When Caringbah GP Martin Jaffe visited Everest Base camp with his brother in 2014 he knew he would have to return to Nepal.
Dr Jaffe and his brother Steven, who grew up hiking together in their native South Africa, have recently returned from a gruelling 25-day trek through the Tsum Valley and Manislu circuit in northern Nepal.
The Tsum valley was the epicentre of the disastrous 2015 earthquakes that killed more than 6,000 people and destroyed hundreds of villages displacing millions of Nepalese.
Eighteen climbers died at Mount Everest base camp when the quake sparked an avalanche.
That part of Nepal has recently just been reopened for trekking and the locals whose villages were buried by landslides are slowly rebuilding their lives.
Training weekly with Billies Bushies, Dr Jaffe, 68, attributes being active and regularly exercising is setting a good example to his patients thus encouraging them to be physically active.
The pair found this trek much harder than the 2014 Everest base camp one ,the very high altitude, freezing night time conditions (-13 degrees) and the very long 7 to 14 hours a day hiking taking a toll both physically and mentally.
“The lure of the Himalaya's is unlike any other,” Dr Jaffe, who lost a lot of weight during the trek, said.
Crossing lots of risky still unstable landslide areas was problematic as well and Martin only met one other trekker older than him, a 75-year-old Frenchman.
Travelling with the very professional company, Landmark Discovery Treks, they provided logistics and a private local guide and porter which is vital in an ever changing harsh environment.
A doctor is never off duty and every village they trekked through had some questions and ailments to diagnose when they knew a doctor was in town.
“The Nepalese people are very philosophical about their lot in life,even with all the loss of life and devastation around them they have a very positive disposition,” Dr Jaffe said.
“Their Buddhist religion is a big part of how they cope with life at such extremes”.
Ever the realist, Dr Jaffe is aware that bushwalking and doing the Sutherland 2 Surf every year isn’t going to be enough to prepare himself for such arduous tasks in the future and knows this extreme trekking is coming to an end.
This trip was ‘’mentally tough’’ he said but the 9 kilo weight loss was a bonus from all the hard work.