Hi everyone. My name is Andy James. I have had a love of the outdoors, and in particular high and wild places all my life. Around 5 years ago I decided to to see how high I could get and set about climbing progressively high mountains.
From modest beginnings on Mt Kilimanjaro in 2009 I have subsequently climbed Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua twice, in 2010 and in 2011 summiting successfully the second time, and on Cho Oyu in the Himalayas in 2013. I planned to summit Mt Everest via the South Col route in 2014 but that attempt had to be abandoned due to events following the avalanche of 18th April in which 16 sherpas lost their lives.
An unexpected outcome of this mountaineering and associated travel has been a love of writing, and in particular a passion for taking other people with me. I strive to go beyond chronological accounts of travel, seeking instead to enable my readers to picture themselves in my shoes; seeing what I see and perhaps feeling a little of what I feel. I blogged extensively from Cho Oyu last year, again during my Everest trip. During both of these a number of people commented favourably on my writing and this gave me the confidence to pursue travel writing as a new career. So the purpose of this site is not simply about taking you with me on my travels but on my writers journey.
In return I ask for your comments. Don’t be shy or reserved as I really want to know what writing works for you and what doesn’t, and why. I want us all to go on this journey together. Will you come with me?
Kevin & Jenny Marchant said:
Hi Andy…. You’re back!
Not sure if you will remember us, but we followed your Everest Blog and commented a few times on your writing, which we really enjoy.
Will also be following your Dolpo adventure with great interest. We were booked on a “guaranteed” trip with KE to Nar & Phu – alas everyone booked on the trek cancelled (except us) following the Nepal earthquake that year – so in the end no trek. Strangely I was also booked on a climb with Jagged Globe to Putha Huinchuli, which for various reasons never happened either, so still not made it to the Dolpo region! Haven’t given up yet though….
In the mean time, I’m giving Aconcagua a second go in February next year, having been stormed off it in January of this year. I believe you also went for it twice.
Enjoy the Dolpo region, it promises to be an epic journey…. and an exciting blog.
Kevin & Jenny Marchant
Hi Kevin. I do indeed remember you! What bad luck to have had 2 trips cancelled. I hope I give you a reason to try a third time! Yes, I went to Aconcagua twice. The first time was 2010 when I was freshly down from Kilimanjaro in late 2009. I was high on enthusiasm but woefully low on knowledge of how to prepare for and then summit such a mountain. I went back 2 years later after several Alpine trips, proper mental and physical prep and a completely different attitude to dealing with the hardships and the effects of altitude. It was a joy. I enjoyed it so much I’ve considered going back sometime. Good luck for your second time! Cheers. Andy
Hey Andy, I stumbled upon your great blog while doing research for the Haute Route. I also plan on doing it in mid-September and was wondering, if it isn’t a problem, if you could answer some questions.
1. How long did it take you to hike from Louvie to Prafleuri?
2. I keep hearing bad things about Prafleuri hut. How bad is it really? Was it full even in September? Did you give in and buy the expensive bottled water or did you find some other solution (filters or purification tablets maybe?)?
3. Have you ever encountered anyone having serious trouble with altitude sickness at 3,000 meters?
Any other tips that could be useful?
Thanks for your time!
Hi David, thanks for your comments. Happy to answer your questions.
1. We left Louvie at 8am and got to Praflueri just before 4pm, but the time actually hiking was about 6 hours. In fine weather you would do it in 5 hours.
2. There’s not much more I can say about Prafleuri than what was in the blog. It presented challenges in terms of drinkable water, showers that worked, its welcome and its unique operating rules but it was comfortable enough for a one-night stay. However we did meet a couple who took one look at the place and walked on. Is it actually bad? No I don’t think so, but if there was a choice other than using a tent I would avoid it. It wasn’t absolutely rammed and my group had a couple of spaces in the 16-sleeper room but overall it was pretty full. We carried extra water in and bought more there. In comparison with other costs it was a small addition to save the hassle of purification and/or filters. At the end of the day it provided a place to park our bones overnight in a fantastic location. But that’s all. You won’t want to linger.
3. No, I have never known anyone have a serious problem at 3000m.
As for other tips, you should expect and prepare for the worst of weather, even in September, and mind your navigation. In places the way is not as obvious as you would think and the navigator should remain vigilant all the time. Simply following the ‘marked’ trail isn’t wise and you should have paper map and compass backup. The normal rules of mountain travel apply.
Good luck and enjoy!
Thanks for the detailed reply! I really appreciate it.