Sherpani Col 6,180m, West Col 6,135m

3.     Khumbu Himal – East 60 km, Amphu Labtsa Pass 5,845m

4.     Kumbu Himal  - West 100km, Renjo La 5,360m

5.     Rowaling Himal 100km, Teshi Labtsa Pass 5,800m, Yalung La 5,300m

6.     Langtang Himal and Ganjala Pass 200km, Tilman Pass 5,300m, Ganjala 5,130m

7. Ganesh Himal/Langtang 170km, Laurebina La 4,610m

8.     Manaslu Himal 140km, Larkya Pass 5,125m

9.     Annapurna Himal – North 140km, Mesocanto Pass 5,230m

10.   Annapurna Himal - South 65km

11.  Dhaulagiri Himal 110km, French Pass 5,150m, Dhampus Pass 5,150m

12.  Far West Nepal 100km, Nara La Pass 4,507m

Karakoram treks and passes in Pakistan and China (525km):

1.    Baltoro Glacier 115km, Ghondogoro La 5,640m

2.    Biafo and Hispar Glaciers 132km, Hispar Pass 5,151m

3.    Shakskam Valley and K2 Glacier 278km, Aghil Pass 4,805m

India treks and passes (291km):

1.    Grand Zanskar Traverse (Darcha to Lamayuru) 291km, Shingo La 5,090m, Murgum La 4,000m, Singee La 5,000, Sirsi La 4,900m





Yellowstone National Park in Winter

In January of 2019 we went cross country skiing to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. The park is closed to vehicles and the only way to get in is via a snowcoach or snowmobile. A snowcoach is a large van or a small bus with huge inflated tyres that allow it to travel in deep snow. There are very few people in the park and even less on ski trails. The animals are close to the thermal pools and easy to spot. It was a beautiful experience and I concluded that the park is more beautiful in winter than during any other season of the year. You get a sense of how difficult it is for the animals to survive in the extreme winter conditions. Yet they preserver in this game of survival. This was my fifth time in the park but my first time during winter and I left with a renewed sense of appreciation for this unique corner of the world.

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Langtang, Tilman Pass and Ganjala Trip Report

Nepal Tilman Pass and Ganja La Pass

October 16, 2018 – November 11, 2018

Participants:  Derek and David.  Shyam (the guide), Niranjan (#2), Milan, Roshan, Santosh and Sanchaman.  We could not have done it without those great guys! 

 October 18, 2018 Kathmandu  

I am back in Kathmandu, Nepal after a long, long flight. The visa process on arrival was as chaotic as ever.  I am not sure how is Nepal going to double the number of visitors, as already the authorities have a tough time coping with the traffic as is? 2 hours aver arriving in Kathmandu, I am finally out of the airport.

Raj, the owner of Mountain Sun Valley Trekking (organizing our trip) met me at the gate and we went to his house for dhal bat and some good cheer. I know his family and they are so very nice and great.  I appreciate very much being treated as a friend and not only as a customer.  While at Raj’s house, Shyam our guide on this trek, came over.  He brought his brother Niranjan with him.  I like Niranjan very much, he is tough, very competent and always smiling. He is one of the few people that I would not hesitate to take with me on any trip!  After greetings and some beer, we reviewed our gear and checked the tents. There will be 8 of us all together and it is unlikely that we will come across many trekkers on this trip.  

After a good lunch, Raj took me to Hotel Nirvana.  I checked in, dropped my stuff, and went for a walk around Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu.  A lot of shops were closed due to the festival of Dashan.  I was tired from all the flying and went back to Nirvana Hotel for a 2-hour nap before David’s arrival.  After David arrived, we went for some Tibetan momos (dumplings) and then off to bed by 8.30pm.  

Early morning in Kathmandu

Early morning in Kathmandu

Thamel, Kathmandu

Thamel, Kathmandu

October 19, 2018 Okhrani 2,400m

We left Kathmandu at 8am on a road leading north.  The state of infrastructure in Kathmandu is falling further and further behind.  I am frankly not sure how the residents of this city can put up with the state of roads? The entire way out of Kathmandu was through a torn up track full of holes, dust and mud. I would not even call it a road. It was more of a track.  

On the way to the trailhead, we drove through the village of Malamchi where we had lunch in a local establishment.  The 70km distance took up the entire day.  From Malamchi the road climbed up and it was in even worse shape (if this is possible!) than earlier in the day.   We were rocking and jolting all the way from Malamchi to Okhreni. One really needs a good 4x4 with high clearance and good traction.   I would imagine that during the monsoon season these tracks are not passable.   Some of the ruts were over two feet deep!

We arrived in Okhreni, our starting point for the trek, which is in the middle of nowhere and has a deserted feel to it.  Once we arrived and unpacked, we realized that along the way we lost some of our provisions, as our load was not tied up properly to the roof railings.  The road was so bumpy that the packages containing, most importantly, a month supply of porridge was lost!  David was unimpressed but soldiered through with gusto.   It was very un-British of him to let the porridge dream go so easily.