A fantastic trip! A small and well balanced group of trekkers who got on really well, supported by a first class team of leader, guides and yak driver made this a trip to remember for all the right reasons.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Nepal and the Himalaya are inspiring locations - just being there makes the whole trip 'an inspiring moment' But if I had to pick one, then ......... Getting to the top of Island Peak with all six of my trek mates anbd the climbing guides and enjoying the fantastic views from the summit was it.
A close second must be we trekkers dancing with the suport team at Phakding (on the way down) and earning the nickname "Dancing Exodus" from other groups at the lodge!
- What did you think of your group leader?
Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa was an excellent leader. It is hard to believe that he is only 28 years old - a very wise head on experienced, but youthful, shoulders. He ensured each and every member of the group was well looked after which resulted in us all reaching our destination summit in good shape. We all learned a great deal about Nepal, the Sherpa people, Solu Khumbu and the nepalese/sherpa languages from this talented young man. He is an extremely professional leader and is a credit to Exodus - it is people like him that make Exodus stand out from other companies.
Lhakpa Gelu was well supported by the guide, Mingma, assistant guide, Som and climbing guide, another Mingma. Our yak driver, Dawa, was an unsung hero and together, the support team ensured that we had a fantastic time.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If travelling via India, put spare batteries in your hold luggage. Indian security do not large a large amount of batteries in carry-on baggage and wanted to confiscate mine - resulted in a lot of unnecessary hassle at Dehli when we transferred to the Dehli-Kathmandu flight.
Although you can get visas at Kathmandu I would strongly recommend against it. Those of us who already had visas had to wait 2 hours in the Exodus bus in the car park for other team members who didn't have visas - not a great way to start your holiday!
Try and learn a few words of Nepali (and/or Sherpa) other than Namaste! We had great fun learning a few new words from the guides each day and then using them - often to the surprise and delight of the locals.
I carried a 'power monkey' solar battery charger for the first time - it ensured that my camera was always topped up (very necessary with the number of awe inspiring views). Plenty of free sunshine compared with relatively expensive charging at tea houses.
I also had a Katadyn water filter, which I found quick and easy to use (bowls of cold water were readily available at all tea houses) - I didn't need to buy bottled or boiled water which is better for the environment.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Definitely the best trek I have been on (my 5th with Exodus and my 3rd in Nepal).
Several of the group had previously done Mera Peak. Both treks are graded E, but Island Peak certainly felt a lot tougher - perhaps you need to add 'sub-grades' and make Island Peak E+.