Today (13 april) we left Taplejung (where we arrived very late yesterday, and had dinner after midnight) quite late. It’s not very far to Tapethok, but the road is very primitive and in many places kind of non-existent, so it takes us 5 h to get there (at an average speed of 8 km/h). Tapethok is kind of in middle of nowhere and has only 1G, so no internet today. The little lodge “Hotel Tamor” we are in, has only 11 beds, so 3 of us will have to sleep on the floor. Despite the fact that Tapethok is at ~1400 m, it is still very hot and humid. There is still bamboo growing and palm trees around. Plans change daily… our next goal is Cheram, but there has been a land slide and it seems we cannot get our luggage there overland. So we will probably fly by helicopter tomorrow (or the day after) and keep our fingers crossed that we will
be able to continue from there.


Yesterday we had planned to fly to Suketar, the airport of Taplejung, with Sita Air that has small planes.

Group photo in the garden of the Shanker hotel

After taking group photos, we got to the airport, after some waiting got boarding passes passed the security and waited for 6 hours. Then it appeared that Sita Air had found a commercially more profitable use of the plane and dumped us. So we went back to the Shanker. We discussed all options in the group and decided to fly to Bhadrapur , in the southeast of Nepal and drive from there to Phidim, sleep there and continue the next day to Taplejung. After another swim in the pool, went for dinner in the Vino Bar, one of my favourite spots in Kathmandu. We had a wonderful hilarious night

Vino Bar

This morning we got again to the airport and this time we flew without any problem to Bhadrapur. On the way we even had a glimpse of Kangchenjunga.

Kangchenjunga at a distance

At Bhadrapur we got two small buses and set off to Phidim. It is hot (over 30 degrees and palm trees…) and humid but we should drive up and it would be cooler then hopefully. The road is by times very bumpy or gone in spots.

Road repairs

On the way, we stopped for lunch and learned that Phidim had no lodges available and it was decided to drive all the way to Taplejung where we arrived just after 22 h. So after a very long ride we actually regained a day on the schedule, which is important for the trekkers to Kangchenjunga base camp.

Stop on the way
Lunch spot


Last Thursday Aly brought me to the airport where the lady at the check-in didn’t bother about the excess luggage weight. I had a very pleasant flight with KLM to Dubai, where we arrived – despite the more than one hour delay in departure – only about 20 min late. Moreover, the purser gave me a bottle of wine ‘since I appreciated it so much during the flight’.

Courtesy of KLM

With a short taxi ride I arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dubai where I spent the night and after breakfast I went back to the airport for another pleasant flight with FlyDubai to arrive well on time in Kathmandu. The problems started there,since my luggage didn;t arrive. After an endless procedure of filling out forms etc. I went to the exit where Pasang was waiting for me. A taxi brought me to the good old Shanker hotel where I’ve stayed so many times. I share my room with John Gill, from Canada, who organised this expedition with Namgya. Arien en Lisanne are also in the Shanker and Friday evening we go the the Purple Haze Rock Bar in Thamel where some (very loud, but apparently famous) band was playing live.

Purple Haze

Saturday morning John and I get up quite early have breakfast and drink coffee with Namgya. Namgya later went picking up Fane and Catalin, the 2 Rumanians that join the expedition, at the airport and finds there one of my bags (that apparently arrived with the early morning flight from Dubai) and brings it to the hotel. The other bag comes with the second flight from Dubai and is delivered to the hotel at five. Quite a relieve that everything turned up timely, Most of the day I spent at the pool as the weather and water are very nice,

In the evening we went, together with the Indians who also arrived in the course of the day, for dinner in Thamel. We had a good time and I learned to know the Indians and some of the trekkers much better. Suresh, one of the Indians – with a very impressive climbing record – is only 23 years old and is the baby of the team of which I am the granddad. After the dinner we have a group meeting to give everyone an update of the (already changed) plans. One of the issues is that halfway the day, the Nepalese government have declared tomorrow a public holiday and that our permits have not been issued.

Group dinner at K2 top restaurant
The oldest and the youngest climber of the expedition.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, Namgya, John and myself meet with Billi Bierling who now maintains the Himalayan Database. Billi and I have met several times before and talked a lot in German to catch up. We settle all the database business and then I go to do the final shopping. When I get back, I go to the pool once more and then we have another updat as the plans have changed again. Most of us will fly tomorrow to Suketar (Taplejung) where we will stay overnight. Namgya and Mingma will stay in Kathmandu and sort out the permits, They will fly tuesday to Badrapur with the luggage. Then both teams will drive to Kewang and possibly even Yamphudin.

Our last night in Kathmandu for the time being, Arien, Lisanne, Adam, Steward, John and I go to the Nepalayan Restaurant in Thamle for a nice dinner and drinks afterwards in the hotel bar. Our luggage is sorted and tomorrow we go !