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Mount Everest litter targeted by Nepalese authorities

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

Nepal to reduce fees to climb Mount Everest

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 8,850-metre (29,035 feet) Everest summit during the main climbing season stretching from March to May.

Under existing rules, Nepal charges $25,000 per climber as a licence fee, or royalty. But a group of seven people can secure a permit for $70,000, a practice officials say encourages climbers to form big groups.

Tourism Ministry official Tilakram Pandey said each climber will be charged $11,000 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 $2,500 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 2,000 Himalayan peaks and 326 are open to foreign climbers. Mountaineering is an important component of tourism that makes up about 4 percent of the impoverished nation’s GDP.

source & References,

Sharma, G. 2014. Nepal to reduce fees to climb Mount Everest. [online] 14 February. Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/02/14/nepal-mount-everest-idINDEEA1D03E20140214 [Accessed: 16 Feb 2014].

Mount Everest as you’ve never seen it before: Stunning images revealed as researchers begin work on first 3D model of the world’s highest peak

The motorised glider was flown by pilots Klaus Ohlmann and Jona Keimer

3D cameras captured the flight as it travelled over Mount Everest’s summit

Footage will be used to build a 3D model of the Nepalese mountain with a resolution down to 15 centimetres 

This model will help improve forecasts of landslides and floods

The unique twists, turns and layers of Mount Everest’s rocky terrain have been caught on 3D camera by a motorised glider.

A pair of German pilots mounted the specialist Modular Airborne Camera System (MACS) to the wing of a Stemme S10-VTX glider before making the trip over Everest’s summit – 8,848 metres above sea level.

Footage from the camera will now be used to build a high-quality 3D model of the Nepalese mountain, with a resolution down to 15 centimetres.

Researchers plan to use this model to help improve forecasts of landslides and floods resulting from the outbursting of glacial lakes.

The scheme was set up by the Mountain Wave Project (MWP) and researchers from the German Aerospace Centre, also known as Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR).

MWP pilot Klaus Ohlmann and co-pilot Jona Keimer took an hour and a half to reach the summit, after taking off from the expedition base camp at Pokhara airport in Nepal on 28 January.

They flew the glider along the Himalayas towards Mount Everest before using mountain waves to gradually gain altitude.

‘The conditions were ideal, despite the wind speeds at the summit of Everest, which neared 100 kilometres per hour,’ said Ohlmann.

‘The almost turbulence-free slope updrafts helped us ascend quickly.’

The MACS camera system, developed and built by DLR, was fitted to the glider in an unpressurised instrument container under the wing.

Its three camera heads, arranged facing toward each other at a lateral slant, give a 120-degree field-of-view and can take high-resolution images of steep slopes.

Due to the cold temperatures of the Himalayan summits, which can drop to below -35 degrees Celsius, engineers had to put the camera through a series of tests before the flight could take off.

This included tests in a vacuum chamber, at moderate altitudes above the Alps and while subjected to unusual lighting conditions.

While the pilots were given a specialist oxygen sysyem designed to help them fly to such high altitudes.

The pictures from the camera will now be used to create detailed 3D colour computer images of the mountainous regions that the glider passed over.

DLR has also developed its own software to create these images too, which is currently uses to evaluate data captured by Earth observation satellites.

The first 3D models of the Everest flight will be available in the coming weeks. The researchers are keeping a blog to provide additional details of their adventurous research expedition to the Himalayas.

The aircraft was supplied by the Faculty of Aerospace Technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen.

Source & References

Woollaston, V. 2014. Mount Everest as you’ve never seen it before: Stunning images revealed as researchers begin work on first 3D model of the world’s highest peak. [online] 31 Jan. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2549710/Glider-captures-3D-images-Mount-Everest-build-high-resolution-model-Nepalese-landmark.html [Accessed: 2 Feb 2014].

Nepal plans to name Himalayan peaks after Hillary, Tenzing

Nepal plans to name two Himalayan peaks after pioneering Mount Everest climbers Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a senior hiking official said, in a move designed to boost tourism in the beautiful but desperately poor country.

New Zealander Hillary and his Nepali guide Tenzing made it to the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) summit of the world’s highest mountain on May 29, 1953 as part of a British expedition, which put Nepal on the map as a destination for adventure tourism.

A government panel has recommended that two unnamed mountains be called Hillary Peak and Tenzing Peak, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

“This is to honor their contribution to mountaineering in Nepal,” Sherpa, who headed the panel, told Reuters.

The two peaks – Hillary’s at 7,681 m (25,200 ft) and Tenzing’s at 7,916 m (25,971 ft) – have never been climbed and are expected to be opened to foreigners in the spring season that starts in March, he said.

Officials hope the peaks will attract more climbers and help boost tourism in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains. Tourism now accounts for about 4 percent of the country’s economy and employs thousands of people.

Hillary died in 2008 at age 88 and Tenzing died in 1986 at age 72. Climbers in their time lacked the specialized equipment taken for granted today and the heavy oxygen tanks the two men carried made mountaineering more challenging than it is now.

About 4,000 climbers have made it to the summit of Everest since 1953, among them an 80-year-old Japanese man, an American teenager and a blind person. Two Nepali sherpas have reached the top a record 21 times each.

But harsh weather, avalanches and treacherous terrain are constant dangers. More than 240 climbers have died on both sides of Everest, which can also be scaled from China.

A small airport Hillary built in the 1960s at Lukla, the gateway to Everest, has already been named after him and Tenzing. The remote airstrip clings to a hillside, several days’ walk from the base camp, and is described by mountaineers as a thrilling kick-off to an attempt on the mountain’s south face.

Besides conservation work, Hillary helped build schools, hospitals, water supply schemes and trails in the Everest region that is home to the ethnic sherpas without whose help climbers would find it difficult to make it to the top.

Two peaks in west Nepal could be named after famed French climbers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, said Sherpa. In 1950, Herzog and Lachenal became the first to reach the summit of an 8,000-m (26,246-ft) peak – Mount Annapurna.

About 165 peaks of up to 7,999 m (26,245 ft) are likely to be opened to climbers from next year, Sherpa said.

Just 326 of the more than 1,300 peaks in Nepal are now open to foreign climbers. The fees they pay are a major source of income for the cash-strapped government.

source: Reuters, 06 Sept 2013

11 wondrous facts must know about Nepal

Nepal, located in the terrain of the Himalayas, is truly a land of paradise blessed with absolutely stunning landscapes. The Himalayan tiny state is well-known for the diversity of its cultures, climates and Himalayan peaks. There are many awe-inspiring facts about this peace loving country. The land locked country is bordered by China on its north and India on its south, east and west. Nepal, though a poor country is very blessed in flora and fauna. Nepal is home to one of the few places on earth where you can see both the Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros. It is a must see place for all. Nepal opened its borders to the world in the 1950s and celebrated Nepal Tourism Year in 2011.

Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square

Take a look at the 11 wondrous facts about Nepal presented below.

  1. The tallest mountain in the world, the Mount Everest is in Nepal. Everest in the Nepali language is Sagarmatha which means goddess of the sky and it stands at a staggering 8,848 meters above sea level. In Nepal there are 8 of the world’s 14 highest mountains above 8000 meters including Mt. Everest. The peaks are – Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga (3rd highest), Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, Mount Cho Oyu (fourth, fifth and sixth respectively), Mount Dhaulagiri I, Mount Manaslu and Mount Annapurna (seventh, eighth and tenth tallest respectively). There are over 240 peaks above the height of 20,000 feet in Nepal’s mountain ranges.
  2. Nepal has all the conditions for qualifying as the best adventure tourism destination in the world. For people interested in trekking, rafting and hiking, Nepal is like heaven. The innumerable mountains make it a trekker’s paradise. Annapurna region of Nepal and Everest base camp trek are voted as the top ten trekking trails in the world. Nepal is the most preferred eco-tourism destination in the world too. Nepal is a four season travel destination.
  3. Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha- the messenger of peace and is also the only country where people worship the Living Goddess (Kumari). Lumbini is a pilgrimage site for many devout Buddhists.
  4. Nepal is a secular country, but Hinduism is the religion that dominates Nepal. Over 80% of the population in Nepal practices Hindu traditions and rituals. Buddhism is also a major religion here. Majority of the Nepalese are vegetarians. Goat is preferred as meat. Dal Bhat, a bland lentil soup, and rice are eaten every day by the local people, usually for every meal.
  5. People in Nepal do not greet one another with a handshake, but rather put their palms together and bow their forehead and say Namaste. Nepalese value their traditions, and respect their customs and traditions above anything else. Touching anything with your feet is considered offensive in Nepal.
  6. Nepali is the official language of Nepal. The prominent regional languages of Nepal are, Nepal Bhasa, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Limbu, Gurung, and Sherpa. Apart from that there are more than 100 indigenous languages spoken in Nepal, making it a linguistically blessed country. Saturday is the only official weekend day, but sometimes people are off for a half day on Fridays. Sunday is a normal work day.
  7. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, also has many temples and palaces from the medieval era. The Kathmandu Durbar Square has been declared a world heritage site by the UNESCO, for the richness of the structures there. Kathmandu was once known as Kantipur, which means the “City of Glory.” There are also innumerable structures like Stupas and temples in Nepal, making the country a revered place for devotees. Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites.
  8. The Sherpas are an ethnic group from mostly the eastern mountainous part of Nepal. Many are employed as porters for mountain expeditions.  Many trekking groups refer to their porters as Sherpas.
  9. Nepal is the only country with altitudinal variation that ranges from 70 meters to 8848 meters. Nepal holds the wonderful highest lake on the earth (Tilicho 4800 meters). The deepest lake (145 meter) She Phoksundo at the highest elevation (3600 meters) is in Nepal. The deepest Kaligandaki gorge (1200 meter) and Arun valley– the highest valley on earth are too in Nepal.
  10. The flag of Nepal is the only flag in the world that is not rectangular or not quadrilateral in shape. The crimson red color of the flag signifies the color of its national flower, rhododendron. The color also stands for victory in war and the braveness of the Nepalese. The blue border of the flag symbolizes peace. The shape of the flag has two triangles which stand for the mountains of Nepal. The shape of the sun and the moon on the flag represents the aggressiveness of the warriors and calm and peace loving nature of the people.
  11. Nepal is the home land of world recognized Gurkhas. World history still remembers the glory of Gurkhas.

8 Interesting Facts about Mount Everest

Who do not want to know the interesting facts associated with Mount Everest and the glorious Mount Everest Expedition?  Location, history, climbing risk, and other interesting facts are the most intriguing things that come at first when mountaineers dare to think climbing Mount Everest. Even those trekkers who are only thinking for Everest Base Camp Trek, it is suggestive to know the basic information and facts related with Mount Everest.

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