Thursday 31 December 2009

And finally - as we head into 2010

Well, its New Years Eve and the snow continues to melt.For some of us its been a fab run up to Christmas with the most snow falling for years. It reminds Iain of when he was a kid growing up in Cumbria when the snow came in early November and stayed til the end of March and in those days, we had a Land Rover too!

It started snowing in Kendal on the 19th and the next morning Iain found six inches outside and more falling - time to go out and play! See -

This shot shows Iain with his 1960 Series two Land Rover - on the bridleway where he and a mate found themselves a few hours later between Kentmere & Longsleddale after we'd pushed the old girl to see how far she'd go - and she went all the way!

This next shot was the following Tuesday when, after more snowfall, Iain went out in the Series 2 again. This picture was snapped on the Old Sedbergh Road, 1 mile east of Kendal. The conditions were fanastic, people trying to get around in their modern cars wouldn't agree as they struggled often to even get out of their driveways, but the series 2 didn't get stuck once.

Iain bought this vehicle in a sorry state in 1990 and then stripped and rebuilt it to original spec. It is entirely original apart from the number plate (it was originally 355 DAO) although Iain added an overdrive 3 years ago.

Now, over 49 years old, it has never let him down!

Anyway, Iain & Kirstin enjoyed Christmas with family & friends and are looking forward to going out tonight to see in 2010 and on that note, we'd like to wish all of you - family, friends and clients, very best wishes for 2010 and say - thanks for sharing our experiences and supporting us in 2009.

In the New, Year Iain hopes to be up north enjoying the Scottish winter. If anyone is interested in winter skills courses, winter mountaineering courses or winter climbing courses in Scotland in 2010 then contact us at Kendal Mountaineering Services.

Happy New Year!

Winter walking weekend, Glencoe, 11th - 13th December 2009

Things have been relatively quiet for Kendal Mountaineering Services recently. It's that time of year when not much is going on in the outdoors and it gives us time to plan for the following year and Iain has been doing just that.

However, a break is always good and Iain & Kirstin were invited by Elaina Smith & Steve Morley to help them celebrate Steve's recent birthday and join them for a weekend in Glen Coe

The picture here shows Kirstin & Elaina on the track to Loch Eilde Mor from Kinlochleven on the Saturday morning with Loch Leven in the background, on the first day of what was to be a fantastic weekend.

It had been decided that day that we would attempt Na Gruagaichean - a 1055M peak towards the eastern end of The Mamores. Iain has attempted this top 3 times before only to be repulsed by bad weather - but not on this occasion as can be seen in this picture which shows our group ascending the east ridge.

Here the snow was hard neve and it was truly winter. The views were fantastic and in the distance you can see the munros at the head of Glen Etive Buachaille Etive Mor amongst them.

In the picture right, Kirstin relaxes on the Summit of Na Gruagaichean, the ridge beyond is the subsidiary north west top looking on to the An Gearanach/An Garbhanach portion of the Ring of Steal with Ben Nevis beyond. Right of the Ben is the Carn Mor Dearg Arete with the broad hump of Aonach Bheag next to that

This picture was taken as we decended via the same ridge and is looking down to Loch Leven as the sun sets in the west - one of those special moments!
This was one of those perfect days in the mountains and you could see for miles. We could make out the Cuillins on Skye out to the west and Schiehallion to the east overlooking Loch Rannoch. We even saw a Brocken Spectre in the mist (it was Iain!).
We returned to the Glen Coe hotel to enjoy a good meal and relax in the bar. Recently refurbished and offering unbeatable deals at the present time this is an ideal place to base yourself. View their website here -

After a night of clear skies, Sunday dawned very cold & still and with thoughts of the eventual long drive south, it was decided to climb something on the way back and so Stob Coire Raineach was selected on Buachaille Etive Bheag in Glen Coe.
This picture shows Steve, Elaina & Kirstin as we neared the summit with the ridge leading to Stob Dubh 958M behind them to the right.
The valley behind is the Lairig Gartain separating Buachaille Etive Mor to the east from Buachaille Etive Bheag and is a route from the upper reaches of Glencoe to lower Glen Etive. Ben Starav can be seen in the background and Loch Etive can be glipsed to the left of Stob Dubh. To the north we could see The Ben, Creag Meaghaidh and across Rannoch Moor - Ben Alder. Way to the south we could see some tops we though were the Goat Fell massive on Arran but later we realised the were the Paps of Jura.
We had a truly memorable weekend with Steve & Elaina - both clients of Kendal Mountaineering Services. Elaina has been on a winter skills course with us as well as coming on one of the annual Cuillin Ridge traverses and has attended a scrambling course as well, whilst Steve has attended a winter skills course with us. They have both become friends and like us - share a love of the mountains. It is great that we stay in touch with so many of our clients and we do encourage everyone to keep in touch and to call in and see us.
And of course on the journey home, a stop had to be made at The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum - - fabulous bacon butties, excellent fish & chips and monsterous mugs of coffee & hot chocolate - definitely the icing on the cake of this great weekend away!

Lake District based Scrambling Skills Training Course, Nov 28th & 29th 2009

Well, coming back to the UK was something of an anticlimax after Nepal. One thing that struck Iain as he was getting off the plane at Manchester was the wall of rain that had been happening here for some time by then.

At least in Nepal it was either warm & dry or cold & dry - but it was dry!!

But then one has to remember the monsoon season!

In this picture, Iain is demonstrating the technique of taking chest coil coils as part of short roping for scrambling. We take these pictures for clients so they can refer back to them when practising these skills for themselves.

Gary & Andy booked this scrambling course with Kendal Mountaineering Services after receiving numerous positive reports as to the quality of instruction and service we offer our clients and they weren't disappointed.

Having travelled up from Staffordshire, the guys wanted to learn the ropework skills necessary for leading grade 2 & 3 scrambles. At first it looked as though the weather was going to be problematic as the first winter snows had arrived on the Friday night and the mountains were covered down to about 1500 feet - not ideal for any training course.

Iain, however, had a few venues in mind and chose to work in the Coniston area on a well known grade 1 scramble called Long Crag.

In the above picture the guys are looking at the options of using a direct belay - one of the many skills Iain showed them that day.

Of course it is all very well teaching people skills, but the best way to learn is to put them into practice. Here, Andy is using a direct belay (Italian hitch) to bring Gary up a section that required just a bit more protection than a body (indirect) belay.

By the time the guys had completed the scramble it was rapidly getting dark and after some coaching with regards to an abseil retreat, we decided to call it a day.

The forecast for Sunday was not good. Gale force winds and snow spreading from the east and so the decision was made to return to the Long Crag area and consolidate the skills learning that had taken place the previous day. This time we did a grade 2 scramble called Boulder Route to the right of Long Crag itself with Andy & Gary alternately leading the rocky sections. The above picture shows Andy short roping Gary up to the foot of the next section.

The weather was cold and wet but we completed boulder route with time to spare and so headed over to the Miners Bridge area to have a go at Mouldry Bank - another grade 2 somewhat vegetated in its lower reaches but with better rock buttresses higher up.

Then suddenly we were running out of light again just as Gary was belaying Andy up the final 2 pitches of this route. The weekend course was over but Gary & Andy were very satisfied. Andy had this to say about their weekend with Iain.

What a fantastic weekend! Both me and Gary felt the course met our requirements exactly, pitched at the level we wanted with the right amount of content. Day one was packed with plenty of useful techniques and skills essential for the scrambling we want to do in the future, day two was used to practice and polish up skills in a real situation on more dificult ground and weather conditions which required protection. The grade 2 scramble in wild weather on Sunday was a real experience, something new which we would never have attempted before but now feel we are equipped with skills to do!

It was great to meet and work with you and we'd definitely use your services again.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Nepal, October 2009, Annapurna Circuit, Thorung La to Pokara

Having arrived at the Thorung La about 10:30 am on day 9, we set off for our next stop at Muktinath. This view shows Iain beginning the 1650M (5,500 foot!) descent to Muktinath.

The mountains in the distance are to the west of the Kali Gandaki River Valley and just peeping out behind the slope on the left can be seen Dhaulagiri, at 8172M - the next highest mountain to the west of the Annapurna Himal; and the world's 7th highest mountain.

As mentioned in a previous post, this area is extremely arid and consists largely of semi-desert topped by glaciated peaks.

Halfway down the descent to Muktinath, Iain took this picture looking back to Khatungkang 6484M appreciating in particular, the hanging glacier draped down its western face.

Shortly afterwards, we all rounded a bend and there was Muktinath in front of us. Immediately on our left there was a monastery with thousands of prayer flags draped between it and the slope of the mountain behind. Straight ahead, Dhaulagiri is the highest visible peak.

Once in Muktinath, we were surrounded by shops and stalls with locals trying to sell the usual selection of trinkets and goods. But here we also found motorcycles and Jeeps - the first time we had seen mechanised transport for over a week.

Muktinath signalled the end of the trek for us, as from here we had chosen to journey by Jeep to Jomsom and fly from there to Pokara to spend a few nights.

After a bone shaking ride in a Jeep on the morning of day 10, we found ourselves in Jomsom - the district headquarters of the Mustang region of Nepal.

Despite its aridity, this is an apple growing region and through Mek, we were to try both the apples and some of the local apple brandy. Iain was so impressed he brought a bottle home and at 43% proof will probably be drinking it for the next few years!

The picture above was taken on a walk that afternoon to Syang and is looking up to Nilgiri North 7061M with clouds surrounding it. To the left is Tilicho Peak 7134M which is immediately above Tilicho Lake - at 4920M the highest lake in Nepal and the route of the alternative way to get to the Kali Gandaki from Manang.

The river in the foreground is the Kali Gandaki. Here its bed is relatively narrow, but upstream of Jomsom, the river bed fills the whole valley floor whilst the water flows along braided channels across its width which can be up to 3/4 of a mile.

Finally, a last shot from the tourist resort of Pokhara. Iain & Kirstin flew here from Jomsom on the morning of day 11 saying goodbye to Mek & Mingma who were making their way by bus back to Kathmandu.

We stayed here for four nights instead of the planned two enjoying our hotel, the local resturants & bars and the local tourist attractions both having a go, for the first time, at Paragliding from nearby Sarangkot.

The view shows Phewa Tal (the lake) in the foreground. Left to right can be seen Dhaulagiri, the long ridge of Annapurna South and below that Sarangkot hill, next - the sacred mountain of Machhapuchhre (The fish tail) and finally, Annapurna III.

After four nights we returned to Thamel in Kathmandu for a further 3 nights before reluctantly departing for the UK. Nepal & the Himalayas are a place we both hope to return to soon.

Nepal, October 2009, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Upper Pisang to Thorung La

After a night at Upper Pisang we departed on day 6 on our way to Manang. Our guide Mek suggested that we take a high route above the Marsyangdi Valley opposite the Annapurna Himal so that we could enjoy the views. Good choice Mek!

The whole of the Annapurna Circuit is very commercialised with local people taking every opportunity to provide for trekkers and after another stiff climb we found ourselves at a "resturant" where we enjoyed a coffee, a chocolate bread and this view.

Here, looking down into the valley, you can see the village of Humde with it's gravel airstrip serviced several times a week from Pokara. The mountains in the background comprise the western end of the Annapurna Himal from Gangapurna 7454M to Idam Phra 5875M (just right of centre) to the lower peaks of the Muktinath Himal on the right. Stunning views indeed!

After a night in the municipal district capital - Manang 3540M, we began our climb north towards the Thorung La and our route to the Kali Gandaki Valley.

This view is looking up up the Thorung Khola Valley towards the peaks surrounding the Thorung La. The white triangular peak on the left is Khatungkang 6484M, centre is Syagang 6026M and right is Yakwakang 6482M. The Thorung La 5416M pass is immediately below Yakwakang on the left.

At this point on day 7 we were at an altitude of 4000M and the effects of the altitude were becoming noticable.

This picture was taken on day 8 en route to Thorung High Camp at around 4350M looking south down the Thorung Khola Valley back towards the Annapurna Himal.

Visible in this picture are, extreme left - Annapurna IV 7525m then Annapurna III 7555M (centre) with the dark mass of Gangapurna 7454M just right of centre with Tao Kang (Glacier Dome) 7059M to its right.

Rather than having a rest day and two nights in Manang, Mek, being rather alarmed at the sheer numbers of trekkers in the area, had advised that we push on a day early in order to get a room at the Thorung High Camp as difficulty had been experienced in finding us accommodation on a number of occasions by this time.

Taken on the morning of day 9 this picture shows Thorung High Camp 4925M nestling in the col - lower left hand side of this picture, with the slopes of Chulu West 6419M above and the Annapurnas from Annapurna II left to Gangapurna, right.

Thorung High Camp was quite amazing. Electricity is brought up from the hydro plant at Thorung Phedi so there was hot food & a dining room and electric light. We even saw a room full of porters watching TV!

A few hours later we found ourselves at the Thorung La 5416M and even here you could get a hot drink & food!

This picture shows Iain (left), Mek (centre) and Kirstin (right) with the Thorung La plaque in the background.

A downside to our rapid ascent to the Thorung High Camp from Manang was that Kirstin suffered a severe headache from about 4200M onwards and the decision was made that she should make the trip from High Camp to the Thorung La on horseback the next morning - a wise choice as it turned out.

People attempting this route need to be aware that at the Thorung La, you are 600M (almost 2000 feet) higher than Mont Blanc - the highest peak in the European Alps and therefore one should make very effort to be acclimatized before attempting this high altitude crossing and recognise that it is in fact - a serious undertaking not to be underestimated!

Nepal, October 2009, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Dharapani to Upper Pisang

The first picture in this post is taken from our lunch stop on day 4 at Timang 2270M. Having left Dharapani that morning, we soon had a fairly stiff climb to this point and in doing so it brought the Manaslu Himal into view (background). Manaslu, visible left, is 8163M.

Dharapani marks the point where one can depart NE on the Manaslu trek and also the point where trekkers on the Annapurna Circuit cease to head north and commence heading north-west towards Manang.

Shortly after the last photograph was taken, we rounded a bend and got our first view of the Annapurna Himal.

The peaks left of centre comprise Lamjung Himal 6983M and these are the eastern end of the glaciated range.

The prominent peak right of centre is Annapurna II 7937M and this mountain would dominate our view for the next few days.

At this point we had climbed to 2400M and the trees were becoming predominantly coniferous as opposed to sub tropical broadleaved trees such as those found at the start of the trek at Besi Shahar.

This picture was taken during day 5 at the point where we entered the upper Marsyangdi Valley near Lower Pisang 3200M. Here the valley becomes noticably arid.

To the south you now have the impressive north wall of Annapurna II 7937M, IV 7525m & III 7555M and to the north trekking peaks such as Pisang Peak 6091M and Chulu East 6429M. Chulu East is visible just right of centre in this picture.

The Annapurna Himal has the effect of capturing most of the monsoon moisture as it moves north - hence little precipitation reaches beyond to the mountains to the north. At this point the Marsyangdi Valley is clearly in a rain shadow region and this climatic influence is evident for the remainder of the trek to Jomsom.

This is a view of Annapurna II from near Lower Pisang. The lower shoulder in sunlight to the right is Annapurna IV

Buddhism is the predominant form of religion in the Marsayangdi Valley being as it is - very close to the border with Tibet.

All along the way we passed many walls of Buddhist prayer wheels and Mani walls bearing stones bearing prayer inscriptions. Some stones are beautifully carved and painted such as this one.

Many trekkers must be tempted to remove these stones to take home as souveniers - be warned, it is said that to do this will bring you bad luck!

Nepal, October 2009, Annapurna Circuit Trek

The Mera Peak group departed on October 26th for the UK. Iain's partner Kirstin arrived in Kathmandu on the 25th so she was able to meet the guys for our last night out in Thamel before they departed for home.

Kirstin & Iain departed Kathmandu on the 26th to head for Besi Shahar in the Marsayangdi River valley at the eastern end of the Annapurna Himal.

The planned itinery was a 10 day guided trek finishing at Jomsom in the Kali Gandaki valley This picture shows Kirstin (centre) with our guide Mek (left) and our porter Mingma (right) and the Marsyangdi Nadi river behind.

These pictures were taken on our first day. The Peak in the background is Himalchuli 7893M - part of the Manaslu Himal.

Each night we were accommodated in teahouses with on average, a daily walk of approx 6 miles and over the course of the next 9 days we would climb from 760M at Besi Shahar to the Thorung La Pass 5416M - our high point on the trek. So, in total we ascended 4656M over the course of the trek and to go to this altitude was certainly a first for Kirstin.

As with the Mera Peak trek, there are lots of river crossings to be done in the Marsyangdi Valley - some are on very modern metal suspension bridges, some are a little more rustic, but fortunately still work! Kirstin is crossing this one during our first day on the trek and this one is constructed from bamboo which grows up to 40 feet high and has stems of up to 8 inches in diameter.

For the first three days of the trek we followed the river valley though terraced paddy fields where rice and millet were being grown along with beans and maize.

The picture right shows maize harvested and stacked to provide food during the winter months. In some areas we saw people harvesting rice and it wasn't until we got to Dharapani at 1860M that the climate became too cool for these sub-tropical crops to be grown.

The picture right shows Tal where we stopped for lunch on day 3 en route for Dharapani. At this point the Marsyangdi Valley widens out before dropping 1500 feet into a much narrower section between here and Bahundanda.

It is planned that a jeep track (currently operating as far as Syang) will eventually run all the way to Manang - the municipal centre of the Marsyangdi Valley. There was evidence all along the way of this road, currently under construction and being built by hand on the opposite bank of the river from our route. However, it seems that as fast as it is constructed, the monsoon causes it to be blocked by landslides and some of the terrain yet to be crossed is precipitous to say the least. One cannot help wondering if this feat of construction will ever be achieved and if so it will undoubtedly be to the cost of porters & mule teams - currently the only way of supplying goods to this part of Nepal.

Mera Peak, October 2009, return to Lukla.

Our return journey to Lukla from Khare took a mere two & a half days opposed to the 7 days taken from Lukla to Khare - however we did remain at Kothe for 2 nights on our way in to Khare.
Iain took many pictures - these are a selection of those taken on the return. The first is a last look at the Mera Glacier with the Hinku River in the forground.

This picture shows our Guide - Kami Nurbu Sherpa. Kami was our logistics organiser for everything outside of Kathmandu - flights, accommodation, porters and food. He did an excellent job and was a great guy to work with. Thank you Kami!

The right hand picture shows the Sabai Glacier flowing down from Kyashar into the Sabai Tsho. This glacial lake burst through its moraine about 5 years ago and its level was lowered by about 100M. The trail of devastation downstream of this is very evident and these events are becoming more commonplace in the Himalayas due to the effects of climate change.
The left hand picture shows a young porter carring an incredible load. Porters typically get paid the equivalent of £5 per day for their services and many of the younger guys carry double loads to earn double pay in a day.
The strain this must put on their backs & knees must be unimaginable but still they carry on with a smile and a greeting of Namaste!
Iain found the Nepalese people to be hardworking and cheerful despite many of them living in near poverty conditions. They couldn't do enough to help you and Iain was happy that he was able to contribute to their economy.

All along the trekking routes there are teahouses where you can stay for upwards of 200 rupees (about £1.60) per night per person.
Trekking clearly contributes a great proportion of income to the the people in the Himalayas even though this trade is seasonal (October - December & February - April) and here at Kothe, a carpenter is hard at work making a door for the new premises behind.
Great care is taken when making these new buldings and all of the stones used in the masonary are handcrafted individually with a hammer & bolster.

This was our last view of Mera Peak from the south as we climbed towards our final resting place before crossing the ridge at the Zatrwa La (4600M)
and beginning the descent to Lukla.
The central summit can be clearly seen with the north summit to the left.
Iain hopes to return here again.

Mera Peak, 18th October 2009, summit day.

Summit day started at 01:30 when we heard the sound of the massive primus stoves in the cook tent being fired up. Outside it was pitch black and bitterly cold with a light wind blowing as we all struggled out of our sleeping bags to get ready to depart high camp at 02:00.

No-one had slept well - if at all! A number of people had been suffering from Cheyne Stokes (crescendo) breathing - a common problem at high altitude and one member of our team felt unwell and decided not to depart for the summit.

Leaving at around 02:15, wearing helmets, harnesses and being roped up for glacier travel, the group set off in the darkness. After a while, two members started to suffer from very cold feet -one sufficiently so that it was decided he should return to high camp accompanied by Kami - our mountain guide.

The picture here shows Doc (one of Iain's team) and was taken around 07:00 as it was getting light and we were getting towards to top of the north slope of Mera towards the central Summit.

As we got on to the summit plateau we found a strong and extremely cold wind was blowing from the south and this was picking up snow and ice and throwing it in people's faces.

This can be seen here. In the background can be seen Makalu (left centre) and Baruntse (right centre).

By now, everyone was feeling the effects of the rarified atmosphere at this altitude and were moving very slowly indeed. Also, due to the extreme cold, members of the team were starting to experience problems with camera batteries fading.

This picture was taken just before Iain's camera ceased working due to the cold. In the background can be seen the central summit of Mera (6461M).

Most people stopped for a rest here before following the others in the picture towards a crevasse which just separated us from the summit but which was not, actually, technically difficult to surmount.

Once on the central summit, a few members made it on to the North Summit (6476M) the rest deciding enough was enough and starting the descent back to high camp.

Having taken 6 hours to reach the summit, the return to High Camp took less than 2 hours. Here everyone helped the porters to pack up our tents before we all continued on our way back to Khare.

This picture was taken on the Mera La at about mid-day and as you can see the weather was fantastic - actually calm & warm where the picture was taken - compared with the wind and extreme cold experienced just over 1000M above.

Most of the team arrived at Khare by 14:00 and here we stayed for one last night before departing on the trek back to Lukla.

Monday 14 December 2009

Mera Peak October 2009, heading for High Camp

The next day we left Khare at 08:30 to walk to high camp, this was a relatively easy day as most people were fairly well acclimatised.

The first part of the ascent consisted of scrambling up the moraine above Khare to get to the toe of the glacier and then a short steep bit to get on the horizontal glacial traverse to the Mera La.

This picture was taken at the Mera La at about mid-day. The walkers on the left are coming up from Mera La camp to join everyone else heading straight up towards High Camp. Many people in the middle distance are summiteers descending to the Mera La.

This picture of Iain was taken at 15:30 just after arriving at High Camp. From the Mera La onwards altitude really takes its effect and everyone found themselves walking at a snails pace. On arrival at High Camp it was already bitterly cold and the sun was starting to set.

The conical peak on the left is Malangphulang 6573M, and above Iain is the Everest massif of Nuptse 7864M left, Everest 8848M centre and Lhotse 8516M right. Right of these is Peak 41 6648M.

This is a view of High Camp at 5800M. Our tents are the ones to the left of the rock buttress pitched on hard snow whilst everyone else's tents were pitched on the rubbly slopes to the right -above quite a precipice.

Our porters had set off ahead of us in the morning and were starting to erect the tents when we arrived at 15:30. We then took over this task whilst they made us some tea. In this picture Peak 41 is to the left, centre is Makalu 8462M and right of centre is Baruntse 7220M.

Having erected the tents everyone was given some more tea and hot food by the ever busy porters and then due to the rapidly dropping temperature most people crawled into sleeping bags to attempt to get some sleep. Iain took this shot of sunset over Everest before turning in himself.

The views all around at this point were truly fantastic. Earlier cloud had cleared and you could see our route up the Mera Glacier from where we had gotten on to the glacier at the furthest end of its left hand curve. The time was approximately 6pm.

Mera Peak, October 2009 continued

After a night at Thangnak, we continued on our way to Khare Camp at 4900M. This was the highest inhabited camp that we would stay at before heading on to the Mera Glacier and on to the high camp bivouac site at 5800M.

By the time we reached Khare we had trekked past the western spur of Mera and climbed beyond it to the north. This view is looking from Khare at the western spur on the right. On the left - the small rounded bump in the sunlight is the central summit of Mera Peak and the north (highest) summit is immediately right of that.

This view is slightly left of the previous picture. Our route to the summit would be behind the rock pinnacles to the left on the easy north slope of the Mera Glacier flowing gently down from the summit peaks.

Slightly left again showing the northern end of the Mera Glacier where it sweeps down west into the valley.

The lower slopes of Mera Peak are on the right and the Mera La (where there is also a camp) is to the right of the peak in the middle of the picture.

Khare camp is in the foreground and our tents are the yellow ones on the left. We spent two nights here having a training day on the glacier inbetween before departing for High Camp the next day.

This picture shows Iain, Binod and "Doc" (left to right) on the Mera Glacier during the glacier training day. This picture also shows the upper half of the route travelled on the glacier to the summit.
High Camp(5800M) is at the big rock just below the left skyline and the route goes from there left of the obvious snow ridge and up to the central summit. In terms of distance this is no more than 3 kilometres and from High Camp the hieght gain is only 676M (2250 feet). However, due to the altitude it still took us 6 hours to reach the summit!