I’ve wanted to climb Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam, since I arrived over a year ago. It’s definitely a holdover from climbing volcanoes in Indonesia.
Getting to the top of Fansipan was an occasionally rough climb mostly through bamboo forests. Sometimes a cloud would roll through putting us into a mysterious fog and completely obscuring the view.
We arrived at the second campsite after about five hours of climbing. The porters took their time making dinner as we relaxed.
The quality of the feast they put on was absolutely amazing considering it was done in a couple of pans over a wood fire. No one was going hungry on this trip.
The next morning we hiked upward in a torrential downpour. Our path followed a quick running stream for a long section of the climb. There were occasional breaks in the foliage but we were completely encased in grey clouds and couldn’t see anything.
Given that Kyle and I have a propensity to sleep in, we had set out 45 minutes after everyone else. We met some of our camp mates as they were coming down the hill who said that they couldn’t see anything. Beyond the small glory of getting to the top, they seemed quite discouraged. Needless to say, we pressed on through the rain, eventually reaching the peak at 3,140 m.
It was actually tough to hold on at that point. Just as we were saying to ourselves that there would be nothing more to see and that we should start heading down, there was a slight break in the rain.
Within minutes, the sky started clearing and the rain stopped. We had unobstructed views for miles in all directions. Our guide said that in the five times he’s done this climb, this was the first he’s seen anything other than the inside of a cloud. The lesson to be learnt here is that it pays to sleep in. I’ll remember that for the future.
The hike down was much more pleasurable, but still work. The effort was regularly interrupted by spectacular views that we had no idea existed during our climb up.