Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The First Ascent of Korlang Pari Tippa North, Nepal

The First Ascent of Korlang Pari Tippa North - Nepal

On the 11th November, a small team led by Brian Jackson headed to Nepal to attempt a previously unclimbed mountain. This would be Expedition Wise’s 5th Unclimbed Peak Expedition and Brian’s 6th first ascent in Nepal.

After a very bumpy 12 hrs on a bus from Kathmandu the Team arrived in Lambagar, a Sherpa village in the North - South Rolwalling Valley, one of the 7 hidden valleys of Nepal and home of the Yeti.

From Lambagar, they trekked with their support crew that consisted of 9 porters, 2 climbing Sherpas (Mingma Dorje Sherpa and Mindu Sherpa), 3 cook crew and 1 cook (Amrit Rai) from Lukla region. They also had 5 local porters for 4 days to the last village of Lapche where the Valley splits. At this point the local porters would leave them to return to Lambagar.

They spent the next day trekking into the deep gorge, following the steep sides along an old trail. Here they experienced a slight detour due to the path being changed onto the other side of the river! Arriving at Thasing Kharka in the mid afternoon they enjoyed a wonderfully cooked dinner before heading to sleep in their tents.

Over the next few days the route led them out of the gorge and past the settlement of Thanchhemu. Here the valley opened up as they reached the two river valleys descending from the Tibetan plateau. It was then that they received their first view of the large snow-peaked mountains.

They spend half a day resting in Lapche (3,800m) the root of Buddhism and the place that many Tibetans and Nepali make pilgrimage to, as it is one of the 24 most holy sites in Tibet and Nepal. Here they are now only a stone's throw from the Tibetan border which lies a couple of kilometres away.

On the 6th day the team reached their Base Camp having ascended to 4,800m. Here they stood in awe as they looked up at the mountain they would attempt to climb. 

For the next few days the Team rested at Base Camp, took part in a Puja ceremony and practised jumar work to prepare for the climb. They looked at the possible route options to the summit and took in the beautiful surroundings. With their feet in Nepal it was astonishing to think that Tibet lay just the other side of the mountain.

The next day was spent trekking up to their Advanced Base Camp at the high lake (5,400m), where views of the summit came into sight. Nervous and excited by the prospect of attempting the summit in the next couple of days, it was incredible to think that they had reached territory that no one had been to before.

Until then they had to rest and prepare for what looked like a tough ascent up very difficult terrain. Korlang Pari Tippa lay just before them with an East and West summit on the 500m long ridge. They looked at the East summit as it was the highest but could not see a route up the twin towers of broken shattered blocks as it is practically unclimbable. They decided to climb the lower West summit, which still had falling rock and difficult shattered rock traverses.

In the early hours of Sunday 25th November, the team awoke and headed out under a clear, moonlit sky. Summit day had arrived and with it favourable weather conditions. There was no need for head torches as the full moon illuminated the landscape as they walked to the start point of their ascent.

The going was tough as they used fixed lines to help them jumar up the steep sections that were covered with scree and loose rock. Each step felt like they were going backwards and it took a lot of concentration to ensure each foot placement didn’t disturb the crumbling rock.

They persevered, encouraging each other as they went and by 9am the whole team had reached the summit of Korlang Pari Tippa North (5,573m). They were met with the most incredible views across Nepal & Tibet, with Shishapangma, Lhotse and Everest in clear sight.

They spent a short time at the summit appreciating their surroundings before heading back down to Advanced Base Camp. After much deserved rest they trekked to Base Camp the next day. Normally they would have spent the next week trekking out the way they had come in. However, they left in style as one of the team had very generously sorted a helicopter to fly them back to Kathmandu!

A pretty remarkable end to a rather remarkable expedition!

We would like to take this chance to say a huge than you to our wonderful support crew and our amazing Sherpas. We would not be able to do these expeditions without them and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with.

This is Brian’s 6th successful ascent in Nepal having been leading Unclimbed Peak Expeditions for the last 5 years. Although this will be the last expedition in Nepal for a while, we may have some exciting news regarding future Unclimbed Peak Expeditions…on a different continent! 

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

5 years of Unclimbed Peak Expeditions - The highs & lows of First Ascents

On Sunday 11th November Brian, Director of Expedition Wise Ltd, flew to Nepal with a team to attempt a previously unclimbed mountain in the Rolwaling Valley. This will be Expedition Wise’s 6th Unclimbed Peak attempt since we started running them 6 years ago. Quite an achievement!

It all began in 2013 and as a way of celebrating the past 5 years of Unclimbed Peak Expeditions we thought it would be a great time to reflect on each one of these expeditions and what was involved.

2013: Chhubohe (5,640m) & Kaloche

Since Brian (Director of Expedition Wise Ltd) was 8 years of age he had always dreamt about being the first person to climb a mountain. It was a dream that lay dormant for a long time as he never thought it would be possible. Surely it’s only famous Adventurers and Explorers that have the opportunities for these types of endeavours? Surely all the mountains have already been climbed, especially in the Himalaya?

As the years passed by, he was extremely fortunate to travel the world leading charity challenges and expeditions. In doing so he helped many people achieve their dreams of climbing Kilimanjaro or trekking in some of the most breath-taking places on the planet. But for Brian, that one dream of doing a first ascent still niggled away.

In 2012 he made the decision to take the first step in achieving his dream. By 2013, along with some friends he successfully reached the summit of both Chhubohe and Kaloche in Nepal, in doing so they became the first people to stand on their summits.

Dream achieved, he returned to the UK where another dream began to form. Through conversations with others it soon came apparent that, not only did others share his dream of climbing unclimbed mountains, but he could help others achieve it. The wheels set in motion as he began researching other unclimbed mountains, possible places and feasible routes. Fast forward to the current day and Brian was helped many people achieve the unclimbed mountain dream.

Here we take a look at each one of them:

2014: Nar Phu Peak (5,930m)

In 2014 Brian led a team of 6 to attempt to complete a first ascent of Nar Phu Peak in the Nar Phu Valley, Nepal. This was certainly a roller-coaster of an expedition as there were many times when their summit dream was not looking possible. 

The approach started on the Annapurna Circuit and over the coming days they were accompanied by the most incredible views of the Annapurna massif itself. After a few days trekking they were about to head off the circuit towards the Nar Phu Valley where they were to climb to the high pass before making their way to Base Camp. 

Their plan hit a stand point as they heard that this route was impassable due to 6ft snowdrifts. A couple of weeks prior to their expedition the area had been hit by a terrible snow storm, unusual for the time of year and unexpected. Suddenly the summit dream seemed to fade. However, after much time spent poring over the maps a new route to basecamp was found. 

They continued on the circuit before leaving the beaten track up to a newly created intermediate camp before a huge day of ascent up to Kang La Pass (5320m). From here the walk to base camp was incredibly hard due to deep snow but they got there and what a stunning place it was.  

After a day of rest, the Sherpas headed toward the mountain to see if they could spy a route past a huge hanging glacier. Watching them through binoculars, the team’s hearts dropped as they watched them stop in front of the glacier and begin to walk back. It looked like they were unable to find a route. It became apparent to the team that they wouldn’t even be able to get anywhere near the mountain, never mind the summit.

They waited for the Sherpas to return with the bad news but spirits soared as they were told a clear route has easily been spotted and should pose no problem. The first ascent of Nar Phu Peak was underway!

Summit day brought with it incredibly cold temperatures of -23 as they set out in the early hours to start their climb. It was an incredibly long day, with tough conditions. 

The wind began to pick up dropping the temperatures to -45 as they ascended, not to mention the affects of altitude. Still, the team continued with steep gradients, false summits and crevasses. It was only when they could just about see the top of the summit that once again the attempt was stopped in its tracks. A snow bridge with a huge drop either side was all that stood between them and the last 100 metres to the summit. 

Would it be passable? After much deliberation, reading of conditions, structure etc. it was decided that it looked safe enough to cross. Fortunately it was and within the hour the whole team had reached the summit of Nar Phu Peak (5930m)! They looked across the stunning mountain that covered the landscape of Nepal and in to Tibet. A safe ascent and an incredible helicopter flight back to Pokhara before flying back to Kathmandu was the cherry on the cake for this successful unclimbed peak expedition.

2015:Expedition Postponed

Brian was due to lead a team on another Unclimbed Peak Expedition in November of 2015 but sadly this was not to be. In April 25th  an earthquake that was measured at 8.1 on the Richter Scale struck Nepal, causing absolute devastation. The quake caused landslides and avalanches on the mountains, including Everest. 

Many people lost their lives and communities suffered loss and destruction to their homes and land. It was heart-breaking to hear. In September 2015 it was decided that the best thing to do would be to postpone the Unclimbed Peak Expedition and instead focus on ways to help the people of Nepal recover from the terrible event. Brian started fundraising for ShelterBox who deliver aid to those who need it in times of disaster and whom were pivotal in working with the Nepalese communities who had been hit the hardest.

2016: Omi Tso Go (6,332m)

Whilst researching unclimbed peaks for the past expeditions one name kept popping up. It was a mountain called ‘Omi Tso Go’ in the Rolwaling Himal. At 6,332m and previously unclimbed, it looked like the perfect challenge. In April Brian and his climbing partner returned to Nepal to attempt a first ascent. Arriving in Kathmandu they saw the destruction that was left by the earthquake but also saw the resilience of the Nepalese people as they rebuilt their lives. 

Walking through the mountain villages the destruction was even more apparent as they past evidence of landslide, ruins where homes once stood and people still living in tents. However, further evidence of their resilience shone through as they were greeted with warm hospitality and saw how they were rebuilding their communities bit by bit. 

Unfortunately, a successful summit was not meant to be on this occasion as weather and conditions prevented them from reaching the summit of Omi Tso Go. Although disappointed, the great news was that Brian had managed to raise a fantastic amount for ShelterBox to give back to the Nepalese community.

2016: Karbu Ri (6,010m)

Following the expedition in April, Brian headed back to Nepal the following November to lead a team of 13 on their Unclimbed Peak Expedition. The objective this time was a mountain called Karbu Ri. It was a great group with a real mix of mountain experience, but they got on famously. This is extremely important when you are on these types of expeditions. You might never know when you need gentle words of encouragement and support, or a really good laugh! 

After many days trekking through the valleys and up into the mountains some people began to struggle with illness. Snuffles experienced at home can be exacerbated with altitude and unfortunately some of the group’s conditions worsened to the point that they had to retreat to Kathmandu to recuperate. 

There was a slight moment of panic when a helicopter was spotted flying through the valley and landing nearby. The initial thought was that it was a rescue helicopter, a sombre moment for the team. However, communications through the radio suggested that this was not the case, it was collecting a team who had been climbing on the mountain range nearby. In fact, they had been collected from the team’s Base Camp!

Rumours started spreading like wildfire. They must have climbed Karbu Ri! Had the team been pipped to the post! Following communications proved that this wasn’t the case and they had just used the base camp as a pick-up point having climbed another mountain nearby! There was a shared sigh of relief amongst the team before they continued the approach to the aforementioned base camp. 

For the next few days they trekked over rocky moraine until they reached Base Camp, surrounded by mountains that stood like giants. Here they received their first sighting of Karbu Ri. The snowy peak itself stood around the 6000m but they would not know the accurate measurement until they recorded the altitude at the summit. 

By torch light they set off from base camp in the early hours of the morning. It was a long ascent over some tricky snow conditions, but they put 100% into it and were awarded when they reached the last section snow slope to the summit. 

One by one they arrived at the summit and were met by the most spectacular views across the Himalaya. They could see Everest, Cho Oyo, and Shishapangma to name a few. The team were soon stood together on the summit of Karbu Ri as they checked the altimeter showing a height at 6,010m! 

Although of the 13 only 10 were able to summit, it did not take away from what an absolute team effort the whole expedition was. Many of the participants where raising money for some fantastic charities showing that it’s not just about getting to the summit.

2017: Korlang Pari Tippa South (5,738m)

This year’s Unclimbed Peak Expedition was a mountain in the Rolwaling Himal called Korlang Pari Tippa South (5,738m). This mountain, sat on the border of Tibet, was a bit different to the snowy peaks of previous expeditions, as it had more of a rocky profile. This was always going to be a slightly more technical climb in terms of the rock, but the team were going to give it a go nonetheless.

From the outset the trekking was tough as they left the beaten track and on to a non-existent path. Machetes were used to cut through the overgrown vegetation on this path that was once used to get to the Tibetan villages found on the other side of the valley. It was clear from the start that no one had used this path for years. 

Trekking up a very steep gorge was challenging for the team but when they got higher into the mountains the views were phenomenal. Making their way to the high plateau, the effects of the altitude were stating to take effect. The trekking literally took their breath away but they continued on slowly, allowing time for the body to adapt to the thin air. 

Once at base camp they had a couple of days to rest, prepare kit and take in the spectacular surroundings in the wilderness. Once Advanced Base Camp was in situ they had a good view of the mountain they were to attempt to climb. It was incredible rocky with tall rock towers and long scree slopes. They knew this was going to be a difficult climb.

In the morning they woke to their advanced base camp to the surprise of it being surrounded by snow! Not unusual for the location or time of year but the first snow they had seen on the mountain since they arrived. 

Summit day soon arrived, and they set out to attempt Korlang Pari Tippa South. The team, with its wonderful Sherpas, climbed the scree covered slopes before heading onto hard rock. This was a long and technical climb but the team encouraged each other and worked together. After lots of focus and determination they finally reached the summit! 

After a safe descent and much deserved rest the team began the long walk out, accompanied by the view of the mountain they had summited days earlier.

2018: Unclimbed Peak Expedition

We currently have a team out in Nepal who will be attempting to reach the summit of their unclimbed mountain on Sunday 25th November. We will be following their progress and hope to hear the once they have safely descended back to base camp.

As is the nature with these types of expedition, you never know what will happen. Weather, tricky condition and illness can prevent a successful summit. For now, we wish them the best of luck and safe ascent.

One thing these expeditions have taught us over the years is that although it’s an incredible achievement to climb a previously unclimbed mountain, it’s more about the people and the journey.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Machu Picchu Trek 2019

We are very excited to announce that we will be running a Machu Picchu Trek in 2019!

Translated from Quechuan, the original language of the Incas, 'Machu Picchu' means 'Old Mountain, and old it is! This ancient city was built around the mid 1400s by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the 9th Inca Ruler. With its spectacular location and remarkable architecture it's easy to see why it is considered one of the wonders of the world.

Following the Spanish invasion during the 16th Century the settlement became a closely guarded secret for hundreds of years. In 1911 an American Archaeologist called Hiram Bingham, in search of the 'Lost Cities of the Incas' rediscovered the ancient site that we know as Machu Picchu today. After this word soon spread and the site has attracted thousands upon thousands of people ever since.

In July 2019 we will be heading to Peru to lead the trek to Macchu Picchu. Though we will be doing it a bit different from the norm! Rather than the busy, classic Inca Trail we will be taking the Lares Valley Trail (the original Inca Trail) which is much quieter. The landscape here is stunning as you pass beautiful lakes, waterfalls and trek over big passes with views of snow-capped peaks.

We will meet up with the Inca Trail as we head passed the Vilcanota River, up through the Cloud Forest and on to Machu Picchu through the Sun gate. Here you will have a whole afternoon to marvel at the views and explore this one of the 7 Wonders of the World. We will also return early the next morning to watch the sunrise over this amazing place. You will have a guided tour of the magnificent archaeological site to see the extraordinary Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Three Windows, Intihuatana the solar clock and more.

Prior to trekking we will arrive in Cusco where we will acclimatise and see the local sites. There will also be a trip to the Qoricancha Sun Temple, which was the most important temple to the Incas, and time to explore the San Pedro market. The next day includes a full day excursion to the "Sacred Valley of the Incas", visiting the Sun Temple, colourful artisan markets and the town of Ollantaytambo to see ruins of what was once a massive Inca Fortress.

This really is an incredible trip that allows you to fully experience what the area has to offer and immerse yourself in history and culture whilst trekking through a stunning location. It's no wonder that it features on many people's Bucket List!

More information, including the full itinerary, what's included and cost can be found on the website. For ease, the full itinerary can also be viewed here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Allure of the Sahara...

Ask anyone who has been to Marrakech and they will tell you about the hustle and bustle of the city, the fantastic amalgamation of sights, sounds and smells. The vibrant colours and lively atmosphere as you pass through the souks, perusing spices, textiles and pottery. Morocco’s ‘Red City’ as it is often known due to the colour of the walls that surround the old town, is a hive of activity with a juxtaposition of old and new. It is a great city to visit but can be a bit of a sensory overload!

Life in the desert is different. There is a calm; a tranquil silence that is only disturb by the sound of scarab beetles or a camel’s call. It doesn’t take too long before you begin to feel a disconnect from the often stressful modern world and start to reconnect with the natural landscape, a landscape that has existed for millions of years. To stand on this ancient ground and watch the sun set over the dunes is high on many people’s Bucket Lists and it’s easy to understand why! These are just some of the reasons why we love going to the Sahara Desert. 

In the desert you will meet the Tuareg, Berber people who lead a traditionally nomadic lifestyle. They are very welcoming people who are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to life in the desert. Their navigational skills are incredible, using the stars at night and natural landmarks (that are often missed by the untrained eye) throughout the day to navigate through the desert. For the survivalists - they can tell you what you can and can't eat in the desert (Tip: It’s never the plant you think you would be able to eat!) and how to find water. Their culture is fascinating and their songs and stories have been passed down from their ancestors who have lived in the world’s largest, hottest desert for a great length of time. 

 Our Sahara Trek is an ideal trip for those who are looking for a short adventure and a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Although trekking over large dunes in the heat of the desert can be challenging the views from the top are worth it. At night you will stay in a beautiful desert camp where you will enjoy amazing traditional food, Berber music and a great atmosphere whilst surrounded by the spectacular Saharan night sky. Whether you choose to take part in the challenge to raise money for a charity of your choice or to tick the Sahara Desert off your Bucket List, this will be an experience you never forget! 

For more information about our Sahara Desert Trek (3rd-8th February 2019) click here 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A 'FANNtastic' Trek in an exciting, lesser known destination...

The Fann Mountains in north western Tajikistan are becoming a popular place for trekkers who are looking for something a bit different to the usual travel destinations. This mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia shares borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan and offers high peaks and stunning lakes as part of its breathtaking vistas.

Our ‘Tajikistan Fann Mountains and Lakes Trek’ in September 2019 involves trekking over high passes, past spectacular lakes and nights under canvas with the magnificent Fann Mountains as a backdrop.

Although it is increasing in popularity as a travel destination some people may not know much about Tajikistan, so we have compiled some interesting facts about this lesser known country and what is involved in our ‘FANNtastic’ trek.

We start our journey in Dushanbe, the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means ‘Monday’ in Tajik (the official language of Tajikistan) which became the capital’s name as it grew from a small village that used to have a popular market on Mondays. Here you can visit museums, see the Palace of Nations, experience the culture and enjoy the tranquillity of Rudaki Park with its beautiful tree canopy, flower gardens, lakes and fountains. It is also home to the second highest flagpole in the world, standing at 163m, and the Rudaki Statue in honour of the nation’s most revered poet.

Tajikistan is certainly a mountainous country, with 93 percent of its surface area covered by mountains and more than half of the country is over 3000m above sea level. These mountains contain a number of glaciers, the largest being the Fedchenko Glacier in the Pamir Mountains which, covering over 700 square kilometres, is the largest glacier in the world outside the polar regions.
Our trek begins in the Fann Mountains, part of the western Pamir-Alay mountain system that is located in the northwest of the country. 

The area has become one of the largest tourist attractions in Tajikistan and it’s no surprise why. With lofty peaks, high passes and a number of alluring lakes, the views are breath-taking with many opportunities for trekking and climbing. The largest mountain in this range is Chimtarga peak standing at 5,489 m. The highest mountain in the country can be found further east in the Pamir Mountains. Standing at 7,494m (24,590ft) it was initially named Stalin Peak in 1933 (after Joseph Stalin) before being renamed in 1962 as Communism Peak. Today it is known as ‘Ismoil Somoni Peak’ to commemorate a former ruler of the Samanid dynasty.

The Fann Mountains features about 100 mountains many of which we will see as we trek over high passes before dropping back down to the valleys passing lakes of shimmering emerald green, turquoise and blue. With about 2% of the country’s area covered by lakes they feature widely in this area and throughout our trek we will experience some of the most beautiful ones, each with its own charm. After a long day travelling from Dushanbe we reach Pendjikent Margozur Lake where we will have time to relax by the lake and take in the views before sleeping under canvas in preparation to start the trek the next day.

Over the next 10 days the trek will involve a west to eastern traverse of the Fann Mountains, taking us over high passes such as Guitan Pass (2,650m), Govhona Pass (3,200m) and Alouddin Pass (3,860m). Each pass will provide magnificent views of the surrounding area including the high peaks. As we descend to the valleys below we will walk along rivers and to some of the most stunning lakes such as Kulikalon on the northern slope of Chimtarga peak, Alauddin with its clear and cool waters and Mutnoe Lake, surrounded by the highest peaks of the Fann mountains, including Chimtarga (5489m) and Energia (5120m). As we trek we will be keeping our eyes peeled for local flora and fauna such as mountains goats, marmot, eagles, wolves and foxes. If we are really lucky we may even spot the elusive snow leopard on the high peaks!

The days will be spent trekking throughout a stunning landscape, meeting friendly locals along the way and experiencing the food and culture of the people of the Fanns. Both their language and culture has been preserved ever since their ancestors lived here thousands of years ago when villages were placed near rivers.

Nights will be spent relaxing by the lakes, taking in the views and enjoying the local food before heading to our tents for a peaceful night’s sleep surrounded by nature.

As our trekking days come to an end we will be transported back to Dushanbe where we will enjoy the luxury of staying in a hotel after 11 nights camping! Here we will enjoy a celebratory meal and share stories and experiences of the trek before we head home the next day.

This is a fabulous trek to a spectacular location in a lesser known destination. If you are looking for a trek that offers something a bit different from the norm whilst being surrounded by nature and mountains with a great group of people this is ideal for you! One not to be missed, that’s for sure!

Your adventure find out more about the itinerary and to book click here.

Should you have and further questions about this trek please feel free to get in touch with our Expedition Wise Team by emailing We will be more than happy to help.