Dispatch #4: Change in Upper Mustang
A few days ago we met Tenjin Thakuri, a local lodge owner from the oldest lodge in Kagbeni, the Red House Lodge, at the lower end of Upper Mustang. We asked him about the changes in his home region and how the new road affects his life. Watch this year’s last video dispatch to find […]
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Our expedition ends and the Himalayas continue to change
The day before yesterday we found our way out of Mustang, which marked the end of this year’s Trail of Change expedition. We have around 25 days of trekking behind us and we are looking forward to enjoying the more comfortable parts of life again.
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Down in the dust
The focus rings of our camera lenses are scratching like a late 80s Hip Hop DJ. As already mentioned we did not make it much further north than Tsarang, the former capital of Lho (Upper Mustang). Around Tsarang we focused on shooting and photographing products of our partners. For that we built up a campsite […]
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Dispatch #3: Entering the Kingdom of Upper Mustang
Mystic Mustang is calling. Check out our latest video of our trek into this ancient kingdom. We are thankful for being here, it is an incomparable feeling of peace. Enjoy!
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Men in mystic medieval mountains
29°north. This time we won’t get any closer to the Tibetan boarder. Tsarang, a magic village, the former capital and residence of the Raja of Lho. A medieval place. A magic spirit is ruling over the village in this dried out canyon. The orange, white and red monastery and its old palace fit perfectly into […]
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Rock bottom and back
To be honest, the last days sucked. Can you imagine planning for a mountaineering expedition, dreaming of a bright snowy landscape, camplife, only you and your buddies, and then suddenly your plans have to change altogether?
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Into the former Kingdom of Upper Mustang
While there’s little new snow on the ridges, we observe fast moving high altitude clouds and strong winds in the summit regions. This definitely confirms our decision to not force an ascent into the Hidden Valley as being a good call.
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BREAKING NEWS: Weather conditions change itinerary
Jomsom is the local logistic center in the Upper Takh Khola (Kali Gandaki Valley). It has a small airport and most of the trekkers fly from here back down to Kathmandu or Pokhara.
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Episode #2
Our second video dispatch deals with the question if the road is a problem for the people in the upper Marsyangdi valley. After crossing Thorung La (5414m), the team is excited to see what the next part of the expedition has in store for them.
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Crossing the Pass
The first ones on top and the last ones who left. Yesterday we succesfully crossed the Thorung La. A Story about cold fingers and speed records… When we arrived on Sunday in Thorung Phedi High Camp (4850m) we had two very short treks but a lot of altitude gain behind us.
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Snow, altitude and progress
We are on the way up. Friday was spent working and doing a nice 6h acclimatisation climb from Manang (3550m) up a crumbling moraine ridge to a snowy plateau at around 4200m.
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Episode #1
Join Hannes, Nils and Fritz on their way up the rapidly changing Annapurna Trek in this first video episode of the ongoing Trail Of Change expedition!
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Good news: Thorong La Pass (5552m) open again
Good news! Thorong La Pass is finally open again. Thanks to the good weather our optimism keeps on paying off. Now we are getting prepared to cross the pass in three days time.
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Working, waiting, acclimatizing
After two beautiful days of trekking through autumn forests we left the valley floor yesterday and climbed up a into the lower slopes of Marsyandi valley. Now we are in a Tibetan territory again.
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Annapurna buried in snow
Alone on the Annapurna Trek? In October? What is going on? In the last blog post we already told you about the significant decrease of tourists in the lower part of the trek. Lodge owners told us this was a direct result of the road and power plant developments. We have many reasons to believe […]
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The first two days – Witnessing change as ist happens
We got out of Kathmandu City on the fastest jeep ride ever. It took us only 4h to the starting point of the classic Annapurna Circuit, Besisahar. We started our documentation work straight away.
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A day of packing
Second day in Nepal. During the night it stopped raining and we woke up from various sounds of the city (dogs, horns, police, buddhist and hinduist ceremonies, birds, planes, …) to a foggy October morning. We could tell by the light that this would be a sunny day with blue skies and great mountain views, […]
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Arrival in Kathmandu
Hi everyone! We arrived safely in Kathmandu this morning, although at times our pilot was not sure whether we could land or not due to very bad weather. For a brief moment we thought we might have to endure another stop in India, but fortunately the clouds cleared for a brief moment so we landed […]
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Preparing for new adventures…
In less than two weeks we, Nils and Hannes, will be joined by Fritz to continue the exploration of the “Trail of Change”. As a group of three we will be revisiting and reexamining the Annapurna region before crossing Thorung La Pass (5416m) into Dhaulagiri Himal.
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Leaving Nepal
Today is the day, we’re going home! After nine very intense weeks it feels quite strange to leave this rapidly changing country. What will have changed when we come back next time? We will see…
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K-K-K-Kathmandu!
Finally back in the city! We finished our project successfully and we are happy to be back noisy and dirty Kathmandu yesterday. The last four days of trekking were some of the hardest we ever had. Each day we hiked around 30 kilometers down Buri Gandaki valley, which is tough after two months of trekking.
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Episode #7
Hannes and Nils are on their way back to Kathmandu. During their descent they again become witnesses of the rapid changes in the region, and it’s not hard to tell that tourism is one of the main drivers behind these changes.
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Back in the civilized world
No more base camp! After descending around 1500m we are now back in Samagaon! Everybody is happy to be back in an area with more oxygen. The rain keeps falling but it’s supposed to get better tomorrow, so we hope for a little bit of sunshine in the next days.
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Georg back in base camp
Snow, snow, snow! It just does not stop snowing. This is also the reason for Georg’s return on Wednesday from his summit attempt. He turned around at roughly 7800m. Also there were heavy winds in the summit area which made an attempt impossible.
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Georg going for the summit
Today the last of the four Austrian climbers left base camp for his summit attempt. I (Hannes) joined Georg up to camp I (5800m) and cleaned lower camp I (5600m) completely which means the expedition is already preparing for departure from base camp. I was happy to have a day of trekking and found it […]
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Episode #6
In Trail of Change Episode #6 Hannes talks about the changing weather at Manaslu and what it means for his attempt to climb further up the mountain. Meanwhile the Austrians decide to go for a first serious push for the summit.
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Summit for three expedition members!
Today we have brief but very good news from Manaslu’s base camp. We are proud to tell you that three members of the Austrian expedition have reached the summit of Manaslu yesterday and returned safely. Markus Amon ascended from camp II at 6450m to the summit (8163m) within less than eight hours before skiing down […]
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Knowing my place in the mountains
The Austrians Hannes G., Sepp, Georg and Markus left base camp on Saturday, I followed them on Sunday morning. That was not the best decision since it was probably the hottest day I, Hannes, have ever spent in the mountains.
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Too much fresh snow for climbing
After a rest day in Manaslu base camp today the whole expedition team set off to the higher camps again. Unfortunately the weather has changed. Yesterday we had lots of rain and a bit of snow here in base camp. Up in camp I one tent collapsed due to around 50cm of fresh snow.
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I’m fu***** climbing an 8000m peak!
On September 17th I left base camp with a 17kg backpack plus my camera gear. I went up to Camp I alone. The first 200m lead over rocky terrain. After that I had to put my crampons on. The route over the flat glacier tongue is almost completely fixed with a rope, but I did […]
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Episode #5
Coming to you live from an office with a view at the base camp of Manaslu at 4930m: Episode #4. This time Hannes tells you about the ongoing construction of guest houses and lodges along Manaslu Circuit as well as his ambitions of climbing Manaslu, the world’s eighth highest peak.
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Base camp to camp 1
After a clear evening with fantastic views of the surrounding mountain massifs and a night with a little bit of fresh snow the Austrians as well as Hannes set off to Camp I at around 5600m. Hannes is pretty psyched to see how things will turn out.
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Arrival at Manaslu base camp
Meeting the Clearskies expedition at Samagaon on the afternoon of September 13th was no problem. They were already preparing the loads for the transport up to base camp in one of the many new lodges recently built in Samagaon. The whole village is involved in tourism, either constructing new lodges or organizing the transport of […]
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The days in between
We (Hannes and Nils) had a great time transfering from one expedition to the other. In the last three days we hiked through the remote valley of Dudh Khola via the Larke La to the Tibetan settlement of Samdo.
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First expedition finished
On Sunday we arrived at Koto in the Annapurna Trekking Area and split. Nils and Hannes are heading to Manaslu to meet up with the Clearskies Manaslu Expedition team.
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Episode #4
After being stuck in fog for a couple of days, the sky finally cleared during our last night above 5000m and gave us the most beautiful morning so far. Temperatures went below zero for the first time, announcing Nepal’s fantastic autumn with its magnificient views above the clouds.
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Leaving Naguru Peaks…
Nils, Lars, Jonas and Hannes started at around 6am to try to reach the westernmost summit of the three Naguru peaks (6018m). Our previously explored route turned out to be a pretty hard ascent, leading through lose debris and old moraines.
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Preparing in rain…
Just as we established our first serious high camp the monsoon hit us in full force. Our camp was in a mixture of fog and rain the entire day. Even at an altitude of 5065m the temperature at night did not go below 8°C.
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Forced to concentrate on one goal
Lars and Hannes returned successfully from their exploration tour towards the virgin peaks above Naguru. They found a camp site and a possible route to the summit of the center peak, which we might gor for on our way back from Seribung.
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Episode #3
We reached the Tibetan part of Nepal and set up camp below the abandonded village Naguru (4418m). While Hannes and Lars got up early to beat the clouds to be able to scout potential routes for two unnanmed 6000ers, Nils and Fabian climbed a nearby ridge to upload Trail of Change’s episode #3.
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From Nar to Phu
We left Nar (4220m) on wednesday morning with the goal to go further up the main valley to the second village in our area of investigation – the remote village of Phu.
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Over a high pass deep into change
After Passing Kang La (5300m), the first high pass on our expedition, we arrived in Nar, where we successfully started our scientific program and used the rest day for acclimatisation.
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Episode #2
After setting up camp for the first time, rest day means small acclimatisation hikes for Hannes, Lars and Patty, interviewing locals about how tourism affects the yak economy for Jonas, and uploading episode #1 of the Trail of Change project for Nils and Fabian.
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Into thin air!
We went up to our first high camp below the 5300m Kang La pass this morning. We are now at 4373m with fantastic on the Annapurna range.
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Satellite connection, finally!
This was the best day so far! Not only did Hannes’ stomach heal completely overnight, we are also in the upper Masyandi-Khola and saw big white mountains like Annapurna II and IV and the 6000ers Chulu East and Pisang Peak. We walked a fantastic panorama trail through old villages of Gyermu (3500m) and Ngwal (3550m).
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Koto to Lower Pisang
For the first time we were able to get a glimpse at the first 7000m-peak this early morning. For a brief moment the clouds opened for a spectacular view. Behind Koto’s huge limestone walls are the even more impressive walls of the Annapurna range
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Tal to Koto
Today was the longest and hardest day so far. We climbed a total of 1420m from Tal (1800m) to Koto (2500m). Koto is the junction point of Masyandi-khola and the Nar-Phu-khola.
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Bhule Bhule to Tal
We had surprisingly good weather today, no rain at all – and it’s still monsoon time! Unfortunately our satellite modem doesn’t seem to get any signal while we’re deep down in the Masyandi-gorge. We hope we’ll be up far enough to get some reception soon. Fingers crossed!
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First day on the trek
After Hannes’ briefing at the Ministry of Tourism – yeah, it’s a real expedition peak this time! – we left Kathmandu and arrived late at rainy wet soaking Bhule Bhule, the starting point of Nepal’s famous Annapurna Trek.
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Off to Bhule Bhule…
After being in the air or on the floor of Abu Dhabi airport for 24 hours, we finally arrived in Nepal and are currently staying at beautiful Haus Namaste.
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Episode 1 – Packing for Trekking
Six duffle bags, four expedition boxes, four tripods, a camera crane and six guys with a thrill of anticipation for the upcoming expedition are ready to go. Everything’s well packed and weighed. Kathmandu is waiting. Next time you’ll hear from us will be from Nepalese Himalaya.
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Die letzten Vorbereitungen…
… laufen auf Hochtouren. Und so sieht das dann aus, wenn Geographen Filme machen. Im neuen Göttinger Basislager wird aber nicht nur gefilmt, sondern auch probegepackt, gewogen, nochmal gepackt, wieder gewogen, die Airline über Übergewicht informiert, Material getestet, Akkus geladen, Speicherkarten sortiert, und, und, und…
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TOC-Teaser: Sympatex
Neben dem Antesten unserer Expeditionsausrüstung haben Nils und Fabian den spätwinterlichen Spaziergang auf dem Alpeiner Ferner genutzt um einen kleinen Teaser zu filmen, in dem wir das Projekt “Trail of Change” und unseren zweiten Hauptsponsor Sympatex nochmals kurz vorstellen.
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Grüße vom Alpeiner Ferner
Anfang Juli herrschen am Alpeiner Ferner Bedingungen wie an einem warmen und sonnigen Wintertag. Eine zwei Meter hohe Schneedecke bedeckt den Gletscher. Dummerweise steckt man ab sieben Uhr in der Früh schon bis zum Knie im durchweichten Firn. Nachmittags Gewitter. Für Donnerstag sind dann nochmal 20cm Neuschnee angesagt. Schön.
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Schwitzen in den Stubaier Alpen
Die Damodar-Expedition steht vor der Tür, es sind nur noch sechs Wochen bis zum Abflug nach Kathmandu. Höchste Zeit also, die Wadeln zu testen. Diese Woche steht unser “Trainingscamp” in den Stubaier Alpen auf dem Programm. Da Hannes wegen einer Sehnenentzündung am Fuß aufs Büro aufpassen muss, brechen Nils, Fabian und Lars ohne ihn auf.
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Stellungnahme zu Nord-Pakistan
Für das kommende Jahr ist eine Trail of Change-Expedition in die Region geplant, die in den letzten Tagen durch schlimme Nachrichten durch die Medien gegangen ist. Nachdem ich von den Mordanschlägen auf eine internationale Bergsteigergruppe am Nanga Parbat gehört habe, habe ich versucht, mir in den Letzten Tagen ein eigenes Bild von den Vorfällen zu machen.
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Die ersten Pakete kommen an!
Langsam aber sicher nimmt das Projekt Gestalt an. Heute ist die erste Materiallieferung eingetroffen: sturmfeste Zelte inklusive einem Basislager-Gruppenzelt, dicke und dünne Schlafsäcke, Funktionskleidung, Eisgeräte, Seile und sonst alles, was das Expeditionsherz so begehrt. 
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Sympatex ist Projektpartner!
Noch mehr gute Nachrichten: Wir konnten ein weiteres nachhaltig denkendes Unternehmen für uns Projekt begeistern. Mit Sympatex hat das Projekt “Trail of Change” nun einen zweiten Hauptsponsor gewonnen. Sympatex steht für uns vor allem für Performance und Ökologie. 
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VAUDE ist Projektpartner!
Wir freuen uns mit VAUDE eine ökologisch denkende Marktgröße als ersten offiziellen Hauptsponsor für unser im Sommer startendes Projekt “Trail of  Change” bekanntgeben zu können! Gestern unterzeichnete Hannes die Verträge auf der ISPO in München.
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