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Western Nepal

Most people’s vision of ski mountaineering in the Himalaya doesn’t start in the jungle–but then again, Bhajang Province in Western Nepal isn’t a common Nepalese destination. Starting at the same elevation as Tampa, Florida, Devon O’Neal, James Laidlaw, Kris Erikson and Kip Garre tackle 18,00-foot peaks, cobra-infested jungles and a month in the bush in pursuit of Himalayan first descents.

Never mind the 28 hours of layovers, or the five days we spent waiting for our skis to arrive in Kathmandu. The trip began, for real, in Dhangadhi, an impoverished delta of rice patties and vodka billboards on the Nepal-India border, where cobras prowl the bushes and bananas grow wild in peoples’ backyards…

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