I love to travel. Stepping outside of my “normal” life allows me to experience different environments and cultures to gain a better perspective on the world. Six months of each year my partner Szu-ting and I guide trekking and climbing trips in Asia. We also mix in a few personal climbing adventures during that time. In the summer and fall of 2014, our work and play took us to the sweltering climbing areas of Eastern China, the high altitude peaks of Tibetan Plateau and finally Gobi Desert of Mongolia.
We can only take what we can carry on our backs, so our gear has to be light, durable and perform in diverse environmental conditions. We brought several key pieces of outdoor gear that made our journey much more enjoyable. One of the best ways we found to save weight and space in our packs and avoid excess baggage fees was use NeoAir® XLite® mattresses and Vela™ Down Blankets. In warm weather the blankets allowed us to stretch out and easily regulate our sleeping temperature. When the mercury dipped below freezing, we stacked the two blankets on top of each other and the generous width of the blankets enabled us to fit underneath for three season comfort.
Another challenge we often deal with while backpacking outside of the U.S. is finding fuel for our stove. We planned on using gas fuel canisters on our trekking trip in Western China. However at the bus station we were informed that gas canisters were no longer allowed on the buses. Fortunately, we had brought along our MSR WhisperLite International Multi-fuel stove. On the way to the mountains we stopped at a remote village and after some searching we were able to buy a couple liters of what we hoped was unleaded fuel. The WhipserLite stove fired up with the unknown liquid and burned strong and hot during the length of our trek.
No matter how well prepared we are for our international adventures, there are often some factors that are out of our control. This year we faced challenging weather conditions and access issues. Being able to problem solve and having a good sense of humor allowed us to see past the bumps in the road and enjoy the majestic landscapes, and friendly locals while we explore the Tibetan Plateau.