They say that you can never get sick of travelling and if there’s one thing for sure, Bettina and Michael Press definitely have the travel bug. From Madagascar to the Mongolia, they’ve completed 11 trips with World Expeditions and come September, they’re off to discover majestic Iran.
Having just come back from Nepal doing our Api Himal Exploratory with Tim Macartney-Snape, Bettina told us all about her adventures…
1. Why did you decide to trek through one of the most remote regions in Nepal rather than hop on one of our more classic treks?
Michael and I did our first ever trek “Taste of Nepal” with Australian Himalayan Expeditions back in 1985, which inspired us to be more adventurous and see different parts of the world. We often go to the information nights that World Expeditions have in the city and find a trip that interests us both. We went to a talk given by Tim Macartney-Snape to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his amazing achievement of reaching the summit of Everest. We took a brochure of his upcoming Api Himal trek and read it on the way home in the train. I saw that it was challenging, rated 8 entry level mountaineering exploratory trek for 32 days and immediately closed the brochure and said to Michael “we can’t do that!”.
It wasn’t long before we decided to have another look at that trip and realised that perhaps it would be possible, especially after all the experience we had gained from our 11 World Expeditions trips.
What appealed to us was the remoteness of western Nepal, similar to what we witnessed in Mongolia. It was exciting to think that we would be trekking through areas that had not been fully explored before and meeting up with like minded interesting people.
2. What was it like to travel through Nepal with Tim Macartney-Snape, the first Australian to summit Mt Everest?
Tim proved to be an excellent guide with his ability to go ahead of the group and find the perfect campsite and water for us. We enjoyed Tim reading to the group the book Spy on the Roof of the World each afternoon, as it mentioned areas that we were in. We had every confidence in Tim, as he has so much experience in trekking and mountaineering in Nepal and also he speaks the language. He had a huge responsibility to look after over 60 people and make sure all their needs were met, which he did in a quiet and respectful manner. We admired Tim’s level of fitness and he also has a good sense of humour, which is necessary on such a long trip.
3. What was the most memorable part of your trip?
The most memorable part of the trip, now that is a hard one to answer. We experienced something wonderful and magical every single day. One particular day in a remote village we were given an amazing welcome by the women and children dressed in their best clothes, colourful jewellery, and the men in their traditional woollen jackets, sang and danced for us. and some of us joined them. We will always remember the natural beauty of Nepal and its happy, friendly, caring people. We have been home six weeks and are still in awe of our once in a life time trip.
4. What was the most challenging part of your trip?
The most challenging part of our trip had to be crossing an un-named snow covered pass at 5,377 metres using climbing gear for the first time.
5. What advice would you give another traveller who is thinking about taking a trek in Nepal?
Having the right gear certainly makes the trip more enjoyable, especially when keeping warm at night. A good level of fitness is also essential and being flexible if plans need to be altered helps.
6. This was your 11th trip with World Expeditions…you’ve travelled with us to many exotic destinations (Madagascar, Galapagos Islands and Mongolia to name a few!)…how does the Api Himal compare to your other trips with us?
Our Api Himal trek was different to any of our other trips because there were a lot of things we hadn’t experienced before, such as camping on snow, ropes to cross narrow ledges, and using mountaineering equipment. This was our longest ever camping trip, being at altitude for quite a while and it was an exploratory trek.
7. What’s next on the bucket list?
Our next trip is The Best of Iran for 11 days in September and we have also booked a trek next year to Ladakh and Kashmir.
8. Why do keep travelling with World Expeditions?
We keep travelling with World Expeditions because we know our trips will be well organised,
The staff are very accommodating and we like the variety of trips on offer. All of the guides we have met, we feel, go way beyond what is expected. Small groups and off the beaten track is very attractive to us.
Join Tim on his next exploratory trek in Nepal
There’s plenty of pioneering mountaineering to be done in Nepal, both hard and easy. The 19-day Mardi Himal Exploratory with Tim Macartney-Snape departs in October 2017. Explore the remote, pristine trails and sublime alpine ridges that are found amidst the great Annapurna massif. Feeling far from civilisation, we will revel in the awe-inspiring scenery at exceptional wilderness campsites. Our adventure culminates with a climb of Mardi Himal (5587m) – a superb introduction to climbing in the Himalaya.
While it is one of the lowest trekking peaks, there would be very few of them that occupy such a grandstand position as Mardi Himal – with the Machapuchare towering above very close to the north and across the valley the huge cirque of the south face of Annapurna 1, to the west Dhaulagiri, to the east over thickly forested ridges, Annapurna 2 and to the south far below, the town of Pokahara beside Phewa tal. So for those who have been to trekking peaks in the Khumbu this is very different!