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Topic: Has anyone here ever been to Nepal or Patagonia?, love to hear your experiences< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2013, 11:43 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone here has been to either of these two destinations and had some advice to offer.  I haven't traveled internationally in some time, and am finally in a position where I can save a bit towards traveling.  Of all the places I could think of, these two are the ones that seem to inspire my spirit the most.  

My trip ideas for each are generally as follows:

Patagonia - Classic peaks scenery and trekking around Torres Del Paine NP, Monte Fitz Roy, and seeing some wildlife - penguins, guanacos, flamingos, etc.  I am looking for a good guide or resource for this area.

Nepal - Flying in and out of Khatmandu, visiting the city and then going to Sagarmatha NP, doing some trekking around the area villages of Namche Bazaar and Tengboche, and also possibly seeing wildlife in the lower elevation areas of the country (Red Pandas!!).  I just got the Lonely Planet country guide for Nepal.

If you were to pick one of these two destinations to go to first, which would you choose and why?  

I have started doing some research online about both and was wondering if anyone had some resources or experience to share.  Thanks in advance.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 12:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Both destinations are absolutely fantastic.  You will likely visit both eventually anyway, so it's just a matter of sequence.  So, the way I would decide:

1.  When are you going?  Go to whichever one is more advantageous climate wise.

2.  OTOH, if everything is equal, then go to Nepal -- you've got the guidebook for it already.  :cool:


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 8:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've got to believe one is speaking to you more loudly than the other... least that's how it usually works with me.

I've not been to Patagonia, but I absolutely loved Nepal and would go back in a heartbeat.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been to Patagonia.  Four years ago my brother and I did the Circuit in Torres del Paine as well as Fitz Roy just after New Years.  It is a beautiful area, and a great adventure.  We stayed at a hostel in el chalten (I think) and had them organize bus travel to the various start and end points.

I'll see if I can find some pictures when I get home.  We spent two and half weeks down there and I wish we would have spent more time.  It is a long way to go for that short of a trip.

All things considered, I liked the John Muir Trail in California better than Torres del Paine.  

I haven't been to Nepal but it is on my list, as is going back to Patagonia to get a little farther south, to see penguins, and to do a little fly fishing.  

From my research, Nepal is more assisted trekking while you are on your own more in Patagonia.  At least in Torres del Paine, the W-route includes a lot of backcountry stores/inns and can at times seem like a little party.  It's fun but not as wildernessy as I expected.  The backside of the circuit is wild though, and empty.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BradMT @ Jan. 24 2013, 5:27 am)
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I've got to believe one is speaking to you more loudly than the other...

That's why he bought the Nepal guidebook (even if subconsciously).   :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the input Ben and Brad!  

I am not really sure it matters when I go, at the earliest it would be towards the end of 2013, at this point I am trying to set a goal to save towards.  As far as Nepal goes, I understand it is best to avoid the monsoon season.  Our winter is summer in Patagonia, so timing-wise that may work out well for me.

Culturally speaking, I am favoring Nepal - it is really different than anything I have experienced thus far.  I also understand that cost-wise it is really reasonable once you are there.  I had initially been favoring Patagonia, but recently learned that someone I became acquainted with who just went there spent $5,000 which seems like a lot to me.  

Both trips are pretty far out of my 'comfort zone' of travel experiences, I think it would be equally rewarding as far as expanding my horizons in either case.  

If anyone knows of a good Patagonia travel guide, please let me know.  

Another question - should I consider an organized type trip?  I am thinking it would be more expensive, and I would be around other Americans all the time which will likely dilute my ability to have meaningful interactions with locals.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 3:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

TM:

Caveat:  I've NOT been to either Nepal or Patagonia.

Read up beforehand (stating the obvious).  But any place where pre-arrangements aren't required outright -- know that it is often (if not always) significantly more expensive to sign up from home -- versus signing up locally.

So again, unless the arrangements are such that you need to sign up before you show up (which I highly doubt but don't know for sure) -- methinks it is just better to plan an overall itinerary -- get there yourself --do everything yourself -- except for any actual mountaineering that you need guides/sherpas for.  And those, by signing up locally, you can get a much better feel by talking with fellow travellers -- so you end up with better and cheaper options.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 3:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(botanist @ Jan. 24 2013, 10:56 am)
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I've been to Patagonia.  Four years ago my brother and I did the Circuit in Torres del Paine as well as Fitz Roy just after New Years.  It is a beautiful area, and a great adventure.  We stayed at a hostel in el chalten (I think) and had them organize bus travel to the various start and end points.

I'll see if I can find some pictures when I get home.  We spent two and half weeks down there and I wish we would have spent more time.  It is a long way to go for that short of a trip.

All things considered, I liked the John Muir Trail in California better than Torres del Paine.  

I haven't been to Nepal but it is on my list, as is going back to Patagonia to get a little farther south, to see penguins, and to do a little fly fishing.  

From my research, Nepal is more assisted trekking while you are on your own more in Patagonia.  At least in Torres del Paine, the W-route includes a lot of backcountry stores/inns and can at times seem like a little party.  It's fun but not as wildernessy as I expected.  The backside of the circuit is wild though, and empty.

Thanks for the input botanist!  I think part of the allure of Patagonia (to me) is the scenery.  I like outdoors photography, and seeing some of those iconic places is really calling to me.  

I don't think I would mind the refugio environment, provided I am meeting people other than more Americans.  As I get a bit older, I find I enjoy the idea of sharing things (experiences, adventures, places) with others, if I want solitude, I can go someplace in Alaska to be a hermit where I know I will see no one...LOL

What did you think as far as cost went? In the reply I just posted, someone from another hiking site mentioned she spent $5,000 for about 2 weeks or so, which seems like a lot. They did the w-route, stayed at refugios and tented too.  She did go see penguins, etc. which is on my list as well.

I was hoping to spend about 3 weeks which would make for a decent quality trip?  I would love to see some of your photos, and of course any info you can offer would be great too!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Been to Patagonia with a group.  While it's nice to have someone who knows the area, you're locked in with the group.  I plan to go again, either by myself or with just one friend, but not with a group.

It's huge.  Basically, it's the bottom half of south america.  You can spend a lot of time just traveling from place to place, so take that into account.  Going for 3 weeks and spending 1 week of that in buses, cars, etc., can make it less cost effective and less fun.

I'd suggest either picking one or two areas you definitely want to see and concentrating on them, or picking a type of terrain or wildlife you want to see (lenga forest, mountains, glaciers, guanacos...) and basing your trip on that.

Guanacos are mostly on the Chilean side.

Chile is very strict when you enter, so if you enter from Argentina make darn sure you don't have any plants, etc., from Argentina.  They actually xrayed our bags.  It was like airport security.

Be prepared for sustained winds of 40mph and gusts up to 60.  Or more.  The week before I arrived some areas had winds up to 100mph.  Be sure you can hold your tent down with stakes, guy lines, etc.  An Irishman peed on me from 20 or 30 yards away due to high wind.  And he hit me waist high.  They plant some sort of tree imported from europe around the estancias to shield the wind.  And yet they often end up looking like the tree on this wikipedia page.  'nuff said 'bout the wind.

Of the books I read, I found this one the most useful for geography and culture.  Chatwin's book is the classic, but it's only semi-factual, so I didn't bother reading it.

You can get maps of some of the parks before you leave, with the trails marked.  Example.  But the trails are generally well worn and marked.  My avatar is currently a B&W of Los Cuernos on a windy, rainy day.

On some hikes you may find yourself sweating and stripping down and then bundling up with everything you've got - multiple times (on, off, on, off... sheesh!).  So be prepared for rapid weather change.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 11:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks rueben - I appreciate the info and the reply. I will definitely check that book out!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 7:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 24 2013, 3:22 pm)
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Thanks for the input botanist!  I think part of the allure of Patagonia (to me) is the scenery.  I like outdoors photography, and seeing some of those iconic places is really calling to me.  

I don't think I would mind the refugio environment, provided I am meeting people other than more Americans.  As I get a bit older, I find I enjoy the idea of sharing things (experiences, adventures, places) with others, if I want solitude, I can go someplace in Alaska to be a hermit where I know I will see no one...LOL

What did you think as far as cost went? In the reply I just posted, someone from another hiking site mentioned she spent $5,000 for about 2 weeks or so, which seems like a lot. They did the w-route, stayed at refugios and tented too.  She did go see penguins, etc. which is on my list as well.

I was hoping to spend about 3 weeks which would make for a decent quality trip?  I would love to see some of your photos, and of course any info you can offer would be great too!

Ignoring flights, because you will have that in either location and it varies so much, I spent much less than $5000 to do it independently.  We stayed at the America del Sur hostel in el calafate for something like $30 a night.  I think the "tours" - really just bus rides to the trailheads - were a couple hundred.  We also visited perito moreno glacier on a day trip, which was cool.  We brought all of our own gear and most of our backpacking food, found camping fuel (denatured alcohol) in el calafate, and stored one bag of "city clothes" at the hostel during hikes.   I don't remember if there was a cost for a permit to do the hike but if so it was minimal.  I'd say with buying food in the refugio and hostels, souvenirs, and beer, we spent around $1000 (maybe?).

I've stayed at hostels many times and this place in calafate was one of the best.  Having come from a terrible hostel in Buenos Aires, it was a nice surprise.  I was 31 at the time and did not feel too old.   some of the best bbq I've had too.

I agree with the previous poster about the winds.  My REI quarterdome was not strong enough and the zippers on the doors ripped open from the wind.  The campsites are sheltered but even with trees or being in a depression, the wind can whip through there.

We did not see penguins and I do not know how much additional that would cost.  The distances are large there and it didn't seem like we were anywhere close to the ocean.  Guanacos were cool but I really loved the flamingos.  I went from thinking that they are florida retiree lawn ornaments to some of the toughest birds I've ever seen.  Just some amazing landscapes.  

Three weeks is a decent trip but don't try to do too much.  The travel between destinations is long and at times inconvenient.  

All in all it is well worth the effort.  Everything just seems off there, slightly different.  And don't be afraid to do it on your own.  We didn't even have a smidgen of Spanish and made it happen.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 7:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Also - I agree with Reubenstump about customs going into Chile from the argeninian side.  I had a brief moment of panic that they were going to confiscate all of our food, leaving us in a bad way, but they didn't blink an eye.

Okay let's see if I can get these pictures to work out:









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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 10:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You might be interested in this:

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 2:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

tRoLLin_mOtOr - if he doesn't reply here send Carl (Walkinman) a PM.  He's been there as well.  I think he might have guided some tours, but I'm not sure.  He knows about rafting/kayaking the rivers, which I didn't get to do when I was there.  Considering that they're going to dam the rivers you should try to fit it in if you can.

As mentioned above Perito Moreno glacier is cool and you can hike on it (with guides).  They have a short and long hike.  I think 2 and 6 hours.  Just beautiful.

There's a new park.  Not sure if they're open yet, but I have some connections there.  Check out Conservacion Patagonica.  The history goes back to when Chouinard, Tompkins, Robbins, et al went down there to climb El Chalten (Monte Fitzroy) in the '60s.  There are a couple of good DVDs on their trip.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 5:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife did both, she said patagonia was amazing, she returned with really neat pics. But Nepal was a life changing experience, her words.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2013, 11:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks again everyone!  

I haven't picked between the two trips yet and likely won't for a while...first things first, what I need is money to make it happen!  The other challenge is to save up and adequate bank of vacation time up rather than squandering it on long weekends, etc.

Thanks for the photos botanist!  Is the second photo with all the tents what one should expect at the refugios or popular camping areas?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2013, 12:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here are some quick ones from Patagonia.

20-30 second shutter speed on a windy day




Los Cuernos on a cool, wet, windy day




Lupine




Cerro Torre




Guanaco




Perito Moreno Glacier from a side trail




The sensual glacier




At the Towers

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 11:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The second picture is at the most crowded refugio on the W.  People can take a boat to this place and there is a restaurant, showers, and maybe even indoor lodging.  Not all of the refugios are so big or so crowded, especially on the backside of the circuit, but you won't be alone at the campsites.

We got there after a week or so in the backcountry and had a really good time.  What are those chilean drinks made with raw egg?  I had a few of those.  

Reubenstump - great photos, I wish I was as good a photographer as you.  And I wish I had good weather at the towers.  I hiked up on my last day, beautiful day, until thirty minutes to the towers when a blinding snow storm blew in.  I could barely see my hand in front of me and clambering over the rocks on the way back down was a nightmare.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 3:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks again guys...and ditto the appreciation for your photos Reuben, I hope I can do as well!

It turns out my old roommate from here in Seattle has been to Patagonia and when I mentioned an interest in going, he was up for another trip!  He also has family in Chile and speaks Spanish...WIN!!


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(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 28 2013, 12:11 pm)
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Thanks again guys...and ditto the appreciation for your photos Reuben, I hope I can do as well!

It turns out my old roommate from here in Seattle has been to Patagonia and when I mentioned an interest in going, he was up for another trip!  He also has family in Chile and speaks Spanish...WIN!!

Much better than signing up for packaged tour!  Congrats.  :)

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(tRoLLin_mOtOr @ Jan. 28 2013, 11:11 am)
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Thanks again guys...and ditto the appreciation for your photos Reuben, I hope I can do as well!

It turns out my old roommate from here in Seattle has been to Patagonia and when I mentioned an interest in going, he was up for another trip!  He also has family in Chile and speaks Spanish...WIN!!

Score! Definitely the way to go, and particularly so if you don't habla no espanyolae. Sweet.

As reubenstump said, I spent a summer down in Chile, on the Futa; if you're a boater at all, or just looking for some good whitewater, don't miss the opportunity to float the Futaleufu. Along with the Zambezi and the White Nile (both in Africa), the Fu is probably the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world. Unbelievable time. You can do either multi-days or a day trip there. Most trips run Bridge To Bridge (Puente a Puente) ... amazing place. It's on the way if yo travel by road from Santiago to Southern patagonia.

Central Patagonia is a much less visited place than Torres and Fitzroy in the south; but amazing landscapes and rivers.

The Fu, the Baker and and the Pasqua are 3 big ones, and I believe the Pasqua has already been scheduled for damming, and both the Baker and the Fu are looking like they will be soon. Oh, and excellent fishing on them as well.


(Ben2World @ Jan. 23 2013, 8:28 pm)
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Both destinations are absolutely fantastic.


(Ben2World @ Jan. 24 2013, 11:21 am)
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Caveat:  I've NOT been to either Nepal or Patagonia.


Classic Ben.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 5:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

botanist - I wouldn't want to climb up or down the boulder field if I couldn't see.  And even after you've scrambled down the boulder field it's still fairly steep for a while in the woods.  It'd be easy to miss a tree root and trip.  But oh well.

And I'm always getting better at photography (hopefully).  The first image had very choppy water, so I blurred it out with the long shutter speed.  The only problem is that the clouds became smudges as well, which is one reason for the 2:1 aspect ratio - get rid of some of the ugliest clouds.  If I had any sense I would have taken a separate shot of the sky and overlaid the sky portion onto the image above.

Trollin - as mentioned, it sounds like you've got a total win, not to mention an in.  Have a great time.   :)  We expect a full trip report, with photos.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 7:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know it was crazy.  Here is a video I took at the top.  I'm not sure if it will work here, or if it is allowed.  If not, let me know and I will delete it.

Towers in the snow
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 7:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Video Unavailable
This video has either been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 7:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Could you give it another shot?  I just made it public.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 7:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Works.  :)

Trollin', note that he shot that in January.  Summer.   :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 29 2013, 4:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

LOL @ botanist's video...the narration is about impossible to follow in many parts with the wind being so loud!

Reuben, no worries about the weather...I used to work on the Alaska Peninsula where 'summer' was often wind-driven sideways rain and 40 degrees.  I can deal ;)


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It is better to travel well than to arrive
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» Quick Reply Has anyone here ever been to Nepal or Patagonia?
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