Trekking & Hiking

18 days with world's best Neuro Surgeon: Dr Henry Marsh Thomas

August 09, 2021

We're delighted to have Dr Henry Marsh Thomas and his son Mr William with us. He had been to Langtang Gosaikunda Trek with us. Let's read his trip experience on his own words:

We started out from Syabrubesi - seemingly spelled differently on every hotel sign, possibly related to translation from Sanskrit - at 7:50. The great majority of the day's walk was up alongside the river Trishuli. The Trishuli is apparently the highest pressure river in Nepal, and consequently has quite a few hydro-electric stations along its course as it makes its way down to the ocean. We ate lunch at a senic spot overlooking the river, having spotted a reclusive red panda, and then came a difficult bit as we had a long ascent, until finally reaching the Lama Hotel in mid-afternoon.


A beautiful evening, with low sunlight, and the roar of rushing water, the icy heights of Langtang Lirung and Yala Peak ( Probably) just visible. A fine hotel, with hot water and en suite bathrooms, made all the more enjoyable by the constrast with last night at Lama Hotel, which was very crowded and somewhat basic, although such hardships ( for want of a better word) are very much part of trekking in Nepal and I would be sorry if in future the tea houses were all replaced with comfortable five-star hotels for American Tourists. The ascent here was rapid -2kilometers vertical climb in two days. I became rather breathless abd was alarmed. I thought I was very fit, so I made various diagnoses- cardiac Failure, Kidney Failure, old age, feeble lack of willpower, etc but then remembered that you have to acclimatize to higher altitudes if you lack the Denisovan DNA Tibetans have. From then on I was still breathless but now happy, and very pleased with the patience of our guide Phuri as i trudged up the valley. All my happy memories of previous treks in Nepal have been re- affiremed, although there is the sad notes here in Langtang of the landslides in 2015 and the mountainside, although the place has been rapidly redeveloped to a high standard.

We set off from the hotel in Langtang at around 8:30, and had a shorter walk today of three hours, through the sweeping valley, arriving in Kyanjin Shortly before noon. After lunch and a brief rest in the hotel, we went for a short excursion to the monastery with its walls full of painted deities and demons, and then Yak Cheese factory, before walking round the valley a short way to get a better view of the higher snow-capped peaks.

A wonderful day - I am now dusty, sunburnt, and drinking beer, but about to have a shower - after ascending 900 meters from Kyanjin to Kyanjin Ri this morning, and then back to Langtang this afternoon... Neither William nor myself are yet fully acclimatized so the ascent was somewhat breathless, and we had to pause every few minutes. But the views were wonderful and our Wongchhu Peak Promotions guardians very patient and understanding. When we did the Manaslu trek two years ago, William and I told each other that we could not imagine another trek being equally beautiful, but Langtang is just as good, albeit different. Nepal is truly unique. We also learned that female Yaks are called Naks, and I explained tectonic plate theory to Phuri and Pasang - I think they knew all about it already, but the geology of the Himalayas is very interesting.

We set off from Thulo Syafru at 7: 30 am and then walked and climbed and walked and climbed to Thule Syabru. Then a steep walk through a wood to reach Phulung and spectacular views of the Tibetan Himalayas. I felt very old and feeble as we climbed but once we walked on the flat, i was more than happy. Phuri timed our rest periods perfectly - I am clearly not the first elderly European he has dragged so politely across the Himalayas. A black Mongoose seen, but no more Red Pandas. After Phulung, a delightful flat walk along the edge of a hill, through Rhododendron woods, with only a few short uphill sections. And finally, after nine and a half hours, a hot shower, our washing done, dramatic views of a Himalayan sunset, and a glass of beer in front of a hot stove. What more could you want? And yet the hard effort of getting here is what makes it so rewarding. If we had flown in here by helicopter..... how pathetic! It would be better to stay at home and do the trek on Google Earth.

On leaving the Red Panda Hotel, we faced a long, steady climb with an ever-widening, and fantastic, view of the high mountains behind us, with the way at times wooded and at times opening up to the blustering wind. After lunch at Gosainkunda, a collection of hotels on Lake Gosainkunda, at 4380m altitude. It had been an ascent of over 1000m and combined with the drop in temperature, led to a restless night.

We left early as we had a long day ahead of us, to see four helicopters land next to the lake, one after the other. It wasn't entirely clear what they were there for. As we climbed out of the valley, we saw- looking back - the Annapurna Range ( with Annapurna South and Machhapuchre visible in particular), Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and various of the Tibetan Himalayas. A truly wonderful sight, as we had previously visited several of thses mountains on previous trips. On cresting the ridge and heading down the other side, we found Helambu covered in cloud as far as the eye could see. After lunch, we descended into the cloud and came finally to Ghopte eerily plunged in grey.

And so, on the ninth day, the trek has finally ended and we are enjoying the luxary of a hotel with a bedroom that has, in the moderate style, an en suite bathroom and hot shower. The varity of tea houses on the trek has been most enjoyable - long may it continue! And you learn quickly to sleep well on mattresses that - for the spoilt western trekker - feel like planks, with pillows like bricks. A long descent today - some of it on a magical, flat sandy track, through forests and sunlight. I truly cannot conceive of a more beautiful place to walk, with the Himalayas in all their serene splendor to our left and the rest of Nepal on our right, below us, under an ocean of white cloud. A charming black dog accompanied us all the way from Ghopte to Kutumsang. I strongly suggest that Wongchhu Peak Promotions recruit it to the trekking team. He sits at my feet as i write. He will accept payment in chapatis and biscuits. It has been a wonderful trek - full of variety and hard walking, extraordinary Landscapes and mountains, and some fascinatingly bad nights from altitude, which will help me with the book I am writing about the human brain (but no mountain sickness). Thank you Phuri, Pasang, Lakpa and Wongchhu Peak Promotions for looking after us so well and for such a wonderful trek.

Thank you for chossing us Dr Henry. We look forward to meet and travel to some other place with you soon.

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