From 8 to 27 October 2015

Sherpani pass vue de Kamepe ri


For this third exploration of the valleys of Makalu, we had seen large: overhang Shersong to discover simultaneously Everest and Kanchenjunga, go up to the foot of Cho Polu, finally overcome a 6000 m summit for, very close, admiring the Baruntse!

I had recruited a partner on to secure the progress, always risked, in the high mountains. It was a wrong choice because this bad guy abandoned in Kongma, pleading a too heavy bag, painful feet and the bad weather! It will be necessary, in the future, to pay more attention on the selection of the candidates for Adventure!

It was thus necessary to pull down a little my ambitions but the most mattering had been made (my first one 6000 solo!). Furthermore, the extraordinary valley of Barun, for the first time, revealed under a magnificent autumn sun.

Luckily, I will manage to move in spite of the oil crisis which shakes Nepal. Few days after my return, the internal flights will be cancelled because of shortage… After the earthquake of last April 25th, the Nepalese have to be particularly serene to support with so much peace all these misfortunes and all these hardships without flinching!


Trekkers will be more numerous than in May, 2014 on the paths to the base camp. Higher, it will be the total solitude, broken by some ravens trying to steal my small pittance. I’ll tend to sympathize more with guides and the Sherpas than with certain very demanding and sometimes quick-tempered tourists. I am increasingly against the package tours sending people effortlessly at high altitudes and leaving in the mountain, the heaps of their garbages as eternal memories of their passages (see in appendix: The trekker and her porters).


The same equipment is used than in May, 2014. I embark this time 4.5 kg of food for 6 days planned in autonomy on the Barun glacier. I am loaded with 20 kg, water and petrol included (it is too much, my back will not forget quickly).

Roads are registered from Google Earth on the GPS as usual. The Barun glacier was turned upside down, probably by the April 25th earthquake, and, in this hell of mass of fallen rocks and gaping cracks, my forecasts will not serve much…


situationSituation parcours Glacier Barun effectué

Access et Budget:

I travel again with Air India (620€, good service). It is easy to find cheaper but the stopovers are often very long… On the way back, we’ll arrive with a delay of more than one hour to Delhi but the flight for Paris will wait for us wisely. Yeti Airlines, as the other companies, increased its price rates in 2015 (247€ AR). I used private jeeps for the route Khandbari-Num (600Rs on the way out, but 3000Rs on the way back) by fear of petrol shortage but also for comfort!

On site, in Nepal, the spending, all inclusive and without counting too much, was 500€ (with 4 « free » days of autonomy). With the domestic and international flights, the total spending is 1370€, including visa and access to the park. For such an adventure and when we look at catalogs, it remains really very cheap!

It is necessary to count on average of 15 to 20€ / day during the trek itself, when we do not drink beers (350 in 500Rs the bottle, prefer it the local raksi 😉

Time Table:



Altitude à l'étape

Altitude = f(Distance):

Altitude f distance

Daily Height Difference:

Dénivelé Jour

The Trek, Day by Day:

Thursday 8th October: From Num to Seduwa –

departure 11:35am – arrival  5:55pm – altitude 1564m

The journey in jeep was very comfortable. On the road, the so desired mountains already appear. It is a call for Adventure!
002 seduwa

I’m not in top shape for this first day that isn’t the easiest. From Num, Seduwa always seems very close, at the same altitude and just separated by the Arun’s valley. Just to remind: you should not forget the 720m descent followed by a 820 m ascent. We don’t hurry up and will arrive at nightfall in Seduwa.

003 seduwa

From 9 to 11th October: Interruption in the region from Seduwa, Robesha to Tashigaon

Here is a three days interruption to bring to a successful conclusion, the necessary audits for the progress of our projects in common with  Friends of Nature. I discover a very pleasant waterfall to have a bath at less than half an hour of the village.

005 seduwa cascade

Monday 12th October: From Seduwa to Tashigaon

Wake up 6:45am, departure 8:40am, arrival 1:15pm, altitude 2200m

The walking is easy today. It’s necessary to be careful to avoid the leeches by walking as much as it is possible on stones of the path. The second rice harvest of the year began and the activity is going full swing in fields.

On the way, I visit the Tashigaon’s school, recently equipped. The welcome is warm. The weather covers in the morning but we avoid the rain. I settle down in the only one lodge open.

006 Tashigaon

Tuesday 13th October: From Tashigaon to Kongma

Wake up 6am, T inside 14°C, departure 8am, arrival 3:30pm,  altitude 3614m

The weather is beautiful at the beginning of the morning and will cover strongly in the ascent to finish with a very violent thunderstorm in the evening with hailstones and snow. The tropical climate brutally gave way to winter.

This day is probably the most difficult of all the trek with an imposed 1450m ascent. The « partner » shows abnormal and alarming signs of fatigue and bad-humored. The only advantage of the situation is that it is reversible. This argument appaises me when I wonder how I’ll manage to drag him up to the Barun glacier…

We lunch at the middle route in a small restaurant (N 27.642, E 87.2152, 2939m) belonging to the elder son of the Kongma lodge’s owner, opened for the occasion. It is a family business on all the road up to the base camp…

I locate the  crossing of the path for the Isuwa (Ishuwa) valley on the crest (N 27.647117 ° E 87.209821 °). It can be a future trek. It is not said that the path continues very far. The descent then the progress in full jungle, if the path disappears, would compromise the project.

It rains a little (I have no translation for « pleuvioter ») when we arrive in Kongma where two new lodges have been built since 2014. I remain faithful by installing in the oldest.

In the evening, while the snow begins to whiten the surroundings, a guide asserts that the bad weather will still last one week because the rain has to clean the earth from the blood of animals sacrificed during the Hindhouist festival of Dashain. Very useful! And as a happiness never arrives alone, the « partner » learns me that he abandons me to my sad fate… (phew!)


Wednesday 14th October Acclimatization in Kongma

The rain replaced the snow in the morning. I had intended to cross the four passes to arrive to Dobato today, by neglecting the acclimatization, a precaution nevertheless necessary. The bad weather persuades me that it is better to stay in Kongma. I pass a large part of the day in the bed, under 3 layers of blankets.

I meet two young German trekkers who recognize me. They organized their trek with the information of my logbook of May, 2014 and they come back from the base camp. Here is a pleasant surprise proving the rising celebrity and usefulness of my site 🙂 They hoped to go to Sherpani but they abandoned, without any accompaniment… It is a pity we do not met earlier.

Thursday 15th October: Kongma to Dobato

Wake up 6:15am – T inside 7°C – departure 7:20am – arrival 1:30am – altitude 3900m

As I am used to Kongma and above, it is an aldready lost race against the clock with clouds. The sun just rises for extracting the mist from hillsides filled with humidity. As usual, the mist rises to accumulate towards 4000m. I leave with the sun and arrive at the Kongma pass at 8 am. I still perceive the mountain range in the East, dominated by a high altitude layer of clouds. Among them has to hide the Kanchenjunga (8586m and the World’s third summit). It seems that we see it from here by clear weather. Summits combing the Isuwa valley are totally hidden.


The valley, from Tashigaon to Num, is always under the clear morning sun. It seems to me already very far.

A drizzle joins me towards the 3rd pass (Shipton la, 4230m) which is soon transformed into snow until my arrival to Dobato. The walking is one thousand times easier than last year because the path is free of any snow or freezes. I pay however attention at every step not to slide on wet stones. I catch a light but persisting headache, in spite of the acclimatization of yesterday. A tablet of ibuprofen doesn’t delete it completely. I force to eat on the road by sheltering me under the roof of a recently constructed building.



The snow doubles near Dobato and I am happy to find Pemba Sherpa welcoming me with his good mood. We lunch together on a delicious dalbath with undefined offals, washed down with tea.

Friday 16th October – Forced Acclimatization in Dobato

At about 5:30 am, the icy snow crackling on the steel sheets roof, wakes me. It is more than a bad omen. I don’t rush for a departure at dawns… It will snow all day long and I begin to despair about the bad weather. Apparently, the blood of the Dashain sacrifices isn’t washed easily. I try to manage my day so that the time doesn’t pass by too slowly. The arrival of trekkeurs, in the afternoon, gives me the opportunity for lively discussions. Six French arrive from Yangle with a porters regiment. One of them shouts out to me brutally because he finds shameful to use the services of 12-year-old children, carrying an heavy backpack (30 kg). I may try to argue that he should pressure his travel agency, that it is none of my doing, whom I am myself simultaneously guide, porter, and trekker, nothing can be done but time passes and it is what matters! See Appendix  » the trekker and her porters « .

Saturday 17th October – from Dobato to Yangle kharka

wake 6am – T inside -1°C – departure 7am – arrival 1:40am – Altitude 3620m

For reassuring me from my doubts of yesterday and/or surprise me, it’s full sun this morning! Enough to punish those who gave up quickly because of the bad weather and to reward my tenacity! I left a few foods to Pemba because I cannot now stay 6 days on the Barun glacier. It is useless to overload.


The mist rises from East, pushed by an icy wind. Masses of fallen rocks lining Barun were a little strengthened since May, 2014 and the progress is made a little more easily. To Yangle whom I find under the mist, the young owner re-knows me and I find a couple of Spanish met to Seduwa. They come back from the base camp where they found clear weather. It restores my confidence and courage. Another good evening at the corner of the fire.

Sunday 18th Octobre – From Yangle to Shersong

wake up 5:45am – T inside +1°C – departure 7am – arrival 3:06pm – Altitude 4698m

This is the third difficult day of the trek with a more than 1000m ascent. I consider that the acclimatization in Kongma and Dobato has to be enough. This year, the Langmale lodge is opened and allows a safety stop for trekkers without tent.

I have the surprise to discover the magnificent valley of Barun under the sun. The landscapes are great, still very green and bordured with ochre, dark and gigantic cliffs. Farther are outlined the snowy high mountains which I have to join in two small days from now.



A light headache accompanies me on all the ascent. The wind remains icy and the sun has difficulty in warming me when I stop to have a break.

I only meet a young mom and her baby in all day. She asks me where are my guide and my porters. When I reply that I am alone, she remains very sceptical. This situation seems for her totally improbable. She leaves me with her doubts.


I find my camp in Shersong and I put my tent in the same enclosure. The ibuprofen eliminates the headache. A chicken soup mixed with semolina is a delight.


Camp de Shersong, bordé par les Pics 6 et 7

There is already nobody anymore here. It is the edge of the mineral world.

Monday 19th October – From Shersong to Barun’s Camp

wake up 6:07am – T inside -4°C – departure 8:25am – arrivée 3:24pm – altitude 5122m

The fine weather persists! I can take advantage of the sight on peaks 6 and 7 (6758m) on one side and Makalu (8485m, the World’s fifth summit) of the other one.


Le Makalu, 5ème sommet du monde – 8485m

Everything is covered with hoarfrost. I need a lot of time to unsettle the camp, dry the sleeping bag and the tent. The sleeping bag dries on a stony low wall. The tent will remain wet at folding.

I thus leave late but I quickly arrive at the base camp, at 10:40 am. The Pasang’s lodge is padlocked. I learn that she got married this year and left living on the Tibet’s border. I take advantage to have lunch with a slosh of rice and potatoes with tea in the last lodge open (700Rs!)


I go then on Sandy Camp’s path. Everything goes correctly until 5000m. I follow a series of cairns I had not seen last year. As they take me towards a kind of plateau, I don’t worry, thinking that I maybe found a solution to climb the hundred meters separating the glacier from the moraine where is situated Sandy Camp. Unfortunately,the path ends suddenly in a slide of dangerous masses of fallen rocks, totally unstable. It is impossible to progress there, even slowly. A breaking granite block hurts me the shin. The GPS indicates that I am still 1.4 km from Sandy Camp. I don’t recognize anything of the configuration of the last year. The more I move forward, the less I manage to guess where is Sandy Camp


emplacement du Sandy Camp, avalé par le glacier

At 2:30 pm, I have to face the facts: Sandy Camp disappeared. The moraine, with all the hillside of the mountain slid in the glacier. Itself is unrecognizable. It consists of immense craters, mounts of stone and of gaping cracks.

I continue to progress in sloping masses of fallen rocks and finally perceive on the glacier a small more or less horizontal headland. I move towards there slowly. This flat plateau of fine sand is crossed by small cracks. The ground is unstable everywhere but it’s there indeed I have to settle down for the night. I have no option.


Camp sur le Barun

I have to go back to look for the water for dinner and breakfast in a crack. When I go back up, I hunt a crow which began to tear my bag of reserves. It’s about time! It didn’t have time to begin them. My new camp is 80m lower than the missing Sandy Camp. At nightfall, I can perceive the summit of the Everest behind Lhotse.

Tuesday 20 October – From Barun’s Camp to Kamepe Ri Base Camp

Wake up 5:49am T inside -6°C – departure 7:45am – Arrival 12:40am – Altitude 5472m

The progress seems at first sight less difficult than yesterday. That’s not the case. heap of mass of fallen rocks remain little convenient to the walking. I fall by twisting me the right ankle. A small pain will appear then from the slightest twisting. I am reassured to have taken anckle brace and compression wraps.


Vers le glacier latéral de Sherpani

I had planned to approach the side glacier of Sherpani through the bottom, meaning from the Barun glacier rather than by the headland formed by the moraine. The destruction of Sandy Camp’s moraine doesn’t leave me the choice: it became the only possible way. I go on in a narrow neck by which flows the water coming from the glacier. Here, nothing holds, whether the stones on the ground or the mud and stones walls dug by the torrent.

I also have difficulties to find the camp of the last year. Everything seems to have been upset, here also. With less violence. I find footprints which confirm that trekkers passed here recently. We had informed me repeatedly that two groups had tried to join Sherpani pass.

I take advantage of the sun to do a small laundry and toileting a little. The water of the small torrent tends to go astray during after noon with its flowrate growing because of the increase of temperature. It comes to invade my camp! I build a small dike with stones and mud so that it stays in its bed. My ankle does not hurt me any more.


Coucher de soleil sur le Makalu, vu du Camp de Base du Kamepe Ri

The closure of the double roof, which worked already badly, dysfonctions totally. It is maybe because of the fine sand? I curse because it is the worst place where it could occur! I repair by drilling the fabric and by sewing all the opening with my rope which has a too important diameter. The repair will allow me to preserve a little of my heat.

Wednesday 21th October – Kamepe Ri’s Ascent – 6132m

Wake up 5:40am – T inside -9°C – departure 7am – arrival at summit 12am (N 27.864611°, E  87.017533°) back to CB 3:24pm

Ascension Kamepe ri

It is the D-day. All efforts which precede were made to overcome this summit. If the monsters which surround us, Baruntse and Makalu are inaccessible, the ascent, begun last year up to 5850m, seems feasible without particular equipments. The base camp is perfectly placed and the weather, as since several days now, is totally cleared.


The progress begins with the ascent of a slope composed with more or less coherent granite blocks. This is easier than the way to reach the base camp. The absence of backpack also facilitates the task. The sight gets larger gradually towards Makalu and the Barun glacier, towards the passes of Sherpani, the spotless glaciers and the summits behind, towards Khumbu. The relatively soft slope leads me until 6050m approximately. I believed that it was practically about the highest point, according to the indications of my GPS. However, I am still far from the summit, made up of a double peak forgotten by Google Earth. I begin to perceive the first peak which I by-pass. It hides a second one that I have to join by a delicate crest because it is necessary to by-pass obstacles which give into a void 


Le Baruntse et ses glaciers

At the summit, I can discover the Baruntse as well as its glaciers and the massifs further to North West: Cho Polu and Lhotse mainly. Everest guesses, hidden for its biggest part by Lhotse.


I lunch at the summit and decide to descend by a channel composed of dust and gravels in the South side, which seems to me safer than the path for ascent. This descent goes on with bigger and bigger blocks to give onto the Sherpani glacier.


I install my microspikes for the pleasure to walk on the ice. By progressing, I find footprints in the single file. These tracks go to Sherpani Pass and confirm that a group at least went recently to this pass.


Glacier de Sherpani


By coming down, I discover, at the foot of the glacier, the camp called « Swiss Camp ». The place would be magnificent if there were not the heaps of filth left by the organized groups, which respect nothing. Old metallic tables, numerous pairs of disemboweled shoes are friends with stoves, bags and bottles of plastics. Autonomous trekkers, even without consciousness, could not leave such memories because they would not be simply capable of carrying them to there! See Appendix « the trekker and her carriers »

I return bad-tempered to the camp.

Kamepe Ri, in Scherpa means the mountain without snow. Snow is ka in Sherpa by growing longer the A, as in Turk kar (R not pronouncing, cause a natural extension of A). The etymology is probably common. These small details of the History of the Humanity fascinate me.


It’s now my stove which abandons me during the preparation of the dinner. I may clean the jet and the oil pipe, I do not manage to relight it. It is maybe the pump. The breakdown is rough in any case and I have the dirty hands of soot. This last event incites me to give up staying one day furthermore to try to join Sherpani Pass. I shall content myself with the beautiful victory of today. It is what we have to call the Wisdom!

Thirsday 22th October : From Kamepe Ri Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp

Wake up 6:06am – T inside 0°C outside -7°C – departure 9:05am arrival 6:15pm – Altitude 4844m

More than the material troubles, the return towards MBC annoys me. I know that, what about is the path chosen, it will be dangerous and exhausting. As I went with difficulty by the border of the glacier, I choose to return by a more central route. I begin the return by following a series of cairns on the Sherpani glacier. These disappear in the neck joining the Barun glacier.


In this battlefield for giants, it is sometimes necessary to lose more than half an hour to avoid a crack appearing at the last moment: there is no global visibility. I slip down on an ice banister of ice to win some time. I also try to avoid the biggest hillocks and the funnels of mass of fallen rocks. Time goes by and I move forward very slowly, approximately 300 m/h reported to a straight line. When I reach finally the limit of the glacier, I continue by following the bank of the rising torrent, hoping to join the base camp without bother. I notice that it is not the good solution because it would be necessary to follow the long bends formed by its meanders. On the other hand, the tempestuous water often prevents the progress on the bank. I thus decide to join the beginning of the path, in overhang, with the GPS.

I have not joined the path yet when the night begins to fall. Fortunately, a half-moon, already raised, is enough to light meagerly the obstacles in my acrobatic progress. I have to walk even more than one hour before finding the base camp.

It is a particular feeling that that to hear voices again far off and to smell the smoke of the wood fire. I rush into the only one lodge open, exhausted by 9 hours of unpredictable walking, strewed with falls. My back will keep a painful memory during several weeks (month?).

I spend the rest of the evening with a couple of French, tenants of a house to Patan. They want to join Khumbu via Sherpani with their guide. Good luck!

Friday 23th October – from MBC to Yangle kharka

Wake up 7am – T inside -5°C – departure 7:45am – arrival 3pm

The weather is wonderful in the base camp. Makalu, majestic, always thrones so near.


Pic 7. On distingue probablement Isuwa la sur sa droite.

The path doesn’t present no more difficulty, especially with the bag relieved by 4 kg of food. The weather covers itself gradually in the morning and the snow begins to fall well before the lunchtime. I cannot put any more my gloves because my fingers are hurt and painful by the numerous catching up on the granite blocks of yesterday.

I cross a procession of numerous Japaneses rising towards the base camp. Some are equipped with umbrellas. In the fog and the snow, this show is phantasmagorical.

I force to stop and lunch in an abandonned shelter. There is not a soul around here. The nature covered itself with a white coat. By leaving, I have difficulty in finding the way from time to time. I arrive finally to Yangle kharka which looks like a Christmas card. The lodge is padlocked and I am afraid of having to spend new night under the tent. The owner waves me from the other side of Barun: he gathers his 13 yaks with his companions then he will join me. I can settle down on the first floor, remained open.

Finally, it is me who join him because he waves me again. In a small wooden shed, an improvised party has begun: eleven of the yaks are parked. Two ran away in the jungle but they will be found. Each day has enough trouble of its own…nobody is worry. The herd is now ready to join Tashigaon for winter.

My glass of tchang doesn’t dry up because my host fills it before the level lowers little. I also resume strengths with a delicious mixture of meats and rice. Then the time for dances comes to accompany the traditional Nepalese music. I’ll fall several times when it will be necessary to return in the lodge and I do not remember any more how I crossed the small bridge of wood covered with frozen snow stepping over Barun…

Saturday 24th October – from Yangle to Dobato

wake up 6:15am – T inside -4°C – departure 8:10am – arrival 4:45pm

It’s again under the beautiful sun that I continue the descent on the valley of Barun. The small icy East wind begins again to blow. My back hurts me quickly and I am obliged to stop more often to ease the pain. I don’t meet anybody on the road except two trekkers going up towards the base camp.


In the big and endless ascent to reach Dobato, the weather quickly covers and, finally, the lodge appears in an icy fog. A lively hubbub escapes from it. It is filled with and overflows carriers, guides and some rare trekkeurs. Some aldready settled tents. A couple of German settled down in the dormitory. I try to invest a bed which seems free. The man goes out of his sleeping bag as a compressed spring which relaxes brutally. He has serial killer eyes. I ask him if it is some problem. He doesn’t even deign to address me! His guide, very embrassed, arrives at his rescue.  » You cannot stay in this place, it is necessary to install somewhere else  »  » are all the beds occupied?  » No answer.  » Please, settle down with the carriers « . It is not because it doesn’t please me but I refuse as a matter of principle. I empty my bag on the bed to show that I’ll not capitulate at such an arrogance on behalf of these tourists and such a submission on behalf of the Nepalese. Finally, the Nepaleses are not dissatisfied with my decision and we’ll spend a very good evening together. I’ll learn the next day that this harmful persons will not even pay their beds and will let their guide paying their bill from his own salary…

Sunday 25th October – From Dobato to Kongma

Wake up 6h30 – T inside -1°C – departure 8am – arrival 2:25pm

The weather is mixed this morning, with some bits of blue sky which will quickly disappear. When I arrive at the first of the four passes, the fog wrap me. The local gods protect me from the rain and from the snow. I have never gone through these passes under a clement weather! A nice team of Italian settled down in Kongma with their own cooking. It will limit our exchanges.

The owner of the lodge phones to Num (Japanese Sherpa Lodge) to book for me a place in a private jeep for return to Khandbari. Indeed, the shortage of gas would make the return impredictable in public jeeps (?).

Monday 26th October – from Kongma to Seduwa

Wake up 6:06am – Departure 7:25am – Arrival in Tashigaon 11:15 – Arrival in Seduwa 4:45am

It is a long day of descent with a climate becoming again soft. My place in jeep is confirmed in the evening for the next day at about 1 pm.

Tuesday 27th Octobre  – from Seduwa to Num

Wake up 5:40 – departure 6:45 – arrival 11:45

End of the trek.

Appendix : The Trekker and his Porters

It belonged in Dobato and it had rained all day long. This kind of days, time goes by very slowly and it’s necessary to learn patience. There is nothing to make that to read, as slowly as possible, the only embarked book or to empty the spirit by trying to warm ourselves closely to the woodfire.

What will the weather be tomorrow?  » More the rain falls, less there remains in the sky  » said the optimist.  » A big depression invaded the country. It is hung on the Himalaya chain » said the pessimist. If it continues, passes will soon be closed!…

A femal trekker arriving of Yangle Kharka extracts me from my torpor . The afternoon is half moved forward, as stuck between a gloomy morning and one evening which doesn’t arrive. I examine her in detail: she is dipped, drawn features and seems angry. The ascent towards Dobato is a torture under normal circumstances and the rain had to transform every stone into formidable trap for ankles. I show that I feel sorry by a smile. My mimic is an invitation to the conversation.

Having drained more or less, she gets closer to me of a warior step.

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