Australia

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The “Groundwater Quality” conference this year was held in Fremantle, Australia. So for slightly over a week I was in the midst of summer next to the Indian Ocean. The nature of conferences is that you get to sit inside a conference room for vast amounts of time, however we did get to look round Perth, Fremantle and 4 contaminated sites …. a fertiliser factory, a diamond separating factory, a nutrient plume in the Garden Island Sound and an acid lake caused by lowered groundwater levels.

Ama Dablam

In November 2005 Laetitia and I made our first joint trip to Nepal to attempt to climb Ama Dablam, the “Matterhorn of the Himalayas”. Nepal is perhaps one of the most amazing places on Earth; the highest mountains on Earth, culturally inspiring, and devastatingly beautiful! 😛

We trekked from Lukla, after flying in from Kathmandu, along the Khumbu trail – a heavily used trail supporting such mainstream trekking activities as the Everest Base Camp trek. From Pangboche we headed up to our base camp below the South West face. From here we spent a week working our way up Ama Dablam via it’s South West ridge.

Ama Dablam, Camp 3
Ama Dablam, Camp 3

After our awesome time in the Himalayas we were ready for some rest and luxury; Himalayan climbing is hard work! We kicked off with the standard tourist trail around Kathmandu. Perhaps the highlight of this was our visit to the Pashupatinath, an amazing Hindu temple on the bank of the Bagmati river.

Pashupatinath, Kathmandu
Pashupatinath, Kathmandu

And after that, we spent a couple of days in another of Nepal’s amazing national parks, Chitwan. The highlight here was helping wash one of the park’s working elephants! After that we learnt a new climbing skill, “elephant bouldering”…

Elephant "Bouldering", Chitwan National Park
Elephant "Bouldering", Chitwan National Park

There are a few more pictures of our Nepalese trip here