[cairns on Khumbu moraine]

In the fall of 2001 I spent two months travelling in Nepal, mainly in the mount Everest area. This photo essay shows some of the things I saw and experienced on my journey.

I love mountains and I spend much of my free time roaming around the Rockies here in Canada, but for years I had wanted to go see the Himalayas. I kept hearing from friends and people I met about the awesome trail and hut system, the friendly people, the amazing scenery and the fascinating culture that Nepal has to offer. Then, in the summer of 2001, I negotiated a leave of absence from work and bought myself an airplane ticket.

This was not going to be another fast-paced trip, trying to cover as much ground and seeing as much sights as possible in as short a period of time, like most of my previous travels. I found a travelguide on trekking in Nepal, picked out the longest trek in the Everest area, and took the time estimate to complete the trek and multiplied it by two.

I wanted to walk to Everest through the Middle Hills, take my time, get acclimatized slowly, and then spend some time checking out the high country in the Everest area. Then I wanted to walk back out to the road in eastern Nepal. This was going to be a solo hike, where every decision would be a unanimous democratic consensus, i.e. wake up in the morning and do what I feel like doing.

Through friends I got a hold of the wonderful folks at Himalayan Ecological Trekking, who set me up with Nara, my guide/porter for the duration of the journey. He's a soft spoken, hard working and thoroughly dependable guy. We got along just great. We met in Kathmandu, and after a few days of sightseeing there, off to the hills we went.

All text and photos © Arie van der Velden

Temples of Kathmandu

Baktapur: roof struts and clay pots

Jiri to Lukla

Harvesting in the Middle Hills

Portraits of Nepali people

Tihar in the Arun Valley

Namche Bazaar, Tengboche and Dingboche

Chukung and Ama Dablam

Lobuje, and Mount Everest from Kala Pattar

Cho Oyu and Everest views from the Gokyo area

Sunrise on the Annapurna range

Grasslands and jungle of Chitwan park

All text and photos © Arie van der Velden

Technical notes.

All pictures shot with a Canon Rebel SLR, with a Tamron 28-300 zoom lens. Film used: Fuji Sensia 100 slide film. A monopod was used to steady the camera for telephoto shots. Only a moonlight shot of Cho Oyu was taken from a proper tripod.