I’m often asked which mountain, summit, adventure I would like at the top of my bucket list. And every time I can’t put a name to an answer.
This is followed naturally by the question about which climb has stayed with me and in the stories. Here again my declaration is still decidedly vague.
How can a dream be told? How could it be possible to catalogue an emotion?
Let me try and explain this better.
I’m not necessarily interested in the height of a mountain, its difficulty or its impossible access, although I am fascinated by these aspects, which have considerable importance for most climbers.
My choices fall on other factors – the historic and aesthetic profile of the peak, its line of ascent and the company I could use for adventures around the world.
So some friends asked me to organise a trip to Nepal for a high altitude experience. We discussed this and swapped ideas at length and decided on Kyajo Ri, a 6,186 metre peak in the Khumbu valley. Isolated, stark and demanding, unknown to most people and as a result not a front-page feature like the fascinating Ama Dablam or the immense Everest, or again the greatly talked-about Island Peak.
We didn’t come across any other expedition during our adventure which made the experience even more exciting and involving. It took 96 hours of trekking to reach the remote base camp, at 4,700 metres, and a further two days to get organised and take equipment to the high camp, 700 metres further up.
The ascent is technical yet never extreme while the length of the route put us to the test in physical terms.
We will take with us the memory of chilly yet fascinating daybreaks and sunsets, strong sensations in the awareness of being hidden away in a forgotten valley, although not too far from the routes most followed by trekkers and climbers. However the memory of a greater and stronger friendship will remain above all things, as well as the pleasure and enrichment that only the Sherpas who accompanied us know how to bring.
An adventure definitely to be repeated, with other destinations, probably with different friends, yet always in pursuit of emotions that look far away in order to see ourselves close up….