Kathmandu Zero: Pack And Weigh

November 3, 2022

We sleep in before enjoying a yummy, leisurely breakfast in Hotel Butsugen’s outdoor patio. We take a short walk through the Hyatt’s back entrance to visit their atm. I withdraw Nepalese rupees for the guide and porter tips. For a few hours, I sort my gear into my duffel bag and backpack. Caspar is hanging out on the roof until he comes down and sorts through his gear too. The alley aka road that goes right by the hotel leads directly into the Boudhanath Stupa. We follow Silke down this road to a nice restaurant she has found during her recent explorations. Dinner takes a while so we kinda have to rush to make our 7pm trip briefing at the Hyatt.

We meet Anuj with the tour company Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure. He hands out duffel bags that are already labeled with our names because the company wants us to use these instead of our own duffels. The good news is that we will be able to fly out of Kathmandu early tomorrow morning (instead of busing to Ramechhap for our flight). The bad news is that there is absolutely no wiggle room on the weight limit of 15kg. For the flight to Lukla our duffel and backpack combined can only be 15kg. Even with light gear, 15kg is a hard mark to hit. The lights at the Hyatt flicker on and off as Anuj quickly goes through his talking points. Caspar asks about safety and health checks and we learn that there are no health checks during the trip. There also will be no gear check. I guess they assume that we know what gear to bring.

Upon returning to Hotel Butsugen, it’s time to get serious about reducing the gear. My total weight is still a few pounds over. Part of the added challenge is that I want to take snacks like Snickers bars, trail mix, dried mangoes, energy/protein bars, hard butterscotch candies, electrolyte and drink mix. I open up the new duffel and it is off gassing a toxic plastic smell. Fun. If I want my snacks I have to make some serious choices. I remove my thermarest xtherm, gg 1/8″ foam pad, flip flops, large pack towel, cocoon pillow (which after 13 years has sadly sprung a leak), two 1.5L nalgene bottles and add one 1L nalgene, platypus water filter, 1 outdoor research thermal top, rain skirt, half the underwear, injinji snow socks, qiviut beanie, icebreaker bra, purple rain skirt, dirty girl gaiters, outdoor research flurry gloves, keyboard, earbuds, book, cards and about half of the snacks. Caspar is ditching gear too and adds some of the snacks to his bag. Also part of the strategy is to wear the heaviest clothes on your body for the flight. Midnight is quickly approaching as our total gear finally weighs in at 15kg each. I stay up to work on some emails and reducing the power usage of my watch. It’s just before 2am when I lay my head down for the night.

Monks chanting and playing music at the Boudhanath Stupa. photo cred: Silke Raffel