Does this look like fun?
Welcome back to another Blog covering our adventures around the world!
A lot has happened since our last trip, which we completed almost two years ago. Health issues, relocation, and family changes are just a few of the challenges we have faced over that time. Not to mention we are all a little bit older and creakier!
However, when the call went out to gauge interest in another mountain trip, it didn't take long for everyone to get excited. Jimmy's exact words were "I'm in, I'm in, I'm so freaking in!"
I get asked a lot about plans for our next trip - I'm always amazed at the people who have read about our adventures via this Blog and surrounding media coverage (thanks SteinbachOnline!), but two questions always pop up:
1) Who is going with you?
2) Where are you going?
Let's deal with those questions on today's post.
First, the easy question - the original three Flatlanders are back together for the first time since we climbed Vallecitos and Aconcagua in 2012!
Jimmy Collier and David Banman last climbed Mera Peak in Nepal in 2017, while the last time David and Adam MacDonald where on a mountain together was Mount Elbrus in Russia in 2014. Adam was scheduled to climb in Nepal with us, but he had to cancel last minute because of a visa issue.
We are all looking forward to seeing each other again - although hopefully this time we won't be stuck inside a 2 man tent in a snowstorm for 40 hours!
Our destination is Mount Khuiten, Mongolia. You can learn more about the mountain by clicking on the Mount Khuiten page at the top. What I want to talk about is why we chose this area of the world, and why, in particular, this mountain.
There aren't too many places in the world left relatively untouched by tourism - the internet has allowed us to see and learn about every corner of the world (and be direct marketed to by the tourism industry as well). Many people make their living simply by blogging about their travels - showing us the beauty and depth of the world's cultures and geographies. I believe this makes people much less apprehensive about traveling to far flung locales - if someone else can do it, why can't I?
While tourism can have a positive effect on an area or a culture, over-tourism can negatively impact the local culture and geographical environment. Whether you are standing in San Marcos Square cheek-to-jowel with 100,000 other people all swarming to take a picture with their selfie-stick, or are walking in a line with 10,000 others up the slopes of Kilimanjaro, the sideshow of these attractions takes away some of the appreciation for the beauty of the surroundings. One needs to look no further than this year on Mount Everest to see what a classic example of over-tourism looks like!
A lot of mountaineers find the beauty of the mountains in their solitude - the chance to get away from cell phones and cameras and crowds and focus on the sights, smells and sounds of your surroundings. This particular climb may not be the highest in altitude, but is definitely the most isolated, and has the potential to be one of the more culturally enriching experiences to date.
As Henry David Thoreau said,
“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain