Apr 23, 2018

Have you ever wondered what it's like to breathe at 19,000’? That's the height of the peaks that professional adventure storyteller Chris Brinlee, Jr. and his team scrambled to the top of in Nepal.

The climbs themselves weren’t all that different from 14’ers in the Front Range of Colorado, scrambles in California’s Sierra Nevada, or traverses through the Wasatch in Utah: the difficulties had the potential to go at third class or below—a difficulty that many mountain-goers are comfortable with.

The only difference between those Himalayan scrambles and ones in the lower-48 was that instead of standing atop the highest point around, the world’s grandest peaks towered above the team in full surround—creating unfathomable perspective.

Despite the giant mountaineering objectives like Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam that the region is known for, the Khumbu as it’s known by locals and visitors alike, have countless other opportunities for grand, accessible adventures—experiences that lie beyond and above the standard “Base Camp Treks” that so many seek to experience.

Brinlee and his team set out to discover greater perspectives while “Searching for Scale” atop those summits; they used a HERO6 to capture moments both high and low.

Camp Vibes
Image Data: Single Shot. RAW. Handheld. Pro-Tune on. Sharpness low. Color GoPro.
 

Most trekkers and climbers in the region rely on “tea houses” for lodging and meals, but carrying a lightweight tent and stove can allow for some memorable moments off-the-beaten track—a welcomed break from the bustling tourist villages encountered every few hours. Camping in the region is allowed; and there are plenty of water sources along the way. Pick up some ramen and snacks from the village shops before heading out.

Brinlee took some time-out to read at this campsite between Gokyo Lake and Renjo La (a 5,390m pass)—while taking in views of Everest, Nuptse, and Cholatse.

Prayers for the Way
Image Data: Burst. Rate auto. Handheld. Pro-Tune on. Sharpness low. Color GoPro.
 

Prayer flags dot high points and passes throughout the Himalaya. Lung Ta, as they’re called in Tibetan, do not carry prayers to gods—instead, the Tibetans believe that the prayers and mantras inscribed on their cloth will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all surrounding space, bringing benefit to all.

View from the Top
Image Data: Single Shot. RAW. Handheld. Pro-Tune on. Sharpness low. Color GoPro.

 

Brinlee and his team used the famed “Three Passes Trek” as their route throughout the Khumbu, but added camping and three peak scrambles along the way to create an accessible, but more interesting adventure. This was taken from the summit of the first scramble, an unnamed, seldom-summited peak, standing 5,600m high—providing a unique perspective of the Chukhung Valley below. Lhotse, the world’s 4th highest peak, is directly above Brinlee’s head.

Thinking about venturing into the Himalaya yourself? Instead of plodding along to Everest Base Camp along with everyone else, why not try climbing some peaks instead? You’d be amazed at what you will see—and what you could do.

 

Chances are that Chris Brinlee, Jr. wrote this from the road (or on a boat, plane, or train) while traveling around the globe. Wanna see what he’s currently up to? Follow his adventures and stories on Instagram.

 

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