We had a number of amazing sponsors who spiked our gear with the best equipment in the field. Here’s my testimonial for Jetboil, who equipped us with our entire kitchen for our month in the Dolpa. I’ll be back with another Dolpa post asap. The problem is I’m broke and have had to refocus my energies and prioritize those projects that, you know, pay. 😉
I’m actually shocked that in eight years of off-the-beaten-path international travels, it is only now that I have packed my first set of Jetboil gear. As it is in the nature of most explorers to shun instruction pamphlets, I considered it an auspicious sign that it took us only minutes to assemble our entire, “kitchen,” on the tiny porch of our guesthouse in Kathmandu. And it really was only a few minutes later that we were clinking metal cups full of wine and celebrating, not only the success of our Jetboil trial run, but the pad thai we had just whipped up wherein.
Of course, what defines success on a guesthouse deck is entirely different from the test of what will survive in the tiny and ancient villages perched at 15,000 feet, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, in the Dolpa of rural Nepal. And perhaps more importantly, what would ultimately survive the three 17,000 foot passes and weeks of walking that we would have to travel to get there. As we were also carrying 200 pairs of shoes to deliver to the remote communities (often isolated by the Himalayas from aid) we had employed four ponies to help us with our load; a load that was significantly lightened by the missing full stove, kitchen and fuel of which I’ve seen expeditions accustomed to carrying. Not only our bags, but our moods, were notably higher for the simple stats of the modest, compact and ultralight set of jetboil gear that packed down into the corner of a single bag. With multiple 10-hour days, the ease of our Jetboil tools not only made coffee fast, soup hot, and dinner easy, but these adjectives earned us some of the most precious minutes of our day: an earlier start, a hot lunch on a cold day, a longer break for a priceless view, a second evening hot drink, less time between getting out of our boots and into our sleeping bags. The tools served not only practical, but entertainment, purposes, as word would quickly spread and a modest crowd of local villagers would accumulate to witness the, “magic fire,” upon which we produced their same staple of life, “dhal bhat,” or, “lentils and rice,” without a single patty of yak manure or log of high altitude desert brush.
Few people venture into the Dolpa; we never, in all of upper Dolpa, saw another foreigner. As two young females with limited high-altitude trekking experience, we were probably in a little over our heads. But thanks to exceptional gear, we know little of the great problems that COULD have befallen us. Thank you, Jetboil, for sponsoring our outrageous expedition and helping us to safely and easily navigate a host of potential problems to assure a totally seamless, light, safe and tasty adventure. The next time we head again to where few have gone, along with our curiosity and courage, we will not forget to pack our Jetboil gear.
With enormous appreciation,
sol & kt
In the Picture: We come to the end of the road, quite literally: it ended in a cliff of rock. On the other side, we waited patiently for our next unknown form of transportation, but not before climbing on top of the bus and searching through bags until we found the coffee press and a bag of organic Nepali roasted beans. I swear we’re not high maintenance. We didn’t bathe for a month after this day. We all choose our treats. Mine happens to be french pressed. 🙂