Mountain Travel Sobek marks 30th year with one-time plans

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EL CERRITO, Calif. -- Mountain Travel Sobek turned 30 this year and is offering a number of one-time departures to commemorate the occasion. The trips were created by longtime company officials and trip leaders who resurrected old-time favorite expeditions, many of which haven't been offered in years.

Four of the 10 trips already are sold out, according to the firm. The following is a brief description of some of the available departures.

Climbers

  • The Trans Himalaya Trek is a 31-day trip -- including 20 days of strenuous hiking -- crossing three major mountain ranges in some of the remotest terrain in the Himalayas. The trip will be led by Leo Le Bon, the founder of Mountain Travel, who scouted the high desert trails of Buddhist Ladakh and Zanskar several times in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The trip starts with a visit to Manali and the Lahoul Valley, then crosses the Shingo La mountain pass and twisting river gorges dotted with 15th century Buddhist monasteries and tiny villages before ending at the famous Lamayuru Monastery, a landmark on the old Silk Route. The available departure is Aug. 7 to Sept. 6. Land cost is $3,850 per person, double, plus $285 in internal air fare.

  • Vagabonding in Greece is a return of a popular trip first offered in 1976 that Mountain Travel said created a festive type of adventure travel known as a "4D trip" -- drinking, dining, dancing and debauchery. The trip will be led by Allen Steck, one of Mountain Travel's founders, who created the itinerary.
  • The trip will include a climb of Mount Olympus, a four-day hike through the canyon of the Vikos Gorge in the Pindos Mountains and a visit to the clifftop monasteries at Meteora. Mountain Travel said that in addition to some hiking experience, qualifications for the trip might include "a passion for Greek line dancing and a tolerance for smoky taverns with loud music." The available departure is Aug. 8 to 24. Land cost is $2,890 per person, double.

  • The Peruvian Highlands is a 23-day expedition that will resurrect the company's most popular Peru trip from 1979 to 1988. The trip will be led by Alfredo Ferreyros, Mountain Travel's Peru expert, who will shepherd clients through a five-day wilderness hike that crosses Salcantay Pass on a little-used trail to Machu Picchu, then through a seven-day trek in the Cordillera Vilcanota, a lake-dotted highland savanna inhabited by weavers, herders, alpacas and condors. The available departure is May 21 to June 12. Land cost is $3,495 per person, double.
  • Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro is a 19-day trip to Kenya and Tanzania that includes back-to-back climbs of the two mountains. Mountain Travel's Africa specialist, Lain Allan, leads the 19-day expedition, which includes 12 days of strenuous hiking at high elevation. According to Mountain Travel, when this trip was first offered 20 years ago, it was the lure of climbing Kilimanjaro that locked people into the trip, whereas Mount Kenya was "something of an afterthought."
  • However, "usually at about 12,000 feet, [clients] became aware that they were indeed in a very special place," said Allan. To reach the highest peak on Mount Kenya requires a high level of technical expertise, but the third-highest peak, Point Lenana, can be reached by trekkers. The available departure is Sept. 24 to Oct. 12. Land cost is $4,790 per person, double, plus $350 in park fees. Mountain Travel Sobek. Phone: (888) 687-6235. Web: www.mtsobek.com

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