Immediately after Annapurna Fastpack another adventure was brewing in Kathmandu. What lied ahead was a trip to Langtang, starting at the foothills of Kathmandu and traversing through Helambu before entering Langtang National Park. After completing the historic Langtang Lollipop 🍭on our third attempt last year, we were excited what the fourth attempt held for us. Before our official start we visited Swayambhunath Stupa (also known as monkey temple) on Buddha’s 2,563rd birthday.
For Langtang trip our base was at the historic Kathmandu Guest House (KGH) right at the heart of Thamel. On 19th May Sunday we took a jeep from KGH to Shivapuri National Park’s gate. After checking in at the park gate and taking group picture we started off our journey. The cool forest inside the park helped avoid morning sun and we climbed endless stairs leading to Bagdwar, a source of river Bagmati. After a quick lunch in Chisapani we continued northwards and after couple of hours made it to Chipling, Kali’s hometown and our crashing place for the night.
Next day we entered Langtang National Park but before that we stopped for lunch at a traditional Tamang home. This was the same place where Seth and Sudeep had late dinner on their first attempt of Langtang lollipop.
We spend two nights at Magengoth (elevation) as part of our acclimatization. We explored two different viewpoints promoted by the local people which supposedly has views of Mt. Everest, only if the weather was clear! Nevertheless we made a loop back to our lodge passing through rhododendrons forest.
Team Yak Cheese n Yeti moved upwards to Phedi (3,630m) our last stop before passing our first pass Laurebina La (4,610m). With pre monsoon lingering, causing rainfalls mostly during evenings we hoped for a clear sky the day we crossed the pass. Our wish was granted and a midst one of the clearest days we crossed Laurebina La.
After a quick photo and taking some time to take in the views we descended through sacred lakes passing Surya Kund (kund meaning lakes), Ganesh Kund and making to Gosaikunda Kund for lunch.
The sacred lakes, a Ramsar site which also has a religious significance for Hindus. Hindu mythology attributes Gosaikunda as the abode of the Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri.
After a long descent we made it to Sing Gompa (3,300m) a town with famous state owned cheese factory, Dairy Development Corporation. Despite us visiting in work hours the head of the cheese factory gave us a tour of the cheese factory. Matt and Jo being food scientists were more than intrigued to see the operations of a cheese factory in the Himalayas. We came to know that this particular cheese factory sources 550 to 1000 liter of yak milk per day from 600 yaks from 30 farmers around Sing Gompa.
The next day we left the Gosaikunda ridge and entered the Langtang valley following the Langtang river.
For next couple of days we ascended from Riverside to Kyanjin Gompa through forests, climbing into pastures and scrub, past the desolation where Langtang Village once stood. From Kyangin Gompa (elevation) we went up to Kyangin Ri (4773m) and Tsergo Ri (4984m), the highest point ever for the Kiwis. Snow and 360° panorama view greeted us at the top of Tserko Ri. We made our way to Kyanjin Gompa on a long steep side trail and ended the day with some yak cheese and coffee. As there was too much snow on Kanja La we decided not to cross our second pass and decided to further explore Langtang valley and surrounding peaks making Kyangin Gompa our base camp.
We wandered up the valley to Langtang glacier and Morimoto basecamp with amazing 360 degree mountain panorama. It was too high for us to camp so we came back to Kharka (pasture land). Night was cold but we camped under the stars with great mountain views. Took long way back to Kanjin via Chyadang Ri 5040m. Great climb up from Numthang! Although we could not cross the second pass this year we had ton of exploration and fun. Thank you especially to Team Yak Cheese n Yeti (Jo, Matt, Rishi and Sudeep), Seth and all the people involved in making our 4th lollipop a tasty one.