Makalu Base Camp trek

You can do this route independently. You can do it as a teahouse trek.


Here’s an independent trip report by Sathya:

9th – 27th Oct 2012

Lonely planet : Trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.

Note : The LP guide refers to this trek as a camping trek as of 2009 (when it was published). This trek can currently be done as a tea-house trek. The lodges in this trek are very rustic and there are just 1 or 2 lodges that are open in each of the villages en route. Do not expect anything more than dal-bhat at these lodges. …

Permits – One just needs a TIMS permit for this trek. …

Getting to/from the trailhead (Khandbari):

This is as arduous a task as the trek itself.

Coming from Kathmandu : The best way (most comfortable) to get to this is to take a flight (Buddha air) to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu. … Khandbari is less than an hour’s drive. …

Makalu Base Camp trek
13th Oct : Khandbari to RaniDunga (by jeep) and from there to Num and halfway to Sedua (trek)
14th Oct : Sedua to Tashigaon (2070 M)
15th Oct : Tashigaon to Khongma (3560 M)
16th Oct : Khongma to Dobato via Ghuguru/Tutu La (4050 M), Shipton La (4216 M) and Keke La (4150 M)
17th Oct : Dobato to Yangle Kharka (3600 M)
18th Oct : Yangle Kharka to Langma Le (4400 M)
19th Oct : Langma Le to Makalu Base Camp (~4700 M)
20th Oct : Makalu Base Camp to Yangle Kharka
21st Oct : Yangle Kharka to Khongma
22nd Oct : Khongma to Num
23rd Oct : Num to Khandbari

Sathya’s Trek

makalu map

lost on the Heart Mountain Horseshoe

Heart Mountain is west of Calgary, Alberta …

The 2,149 m (6,020 ft) mountain is easily distinguishable by its heart-shaped summit


At the base of the mountain a left turn onto the flat, good quality, Quaite Creek trail delivers us past a pristine swamp with mirror surface water and back to the car. The 11 KM (7 mile) loop

Hiking with Barry

Barry makes it sound easy. :-)

Local hiking Guru Kelly Mock recommended that loop, due to an early winter snowfall, but in reverse. Finishing coming down the Hart Mountain trail. We parked at the the Heart Creek trailhead.



Steve had done the loop before, but in the normal direction. We set off looking to ascend on the Quaite Creek trail.



Only Sept 13th, there was much more snow than we anticipated. But we hoped the snow would have been blown off the ridges, once we got up there.


We tried bushwhacking through deep snow between trees to get up on the windswept ridge.

We tried.

If was tough going, postholing non-stop. For hours. Off trail. :-(

Here’s the highpoint reached.


Sadly slipping on that snowfield up to the ridge was a death drop. We turned back, the sun warm, the sky blue, the wet snow … turning to slush.

steep Heart Mtn

Yes. It was steep.


We scrambled off trail down a different route, eventually getting back to the regulation track after 8 hours.


Phoning Kelly Mock to curse his bad advice, it turned out Kelly had started the Horseshoe in the normal direction, hoping to surprise us half way round.

After a half hour Kelly quit. You’d have to be an idiot to try Heart in these snow conditions. :-)

Oh well. It was a terrific quad workout.

more of Steve’s and my photos

Lagunas Altas Loop, Patagonia National Park

Lagunas Altas, the first major trail constructed at the future Patagonia National Park, offer a challenging day hike or overnight. The 23-km route offers spectacular views in all directions, from the Northern Patagonian Ice Field to the Jeinimeni Mountains. …

Lagunas AltaEstablishing the Lagunas Altas Trail

lakesHow to get there.

Nat Park

Arriving from the north (Santiago/Puerto Montt)

The easiest way to reach the park is to fly to Balmaceda Airport (Coyaique); LAN ( and SKY ( both operate flights to Balmaceda from Santiago and Puerto Montt. Buses also arrive in Coyhaique from points north.

To reach the park from Balmaceda or Coyhaique, drive or take a bus south on the Carretera Austral (route 7). You can rent a car at the Balmaceda airport or in Coyhaique, or catch a bus south in Coyhaique. Three bus companies offer service south from Coyhaique: Buses Don Carlos, Acuario 13, and Buses Sao Paulo. Between the three companies, there’s usually one bus leaving every morning during the high season, around 9 am. Tickets cost ~$20 USD. …

how to get there


Where to Stay

Conservation Patagonia

best hiking multitool – 3 essential tips

guest post by Morry Banes

Morry-Knows-Multitools-Logo-copy654There is a sweet spot in packing for your hike that’s just there between having too much stuff on you and not having enough to be comfortable. Finding this sweet spot is all about getting that balance right between the weight and bulk of the stuff you need to carry and their flexibility and usability.

Today, we are going to look into choosing the best multi tool for your needs. These small sidekicks can weigh as little as one standalone tool and can include up to 20.

But how do you know which one of these babies to choose if you decide that you want it?

A smart decision will call for looking beyond the stars and sparkles. Believe me, anybody who owns a multitool will tell you that the 80-20 rule applies here as well – 80% of the time you will be using 20% of the tools included. If you do the research yourself and read some multi tool reviews, you’ll get to the same conclusion.

So, here is what we are going to do here:

•    show you how to look past the advertising tricks and know which are the pieces that you will get the most use of

•    make sure that you are getting a quality tool that you’ll likely pass on to your family
Enough small talk, let’s talk some specifics:

In a highly competitive market there’s a lot of advertising tricks that can deter your attention from what’s important. So, let me give you some tips on how to avoid that.

Tip 1.    Versatility of a multitool

It’s easy to get distracted by the shine, the toothpicks and whatnots when looking at a multitool. A year later, you’ll find yourself looking at pieces that are there but have never been used. Oh, yes, and you paid for them…so, let’s get our essentials right and let’s spare you of those mistakes.
If you are a hiker, just make a mental checklist and look for a multi tool that will include:

•    well-made sturdy pliers and solid wire cutters
•    stainless steel blades, regulars and serrated ones
•    two types of screwdrivers (regular and Philips)
•    can and bottle opener

Chances are high that you’ll be needing most of these. For everything else just ask yourself if you see them being regularly used. Like a toothpick…or that flimsy small scissors? Or the nail clipper?

Tip 2.    Quality of the materials

Ah, quality, a word that’s so easy to throw around. Of course, every company will say that their product is of “highest quality”. But this is such a vague statement and before you know it you find yourself in a clutter of products that all claim to be of “high quality”.

Let’s cut through that clutter here and really learn what’s quality when it comes to multitools – it’s not that complicated after all:

Sub-tips within the tip 2:

What’s quality when it comes to individual pieces?

•    420 stainless steel, if compared size for size, is much stronger than titanium, and it’s an alloy of steel that has very little chromium (just 12%). In plain terms – it will not break and will last much longer

•    When I said pieces in the tip above I meant everything except the blades – 420 steel is a solid choice and included in most multi tools, but there is something better when it comes to the blades and that’s the 154CM steel. This alloy of steel will hold its edge much longer without the need for sharpening.

•    Titanium, in spite of the fact that it’s not as strong as 420 steel will be better for the handles because it will not corrode or rust

So, if you are looking for a multi tool that will likely last you a lifetime, look for these materials. I hope that makes it clear what “quality” is, and you can now look through the advertising shenanigans.

Some of these shenanigans, as far as I am concerned, are terms like:

•    dye-coat steel – which is a different way of saying “it’s not really stainless steel, we just paint so it looks like it is”…

•    “titanium coated” – this one is my favorite because it looks so good and shiny and it’s very hard to resist. Titanium coating will keep the corrosion off for a while until the coating wears off, and your tool starts to rust (usually about the time you warranty expires).

Tip 3.    Safety

This one is simple, read through the reviews and look for a piece that users report can be safely deployed using one hand.

When I say “safely” I mean without cutting yourself. This is not the biggest deals because any piece that meets the criteria we have set in Tip 1 and 2 will be designed smartly so that you can have the multiple pieces open and still use the multi tool safely.

And yes, look for a multi tool that features safety locks.

Final thoughts

If you are a hiker, it’s very likely that the less-is-more rule applies when you are choosing your multitool.
Everything I said here is aimed at you getting the biggest bang for your buck. The last part of the equation are your needs.

So, by all means, do your research, read multi tool reviews, read what other people say, think about how your experiences compare to those of other consumers and then make a calm controlled decision about the best multi tool for yourself.

If anything I said here sticks and helps in the process, the time sharing my experiences could not be better spent.

Stay safe

Helm Creek to Black Tusk

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Whistler is a Canadian resort town in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in the province of British Columbia, Canada, approximately 125 km (78 mi) north of Vancouver. … 

Over two million people visit Whistler annually, primarily for alpine skiing and snowboarding and, in summer, mountain biking …

Very few of those 2 million visitors climb up to one of the most iconic Canadian peaks, Black Tusk.

The Black Tusk is a stratovolcano and a pinnacle of volcanic rock in Garibaldi Provincial Park of British Columbia, Canada. At 2,319 m (7,608 ft) above sea level, the upper spire is visible from a great distance in all directions. It is particularly noticeable from the Sea-to-Sky Highway just south of Whistler


Black Tusk

Black Tusk

Most hikers approach from the Taylor Meadows campground to the south near Garibaldi Lake, although there is a second route from the north that travels by way of Helm Lake. …

Locals advised me to avoid the crowded trailhead off the highway, and hike via the Helm Creek Trail instead. That’s the Cheakamus Lake trailhead, closer to Whistler.

I bought my $10 / person / night camping permit online from BC Parks. You can pay cash at a machine only at the Diamond Head and Garibaldi Lake parking lots, not at the Cheakamus Lake parking lot.

Why doesn’t BC Parks have an office somewhere near Whistler?

Cheakamus Lake to Black Tusk Meadows via Helm Creek:

• Length, 14.5 km; suggested time, 6 to 7 hours one way;
• elevation change, 600 metres.
• 1.5 km along the Cheakamus Lake trail, drop down to a bridge across the Cheakamus River.

P1300549 P1300552On the other side of the river the trail switchbacks upward steeply to the Helm Creek Campground.

P1300561 P1300566I carried on to gorgeous Black Tusk Meadows.

P1300577Hikers coming down from the south summit told me it was too late in the day for me to start up.

After weighing my options (I was carrying a head lamp) I finally decided to wander the meadows, instead.

P1300572 P1300581 P1300589It turned out to be a leisurely night.


Next morning I turned my back on Black Tusk and headed back down to my car.

P1300610 P1300611

I had time for a sidetrip to pretty Cheakamus Lake via lush temperate rain forest.

P1300622 P1300624 P1300625Black Tusk is off limits to mountain bikes, but the ride to this lake is superb.

All in all, a wonderful 2-day hike.

If I had one more day I would have done the 34km route Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk shoulder detailed in this 9min video.

Click PLAY or watch Summer hiking featuring Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk on YouTube.

I might even exit from there to the highway. It’s still possible to hitchhike near Whistler. :-)

more photos from my hike

related – BC Parks – Garibaldi Provincial Park