Now the time has finally come, after several months of planning I will return to the Himalayas for many months to try again to find the rare and shy snow leopards. I have planned various routes at altitudes between 4300m and 5500m and will explore an area of around 1000 km².
In the last few months I have replaced large parts of the equipment that I used on the last tour with new ones, either because it did not survive the extreme conditions, it turned out to be inadequate or simply because there are better materials in the meantime. I bought a lighter tent and a much more powerful sleeping bag with hydrophobic down, because damp and therefore hardly insulating down in the sleeping bag was a very big problem on my last tour. I won't know for a few weeks whether treating the down with a wax is a real advantage. I will also change my clothes, because if I had relied on synthetic fibers on my last tour, this time I will largely rely on nature and use merino wool products in the first and second layers.
Two larger, waterproof rucksacks complete the equipment. On the one hand, the smaller backpack will hold all the photo equipment and serve as hand luggage for the flights, and on the other hand it will be used on site for exploring the locations, because the main backpack will always stay in the tent.
As with the last tour, the greatest difficulty will be the right combination of food. I tried to put together a better mix of carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals and vitamins than I had on my last tour. However, it will again be impossible to fully take care of my body, because I will be traveling alone and without helpers again. So I can only take with me what I can carry on my own and this means that around 8 kg of food must be enough for several months.
The camera equipment is of course a key point. I will be traveling with three different cameras, a powerful professional DSLR serving as the main camera for photography and filming. I will use a mirrorless camera and an action cam for all making-of's and to document the tour. After I sorely missed a tripod on my last tour, this time I will have a light carbon travel tripod with me in my backpack, because it is incredibly exhausting to hold a heavy camera with a light-intensive lens weighing almost 4kg for a long period of time at these altitudes.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to post any updates here during the tour, because I won't have any permanent means of communication. But it's worth checking out again in April 2017!