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AGS Tours: EVEREST?S ALPINES, TIBET 10 July - 7 August 2010:

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Started by: Margaret Thorne

The Trip of a Lifetime

Go to latest contribution by Susan Read, 06 February 2010, 14:42. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Margaret Thorne 22 December 2009, 18:57top / bottom of page

David and I are just putting the finishing touches to the Tour Information for our Tibet Tour this July and August and thought we should take the opportunity to post some information and pictures to encourage you to sign up for this trip of a lifetime. Although you do need to be reasonably fit to come, it is designed for botanists and photographers, not trekkers ? so the pace will be nothing like as tough as the treks from which Susan has been posting pictures lately. We will largely be following the itinerary of the first AGS Expedition in 2005, during which 800 plant species were recorded. In addition to recording many beautiful and rare plants, the expedition extended the known range of over 40 species and discovered four which were previously undescribed (including Meconopsis tibetica and Corydalis milarepa).

This astonishing total far exceeded expectations and it took two years? of meticulous work by John Birks to co-ordinate the identification of the plants and document the Tour, culminating in a brilliant report and article in the Alpine Gardener (309 TIBET SPECIAL Vol 75 No 3, Sept 2007) a must-read for anybody contemplating our 2010 repeat visit. We feel very privileged to have been invited to contribute to these documents, which we did in a minor way ? the credit for their excellence should go to John alone. The contents of the report may be found at the following link:

Langma La, the highest point of the Kangshang Trek at 5347m

Meconopsis tibetica described after the AGS 2005 Tibet Tour

Meconopsis tibetica?s 8- sided stylar disk, characteristic of subgenus Discogyne

Contribution from Colin Dolding 23 December 2009, 01:06top / bottom of page

Thank you Margaret for starting another interesting thread. Looking forward to some more tempting photographs of the plants and region.

Contribution from Cliff Booker 24 December 2009, 10:29top / bottom of page
Super images Margaret

Sorely tempted to join you ... only the camping aspect proving a slight deterrent.

Contribution from Margaret Thorne 25 December 2009, 18:22top / bottom of page

To wake, surrounded by the world?s most stunning mountains and to the haunting call of Tibetan Snowcock, with plants all around, is for me the highlight of a trip to the Himalayas and, as camping is the means to that end, I find it one of life?s most amazing experiences. We are so well looked after by the camp crew that there is really nothing to dislike about it. Here is the extract from our Tour Information which gives an account of camp life:

?Day starts with ?bed tea? delivered to the tent followed by warm washing water and then breakfast in the mess tent. Packed lunches will be handed out before we set off after which, if it is a moving day, the camp is taken down by the crew and it and our bags loaded onto the yaks. Given our botanising speed the yak train will overtake us fairly quickly and by the time we reach our next camp the tents will be up. We can expect to be greeted with a hot drink in the mess tent and washing water at our own tents a little later. Depending on timings we can have a plant session prior to, or just after our dinner. At this time our water bottles will be filled with boiled water for the following day and this doubles as a hot water bottle for the sleeping bag for those who wish it. Bed time comes early in camp to allow for plenty of rest and early starts.?

This picture is of our riverside campsite at Khartha, the starting point for the Kangshung Trek. It shows how cloud travels up the Arun valley from Nepal and breaches the Himalayan chain through a gorge near the foot of Qomolagma (Mount Everest) to make this area partly monsoonal. As you stand to watch it (as folk in the photograph are doing), the cloud dissipates ? a truly amazing sight, recorded by Wollaston during the 1921 Everest Expedition, and still just the same now. On the left side of the river, the vegetation is typical of dry steppe conditions and on the right, there is moist sub-alpine woodland.

Contribution from Margaret Thorne 25 December 2009, 18:40top / bottom of page

Shuri Tsho campsite at 4970m, lies at the foot of the Langma La with Waldheimia (Allardia) glabra close by, much Meconopsis horridula and Chionocharis hookeri on the top of the adjacent granite ridge.

Contribution from Margaret Thorne 25 December 2009, 20:34top / bottom of page

On our climb up to the ridge we also found Saxifraga melanocentra

Anaphalis nepalensis

Primula tenella

Corydalis meifolia

Androsace delavayi

and small specimens of Saussurea gossipiphora

From here, above the campsite, we could see our route for the following morning ? along the path to the left of the lake and up the side of the mountain to the shoulder

Contribution from Margaret Thorne 25 December 2009, 20:56top / bottom of page

On the way we found Primula primulina

Veronica lanuginosa

and Corydalis latiflora

Then at the top of the Langma La was Saussurea bhutkesh

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