February 17, 2014
Nepal will cut climbing fees for Mount Everest to lure more mountaineers to the world’s highest peak, already overcrowded during the peak climbing season.
Hundreds of foreign climbers, each paying thousands of dollars, flock to the 8850-metre Everest summit during the main climbing season stretching from March to May.
Under existing rules, Nepal charges $US25,000 ($A27,600) per climber as a licence fee, or royalty. But a group of seven people can secure a permit for $US70,000, a practice officials say encourages climbers to form big groups.
Tourism Ministry official Tilakram Pandey said each climber will be charged $US11,000 from next year to end the practice.
“The change in royalty rates will discourage artificially formed groups, where the leader does not even know some of the members in him own team,” Pandey said.
“It will promote responsible and serious climbers.”
He said the new rates will apply for the peak season on the Southeast Ridge, or South Col, route pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.
Permits for other routes and for the rest of the year, when the mountain is virtually deserted, will cost as little as $US2500 to encourage off-season climbing, officials said.
But experts said most mountaineers would still favour the spring season, because of warmer weather and more daylight, and the standard route.
Fees for hundreds of smaller peaks have also been changed.
ENTICING MORE CLIMBERS
Ang Tshering, who runs a hiking agency providing logistics to mountaineers, said incomes would not be affected as more climbers would be enticed to come despite the crowded mountain.
“Since more people will go to remotely located mountains, locals will get jobs and income,” he said.
More than 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest since the historic 1953 ascent. Nearly 250 have died on its slopes.
Climbing historian Elizabeth Hawley said Everest was “terribly crowded” during the peak season. And allowing in those with no experience in serious climbing raised accident risks.
Sushil Ghimire, the Tourism Ministry’s most senior official, said the government was considering regulations obliging aspirants to climb lower peaks before attempting Everest.
With the rise in the number of climbers, pollution concerns have also increased.
But lower portions of Everst have undergone a clean-up as foreign and Nepali climbers have picked tonnes of discarded decades-old garbage – food cans, plastic, oxygen cylinders, torn tents, ropes and ladders, as well as human waste.
“There is still some garbage at higher altitudes and that is being collected by climbers during expeditions,” said Dawa Steven Sherpa, whose expeditions have collected 15 tonnes of rubbish since 2008.
He said better management of routes – fixing separate ropes for ascents and descents, and spreading permits over time – had helped reduce crowding last year.
Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, has more than 2000 Himalayan peaks and 326 are open to foreign climbers. Mountaineering is an important component of tourism that makes up about 4 per cent of the impoverished nation’s GDP.
source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Feb 2014
February 14, 2014
Director Baltasar Kormakur has started shooting “Everest” in the Nepalese foothills of the world’s highest mountain for Universal Pictures, Walden Media and Cross Creek Pictures, Variety reported.
The action-adventure drama will recap the 1996 multi-expedition assault on Everest that left eight climbers dead. Jason Clarke (pictured above) is playing Rob Hall with Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers and John Hawkes as Doug Hansen.
The film will also shoot in the Italian Alps and at Cinecitta Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K. Universal will release “Everest” in North American theaters in 3D on Feb. 27, 2015.
Martin Henderson, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly and Thomas M. Wright also star. Producers are Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, as well as Nicky Kentish Barnes.
Jon Krakauer’s bestseller “Into Thin Air” chronicled the commercial expeditions that were caught in a blizzard on the mountain. “Everest” had been adapted for the screen by Mark Medoff (“Children of a Lesser God”) and Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”).
Source: PanARMENIAN.Net,13 Feb 2014
January 3, 2014
Restauranteur reaches new heights from humble beginnings
Legendary climber and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was famous for the first ascent of Mt. Everest, but he was also a compassionate world citizen who left an admirable legacy of humanitarian deeds, particularly in Nepal.
Hillary and his Himalayan Trust constructed many airstrips, hospitals and schools in the Solo Khumbu (Everest) region. One such school is Shree Jana Sewa Ngi Ma Bhi Chouri Kharka, located in Gumela, Nepal.
Pemba Sherpa, owner of the Sherpa Cafe in Gunnison and Crested Butte, attended the school as a young boy. He met Hillary several times and his lasting image of the man is that he was a friendly giant — or “Bada Saab.”
Pemba sipped on a cup of chai tea at his Gunnison restaurant and reflected on his amazing journey from “the roof of the world” to the Gunnison Valley. He was born in the small Sherpa village of Ghat, along the trail to Everest Base Camp. His father, Ang Dorjee, was a farmer and yak herder and Pemba was required to perform the morning chores each day before he headed to school.
“I had to walk one-and-a-half to two hours through hilly and rocky terrain to reach the school,” he remembered. “Sometimes I could not go back home because the creek was overflowing.”
Ang Dorjee also worked for several years as a Sherpa climbing guide to Western clients, including the legendary British climber Chris Bonington.
Pemba developed a keen interest in climbing at an early age and began his climbing apprenticeship at 15.
The Sherpas of Nepal are famous for their high altitude prowess but they traditionally were not climbers. The influx of Western trekkers and climbers to Nepal beginning in the 1960s enticed many Sherpas to seek the exponentially higher incomes provided by the climbing profession. Sherpas have became skilled climbers and are considered indispensable to Himalayan excursions.
Pemba initially learned to climb from his father and from fellow Sherpas, but his contact with Western climbers accelerated this learning curve. He began as a climbing porter but eventually ascended to the important role of sirdar, or head Sherpa. Pemba’s climbing resume includes two successful summits of Everest, as well as numerous other Himalayan expeditions.
While climbing Mt. Everest was a significant accomplishment, Pemba prefers climbing lower altitude, less risky peaks, such as his favorite, Mera Peak, at 21,247 feet. It’s the highest “trekking peak” in Nepal.
“Summitting Everest was rewarding but it was more of a job than realizing a dream,” Pemba mused. “It was important to get the clients to the summit but I did not really enjoy it.”
While not known as a technically difficult climb, Everest still presents daunting challenges, namely the Khumbu Icefall and the “yellow band.” The icefall is a shifting glacier with large chunks of ice that must be traversed several times during a typical summit bid. The goal is to get through the icefall as quickly and as safely as possible.
The yellow band is a ring of limestone at 28,000 feet that circles the mountain. While not a technical section, Pemba found it arduous.
“The snow is very slushy and it is hard to get good traction, even with crampons,” he explained. “You are also battling the altitude and the extreme cold and fatigue.”
Pemba no longer climbs 8,000-meter peaks such as Everest, but he continues to guide Western climbers and trekkers through his company, Alpine Adventure International. He specializes in treks to Everest Base Camp that include immersion in the Sherpa culture — sampling Sherpa food and dance and meeting local Sherpas.
“I want to share my Sherpa culture with my Western friends,” he said. He hopes to recruit climbers interested in attempting Mera Peak. Pemba suggests that anyone interested in joining him on a trek or climb contact him for additional details. Most days, he can be found in his Gunnison restaurant, 323 E. Tomichi Ave., which can be reached at 970.641.7480.
source: Gunnison Country Times, 02 Jan 2014
December 11, 2013
A group of Illawarra adventurers will be doing more than taking in the gorgeous scenery when they head to Mount Everest’s base camp next March.
Their trip will raise money for the Himalayan Education Charity Foundation (HECF), an organisation that helps keep children who live near the mountains in school.
In Lukla, where the charity originated and where the trek begins, students are often pulled out of school so they can work to help their family financially. The HECF helps break the cycle of students not attending school by paying for school fees and supplies and assisting families with financial difficulties.
The trip has been organised by Brian King, an experienced Illawarra climber who has already tackled Mount McKinley in North America and Aconcagua in South America.
He will, at this stage, be joined by 11 others, most of whom have little experience with such trips. There are eight spots left on the trek.
The journey has attracted a number of Illawarra educators, with primary and secondary teachers and university lecturers making up half the group.
“They’ve related to the fact the HECF is mostly devoted to breaking the cycle of non-education in the area and trying to get the kids educated so they can return that education back into the local area,” Mr King said.
The group will stop at schools along the Everest trail as they make their way to the camp to meet the students, and are planning to donate second-hand books, laptops and other supplies to the schools. The proceeds from the trip go directly to the charity.
Mr King said the trek wasn’t overly challenging, likening the 18-day adventure to climbing the Illawarra escarpment.
For more information on the charity visit www.hecf.org.np.
Source & References
WALSH, K. 2013. Everest trip to help kids in Nepal. Illawarra Mercury, 11 December.
December 1, 2013
Ram Kumar Rajbhandari has retained the Everest Marathon title by winning the 15th Everest Marathon again and setting a new record on Friday. Rajbhandari, who hails from Solukhumbu, broke his own record by completing the 42 km distance in 3 hours 40 minutes and 43 seconds.
Rajbhandari had won in the 2011 Everest Marathon by completing the distance in 3 hours and 52 minutes.
He was followed by another Nepali runner, Bhim Bahadur Gurung of Nepal Army, who reached the finish line in 3 hours 54 minutes 20 seconds. Third was DB Kalung of Sotang, Solukhumbu who timed 4 hours 4 minutes.
In women’s race, Kabita Muskan Nachhiring of Gudel won with 5 hours 59 minutes and Asmita Nachhiring of the same place was second with 6 hr 33 minutes and Beth Thompson of UK third.
The first, second and third will received Rs. 80,000 Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 30,000 respectively.
About 59 runners from countries including UK, Austria, America, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Nepal had participated in the event, held every two years. The race is a non-profit-making venture organised by Bufo Ventures, with all profits put into the Everest Marathon Fund, a UK registered charity. So far this has raised over £576,000 to support health and educational projects in rural Nepal.
The race began at Gorak Shep 5184m (17,000 feet), close to Everest Base Camp. The finish was at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3446 metres and the course is a measured 42 km over rough mountain trails.
source: nepalnews.com, 30 NOV 2013
November 13, 2013
Still waiting to get wanderlust adventure? We have got your adventure dream of the year in the Himalayas. Himalayan Glacier’s top 15 picks present this year’s must-trek adventures. Our top 15 picks cover cross-border trek of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. What could be your interest for travelling in the Himalayan region – cultural, recreational or adventure – our top picks garnish your dream of adventuring in this region. The adventure treks in the Himalayan region will be a once in a lifetime adventure in the company of inspiring and breathtaking scenery. See our top 15 picks to find yourself encircled by majestic vistas of eight-thousanders.
- Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek from Nepal (EBC), one of our top epic walks in the Himalayas, offers a huge sense of accomplishment and unbeatable views of beautiful forests, Sherpa villages, glacial moraines and foothills that surround the Everest region. Likewise, the trek takes you closer to the rich Sherpa culture while following the trail of Sir Edmund Hillary to EBC. It will also take you to some of the most popular places in the region like Kala Pathar which provides a stunning view of Everest along with other high mountains and the very famous Tengboche monastery, which is the largest monastery of the region of Nepal. Of course we will be at our final destination, EBC. Overall, the trek materializes the dream of reaching to the base camp of highest peak in the world.
- The Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the most stunning treks in the world, leaves you just being in the company of some of the highest mountains on earth and the splendor of the sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayas. This invigorating trek passes through waterfalls, villages, farmlands, rhododendron forests, and mountain vistas. You also pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with amazing ranges of flora and fauna in between. Throughout the trek you enjoy the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas, including two mountains that are above eight thousand meters – Annapurna and Dhaulagiri; hospitality and rich culture of the local community and the brilliance of nature.
- EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes, one of the top adventurous treks in the Everest region, takes you to fabulous Gokyo Valley, the large Ngojumba Glacier, the famous Cho La pass, and the celebrated view points of Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar along with Everest Base Camp (EBC). The trek further traverses through the landmarks of Everest region in the company of majestically soaring mountains, friendly Sherpas, colorful monasteries and prayer flags, the Namche Bazzar, the Sagarmatha National Park, and many more. Beyond the tranquil glacial lakes, you can enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of four above 8000 m massifs and other mighty mountain ranges from the best view point of Everest Region, the Gokyo Ri.
- Makalu Base Camp Trek, one of our top 15 picks in the Himalayas, makes a trek to the base camp of world’s fifth highest mountain. Mount Makalu is a close neighbor of Mt Everest, lying in the northeast region of Nepal. Following the beautiful Barun river valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, you cross various high passes and lakes. While trekking, you rise from lowland of Tumlingtar on the Arun River to one of the highest Base Camps on earth, the Makalu Base Camp at 5000m. While on the way, you will enjoy the views of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Chamlang, Mt. Baruntse and other mighty Himalayan mountains along with Makalu (8481m) itself.
- EBC Trek in Tibet, one of the top adventure walks in Tibet, enhances you to experience the beautiful mountainous landscape of Tibet, while exposing you to its rich culture and history. Beyond acquainted with Tibetan culture and history, the trek will also be full of adventure and fun. Besides, you will visit popular landmarks in Tibet like Dalai Lama’s Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, ancient monasteries like Tashilhunpo, Sera, Drepung, Rongbuk, and Sakya, explore Namtso Lake, and finally reach the Everest Advanced Base Camp. Basically, the trek begins from Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. In nutshell, the trek takes you to the advanced base camp of the north face of Mt. Everest (in Tibet) – the highest mountain in the world.
- Everest View Trek, one of our best picks, offers a wide range of spectacular scenery combined with unique cultural encounters with the Sherpa people who inhabit in the high altitude regions of the world. The trek continues through the lush vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park, with pine forests, rhododendron flowers and an abundance of wildlife, to Namche Bazaar (3440m). Furthermore, the trek brings you to the village of Tengboche (3930m), home to the highest Buddhist monastery in the world (4100m) and also reputed by photographers as one of the best places to capture the awesome beauty of Mt. Everest (8848m) and its neighboring peaks.
- Bhutan Tour is a special cultural tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Predominantly a Buddhist country with Vajrayana Buddhism being state religion, Bhutan deliberately preserves its unique way of life, culture and flora and fauna. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious legends of Bhutan.
- Bhutan Cultural Tour introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. Furthermore, following north along the Thimphu River, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a potpourri of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.
- Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of our best picks for magical trek, takes you around the entire Annapurna massif reaching the Zenith at Thorong La Pass (5,416m). During the trek, you pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna of the region. Just imagine the thrills of walking through world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge, with Annapurna I rising to 8091m to the east and Dhaulagiri hovering at 8167m to the west! Cross the highest pass, Thorong La on the way from Manang to Muktinath, savor the fabulous mountain views from Poon Hill (3,210m) and discover more than ten different culturally rich ethnic groups that reside in different climate zones of Annapurna Circuit.
- View of Mt. Kanchendzonga also known as Dzongri Trek is the best choice for an extraordinary mountain adventure into the hinterlands of Mt. Kanchendzonga. The trek lies in Sikkim in the Eastern-Himalayan foothills bordering with Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The attractions of the trek includes the great preview of a variety of Sikkim’s biodiversity encompassing beautiful rhododendron flowers, bird population and some amazing views landscapes and of course the majestic Himalayan peaks. The trail runs through the meadows of Dzongri at 4,000m with exceptional mountain views. The snow covered mountains, lush dense green valleys, and the extravaganza of nature’s beauty bewilder one’s soul.
- Jomsom Muktinath Trek helps you to explore the years old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of Annapurna region. The trek will be the most rewarding once the visitors make an adventurous start from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions passing through an almost tree-less barren landscape, and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The trek gets interesting once the trekkers pass through Jomsom and Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang. The grandeur of the region intensifies as the first glimpse of the windy Tibetan Plateau on the way to the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3800m) emerges. From Muktinatht downhill to Jomsom, travelers land into the land of “Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang”, and get a glimpse of the ancient traditions still in practice.
- Upper Mustang Trek encompasses a spectacular remote Trans-Himalayan mountain area with Tibetan cultural influence. The Upper Mustang region also known as the “Last Forbidden Kingdom” is a treasure trove of thousand years’ old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. The great adventure journey starting from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions of Lo-Mangthang Valley passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trails and astounding views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The surprising fact of this region is that the thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of this region intact.
- Explore Tibet, one of our best picks, is for those who are interested to experience the people, culture, monks, monasteries, land and palaces of Tibet. In Tibet, you will travel around Tsedang, Yumbulakhang, Thandruk, Samye, Tsurpu, and Ganden monasteries. Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaaar, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, and Tibetan Nunnery and Tibetan Medicine Center will be the prime attractions of this tour while you are strolling around Lhasa. Of course, you will also cover Tibet’s famous turquoise lake, Yamadroke Lake.
- Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, one of our top picks for spiritual walks in the Himalayas, is basically known for its religious value, cultural significance, spiritual importance and thrilling nature. The celestial beauty of Mount Kailash is not only fascinating, it is also one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon religions from around the world. The Kailash region also includes the two turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes and that are Mansarovar and Rakshesa. Another uniquely contributing fact to the spiritual aspect of Kailash is that four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin from here and those are Sutlej, Karnili, Brahmaputra and Indus.
- Nepal Sunrise Tour encompasses some of the most spectaculars natural and cultural destinations of Nepal and you will enjoy the company of dozens of waterfalls and mountains, flora and fauna, and rural villages sprawled over the mountains. The tour starts from Kathmandu valley. The valley holds high number of places recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, and contains three medieval cities famous for their arts and architectures – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. There are also some interesting cultural centers on the outskirt of the valley: Dhulikhel and Panauti. You make a visit to all these places and end your Kathmandu valley tour with the mesmerizing sunrise views over the Himalayas from Nagarkot. Then, you drive deep into the mountains to the resort town of Daman for a typical mountain experience. Driving further deep into the mountains, you spend a day at Bandipur and continue your journey to the fantastic Lake City, Pokhara.
November 12, 2013
A study team has made slew of recommendations, including hiking royalty fee for Mt Everest, to the government in order to make Nepal’s mountaineering sector more managed.
The 10-member team led by Purna Chandra Bhattarai, Chief of Tourism Industry Division under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, has suggested to the government to charge US$ 11,000 per person as royalty fee for Mt Everest. Fee for Nepali climbers, however, has been suggested at Rs 75,000. It has suggested to the government to fix royalty fee for other peaks on the basis of their heights. The team has also suggested scrapping the existing group permit system.
The team has given 50-point suggestions on various issues related to the mountaineering sector to the government. It has also suggested to the government to open up 32 new peaks for commercial expedition and take necessary initiatives so that five new eight-thousanders of Nepal gets international recognition.
The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) is currently studying the proposal to recognize five new eight-thousanders of Nepal. The five peaks are Yarlung Khang – 8,505m (also known as Kanchenjunga West), Kanchenjunga Central – 8,473m (Nepal-India border), Kanchenjunga South – 8,476m (Nepal- India border), Lhotse Middle – 8,413m (Nepal-China border) and Lhotse Shar – 8,400m (Nepal-China border).
The team has also suggested to the government to name new peaks and base camps after legendary mountaineers and scholars like George Mallory, Andrew Irvine, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Edmund Hillary, Phu Dorjee Sherpa, Maurice Herzog, Luis Lachenal, Apa Sherpa and Dr Harka Gurung.
In a bid to discourage the tendency of setting records on Everest, the team has suggested to the government to recognize records on shortest summit, summit without bottled oxygen and maximum summits only if prior approval has been taken. Similarly, it has suggested to the government to fix fee for hoisting flags (except the national flags and the flags of the expedition teams) on the summit to discourage increasing commercialization of Mt Everest.
source: TAAN, 12 NOV 2013
July 25, 2013
Travel trade associations in the country have asked Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) to change traditional marketing strategy to cash in on the mobility of tourists from around the world.
The made such request during a series of interaction that NTB held with different travel trade associations on its marketing and promotion strategies.
According to a press statement, NTB held inteactions with Adventure Sports Tourism Society (ASTS), Society of Travel and Tours Operators Nepal (SOTTO), Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN), Board of Airlines Representatives of Nepal (BARN), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF) and Himalaya Rescue Association (HRA).
In the discussion, representatives of ASTS requested NTB to promote adventure sports like Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, ultra light, paragliding, bungee jumping, elephant polo and elephant race and festivals in the international travel marts by publishing dedicated brochures, CDs and posters.
Similarly, Santa Subba, president of HRA, proposed to the NTB to open a Tourism Crisis Response Center to address the crisis issue from one single center. Representatives of VITOF requested the NTB to support their training programs on home stay.
“NTB welcomes the proactive and positive responses made by tourism associations. We need collaboration and cooperation of tourism associations to move ahead in the international market to achieve the desired goal,” Subash Niroula, acting CEO of NTB, said in the statement.