THE WEEKLY #270: BACK TO KATHMANDU, NEPAL

After a few months of travel since I was last trekking in the country, I returned to Nepal this week for a three-month stay. Travel in the covid-era has become fraught with potential mishaps and I find myself carrying a parcel of documents such as PCR-tests, vaccine cards, letters of invitation, visa letters, quarantine hotel proof, and more. There seem to be so many requirements and authorities are waiting for you to forget one or make a mistake so they can reject your entry onto a flight or into a country. I’ve been traveling for a year now throughout the pandemic and have become accustomed to the ever-growing list of documents required to travel. 

Having said all of that, my journey from Islamabad to Kathmandu was one of the smoothest transits I’ve had in my life. I was upgraded into business class with Qatar Airways and enjoyed a great meal and three hours of sleep. Once at the airport in Doha, I made my way to the one-world lounge and had a coffee, some snacks, and waited out my two-hour layover. My final flight was on time and headed to Kathmandu without a glitch and I arrived in Nepal on the first day of September. Traveling during a pandemic can be difficult but this journey was as simple as can be.

I grabbed the three-month visa for Nepal as I have some exciting expeditions planned for September and November. I’m joining Elite Exped, the climbing company of the world-world-renowned Nims Dai, Mingma David, and Mingma Tenzing. It’s a pretty big opportunity to be shooting for some of the world’s best mountaineers and will be a challenging set of expeditions for me.

The first expedition will be to climb Manaslu, which is an 8,163m peak and one of the world’s fourteen, eight thousand meter peaks. The second expedition will be in late October and running into November where we will attempt to climb Ama Dablam. While not as high, Ama Dablam is a much more technical climb and will prove to be another challenging expedition. 

My role is to be the photographer for the entire expedition creating not only mountaineering content but also shooting any sponsored content for the clients and for the guides. It’s something I’m accustomed to having shot in mountains for years now. My goal is to be consistent throughout the trip as it becomes harder and harder to shoot well and with good coverage as you reach higher altitudes with harsh weather conditions.

I’m back in Kathmandu for the best part of a week to prepare all of the gear and get sorted for a month out at Manaslu. Pema is shooting videos for the expedition and was influential in sourcing this opportunity for me to join the trip as well. We’ve spent a few days visiting her Tibetan relatives who live here in Kathmandu, some of whom she used to live with until she left for the U.S. when she was five.

It’s been a relaxing week with lots of organization and preparation for the expedition to come. I hope you all had a great week and got out on some adventures of your own.

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