Kanchenjung was one of those rare true escapes from the world. There were six of us. We had 21 days away, cut off from media, internet and phone connection. We walked up through the valleys and made our way slowly towards northern base camp at Pengpema, which reaches 5140m. The valleys were exceptionally beautiful and also filled with leeches. I hate leeches. It was a dance between trying not to dilly-dally while still spotting them and flicking them off before they found skin. I definitely erred towards the side of dilly-dally more than making speedy progress up the slope.
Early on we made the mistake of squeezing in what probably should have been two days of trekking into one. It was a killer day. 11 hours of walking (more accurately described as scrambling) up hill, ascending about 2000m altitude before coming back down 600m for our night spot. I was devastated to be losing so much of our hard-earned progress with the decline – Blair got to hear about it. It was harder for poor Jenny who had slipped on one of the dodgy river crossings early that morning and proceeded to march through the rest of the day (and 18 days ahead) with a fractured wrist. She took it like a champion. Love that girl….