Expedition Preparation in Hong Kong – The Route of Wind and Wool

With Hong Kong’s torrents coming down and heat coming off of every surface, it seems strange to be packing down jackets, crampons, gloves, and kit for the mountains (though tea will not seem a strange addition to any). With the speed of Hong Kong, the engines, and lines and modern swank, it is an oddly welcome feeling to be preparing to hop into the mountains where winds, memories, and spires still hold sway.

Greens, rain, and Hong Kong's heat and generosity host our preparations.

Greens, rain, and Hong Kong’s heat and generosity host our preparations.

We’ll have to be as autonomous as possible which brings with it the magic of having all we need on our backs (and the necessary backs of others). No electricity for up to three weeks means we’ll be using solar power to charge up gear – and that’s assuming there actually will be a sun to harness. We’ll be using the brilliant durable GoalZero ‘Sherpa 50‘ portable solar power kit, along with panels which is the only way to ensure power up there in those heights.

GoalZero's mighty - and brilliantly portable - 'Sherpa 50' portable solar kit.

GoalZero’s mighty – and brilliantly portable – ‘Sherpa 50’ portable solar kit.

Michael and I will now be sorting out the ‘what to brings’. Teas have been selected: A Zhang Lang unfermented Puerh and a mild Jing Mai fermented Puerh from Jalamteas will accompany a partial cake of Lao Banzhang of mine to ‘enhance’ our journey.

Michael in full flight skirting around kit on the floor. Gear will be sorted and resorted.

Michael in full flight skirting around kit on the floor. Gear will be sorted and resorted.

Michael has already done a series of edits of clothing, medicines, and necessaries. My own gear is generously spread out over good friends’ Rosy and Andy’s floor (a thank you for turning your eyes away while I throw colourful kit around with glee).

My version of the "what"? look.

My version of the “what”? look.

Only few short days – but thankfully many many sips of tea – left before departure.

A stunning array of colours that The North Face has sent on. They want - I suspect - to ensure I can be found and with these colours I will be a veritable beacon.

A stunning array of colours that The North Face has sent on. They want – I suspect – to ensure I can be found and with these colours I will be a veritable beacon.

All of our kit will be transported by bodies – both two and four-legged varieties – and we’ll be slurping away at my own stock of teas as well as our guides’ who will be preparing their own blends of potent ‘chai’ – loaded with spices, and sugar.

One of our prime fuels on this journey will be Tea. "There is never not a prime time for tea".

One of our prime fuels on this journey will be Tea. “There is never not a prime time for tea”.

More preparation updates to follow shortly.

About JeffFuchs

Bio Having lived for most of the past decade in Asia, Fuchs’ work has centered on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories with an obsessive interest in tea. His photos and stories have appeared on three continents in award-winning publications Kyoto Journal, TRVL, and Outpost Magazine, as well as The Spanish Expedition Society, The Earth, Silkroad Foundation, The China Post Newspaper, The Toronto Star, The South China Morning Post and Traveler amongst others. Various pieces of his work are part of private collections in Europe, North America and Asia and he serves as the Asian Editor at Large for Canada’s award-winning Outpost magazine. Fuchs is the Wild China Explorer of the Year for 2011 for sustainable exploration of the Himalayan Trade Routes. He recently completed a month long expedition a previously undocumented ancient nomadic salt route at 4,000 metres becoming the first westerner to travel the Tsa’lam ‘salt road’ through Qinghai. Fuchs has written on indigenous perspectives for UNESCO, and has having consulted for National Geographic. Fuchs is a member of the fabled Explorers Club, which supports sustainable exploration and research. Jeff has worked with schools and universities, giving talks on both the importance of oral traditions, tea and mountain cultures. He has spoken to the prestigious Spanish Geographic Society in Madrid on culture and trade through the Himalayas and his sold out talk at the Museum of Nature in Canada focused on the enduring importance of oral narratives and the Himalayan trade routes. His recently released book ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road’ (Penguin-Viking Publishers) details his 8-month groundbreaking journey traveling and chronicling one of the world’s great trade routes, The Tea Horse Road. Fuchs is the first westerner to have completed the entire route stretching almost six thousand kilometers through the Himalayas a dozen cultures. He makes his home in ‘Shangrila’, northwestern Yunnan upon the eastern extension of the Himalayan range where tea and mountains abound; and where he leads expeditions the award winning ‘Tea Horse Road Journey’ with Wild China along portions of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. To keep fueled up for life Fuchs co-founded JalamTeas which keeps him deep in the green while high in the hills.
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