Khumbu listed among Lonely Planet’s 10 best regions

KATHMANDU, OCT 29 – Lonely Planet has placed Nepal’s Khumbu region among the 10 best regions to explore in 2015. Khumbu is also known as the Everest region.

The guide book has placed Nepal in the sixth spot after Gallipoli in Turkey, Rocky Mountain National Park in the US, Toledo in Belize, Tasmania in Australia and Norway Arctic in Norway.

It said that Everest was a classic journey following in the footsteps of Tenzing and Hillary into the planet’s most jaw-dropping mountain arena, home to the world’s highest peak. “With Nepal’s Maoist uprising firmly behind it, trekkers are rediscovering the region’s remoter trails. We don’t really need to sell you on the mountain glories of the Khumbu region; just a whisper of the word ‘Everest’ and everyone in the room snaps to attention,” it said.

“Try the high-altitude Three Passes trek or adventurous Mera Peak expedition. And since 2015 marks a half-century since Major Jimmy Roberts organized the first commercial trek in Nepal, it might be time to dust off those trekking boots,” the guide book said.

“If you want something more authentic, tread the old-school approach routes to Everest from Jiri and Tumlingtar, along parts of the 1,700-km-long Great Himalaya Trail. Already popular, the trails to Everest are only going to get busier in future seasons. Why trek to Everest? Well, as Mallory famously quipped, ‘Because it’s there’.”

It said that this month’s tragic events in Annapurna which killed dozens of trekkers have pushed mountain safety to the top of the agenda. Extreme weather can occur in the Himalaya at any time, and it is essential to monitor local weather conditions and seek shelter if conditions deteriorate.

“On any trek, make sure you are properly equipped, inform people of where you are going and when you will be back, and seek local advice as you trek.”

With 60 flights arriving daily at Lukla airport in the peak season and 200 people queuing up to attempt Everest on a good day, overcrowding on the trails is an ever-pressing issue.

Finding a sustainable way to deal with the waste produced by so many trekkers and porters in such a remote region is a complex problem, though solar-powered technology is making a difference in many trekking lodges.

The book added, “Fans of the bizarre will want to hike up to Khumjung Monastery to get a peek at its yeti scalp. Nearby Pangboche Monastery had its famous yeti hand stolen in 1991, but a replica is now on display.

From this year, each Everest climber is required to carry 8 kg of waste off the mountain. It said that air safety in Nepal is another concern, after air crashes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 killed dozens of trekkers and Nepali staff en route to or from the region.

The Everest region receives around 36,000 trekkers and mountaineers annually. The local Sherpa people are what make trekking in the Everest region such a joy.

“Many of the lodges you stay in will be run by retired summiteers, and most families have at least one member employed as a climbing porter or trekking guide.”

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