Rocks and Docs on Nepal's Annapurna Circuit, May 5-22, 2012

Trek through the Annapurna Valley on this “Rocks and Docs” tour combining the geology of the Himalaya with info on high altitude medicine.

Princeton Journeys is proud to partner with Outdoor Action to offer active travelers the chance to explore the majesty of the Himalayas and to learn safely about the challenges inherent in high-altitude activity. Join your fellow Princetonians on this special Nepal trek, May 5-22, 2012, playfully entitled “Rocks and Docs”, as it is led by father-son team Brownie Schoene '68, a world expert in high altitude physiology and medicine, and Blair Schoene, Assistant Professor Geosciences at Princeton.

While no trek in the Himalaya Range can be characterized as easy or moderate, this trek is relatively short, non-technical, and reaches a maximum elevation of only 13,550 feet. Even at this elevation, it offers outstanding high mountain views and is the best opportunity for a novice or intermediate trekker to surround him- or herself with Himalayan peaks and take home the memories.

After acclimatizing and exploring in Kathmandu, fly to Pokhara and make the trek to historic Ghorepani and greet the sun at Poonhill at just over 9,500 feet elevation. Take in the panoramic visit of Mt. Dhalagiri, Annapurna II, and the Himchuli Himals. Descend on a narrow trail through flora-rich forest to Ghandrung and the picturesque Ghandrung village. Wend your way down into the Annapurna Valley and up to Annapurna Base Camp and onward to Machhapuchhre Base Camp. Return to Pokara for flights back to Kahtmandu and homeward.

An optional post-trek extension is offered (5/21-25) to Chitwan National Park, known for its elephant safaris, bird watching, and jungle walks.

PLEASE NOTE: Accommodations will be in hotels and, along the trail, tea houses. All major trekking equipment will be provided, carried, and managed by expert handlers. All participants will be required to provide a medical release from their personal physicians in order to join this Journey. Travelers should expect four to six hours of hiking per day carrying a 10 to 15 pound pack. The trails themselves are moderate but hiking will likely feel more strenuous at these altitudes.

About the Study Leader

Blair Schoene, Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, and Robert "Brownie" Schoene '68, M.D. will serve as Study Leaders on this program.

After his undergraduate years at Princeton, "Brownie" turned his energy from intercollegiate sports to the mountains. While in medical school at Columbia, he learned technical climbing on rock and ice in New England. He continued his medical training in Seattle at the University of Washington in internal Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine while climbing avidly in the nearby mountains. Climbing took him to the Himalaya, and during his research fellowship, he was chosen as a climber-scientist for the 1981 American Research Expedition to Everest. High altitude physiology fit well with his clinical and research interests and throughout his academic careers at the University of Washington and University of California San Diego. He has studied high altitude pulmonary edema on Denali and high altitude natives in the Andes of Chile and Peru. He has co-authored and co-edited two books and written scores of research papers and reviews on high altitude physiology and medicine. Past President of the Wilderness Medical Society, he is presently practicing critical care medicine with his wife, Kim Marquis, in Bozeman, Montana.

On our Journey, Brownie will focus on the physiology of high altitude in wilderness medicine, covering topics such as adaptation, high altitude illnesses, extreme altitude, high altitude natives, exercise and training, hypothermia, and expedition medicine, to name a few. Travel medicine, prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal illnesses will be covered in the Chitwan portion of the trip.

Blair Schoene has been on the faculty in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton since the fall of 2009. He finished his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006, where he was studying plate tectonic and mountain building processes in a 3.6 billion year old Southern African continent. While doing a three-year postdoc in Geneva, Switzerland, he studied mass extinction events in Earth history and their relationship to volcanic events and magmatic processes and spent a lot of time playing in the Alps. On our Journey, Blair will provide the overview of mountain formation and give all trekkers a perspective on the amazing geology that will surround them on the trek.

Trip Details

  • Dates: May 5-22, 2012
  • Cost: $3,995 per person, double occupancy
  • Deposit: $600 per person
  • Activity Level: Challenging

Trip Resources

View photos of the Journey

Additional information on obtaining Continuing Medical Education credits will be forthcoming.

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