Singapore: Bukit Timah


Bukit Timah was definitely not the main reason for visiting Singapore, but of course I could not help but climb the highest hill, a 164 meters jungle-top, when I was in Singapore anyway.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Posted in , , , , | Read More »

Doi Inthanon


This was my second visit to the romantic city of Chiang Mai. First time, back in 2005, I wasted a trip to Doi Inthanon, because the taxi driver misled me and my ex-girlfriend up the wrong mountain, namely Doi Suthep. But truth to be told, I was more into romance than my country high point collection back then.

Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Halla-san


I got a flight from Osaka to Jeju (350 USD return) aiming to hike up Halla-san (1950m), the highest mountain of South Korea, when I was in the "neighborhood" anyway after the climb of Fuji.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Japan: Mount Fuji


I decided for a side trip from Thailand to Japan in order to bag a couple of new country high points (Japan and South-Korea) at the end of the year. The winter snow had already covered the slopes of Fuji, and the mountain was officially closed. Perfect timing for being entirely alone on Mount Fuji, and a quite more adventurous climb than competing with the huge crowds of Japanese hikers during summer time.

I flew with Nippon Airlines for a relatively cheap price. At Narita Int Airport I jumped on the airport bus to Shinjuku Station in the heart of Tokyo. This station has plenty of connections to other places in Japan, like Kawaguchiko at the foot of Mount Fuji. It took no more than 3-4 hours after I landed at Narita until I found myself in the nice little village of Kawaguchiko.

When arriving in Kawaguchiko I found a nice hostel (K's House) where I checked in. Then I went to a couple of visitor centers, but both advised strongly against a climb of Mount Fuji at this time of year. The first office even told it was illegal without a special police permit. They also told me that all mountain huts were closed for time being, giving me no other option than to do Fuji as a day trip, since I didn't bring any tent to Japan. But how about an early start then? No, that seemed rather hopeless because the bus from Kawaguchiko to the 5th Station does not arrive there before 10:40 am, fairly late to start such a big climb when the days also are short.

Another option would be to hire a taxi, but 10.000 yen is way too expensive, especially since I did not have anyone to share the costs with. More importantly, one will not arrive the trailhead very much earlier with taxi than with the bus, due to the fact that the toll road from Kawaguchiko don't open before 9:00am anyway at this time of the year.

Next morning I jumped on the bus (600 yen if I remember correctly), actually the first departure in several days after a heavy snowfall some few days ago, which caused the road to close.

The bus arrived 5th station at 10:35am, and shortly after I started to walk at an elevation of 2300m. It was snowy conditions even at the start of the hike. It took me 3.5 hours from 5th Station to the crater rim, at times in knee deep snow and higher up on steep icy slopes which made me put on my crampons. I was not entirely alone. An american guy who started ahead of me, had to turn around at the crater rim after I had helped him up the last hump of blue ice. He had no crampons or ice axes, and even more worrying, he had no warm clothing, thus it would be hazardous for him to continue the walk on the icy and snowy crater rim. His hands were already frostbitten and he would soon go into a state of hypothermia if he continued to expose himself to the icy cold wind on the rim. I was really glad that he turned around at the rim, so he would not cause any further delays for me, or more importantly, cause any emergency situation up here. Ice gear and warm winter clothing is a real must at this time of the year.

After advising the american guy to turn around and also giving him my ice-axe, I continued for another 30 minutes to the highest point, Kengamine Peak (3776m), on the other side of the crater. I was the only guy reaching the top that day. I did not spend any long time up there, because I knew that in less than two hours it would be pitch dark.

The snow conditions made the descent fairly time consuming too. At the end of the steep slopes, I found my ice-axe, and the kind message attached to it from the american guy made me smile. On the final leg to the 5th station I walked in complete darkness. But I had already calculated to be late, so I had brought a headlamp. When arriving 5th station the last bus had departed long time ago. Great luck struck when I got a ride with the very last car standing in the parking lot (an owner of a souvenir shop at 5th Station). So fortunately I did not have to walk the 32 km from 5th station back to Kawaguchiko. If this strike of luck had not happened, I either would have to roll out the sleeping bag and spent a cold night under the open sky at the 5th station, or simply started to walk down again, but this would probably have taken 5 hours or more. Calling for a taxi was as I mentioned earlier, completely out of question because of the high prices in Japan.

He dropped me off K's House and happy to be back I gave him a couple of thousand Yen.
Now as Fuji was done, I could start on my travel in Japan, at the height of the autumn foliage season, with leaves in beautiful colors. The next few days (especially in Kyoto) was a beauty nature of colors that I've never seen before......

Photo Album

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Nepal: Baruntse


Baruntse (7220m) is a mountain in eastern Nepal, in the very remote Hunku Valley. A nice adventure away from the crowds. The corniced ridged proved to be a challenge, but we summited October 30.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Mera Peak


Mera Peak (6476m) is one of the most crowded peaks in Nepal. We did this as an acclimatization climb before Baruntse (7220m), but I'm quite surprised and disappointed that we only aimed for the central summit (6461m), which in fact is the false summit. But so do everybody else, being fooled by Sherpas and other locals to believe that this is the highest point of Mera.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Kathmandu


After having spent 10 lazy days in Kathmandu, we will now fly into Lukla to climb Mera Peak (6500m) and Baruntse (7220m). This wonderful trek and climb will take about one month. Watch the progress here: www.summitclimbnews.com

Friday, October 09, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Turkey: Mount Ararat


Mount Ararat (5137m), locally known as Agri Dagi, is a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone in Turkey. Ararat is said to be the final resting place of Noah's Ark, but truth to be said, I did not expect to see any boats on the summit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Mount Erciyes


Mount Erciyes (3916m) is a volcano in Turkey, revealing itself as a gigantic snowclad pyramid from most places in Cappadocia, and creating a nice backdrop to the city of Kayseri. It looks easy from below, but to get to its highest point requires climbing (III/IV) in dangerously loose rocks.

Friday, August 21, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Cappadocia


Who have heard about Cappadocia in Turkey? I admit, quite embarrassed, that this wonderful place has never caught my attention before. In my search for the ultimate destination, I usually end up travelling far away from Europe to a completely different land and culture. But now I realize there are some hidden gems and interesting cultures within or close to Europe too, and Turkey contains many of them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

NPL: Nordkapp to Vardø


The final leg has come, 382 km to Vardø, the most eastern town in Norway. The first part of the journey, so remote that I have to dig deep into my luggage to find a package of emergency meal. The last part of it, so windy that I'm hardly able to keep more than 10-12 km/h on flat roads.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Tromsø to Nordkapp


The road continues with great mountain scenery around Lyngen, then further to the green city of Alta, before heading into a weather battered no-mans-land, where rein deer is a more common sight than human beings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Moskenes to Tromsø


This leg covers maybe the most beautiful part of Norway, from Lofoten and then further to Vesterålen, Andøya and Senja. Fjords, steep mountains popping out of the ocean everywhere, but still remarkable flat and easy for cycling. I had high expectations for this stretch of road, and was not disappointed (except for the headwind).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Namsos to Moskenes


Kystriksveien (The Coastal Route) from Namsos to Bodø, also known as Helgelandskysten, contains some of the loveliest scenery on the Norwegian coastline. It is surprisingly few tourists here because most of the cars stick to E6 heading directly to Lofoten and/or Finnmark. They don't know what they are missing out, but for cyclists I hope this stretch of coast will continue to be a hidden gem with few cars.

Saturday, July 18, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Stryn to Namsos


I had not chosen an easy start on my NPL, preferring mountains and fjords in west instead of the flat but boring E6 in east. From Stryn it would continue in the same way, a lot of high mountain passes to cross in Møre og Romsdal, but eventually it would be much easier cycling when I joined the normal NPL route from Oppdal to Namsos.

Monday, July 13, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Lindesnes to Stryn


The lighthouse manager at Lindesnes told me that the good weather would continue for at least one week. That promised good for the first leg on this NPL, crossing some awesome mountains and fjords on the west coast of Norway.

Monday, July 06, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Oslo to Lindesnes


The starting (or ending) point for the NPL (Norway Cape to Cape) is Lindesnes. I could have taken a bus/train from Oslo, but I had never seen much of the south coastline before, so why not cycle this part too!

Monday, June 29, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

NPL: Stryn to Oslo


The main reason for cycling from Stryn to Oslo was to buy a good bike map of Norway before I started on my long cycling tour from cape to cape in Norway (locally just known as NPL). Oslo was also a far better place than Stryn for getting essential spare parts for this tour. I could have done it more easy by taking a bus, instead I chose the hard way, to cycle the 470 km to Oslo, a good warm up for cape to cape.

Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Negros Island


My last week in the Philippines was spent roaming around Negros, the third largest island in the country and prime producer of sugar. From Dumaguete and Sipalay in south to Bacolod and Silay City in the north.

Friday, May 29, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Siquijor Island


Siquijor is a tiny island in the Philippines, and holds a reputation for being a place of sorcery, black magic, and generally strange people and rituals. But instead of hunting witches, we spent the entire time on Solangon beach.

Friday, May 22, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Bohol


Bohol is the tenth largest island of the Philippines, but still large enough to offer a lot. We enjoyed the famous Chocolate Hills, a river cruise, spotting tarsiers (commonly dubbed the world's smallest "monkey") and finally a couple of days rest on Alona Beach.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Palawan


The island of Palawan, also dubbed "The last frontier in Philippines", is where Alex Garland found inspiration to write his book "The Beach". We spent 10 days exploring white beaches, hidden lagoons, razor-sharp limestone cliffs, spooky underground rivers....and horrible roads.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Northern Luzon

Just few hours by bus north of Manila, the Cordillera rises to almost 3000 meters above sea level. The deeper we penetrated the mountains and valleys of Northern Luzon, the more it reminded me of Nepal.

The fruit market in Baguio
► See a slideshow of the Baguio album

Sunday, May 03, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Leyte to Manila overland


After having traveled two months in Philippines in the end of 2008, I promised myself to return as soon as possible to this lovely country in the far east. Early April I was back in Maasin City (Leyte), where the first leg of our backpacking started 8 days ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Posted in , , , | Read More »

Teide


Mount Teide, rising 3718 metres above the Atlantic ocean, is an active though dormant volcano off the coast of Africa. The island of Tenerife is Spanish territory and Teide is thus considered the highest mountain in this European country; my main reason for visiting charter tourist hell in Tenerife.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , , | Read More »

Fansipan


Yet another jungle peak and national highpoint has been ticked off my list, Fansipan (3143m), the highest mountain in Indochina and Vietnam. As a friend of me told me recently, we can probably consider Fansipan the last Himalayan peak before the Ocean. I so much agree with him.

Sunday, February 08, 2009 | Posted in , , , , , | Read More »

Far north in Vietnam


The further north in Vietnam I travel, the more beautiful it gets, with green rice fields in a mountainous landscape. But it also gets substantial colder in the far north (brrr).

Thursday, February 05, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Into Vietnam


Entering Vietnam overland from Cambodia is fairly easy with the new visa-waiver program for Scandinavians, which automatically grants you a 2 weeks stay. But Vietnam is a far stretched country from south to north, and I regret only having 2 weeks to spend in Vietnam.

Friday, January 30, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Incredible Cambodia


From beautiful beaches in the south, to sad history of Pol Pot in Phnom Penh, to the wonders of Angkor. Cambodia has much more to offer than most people know about.

Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Into Cambodia


After Koh Chang i continued to the border to Cambodia. before I crossed the border into Cambodia. The border crossing went rather smoth, and I eventually ended up in Koh Kong.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Trat and Koh Chang


On my way to Cambodia I decided to drop by this famous island of Thailand. I rented a motorbike in Trat so I could drive around the entire island of Koh Chang.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Beach bum in Philippines


Happy new year to everybody! I am still in Southeast-Asia, escaping the cold nights of Northern Europe. Here is a short update of what I've been doing lately, and where I'm heading next.

Friday, January 02, 2009 | Posted in , , | Read More »

Continents

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