One could write an article, even a book about Kathmandu. It is a place, full of contrasts. Misery, dirt, dust and on the other side (or close to that) luxury restaurants, colourful shops or Internet cafeterias. Having not experienced that, you will not believe in it, but those having witnessed that will never forget it.
Originally we planned two days to arrange all permissions, to buy the foodstuffs and failing materials and to pack baggage for carriers so as to set out on road. We had to furnish visa and permissions on spot, because it was impossible to arrange them on distance. While arranging them I could not help recalling a famous “much promissing” saying: “everything will be” or „manana”, explaining the behaviour of the local people, because we were able to set out only on the fifth day, in the morning. Except for a permission to climb a summit, every expedition has to appoint a guide, and the mountaineering expedition – a Liaison officer, as well. The more lucrative is the summit, the higher are the fees. Both a sender and a satellite telephone needed by every expedition are charged. On ministry one must deposit a sum on “litter” or an eventual “rescue action”. In case the expedition collects its litter from the summit by themselves or the rescue action was not necessary, the deposited sum will be given back. Albeit the waiting was an unpleasant delay, wanderings in the lanes of Thamel (combined with resorting shops and bars), visiting sannyasi burying ground Pashu-Patinah or the monkey temple Swayanbunat remain among unforgettable experiences. In Kathmandu we engaged sixteen carriers. We had one thousand meter Žilmont-ropes, five tents for elevation camps, four tents for basis camp, one big social tent and a lot of other materials and foodstuffs.
On 22. September, at 4.52 we were waken by a voice saying through the hotel telephone „Good morning, bus is here“. We threw the things into the bus of the make TATA (almost everything in Nepal having wheels is of this Indian make), picked up the carriers and set out on a 200-km long road heading to the locality Besi Sahar being a leaving point for a so called Annapurna treck. With view to a “breathtaking” speed ( about 40 km/h) caused by the quality of local communications and jams (a car is principally repaired on the place, where it has become defective), we arrived only in the evening hours.
Next morning we managed to raise an offroader to bring us to the settlement Khudi, but from there the road definitely failed. It was only a path that should lead us within eight days through the valley of the river Marsyangdi Khola under our summit. Our tour until Manang was identical with the treck around Anapurna that goes from Manang over gap Thorung La (5416 m) to Jomoson, where we should join on it again after finishing the expedition so as to continue until Beni. The whole treck lasts 13 days, from which we did not travel only three days. Though the advancement of civilisation cannot be stopped, it makes itself felt even in those corners, too. The hard life of Nepaleses and the surrounding nature will for ever remain in you memory.
The route steadily led us along the wild river Marsyangdi Khola (the rafters would slobber) on paths carved in steep slopes. At the beginning of our marching we were encompassed by banana trees, rice patches and high humidity, which caused that everything became wet and nothing dried. Gradually, with rising elevation the nature became well-known and more pleasant for us. The spruces increased and it became cooler. In Manang we bought the last foodstuffs and left the “civilisation”.
Tilicho Peak (7134 m) lies 6 km to the North from the main summit of Annapurna (8091 m). The base camps is situated on the equally called Tilicho Lake (4912 m) what is the highest situated lake in the world. The participants of the historically first successful French expedition to Annapurna and at the same time as the first Europeans detected it in the year 1950. The first unsuccessful attempt to reach Tilicho Peak was performed by the German-Swiss expedition prior monsoon period in the spring 1972. In the year 1978, only one participant of a 6-member-group reached the summit.
Our climb was carried out on the edge of the eastern wall to the north-eastern edge and further to the peak. The complexity was between III and IV in rocky parts and slope angle - between 55 and 60° in snow parts.
Though it was not a “hole in the world”, neither a “tour with walking stick”. All in all a rather interesting climbing. In Europe, you can test yourself on height influence only on Mont Blanc as the highest top, but you never know, what you will be exposed to at elevations in Himalaya. It is individual, somebody manages it better, the other one has problems at the height of ca. 4 000m above see level. Our base camp was situated 5111m above see level. The climbing to the peak took us ten days. Gradually we erected two elevation camps. The first camp was erected at the height of 5811 meters and the other camp – at the height of 6545 meters. One worked two or three days uphill and then came down to the base camp for relaxation. We carried uphill materials, tents, food and everything we needed for surviving. We changed each other according as how one managed to get the things under control and to adapt himself. Good health and condition is the basic presumption. Finally only three of us climbed to the peak - Peter Kostelanský, Vladimír Gembeš and Ivan Prokop, but the participation and atmosphere in such expedition will leave in you unforgettable experiences.
During the expedition we have used fixing ropes from Žilmont and tested new dynamic rope raasta 10,0. We have used it for protection while stretching fixes on old snow, on rocks and in the mix. It has had a lot of both jumaring and descending in the sectors, where we have not stretched fixing ropes. Despite the fact that the rope tested has not had a surface treatment, it never sucked in water on wet snow and never was frozen. The knotability and handling were excellent and so we can only praise that rope.