The Lost Earth Adventures Blog

Mending Our Mountains

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 by Lost Earth Adventures

WE’RE SUPPORTING THE BMC’S CAMPAIGN TO REPAIR BRITAIN’S TRAILS

We are proud to announce that Lost Earth Adventures is one of the first private outdoor activity providers to actively support the national British Mountaineering Council (BMC)’s campaign: Mend Our Mountains; Make One Million. In 2019, for every person that signs up to one of our UK hikes, such as summiting Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis or taking on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge or National 3 Peaks Challenge, £1 will be donated towards the campaign.

The partnership was agreed in March in an effort to help the BMC raise the £1 million needed to repair paths in the UK’s 15 National Parks. Last year, Lost Earth Adventures took over one thousand people on guided hikes in the UK, and so far, there has been a 30% increase in bookings for 2019.

Our Co-Founder, Richard Goodey, said of the partnership, “The surge of interest in outdoor activity is fantastic and we are busier than ever, but we need to be aware of the impact that leading large groups has on the environment. We all have a responsibility to protect the hills to make these activities sustainable into the future.

We have seen the incredible impact the campaign has had on erosion control for parts of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, which is one of our most popular hikes. This is our way of being able to give back and protect the environment we work and play in.”

Mend Our Mountains was launched by the BMC as a call to action to everyone who values the hills, mountains and landscapes or Britain, aiming to repair to damage and erosion caused by multiple use. Mountain path repair is painstaking and expensive work that can cost up to £200 per metre. It costs half a million pounds a year to keep on top of damage to paths in the Lake District alone. Those who wish to find out more about the campaign can visit https://mendmountains.thebmc.co.uk/

As well as raising direct funds for important landscapes, Mend Our Mountains also seeks to raise wider awareness of the pressures these landscapes face, promote the physical, mental and social benefits they deliver and work towards long-term solutions for their care and upkeep. Read more on the Mend Our Mountains website.

If you’re joining us on a UK hike this year or just wanting to help please do consider contributing towards the campaign.





Packing Kit Advice for Treks to Nepal

Posted on: April 7th, 2019 by Lost Earth Adventures

What to Pack for a Tea House Trek to Nepal

Company Co-Founder, Richard Goodey first visited Nepal as a young backpacker trekking to Everest Base Camp. He packed everything he possibly could, only leaving the kitchen sink behind! He’s been leading treks to Nepal for the past ten years and over time he’s learned a thing or two about packing for a trek into the mountains! Richard shares his wisdom below.

Many people have concerns about ‘fitting it all in’ while packing and I thought it would be useful to put this blog and video together so you can see it first-hand.

We provide all clients trekking with Lost Earth Adventures with a water-resistant holdall and ask that you keep to a maximum weight allowance of 10kg. These guidelines are recommended by the International Porter Protection Group, an organisation we are very happy to support. Most importantly it means that our porters are treated fairly and are not overloaded.

Top Tips for Packing

  • Pack what you think you need, then halve it!
  • Do a test run, packing your bags a week before you leave to see how everything fits
  • Dry bags and stuff sacks are your friend! These are invaluable for keeping your kit organised, easy to identify and packed efficiently.
  • Break your hiking boots in before you leave and try clothing on that you’ll be wearing before you fly!
  • Pack your essential items into your carry-on. Although rare, airlines do sometimes lose luggage, which can put a severe damper to the start of your holiday.

Our Suggested Kit List for Treks to Nepal

Trekking duffle bag

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

If you have any queries about this list please contact us. We recommend that you arrive in Kathmandu ready to go so you do not have to spend quality holiday time running around the shops.

  • Lost Earth Adventures issues you with a large duffel bag please bring this, it is for perfect for your porter to carry and identify.
  • Waterproof liner (large plastic bag/heavy duty bin liner)
  • Good, sturdy waterproof hiking boots that are broken in before the trip
  • 1 small rucksack approximately 30 litres, suitable for you to carry whilst hiking with waterproof/plastic bag liner
  • A few plastic bags to put clothes and dirty laundry in
  • 4-season sleeping bag (available to rent from Lost Earth Adventures)
  • Water bottles, a 1 x 1 litre and a 1 x water filter bottle. You can buy a perfect bottle and filter combo from Water to Go and use our exclusive code for a 10% discount. Enter LEA10 at checkout. We recommend a standard 1 litre water bottle and a 75cl Water to Go bottle with filter as the perfect setup.

  • Small freezer bags for use as a daily personal rubbish collection
  • Torch, head torches are best
  • Camera/film/memory card
  • Spare batteries for camera/torch and any other device
  • Alarm clock, watch
  • Small padlock, many of the rooms we stay in while trekking are places where you can put your own padlock on the door. Bring a fairly decent, small but sturdy padlock.
  • Whistle (Pea less)
  • Yak Trax or similar for assistance on walking on icy ground for Manaslu Circuit, Makalu Base Camp, Nar Phu or Annapurna Circuit treks.
  • Documents (where relevant, please leave a copy at home with your next of kin)

  • Passport with at least 6 months remaining from the date of return and at least 2 blank pages
  • 2 passport sized photos of yourself
  • Airplane tickets
  • Appropriate travel insurance documents, covering you for all the activities we will be participating in and emergency assistance telephone numbers of the insurer. Here is a selected list of reputable insurance providers.
  • Vaccination certificates (not needed as a condition of entry however very useful if medical attention needed in country, originals not necessary)
  • Lost Earth Adventures emergency assistance numbers. You will be given a small list of telephone numbers and contact details for emergencies (if you get lost from the group etc). You must carry this on you at all times.
  • Spending money – see trip dossier for amounts

  • Bring Pounds Sterling, debit card, credit card. We recommend using a combination of the aforementioned. Pounds sterling is easy to exchange in Nepal. Travellers cheques are not accepted. You will need US dollars or Pounds to pay for your visa if you choose to buy it on arrival, they will not accept their own currency as it fluctuates too much. You can buy Nepalese Rupees at the airport, as well as in larger cities. It will be a better rate than what you will be offered in the UK. There are ATMS in Kathmandu, however there isn’t any outside the city and they sometimes do not work. Be very vigilant with counting your money and use a calculator to double check the exchange. Please check the trip dossier for the amount of money you need to bring. There will be no ATM’s or places to change money whilst on the trip. It is therefore important to have enough money in Nepalese Rupees to sustain yourself for the entire trip.
  • Clothes

  • Hiking Socks, 5 pairs
  • Underwear
  • Thermal underwear (long johns) top and bottoms
  • Base layer shirts
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Long sleeved shirt to keep sun off arms
  • Pullover or preferably mid-weight thermal to wear between thermal underwear and fleece
  • Waterproof Jacket and trousers
  • Fleece
  • Warm down jacket (available to hire from Lost Earth Adventures)
  • Warm hat or balaclava that can be rolled up into a hat
  • Gloves (water resistant)
  • Hiking trousers (we recommend trousers that can be zipped off at the knee and turned into shorts. If not bring shorts as well).
  • Comfortable clothes for the evening
  • Swimming shorts/bathing suit. Bikinis are ok in some areas but a pair of shorts and a T-shirt should be worn over the top in some places.
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat /peaked hats for keeping the sun off
  • Leisure wear
  • Toiletries

    Kept in a small ziplock bag:

  • Travel toothbrush and tiny tube of toothpaste
  • Biodegradable shampoo (available from good camping shops) to avoid polluting the mountains
  • Compact travel towel
  • Feminine hygiene products, for the duration of the trip
  • Toilet paper, just one small roll, you can buy this in the lodges on the route but they can run out!!!
  • Sun block (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • First Aid

    You should always carry your own small, personal first aid kit. This should consist of the following:

  • Throat lozenges
  • Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Soothing bottom cream/anti chaffing cream
  • Blister treatment
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Plasters (band-aids)
  • Wound closure strips
  • Gauze pads
  • Crepe bandage
  • Tweezers & scissors (not in hand luggage on flight)
  • Rehydration salts
  • Diarrhea treatment e.g. Imodium
  • Ciprofloxacin – Antibiotic for Gastro infections (Please see a doctor for advice)
  • Diamox for altitude sickness (Please see a doctor for advice)
  • Insect repellent (DEET)
  • Any medication that you require
  • Antihistamines
  • Please see your doctor before we leave for advice on any medicines you should bring. It is also highly recommended that you see your dentist for a check-up before the trip, as we travel to remote and primitive areas where medical attention may sometimes not be available immediately.

    Other things you may wish to consider

  • Dental first aid kit
  • An adaptor for any electric device you may wish to bring, Ipod, phone etc.
  • Ear plugs
  • Trekking poles
  • Diary / Novel
  • Knee support
  • A sense of humour!
  • Please bring any equipment, clothes, sunglasses, shoes or anything else a less fortunate person would like for our help a porter scheme.

Trail runner, running through the mountainsThe lighter your bag, the more sprightly you’ll be!

Leisurewear: limit yourself to one pair of jeans, sweatshirt and a few shirts or ‘T’ shirts. Remember you are on an adventure holiday and we are limited to space on the vehicles we use.

Pack important things such as medicine in your hand luggage and make sure you have an adequate supply. Keep extra cash, passports and house keys in your hand luggage. Sharp objects must be put in your hold luggage. Please remember that there are strict regulations governing the transport of liquids in hand luggage. Don’t pack valuables, cash, and fragile or perishable items in your hold luggage. Airlines and insurance companies will not accept liability for them.

When leaving the UK, we recommend that you wear your trekking boots and trekking clothes, and take as much as possible in your hand luggage, especially a full day’s underwear and other clothing. This is to ensure that in the unlikely event that your bags do not arrive at your final destination, you are still able to make a start on the trip while we relocate any missing baggage.

When packing, please do not strap items such as sleeping bags or boots to the outside of your bags. There is a good chance that they will be ripped off while in transit. They also make handling the bags more difficult when loading onto vehicles. It is much better to bring a larger bag that is big enough for all your kit rather than a smaller one onto which you have to strap extra equipment.

We always use porters when trekking in Nepal as it provides jobs that are highly appreciated and we train our porters in English with the opportunity available for them to climb the ranks and become guides. We give our guys a lot of training, insure them for emergencies and pay them well. We also and ensure they are well equipped for the expeditions they are working.

A Winter Ascent of Jebel Toubkal

Posted on: March 8th, 2019 by Lost Earth Adventures

Climbing North Africa’s Highest Mountain

Climber on top of Mount ToubkalCompany Founders, Richard and Sarah Goodey worked off their Christmas dinners on a winter trekking ascent of Mt Toubkal in Morocco. Sarah writes about their adventure below.

A decade ago I found myself trekking through the Saharan desert on the back of a grumpy camel named Dolores. Morocco was a dream of mine. I yearned to sleep underneath an endless sky, with thousands upon thousands of stars and one moon amongst the shadows of the dunes. I got my wish, staying with a semi-nomadic Berber family, the owners of Dolores the Camel. In the mornings when the sun started to rise, warming the sands, its rays dancing in the dunes, it was I felt, heaven on earth.

The Moroccan desert

My concept of Morocco had always been just that; of desert, tagines, camels and dunes. It was certainly not of snow-capped peaks, challenging mountaineering routes, ice axes or crampons. Imagine my surprise and delight, when Richard suggested spending New Year’s Day climbing Jebel Toubkal (4167m), Morocco’s and indeed, North Africa’s highest summit in full winter conditions.

Marrakesh
Marrakesh. Many may consider this a love/hate type of city. All journeys into the High Atlas Mountains, home of Jebel Toubkal and a host of other 4000m+ high peaks start in Marrakesh.

Man on really cool bicycle in Marrakech souk

Maps are useless. You will get lost. More than once. Hawkers selling everything from henna to fortunes and succulent dates to aromatic, vibrant spices will vie for your attention. Tagine and Berber whisky (sweet Moroccan mint tea) reign supreme and in the city’s main square, Jemma el-Fnaa you’ll find over 50 stalls selling over 50 different varieties. Jemma el-Fnaa is where all the action is. Storytellers and musicians and acrobats and snake charmers and fortune tellers and locals and tourists collide into Africa’s largest square. Day or night it is a spectacle to behold. The ancient souqs branch off of the square. Tea pots, throw rugs, spices, paintings… you’ll find anything and everything you never knew you needed in here.

This city is electric and I err on the side of love.

Toubkal from a distance

Heading for the Hills!
After a day getting lost through the souqs of Marrakesh, we made our way to Imlil, a small settlement situated 1800m above sea level and the gateway to the High Atlas Mountains a 90-minute drive away. The first order of business was to arrange for a mule to assist on our trek from Imlil up to our basecamp at Les Mouflons, one of two refuges at the base of Toubkal. Simple!

Sort of. Richard and I walked down to the local guide’s office and met Abdul, explaining our requirements to him.

“No guide?” queried Abdul. “No guide, no mule, no luck. Not possible to have just a mule.”

This carried on for quite some time, but with a bit of back and forth we thought we may have come to an agreement. We left the office and Abdul escorted us across the road towards another building. A brand new, shiny black SUV stopped next to us. The driver of the vehicle, sharply dressed and with a serious face got out, gesturing for us to continue.

We walked up the short flight of stairs as both gentlemen followed close behind. At the top of the staircase I looked through the open door. The police station was tiny.

An officer came towards me requesting my passport which I dutifully handed over, he disappeared back into the shadows. I could see him diligently taking down my details onto a large ledger.

“Salaam Alaikum, I am Mohammed, what is your name?” The man from the SUV looked intently at me. I replied, “Salaam, my name is Sarah.” Mohammed’s eyes softened and a big, jovial grin appeared, he held his hand to his heart and told me it was “beautiful, yours is the namesake of the wife of Abraham, the mother of Isaac, a most honourable name in Islam. We are so pleased to see you here. Welcome to my home.”

It turns out the stop in the police station was just a formality as we were trekking solo. Over 90% of those attempting Jebel Toubkal come on guided expeditions. As an independent party, the police were merely recording our arrival to the region and jotting down our itinerary. We had also signed documents stating that we were competent mountaineers.

Mohammed as I came to learn, was the extremely friendly and well-connected friend-of-a-friend. He had simply arrived at the police station to meet with us and arrange for a mule up to to the refuge. He also gave us his telephone number and said to contact him if any issues arose. He was a good man to know! After a lot of handshaking we were on our way.

A Horse (Mule) with No Name

Mule and Muleteer

We met our muleteer, (another) Mohammed early the next morning after a chilly night’s sleep. Our mule was nameless so we christened him Morris, loaded him up and set off. The trek to the refuges is about 5-6 hours and has about 1400m of elevation gain. It’s a straightforward, thoroughly enjoyable journey, but the elevation is high enough to notice the thinning air. Staying overnight in Imlil and again at the refuge aids in acclimatisation.

The trail rises sharply out of Imlil, initially following the Mizane Valley. About half way up we stopped in the holy pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch. A white-painted auspicious rock lies here and it is a good spot to stop for a fresh squeezed orange juice before continuing on. A short while later we reached the snowline and the end of the ‘road’ for Morris the Mule. We unpacked all of our gear and between myself, Richard and Mohammed made the final jaunt to the refuge; our home for the next few days.

Wow, what a beautiful setting! The refuges sit at the top of the valley and in the winter, are surrounded by snow-capped peaks and frozen waterfalls. Toubkal is not the only 4000m+ peak in the area. Ras Ouanoukrim and Timzguida are just at the head of the valley beyond the refuges.

View from the Mouflon RefugeWe settled in for the night in the common area of the refuge in front of an open fire. Dinner was a hearty 3-course meal of soup, tagine and fresh oranges. Our initial plan had been to spend the following day doing valley walks and acclimatisation hikes before taking on our summit attempt of Toubkal later in the week, but excitement got the best of us and we opted to go for the summit, pre-dawn the next morning.

South Col or North Col?

There are multiple routes to the top of Toubkal. The most popular and least technically demanding way to the top is via the South Col, approximately 95% of summit attempts are done via this route. The other option is the North Col, a definite step up from the south col, this is more committing and you should be very competent moving on steep ground and confident using ice axe and crampons. Upon our arrival to the huts, Richard had darted off for a pre-trip recce to the North Col, but given the altitude and my longish break from winter climbing, I didn’t feel the desire to head up via the north. So, South Col it was!

An Alpine Start

Climber in the snow at night

Our alarm went off at 3:45am. It must have been about -15 degrees Celsius in our room. I burrowed my head further into the covers, but Richard leapt out of bed like a spring chicken. The singular light of his head torch shone directly at me. It was time to get up.

After a breakfast of fresh Moroccan bread, juice and jam, we set off. The start of the route is fairly straightforward, climbing up directly from the refuges, before crossing a river and heading up a steep slope. Care is needed here. The terrain is fairly easy going but a fall would be consequential.

It was almost from the start of the journey that the altitude hit me. I walked quite slowly in the sub-zero temperatures, rests were frequent but brief due to the cold. Best to keep going, slow and steady. Although the altitude is not exceptionally high, AMS can be a reality from 2500m upwards. The best solution is to stay hydrated and pay attention to your body as you ascend higher. We offer advice on altitude.

The climb was definitely a challenge. We continued on as the sun begun to rise, alpenglow shining across the mountain tops. Eventually we reached the Tizi N Toubkal Pass (3950m), providing stunning views across the entire range. We sat here for a few moments, soaking it all in. Alpine starts are brutal, but totally worth it for moments like this.

Climbers on the summit ridge of Toubkal

Climbers on the top of Toubkal

The final push to the summit traces an awesome ridgeline with minimal scrambling, skirting a precipitous drop. Care with ice axe and crampons was definitely needed here. Slowly but surely the summit’s metal tripod came into view and Richard and I reached the top. I couldn’t believe it! We had the entire mountain to ourselves without a sole in sight. Panoramic views stretched across the Atlas Mountains and even further into the Saharan desert. Incredible!

We descended the way we came, making it back to the refuge for a well-deserved tagine and hot cups of sweet mint tea.

A Winter Wonderland

Ice climber on frozen waterfall

The next few days were spent going on valley walks and ice climbing on the region’s many waterfalls and icy outcrops. Although the temperature was chilly, there was an endless supply of blue skies and sunshine.

Climbing Toubkal showcased an entirely new side of Morocco that I had never considered before. The Atlas Mountains are beautiful, challenging and nothing short of awesome. How lucky were we to kick start our 2019 on top of North Africa’s highest mountain? Simply put, I can’t wait to go back!

If you’d like to climb North Africa’s highest mountain with us, then visit our Mount Toubkal page to start planning!

Minimising Our Impact
Water To Go gave us some of their filter bottles for our Toubkal Expedition. We care deeply about the environments that we travel in and want to preserve them so that we can share the same spirit of adventure with younger generations. We know just how significantly plastic pollution is affecting our planet and so we’re trying our hardest to reduce the amount of single use plastics we use. Our Water To Go bottles not only allow us to cut down on waste but also give us access to clean and safe drinking water, no matter where we go. From now on, we’ll be using our Water to Go filter bottles on all our expeditions. If you’d like to join us in having safe, convenient drinking water as well as cutting down your impact on the environments you’re travelling in, you can get your own Water To Go filter bottle and save 10% with Lost Earth Adventures.

If you’d like to climb North Africa’s highest mountain with us, then visit our Mount Toubkal page to start planning!

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