March 25, 2014
Nepal plans to minimise the congestion of climbers near the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit of Mount Everest, which is clogged with scores of climbers during the short window of good weather, officials said on Monday.
One of the initiatives includes introducing separate fixed ropes for climbers ascending and descending near the summit to help ease the traffic, said a tourism ministry official, Mohan Krishna Sapkota.
A team of government oOfficials will be posted at the base camp located at 5,300m (17,380ft) throughout the spring climbing season to monitor climbers and co-ordinate with expedition leaders, he said.
The move follows years of criticism that Nepal has done little to manage the growing number of Everest climbers despite making millions of dollars in fees.
A nine-member government team will set up its own tent at the base camp to report on the activities there, provide help when needed and ensure that climbers are cleaning up behind them. They would also be able to stop any trouble, like last year’s brawl between three foreign climbers and local Sherpa guides.
The officials would include security personnel and would have the power to cancel the climbing permit and even order the climbers to leave the mountain.
Sapkota said the plan was to manage the flow of climbers working with expedition teams during the two or three opportunities in May when the weather is favourable for the climb above the South Col at 8,000m (26,240ft). Climbers refer to it as the “death zone” because of the hostile conditions and little chance of rescue.
The separate ropes would allow the climbers returning from the summit to quickly get back to lower grounds to rest while they would not be blocking fellow climbers on the way to the summit.
More than 800 climbers attempted to scale Everest during the 2013 spring season and the number is expected to be similar this year too, according to the mountaineering department.
More than 4,000 climbers have scaled the summit since 1953, when it was first conquered by the New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds of others have died in the attempt.
source: The Guardian, 24 Mar 2014
March 14, 2014
Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar has topped the list of six best trekking routes in the world.
The list was published by UK newspaper The Daily Mail and World Expeditions.
About the Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek, Daily Mail writes, “This classic trek through traditional Sherpa villages to the base of the world’s highest mountain and nearby peak of Kala Pattar is, of course, a showstopper. It is packed with ‘grab your camera’ moments as you take in vistas of Mount Everest, pass ancient monasteries and spot wildlife a-plenty en route.”
“The world’s tallest mountain is once again open to visitors as the trekking season begins and adventurers flock to hike up to Everest’s iconic Base Camp.”
Other world-renowned trekking routes featured in the list are: Highlands of Ethiopia, John Muir Trail of USA, Huayhuash Circuit of Peru, Bungle Bungles Picaninny Gorge Trek of Australia and Bernese Oberland of Switzerland.
source: nepalnews.com, 14 Mar 2014
March 4, 2014
Climbers scaling Mount Everest will have to bring back 8kg (17.6lb) of rubbish under rules designed to clean up the world’s highest peak.
The rule, one of several new measures for mountaineering in Nepal, will apply to climbers ascending beyond Everest’s base camp from April, said tourism ministry official Madhusudan Burlakoti.
“The government has decided, in order to clean up Mount Everest, each member of an expedition must bring back at least 8kg of garbage, apart from their own trash,” he said.
Authorities would take legal action against climbers who failed to comply, Burlakoti said, although it was unclear whether this would involve a fine or other penalty.
Decades of mountaineering have taken a toll on the peak, which is strewn with rubbish from past expeditions, including oxygen cylinders, human waste and even climbers’ bodies, which do not decompose in the extreme cold.
Expeditions will have to submit their refuse to an office to be set up next month at base camp. It will also offer medical aid and mediation services, after a brawl between European climbers and local guides last year.
Although expeditions have to pay a $4,000 (£2,390) deposit, which is refunded once they show they have brought back everything they took up the mountain, enforcement has been a problem.
“Our earlier efforts have not been very effective. This time, if climbers don’t bring back garbage, we will take legal action and penalise them,” Burlakoti said.
Last month, Nepal cut its fees for individual climbers to Everest and other Himalayan peaks to attract more mountaineers, sparking concerns of increased traffic and more rubbish being left on the mountains.
In an overhaul of security, the new office at Everest base camp will be staffed by soldiers and police so climbers can approach officers with any problems, officials said last month.
Environmental and climbing groups have long sought to focus attention on the waste problem, with clean-up projects having also been organised.
Discarded oxygen and cooking gas cylinders, ropes, tents, glasses, beer cans, plastic and even the remains of a helicopter made up 75 artworks commissioned for a Kathmandu exhibition in 2012, highlighting the environmental impact of alpine tourism.
Everest is a key revenue earner for the impoverished country, with hundreds scaling the mountain every year during the peak climbing season in April and May.
source: The Guardian, 03 Mar 2014
February 24, 2014
In a bid to make Nepal’s mountaineering more safe and organized, the Nepal government has decided to set up a contact office at Mount Qomolangma (Everest) base camp for the first time from the coming spring season, officials told Xinhua on Saturday.
Nepal’s Tourism Ministry said as Qomolangma has been the first choice of submitters, the contact office will be established at the base of this peak and will be gradually expanded to other peaks in the future.
“Due to the growing pressure, chaos and incidents of colossal at the Everest, we felt the contact office should be set up at the highest peak instantly,” Madhusudan Burlakoti, a joint secretary at the ministry told Xinhua by phone, adding similar offices will be established gradually at mountains of Manasalu, Amadublam and Annapurna within the next year.
The office will inform about the mountaineering activities, incidents and accidents, records and others directly to the Ministry.
He said the office with all technological facility, including satellite phone, email, internet and mobile phones, will facilitate the submitters while it will also ensure the safety measures.
The two offices already in place, Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee and Himalayan Rescue Association, will be merged with the contact office.
With the rising number of safety concerns, both mountaineers and entrepreneurs have been long demanding with the government for the establishment of such office through which they could contact directly about their problems to the concerned authorities.
Even though the government has asked a Tourism Ministry official to accompany each team of officers as liaison person, stakeholders complain that such officers do not go to the base camp at the 5,350 meter.
“The liaison officers will have posting at this contact office and they should have to be there at any cost,” added Burlakoti.
According to the ministry figure, around 450 submitters, both Nepalis and foreigners, have been scaling the world’s highest peak every year. The figure further said that Mount Qomolangma has been climbed by more than 4,000 individuals since the 1953 ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.
source: Shanghai Daily.com, 22 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 24, 2013
When we think of mountaineering, people wearing heavy jackets full of down, waterproof and breathable trousers, hiking boots etc come to our mind.
However, this may sound you wacky but it is true that two escapades are aiming to conquer Mt. Island peak (6189 meter) of Nepal, on their business suit this winter at a time when the mercury has fallen below minus 25 degree Censius, but with a cause.
The young adventurers from Australia, Danny Roberts-Clarke and David Grech, are attempting Mt. Island, also known as Imja Tse, with a mission to donate an orphanage with the fund they raise.
Talking to The Rising Nepal, David shared that the idea for suited escapades came from a trip to Nepal in 2012 to visit Everest Base Camp.
“It was during this trip that it became clear to me. I am so fortunate to have the time and opportunity to partake in these amazing things while so many others will never get the chance. From that moment onwards I decided that for every unique adventure I took part in, I would do my best to raise money or awareness for a local cause.”
He said that they had been to the Base Camp on their business suits for 19 days of trekking. “We had 3 business suits, 2 business shirts 5 ties and a briefcase,” he said.
“I hope to use this inaugural suited escapade to inspire others to challenge themselves whilst also showing that in doing so we can always help those in need.”
Asked about the risk during the adventure, he responded, “At 6,189 metres in the Himalayan winter with temperatures reaching -25°C a thirst for adventure and a worthy cause is all that is driving them.”
These two escapades are going to donate $ 40,000 to a children school in Pokhara, Kaski.
“We are raising money for a new building to house around 30 children in Pokhara, so that they may have a safer and healthier environment in which to live, learn and grow,” he said.
These young students have already participated in scores of charity works in many countries, including their homeland Australia.
Lauding their charity and adventure works, Danny said that it was their duty as a foreign tourist, whose flights may have cost more than a local’s yearly salary, to give back to the local people.
This demonstrates how much of an impact local charities supported by others can make in a community that needs their help.
Nepal is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. My father worked there as a guide for some time before I was born, and had always planned to take the family to see his spiritual home. We never got that chance, as he passed away in 2006 from a brain tumour, Danny said.
“This journey will bring me closer to him, and let me experience the place he loved so much,” he said.
Source & References
Pokharel, Y. 2013. Two escapades aim at conquering Island Peak on business suit, but with a beautiful cause. The Rising Nepal, [online] 22 December. Available at: http://trn.gorkhapatraonline.com/index.php/2012-10-16-04-54-48/6265-two-escapades-aim-at-conquering-island-peak-on-business-suit,-but-with-a-beautiful-cause.html [Accessed: 24 Dec 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.
October 1, 2013
Jiri, a major tourist destination in Dolakha district, will have a facelift in the near future under the government´s efforts to convert the village development committee (VDC) into a model small city of Nepal.
The Department of Urban Development and Building Construction under the Ministry of Urban Development has already initiated steps for a field visit and for designing the required physical infrastructures.
Jiri VDC, which is 190 km from Kathmandu, is surrounded by great natural scenery and has been compared to the Swiss city of Zurich. Jiri is also a gateway for trekkers and for mountaineers headed for Everest base camp.
It is only six years since officials from the Swiss government left Jiri after working on physical infrastructure there for a decade.
According to department officials, Simeka Consultant has visited various part of the VDC and identified the areas needing physical development. Based on its report, renovation will be focused on the Jiri market area and other points adored for sightseeing.
“Before their departure, the Swiss enhanced the beauty of Jiri VDC to another level altogether and now it is our responsibility to manage that enchanting beauty. Jiri will turn into a model small city,” said chief of the Roads Division Office Dhulikhel, Dilip Bhandari. He informed that the government has proposed to develop 132 similar model small cities in the near future.
“Jiri bus park, roads, bridges and Jiri airport will undergo renovation. A large open area will be used for development purposes, and tourism related sports activities will be introduced,” said Bhandari. “View towers and a height altitude center will also be developed,” he added.
Sacchindra Dev, engineer at the Roads Division office, said that until now they have received a total of 13 plans for Jiri´s development.
The Ministry of Urban Development has proposed to issue a grant of Rs 10 million as preliminary expenses for the project.
“After initial financial support from the government, more money has to be collected from other donors,” said Bhandari.
source: republica, 30 Sept 2013