Editor's note: For eight years, Telluride local Ben Clark and a few friends/business colleagues have made Spring treks to the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. Follow his adventures on Telluride Inside… and Out, including links to his regular podcasts. If you have missed any of Ben's posts, just type "Ben Clark" into Lijit Search to find them all.
"Sweeping buttresses of untouched granite glimmer overhead as our team moves through the alpine zone again en route to Baruntse basecamp. The temperatures are mild, the weather is predictable and the trail winding and spectacular. This is a trek worth doing for those who wish to experience the Himalayas from the valley floor and only sample the heights.
"The last two days have brought us out of the lower juniper forests and the many sherpa dance parties that drive late through the evening. Yeah, that's right, for all the Buddhist oh mani padme hum soundtracks that fill our ears, there is an equal amount of chang 'a special Nepali beverage' and pop tunes flowing through each misty night. It's cool, I've traveled these regions for eight years with several of the cooks and porters we have on this trip and every morning they are bright eyed and bushy tailed…but we exchange smiles.
"Our time for celebration will come later. We are here to climb and ski first.
"The approach to the climb is easing us into the high country one jerky taste at a time. So far, it's like a high altitude timeshare, we pop up over 15,000' for a day, then we descend a couple thousand paces back down to farm country and vegetable re-stocks. Not bad, Jon, Chris and I are loving the food and variety that comes with access to lady fingers, rice and carrots. In fact, we had a whole roast chicken last night…between the three of us, it was delicious.
"Tomorrow we begin our last descent into the misty junipers and begin our ascent upward to basecamp at 17,600'. I'm quite thrilled about that. As much as I love engaging with adventure and culture, there is no mistaking I come here for the mountains."
Live the dream.
Episode 11 of the podcasts should be out today, go to www.skithehimalayas.com. Click on the podcasts button and see what all the excitement is about this year. Jon's return is really special.