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Slipping and  scrambling, log steps and ladders, roots and rocks, rivers and rats.

Fan Si Pan, would I do it again? NO!

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A tough trek, to the highest mountain in SE Asia, 3143m, with an obligatory guide who knew the way, two porters who carried and prepared the food, myself and Tom & two Frenchmen, Matthew & Romain.

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The good; the views of the mountains, the Hoang Lien Son range, the cloud inversion at 5.30am on day 2, the stars at night, the camaraderie of the afore mentioned chaps, and others we met along the way, the weather, however the sun did disappear once on top until Romain played The Stranglers ‘Always the sun’ whilst Matthew danced, and lo & behold, the sum reappeared. And there were litter bins all the way to the top.

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The bad; the ‘camps’ at 2200m & 2800m squalid tin shacks covered in blue tarpaulins, rats, dogs, filth, litter, toilet waste & wooden boards to ‘sleep’ on, (the inflatable mattress didn’t). Oh, and the muscle pains still making themselves felt 4 days later.

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The ugly; the camps at 2200m & 2800m, see above. And the green snake/worm…

Bruised and scraped I returned to Tom, who wisely decided to stay at 2800m with the rats, and the 6hr descent began, or rather continued for those who had been up since 5.20am. Descent ha! Undulating doesn’t quite describe it.

The summit pyramid erected in 1984 by Russian & German mountaineers, and 2 litter bins, (unused) leave space for about 20 surefooted persons, and they want to build a cable car to the top, beggars belief.

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