The Everest Base Camp Trail- Risk Assessment by Miyamoto International - Himalayan Glacier
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The Everest Base Camp Trail- Risk Assessment by Miyamoto International

On June the 27th an international team of experts assessed the earthquake related damage on the Everest Trail. This was the first international assessment done to ascertain post April/May earthquake damage in which more than 8,500 people lost their lives.

The team was comprised of expert structural engineers and a geotechnical engineer from Miyamoto International, a global engineering and project management company. Also present were professional mountain guides, a project coordinator and an operations manager. With funding support from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of The World Bank and on behalf of the Government of Nepal through the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“…many of villages on the Everest base camp trail have not affected by landslide hazards as a result of the earthquake…”

The aim of the research was to understand the extent of the earthquake related damage in order to give advice on overall trekking safety of the region’s routes and to make recommendations on risk mitigation that will inform tourism recovery and commercial readiness strategies that are currently being developed by the Nepalese government.

The team assessed the Everest Base Camp trail which is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. This trek has always been popular with more than 59,000 tourists taking the journey to Everest Base Camp in 2014.
(Source: myrepublica.com)

“..Suspension bridges along the trail don’t appear to be affected by new geotechnical hazards after the earthquake”

The team began assessment from Lukla, Phakding, ThuloGumela, Toktok, Bengkar to Jorsalle, Manjo, Namche Bazar, Khumjung, Tengboche, Pangboche, Dingboche and Pheriche, Lobuche, GorakShep and finally to Everest Base Camp. They assessed the trail with a combination of trekking till Namche and helicopter flyovers on all areas above Namche.

Namchhe Bazzar
Namchhe Bazzar

In their report the five- man team, summarize that many villages on the Everest base camp trail have not been affected by landslide hazards as a result of the earthquake (e.g. Lukla, Namche, Khumjung, Tengboche and all villages above Dingboche). The report goes on to show theexistence of Rockfall hazards in places like Phakding and Jorsalle while serious geotechnical hazards exists in places like Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore. Also, suspension bridges along the trail don’t appear to be affected by new geotechnical hazardsafter the earthquake.

The report points out that damage in the lower valley (below Namche) is greater than in the upper valley because the slopes are generally steeper in the lower valley than the upper. Many of the pre-earthquake hazard areas have historically been subject to Rockfall. A number of other hazards including avalanches in the alpine area, river scour, large scale Rockfall events (formed from colluvial fans near Lukla) and landslides may affect villages and trails.

Tengboche
Tengboche

In terms of recommendation to the Nepalese government, the report goes on to state that the best method for risk management is first to eliminate the risk, and if this is not possible, isolating the hazard is preferred and only when the second is not possible, is minimising the hazard acceptable.

The report specifies minimizing the hazard of Debris flows at Toktok by isolating the hazard which in this case would be done by moving the houses and trails on the opposite side of the river. Also the village of Bengkar should be relocated because of a high level of Rockfall hazard. The team also suggested using the higher level trail on the Namche to Khumjung trail as the lower trail present high Rockfall hazards. The report recommends not spending time in the village of Shomore due to high Rockfall hazards. Communication at the beginning and end of the hazard areas using universal signage was also suggested. The report recommends placing signs along the trails of high Rockfall hazardsespecially during the rainy season.

The team had previously also assessed the Annapurna Circuit Trek and the Annapurna Sanctuary trek as well.If you would like to read the full report by Miyamoto International, click the link below.

www.miyamotointernational.com

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