Everest avalanche: Is climate change to blame?

April 24, 2014

Climbing to the roof of the world is becoming less predictable and possibly more dangerous, scientists say, as climate change brings warmer temperatures that may eat through the ice and snow on Mount Everest.

Nepal was left reeling when a sudden ice avalanche slammed down onto a group of Sherpa guides on Friday and killed 16 in the deadliest single disaster on Everest. While it is impossible to link any single event to long-term changes in the global climate, scientists say the future will likely hold more such dangers in high-altitude regions.

Avalanches of snow, rock or ice could increase. Climbing and trekking terrains would become unsteady. Glaciers may be more unpredictable. Storms will become more erratic, and the Himalayas in particular could see more snow as warming oceans send more moisture into the air for the annual Indian monsoon that showers the 2,400 km mountain range. Read more

Government team to address Himalayan dilemma

April 24, 2014

With mountaineering support staff and guides boiling with anger following the deaths of 16 of their fellow members, the government today decided to send a high level team led by Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya to Everest base camp to cool their temper. The team will leave for base camp tomorrow.The government decision came today after most of the support staff packed-up their tents at base camp, threatening to cancel the season. A deadly avalanche on Friday near Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpas, prompting support staff and guides to call for increased insurance money, welfare fund and other facilities.Support staff and guides, however, are still divided over whether or not to resume the halted expeditions. Unconvinced by the government commitments ‘made in Kathmandu’ yesterday, some of them were demanding that government officials visit the base camp in person.A highly-placed source confirmed that Minister Acharya, Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire, Joint Secretary Madhusudan Burlakoti and representatives from Nepal Mountaineering Association, Trekking Agents Association of Nepal, Expeditions Operators’ Association, Mountain Guide Association and the Himalayan Rescue Association are set to fly to the base camp. Read more

Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs

April 24, 2014

Sherpa guides were leaving Mount Everest’s base camp on Wednesday as part of a walkout following the mountain’s deadliest disaster, as some expedition companies announced that they were canceling their climbs this season. American climber Ed Marzec said he saw several Sherpas leaving the base camp and many others packing up their tents. Some were loading their equipment onto a helicopter that had landed at the camp.”There are a lot of Sherpas leaving this morning, and in the next two days there will be a huge number that will follow,” Marzec, 67, from San Diego, said by phone from the base camp. He said he had already decided to abandon his climb.Tusli Gurung, a guide who was at the base camp on Wednesday, estimated that nearly half the Sherpas had already left.The walkout is certain to disrupt a climbing season that was already marked by grief following Friday’s disaster. Sherpa guides were hauling climbing gear between camps when a chunk of ice tore loose and triggered an avalanche. Thirteen bodies were recovered and three Sherpas still missing are presumed dead.

“It is just impossible for many of us to continue climbing while there are three of our friends buried in the snow,” said Dorje Sherpa, an experienced Everest guide from the tiny Himalayan community that has become famous for its high-altitude skills and endurance.

“I can’t imagine stepping over them,” he said of the three Sherpa guides who remain buried in ice and snow.

Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International announced it was calling off its expedition. “We have all agreed the best thing is to not continue this season’s climb, so that all can mourn the loss of family, friends and comrades in this unprecedented tragedy,” the company said on its website. Read more

Sincere condolences to the mighty Sherpas

April 23, 2014

The entire nation mourned the greatest tragedy in the history of Nepal mountaineering as a deadly avalanche took place in Mt. Everest last week claiming lives of 13 Sherpa guides. Three more have gone missing in the debris and the chances of locating them are slim. The avalanche occurred on April 18 in an area between the Khumbu Icefall and Camp I, at an altitude of about 19,500 feet.

Himalayan Glacier would like to offer its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends. Our thoughts are with the bereaved family as we pray for them.

Himalayan Glacier Team

Nepal tries to avert Sherpa strike on Everest

April 22, 2014

Nepalese authorities say they are meeting with Sherpa mountain guides in an attempt to avert a climbing strike after the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest. Sherpas have threatened to boycott the climbing season after an avalanche ripped through the mountain Friday, killing at least 13 Sherpa guides. Three remain missing and are presumed dead. The guides’ demands include more insurance money and more financial aid for the families of the victims.A Sherpa boycott could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of Nepal’s mountaineering department, said all the demands would be discussed and a recommendation would be made to the government later Tuesday.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 22 April, 2014

Govt calls gathering at NTB to mourn Everest tragedy

April 22, 2014

The government has called a gathering at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) this afternoon to officially mourn the tragedy brought about by death of 13 Sherpa guides in an avalanche at the Mount Everest last week. The mourning assembly will be held at 4 pm today.Similarly, in order to pray for the eternal peace of the departed souls, various puja and traditional proceedings are being carried out at the avalanche hit region around the Khumbu Icefall at Everest Camp 1.The avalanche that came sweeping down the Icefall on April 18 trapped scores of Sherpas, killing at least 13 of them and injuring several others. Three Sherpas are still missing in the snow. The acident took place at an elevation of 5,900 metres.
Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 22 April, 2014

Su Kyi set to visit Nepal in June

April 22, 2014

Nobel peace Laureate and Myanmar’s democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi is coming to Nepal on June 14 on a two-day visit.

Suu Kyi is coming here at the invitation of BP Koirala Chintan Prastisthan and BP Koirala Memorial Trust on the occasion of Koirala’s centenary birth celebration, said Dinesh Bhattarai, Foreign Relations Adviser to the Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

She will deliver a key note speech at a programme “Relevance of Social Democrary” to be jointly organised by Trust and Prastisthan on June 15. She is scheduled to visit Lumbini and address parliament on democracy and its importance in this part of the world. She will also meet President Ram Baran Yadav and top leaders of the major political parties, according to Bhattarai.

On the sidelines of the Third Bimstec Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Prime Minister Koirala had invited Suu Kyi to visit Nepal. During the meeting in Naypyidaw, PM Koirala and Suu Kyi had exchanged views on long struggle that Suu Kyi and Koirala families had endured to institutionalise democracy in their respective countries, said Bhattarai.

Suu Kyi who was educated in India, had very strong personal ties with late BP Koirala and used to work together and share common view on struggle for democracy and socialism as both leaders were very active in socialist international movement.

Source: ekantipur.com
Date: 22 April, 2014

Govt has mountain to climb with Everest season in limbo

April 22, 2014

The government today formed a joint task force to study the demands put forth by protesting mountaineering support staff and guides following the deadliest avalanche on Mount Everest in its history on Friday that killed 13 Sherpas and left three missing.The task force led by Joint Secretary Madhu Sudhan Burlakoti, Chief at the Mountaineering Department under the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, has been tasked with presenting recommendations and suggestions regarding demands put forth by mountaineering support staff and guides by Tuesday, reads a statement issued by MoTCA.The task force comprises representatives from different stakeholders, including Nepal Mountaineering Association, Trekking Agency Association of Nepal and Expedition Operators’ Association, among others.“The task force will present a report with suggestions and recommendations at tomorrow’s meeting with representatives of the expedition operators, agencies and mountaineering associations,” Burlakoti said.

Spring expeditions are hanging in a Himalayan limbo after mountaineering guides and climbers yesterday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government to fulfil their 12-point demand. They have suspended all climbing and search activities in the Everest region.

An increment in insurance amount, adequate compensation, climbers’ memorial park and a basket fund for the wellbeing of support staff and guides are some of the demands the Sherpas have raised.

Earlier, a joint meeting called by MoTCA also discussed the issues raised by the mountaineers. “We urged the government representatives, including Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire, to consider the genuine demands raised by mourning mountaineers,” said Dambar Parajuli, President, Expedition Operators’ Association.

After the meeting, Burlakoti said in a statement that the government was ready to set up climbers’ memorial park with the support from different mountaineering bodies. The statement also reminded that Rs 40,000 each has already been announced to victims’ families as an immediate relief.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 22 April, 2014