Expedition Team – An Introduction

Nothing – no journey, no endeavour can happen without a team and somewhat of a shared vision. Journeys through the mountains require friendship, often brutal directness, and beyond all else a respect for all of the beings that share in the adventure. Neurosis, grinding days with little oxygen, and a bit of morbid humour are inevitably along to share the journey with the stunning views, local culture, and grand silences.

A brief introduction to our team, which thankfully – and by necessity and choice – is small.

Firstly, good friend Michael Kleinwort, a trek-mate without equal and man of ferocious quadriceps…and a lover of all things ‘mountain’. Perhaps, above all else, he deals with my own tangents with a smirk, the odd bit of rambling abuse, and a good spirit. There are few better than those who simply ‘get it’, ‘get you’, and keep the mind open…those quadriceps help though. One little example that sums up his efforts and mindset occurred during our circumambulation of the sacred Amye Maqin, when he had (without mentioning or complaining once) actually worn off an entire layer of the sole of his footpad. He was traipsing about with a completely open sole for 13 hours at 4300 metres. Epic!!

Let's hope he can keep that smile for at least a portion of our journey

Let’s hope he can keep that smile for at least a portion of our journey

Myself, I’ll just be glad to finally experience the journey that has been in my mind – and on scraps of paper – for over a year actually become a journey that the feet, and senses can partake in. I’ll be taking along a magnificent portion of Puerh tea with me to fuel the body and mind and to take in small little doses when the moods require.

We'll see if this smile continues as well...though with tea one would think so

We’ll see if this smile continues as well…though with tea one would think so

We’ll also be joined by mules, though we’ve yet to meet them…many of my journeys have been made possible by these understated, combustible animals.

The sturdy four-legged wonders of mountain travel

The sturdy four-legged wonders of mountain travel

To round out the team, we have four guides and local mountain men who we’ve (again) yet to meet. One of our main guides is a local teacher whose skills in the mountains is only matched by his story-telling abilities…stories of his grandparents who were themselves traders on this great route through the sky. How fortunate we are.

Updates to follow

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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