F.: Consider that I live in the Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. This leads to two significant consequences: having, almost in my “backyard,” iconic mountains that people from around the world dream of climbing, and such a variety of terrains that one could spend a lifetime without ever doing the same thing twice. The risk is to fossilize in these areas and not move much elsewhere.
But imagine having a Mont Blanc with another Mont Blanc above it; this is the Himalaya. Vast spaces and enormous mountains. One had to go there to stick one’s nose in!
What has always fascinated me about mountains I don’t know is looking at them from afar and trying to imagine where one could climb or descend. When these mountains are over 8000 meters high, this “game” is surreal.
I found myself sitting for hours, scrutinizing slopes and ridges with binoculars, imagining a climbing route. Also, knowing those places only by hearsay from friends or having read about them in adventure books, I was very curious about the local culture.
F.: This was one of my “weak points.” Throughout the year, I follow a typical sports-oriented diet (like everyone, I consume certain types of Western foods). In Nepal, this changes into a ruthless vegetarianism based on rice. I love rice, but in Nepal, the quantities are truly alarming! Moreover, one must pay due attention to meat above 3000 meters. Yes, because there isn’t always electricity, and rightly one wonders: how will they preserve meat up there? Hence, the answer clearly explains why I chose not to eat it, to avoid more serious issues (already experienced in similar journeys due to meat). But then a doubt arose: how to compensate for the lack of nutrients? The only alternative was Daal, lentil soup strictly paired with rice and some vegetables.
I admit to struggling to adapt to this dietary regimen. I lost a lot of weight, but I always had enough energy available.
Water chapter: filtered or boiled? This was one of the problematic points of the trekking. Some people buy bottled water at tiny refreshment points along the route or carry it on their backs. I consider this ethically and environmentally unacceptable. However, at the same time, we can’t drink it as it comes out of the pipe in the meadow or from the stream, let alone boiled water without salts!
I adopted the filtering strategy. I used a different filter-equipped water bottle from the traditional ones with the filter in the spout. I filled the external container and inserted the internal one under pressure. The pressure generated by this operation allowed the water to pass through this filter with very high antibacterial power, ensuring purification beyond 99%. At this point, I could enrich the water with salts or heat it for tea.
F.: Not only did I use them, but I literally ran out of them! I had calculated how many I would need, and I used them all. The Reload tubes allowed me to dissolve the tablets in freshly filtered or boiled water, providing excellent support for recovering lost fluids. I also used the multivitamin every morning to compensate for the very meager breakfasts. I brought Fast Energy gels in case I needed an extra boost during particularly tough moments. They were all very digestible and essential for tasteless or, even worse, freshly boiled water.