Backpacking through Asia


Mount Everest, viewed from Tibet in spring 2000.

The rocks blocked our path. We decided to turn the jeep around and head back to the deserted Tibetan Buddhist monastery just down the road. The afternoon was already upon us which meant that the weather was steadily getting worse and worse. From afar, it had been clearly visible, but now all we could see was white clouds growing larger and larger, surrounding the top of the world. The three of us – I, Kalle and the Aussie – prepared a light pack for the trek since we were above 5000m (16,400ft) by now and our hearts were already running just from walking around due to the painstakingly thin air. We set off and alternated to lead, just as if it was a race, since keeping the pace was absolutely crucial as the mountain storm grew closer and closer. After an exhausting fight uphill for about an hour against the wind, we finally reached our destination, Mount Everest Base Camp, Tibet, 5300m above sea level! For about 15 minutes, we enjoyed the mere fact of being where we were and the rest that the Base Camp shelter gave us until the looming storm urged us to return as quickly as possible. We trekked down to the monastery and decided to find a safe shelter for the night just down the road at a Tibetan home. The next day the storm was gone and yet again could we appreciate the magnificence of Mount Everest.

This is but one extraordinary experience from the four month backpacking trip that I went on with my friend Kalle Hübsch through Finland, Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in 2000. See below for more pictures.

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