One of the travel world’s more annoying debates is backpacker vs. rolling suitcase. Those with backpacks scoff at travelers wheeling suitcases along cobblestones, while the roll-aboard lovers might want to avoid the connotation that “backpacker” implies. Even backpackers are being criticized now for taking too much. In the end, it’s just a place for one’s stuff. We can all agree that seeing pilgrims walking for many miles with very little stuff at all is pretty impressive. Today’s Photo of the Day is from Tibet, where some pilgrims are returning from a trip. Flickr user abhishakey photographed the travelers coming from Lhasa, where thousands travel each year to visit the Jokhang Temple with little more than a prayer wheel.
In the High Himalaya the Monsoon has moved on at last and the fall climbing season is well underway, with mountaineering teams already taking up position on the world’s highest peaks as they prepare to make their climbs before the frigid winter sets in.
One such expedition, sponsored by gear company The North Face, has set its goals very high. While most are content with reaching the summit on any one of the very tall mountains in the region, which includes Everest, topping out at 29,029 feet. But for the Cho Oyu Trilogy Expedition the summit is just the start of the adventure.
Cho Oyu is the sixth tallest mountain in the world and falls on the border of Nepal and Tibet. It stands 26,906 feet in height, and sits just ten miles to the west of Everest. It is often regarded as the easiest of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks to climb, which may be why the Trilogy team has decided that after they reach the summit, they needed to add a little more excitement to their expedition.
The plan is for climbers Simone Moro, Elizabeth Hawker, Herve Barmasse, and Emilio Prevatali to summit the mountain along two different routes. Upon reaching the top, Prevatali will climb onto his snowboard and attempt to make his descent along Cho Oyu’s north face, while the rest of the team descends on foot.
Once everyone is safely back in base camp, the second phase of the expedition will begin, with Moro and Hawker putting on running shoes and running all the way back to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, while their companions, Barmasse and Prevatali, make that same journey on mountain bikes. That journey is approximately 275 miles in length, with an average elevation above 15,000 feet, ensuring quite the aerobic workout.
Needless to say, this will be an incredible adventure for the team, and along the way they’ll not only pass through some of the most scenic spots on the planet, they’ll also be exposed to Tibetan culture in the form of tea houses, Buddhist temples, and quaint mountain villages.
The BootsnAll Travel site has a great article up listing the highest cities in the world. Amsterdam doesn’t make this list however, as we’re talking the cities that fall at the highest altitude. These mountain communities will have you gasping for air as soon as you step off the plane, both with their thin air and stunning mountain scenery.
Topping the list as the highest city in the world is La Rinoconada in Peru. This city of 30,000 is known as the highest permanent human habitiation” and rightly so. Located in the Andes, La Rinoconada sits at 16,728 feet, more than 3100 feet above the next highest city, El Alto, Bolivia at 13,615 feet.
The only city from the U.S. to make the list is Leadville, Colorado which, with 3000 permanent residents, is the highest incorporated city in the country. Leadville falls at 10,152 and is famous for the Leadville 100, a 100 mile long mountain bike race held annually that notoriously punishes endurance athletes.
A couple of the other cities on the list are famous amongst adventure travelers. Lhasa, Tibet at 12,002 feet and Namche Bazaar in Nepal, at 11,482 feet are both stops for trekkers and mountaineers on their way to Mt. Everest. And Cuzco, Peru, which sits at 10,800 feet is a popular starting point for backpackers hiking the Andes and visiting Machu Picchu.
There are some amazing cities on this list, and if you have the opportunity to visit any of them, be sure to bring your camera. And bottled oxygen.
As daylight is shrinking in the month of December, as we move forward to the winter solstice, candles come to mind. In Denmark, where I spent this last week, candles are salvation in a way. Everywhere I went candles turned rooms into soft glows of warmth.
This shot by flicts evokes memories of other places where candles are a prominent feature.This temple in Lhasa is reflective of every Buddhist temple I’ve stepped into where smells of incense and flames fill the air. Candles are such a universal element of hope. On a grey day in Columbus, a lit candle would work wonders. All I have to do is locate a match.
Along with the lovely angle that highlights the candles, this shot is also intriguing because flicts has included other artifacts that are significant to Buddhism. This is almost like a still-life painting meant to capture a moment.
If you have shots of captured moments, send them our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool. They may show up as a Photo of the Day.