By Chris Warner
1st January 2014
We have been here in the village of Bedding at 3700m nearly a week now. There’s no snow on the ground and the water ice routes look amazing all up the narrow valley. We plan to spend 2 weeks here at the guest house going out each day to climb the ice and maybe discover some new lines. For winter in the Himalayas it’s surprisingly mild with clear blue skies.
Our first route we did was just 15 minutes walk from the lodge and went up 6 pitches to a walk off. A great line of around WI3+. From the top we could see across the valley at the other routes we wanted to do, and try to work out the best access across the river at their base.
We climbed over the next few days 3 of the 4 main routes in this group previously named ‘The Cousin Brothers’. It was the shady side of the valley and noticeably colder. Each route was about an hour approach following local paths or up the frozen creek beds. We did some great 3 to 9 pitch routes up to WI4+.
So far we are the only ones up here climbing ice. The village is very quite with most of the locals away for the winter. In a few days we will walk higher up the valley to the village of Naa at 4200m. From there we want to climb some bigger lines and get on the Great Wall.
Kristy in the new Mont Icicle Jacket in Skydiver Blue. Same great Hydronaute XT fabric with new higher lofting Durable Water Repellent down.
We just came back from spending 3 days at Naa. The village is empty for the winter but stayed with a local who walked up from Bedding to open their house for us. Naa is a larger village in a more open part of the valley. Stonewalls criss-cross everywhere with large Yaks eating what’s left of the winter grass. There are 10 Sherpa climbers here as well practicing on the ice for the guide course they start in a few days.
We headed over to the Great Wall the first day. It’s a huge wide flow of ice over 100m at the base. We climb a stunning line on the left hand end, which takes us up 4 pitches of WI4. We climb another route nearby dripping wet at the bottom with mushy ice in the middle. On the last pitch the ice is clear blue with the water behind pounding down between the rock and ice. A beautiful thing to watch as you’re swinging your axes and crampons into the thin ice.
Now back at Bedding we have one day climbing left. We will try to climb the long route in the small canyon only a few minutes walk from the village. It’s been to wet to climb so far this trip but we have had some colder days now. The following day we will start our 3 day journey back to Kathmandu and the head over to Pokhara to paraglide for a few weeks in the winter sun.
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As summer approaches, I keep looking through my list of past walks to see which ones I want to do again.
In September 1986 I walked from Lake St Clair, up past Little Hugel to Mt Hugel. I then continued down the western slopes to Lake Hermione, followed a valley up to Lake Petrarch and walked back down to Lake St Clair. A good partly offtrack bushwalk. This time I only had two days, so the plan was to camp next to a tarn up on the Mt Hugel plateau.
One of the biggest jobs at Mont is customer service, with the inbox sometimes a little overwhelming! But the emails are overwhelmingly positive; questions about our gear, emails about how well a customers gear worked, and fun stories and photos from the wild.
It isn’t all smiles, though, negative emails do occasionally pop up. But not to let that get us down, often these emails highlight a failure of communication on our part or provide information for us to reflect upon and improve.