The Farewell Ascent

Beyond Boundaries on the Annapurna Circuit

Nepal is a place where people come to connect with the mountains and simplify their way of living. It is an incredibly unpredictable place and that can be frustrating or fantastic. I just want to be able to remember that after I leave.

Justin Lehmann

The Farewell Ascent — Introduction

Walk around any city in the world and you’ll see that technology has monopolized our focus; all necks crane downward with eyes fixed on a miniature screen. We often fail to be present in our own environments and with our loved ones.

Paradoxically, the same constant access to the Internet that places us in a perpetual state of distraction facilitates otherwise impossible connections at the very same time. At least that’s how we felt when we received an email from an absolute stranger in Nepal.

His name is Justin, and he shot us an email with a photo of him canoeing across a lake in his adopted homeland, wearing a three-year-old pair of our trusty Chore Pants. We were intrigued that a guy in Nepal had not only found Taylor Stitch, but also seemed to have one hell of a story to share.

As we came to find out, Justin has been living in Nepal for the past three years, and in that time he’s seen his share of both good times and bad. He was living in Nepal in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake felt the consequences of a blockade with India that shut down the country; but in the end, he’s experienced a country that captivates the imagination and wanderlust like few can. “Nepal will always be a big part of my life,” Justin remarked as he told us his story, “it made me realize how little control we have over some things. The Nepalese are a tenacious and resilient people. I hope I can take a little of that with me wherever I end up next.”

We got to talking, and Justin shared with us that he was planning a big move to Finland—and that he wanted to get one more trip under his belt before the next chapter in his life: a trek along the notorious Annapurna Circuit. What is Annapurna? It’s a 250-mile long, blister-bursting technical hike that reaches 18,000 feet at its highest point. A trail that crosses jungle, crystal-clear alpine rivers, and forests of rhododendrons along jagged, knife-edged peaks. A storied trail of great beauty and steeped in a culture of resilience, gratitude, and enjoyment. Justin was curious if we wanted to come along for the ride.

“Well, of course.”

Just like that, Justin would become guide to a handful of our friends crazy enough to tag along: Aaron Brimhall, Dallin Jo Jolley & Spencer Cotton.

The Farewell Ascent — It Begins

The Farewell Ascent — The Conclusion

We can’t have incredible lifetime experiences every single day, let alone every couple of weeks. And in our hectic lives, in this world we live in, it is remarkably easy to forget or disregard the beauty that surrounds us wherever it is we call home.

That’s why, regardless of nuance, we think that no matter the journey you’re on there are two things that are meant to remain steadfast: your resolve to live life to the fullest—whether venturing off to your nearest national park for the weekend, or taking a couple weeks to experience Nepal for yourself—and the nearly second-nature preparation that goes into your decisions: the loose itinerary you’ve mapped out in your head, the must-sees you’ve predetermined, and certainly not least, the gear you trust to bring along for the ride.

The Dispatch