Monday, May 26, 2008

May -The month of Alpinist

The month May is celebrated as a labour day wordwide. In nepal, this month has other importance as well. It is celebreted in a special way. Infact it is a big month for the mountaineering sector. Sometimes it is called the month of Alpinist. Allmost all the front pages of daily newspapers are covered with the news of setting and breaking records on Everest.

Everest has been submitted more than 2 thousand and 3 hundred times within 5 decades (since 29 may, 1953) from nepal side alone. The number of summiters who made it on the top are more than one thousand and five hundreds. More than 40 expedition teams were headed to the Everest base camp, this year. However, Everest was closed temporarily as a pressure from chinese government to allow the olympic Flame be taken to the top with out any interuption from Nepal side. inspite of tibetan protest and olympic game, numbers of new records are set and break. Congratulation to all, who made it to the top!

Congratualtion Aau Appa for making it 18 th times, smashing his own record, Min Bahadur Serchan 77, being the oldest person, Puja Serchan, being the first female from brhamin community.

Highlights of Everest Expedition 2008,

May 08-2008 : Olympic Tourch on the summit

Sirdar, Namgya Sherpa :: First person to be on the summit this year.

Thursday, may 22, 2008 : Total 77 climbers made it on the top; setting record of highest numbers of climber in a single day.

Thursday, may 22, 2008 : Appa Sherpa, Smashing his own record of 17 th times: made it 18th

[Chhewang sherpa 47, who is following appa summited 15 th times]

May 22, 2008 : First Inclusive women Everest Expedition's five members on the top:

Pujan Acharya, Susmita maskey, Maya gurung, Nwang futi sherpa;

May 24, 2008: A mother and daughter team from sydney; Cheryl Bart and her daughter Nikki began, made it to the top

May 25, 2008 : 77 years old Min bahadur Serchan, who hailed from Bhurung tatopani, Myagdi, Summited at 8:40 am; setting the record of the oldest summiter.

May 25, 2008: Chunu Sherstha, final member of First inclusive everest expedition; on the top

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Swelling Imja lake puts Khumbu region in peril

Imja Tsho, Khumbu

Imja, a fast-swelling glacial lake, is putting the entire Khumbu region in peril. The region,a popular destination for mountaineers from all over the world, will be swept awayif the lake bursts.Due to global warming, snow of the Himalayan region is melting faster and water is accumulating in southern valleys. Small piles of snow, hardly spotted in the 1960s, are melting and turning into big glacial lakes. Imja is one such lake.The Everest region is one of the hotspots of glacial melting in the Nepal Himalayas. Out of 20 potentially dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal, 12 lie in this region. A study conducted recently by the United Nations Environment Progamme (UNEP) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) states that Imja is the fastest-retreating glacier in the entire Himalayas.Spotted as a group of small masses of snow in 1962, Imja has now turned into a one-square-kilometre lake.“Imja is expanding at an alarming rate. It is growing by 74 metres a year,” says Basanta Shrestha, division head of the IKM-MENTRIS section of the ICIMOD.“We ought to see how the lake is swelling and inform people about it,” he says.To keep an eye on fast-swelling Imja, the ICIMOD has installed a pair of video cameras by the lake. These cameras take pictures of the lake every 10 minutes. Lake’s rising level is recorded on a website through wireless internet and satellite.“After a year-long experiment, we have begun monitoring the lake through remote sensing. Now we can at least see what is happening there and make locals aware of any impending tragedy on time,” he says.“The formation of glacier lakes and many other changes in the region may or may not be due to global warming, but we need to have some scientific database to predict possible accidents,” Shrestha maintains.
source: the himalayan times

Monday, May 5, 2008

Khumbu Climbing School

Khumbu Climbing SchoolBy Amendra Pokharel, Photographs by Sonam

Most climbers, including veterans from the West and other parts of the world, openly express their amazement at the naturally acquired skills of the Sherpas in climbing the mountains. Among the Sherpa climbers who die in the upper reaches of Himalayas, quite shockingly, 80 percent owe it to their scant knowledge and resources in climbing. Physical traits and physiological adaptability make the best climbers out of Sherpas, but the technical skills that elude them often result in fatal injuries. There is a school, fortunately, that takes this problem seriously and helps better equip the Sherpas in particular, and others interested in mountaineering, to the techniques of climbing. The school does its best to accommodate everyone registered for its two weeks training program, though its primary objective is to prepare Sherpas to become better climbers and therefore better guides, thereby reducing accidents and helping them earn a better living.The Khumbu Climbing School (KCS) was set up in the memory of the great American alpinist Alex Lowe by his wife Jennifer Lowe and best friend Conrad Anker in 2003. Alex Lowe died in an avalanche while climbing Shishapangma. He was caught in the avalanche along with Anker and a third member of the expedition, but Conrad somehow dug himself out and survived, and later joined hands with Lowe’s wife to establish the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation that runs the school. The annual training program takes place in the winter, starting from mid-January, at a climbing site located at 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in the Khumbu village of Phortse. Depending upon the number, trainees are divided into groups of eight to ten. Three instructors (two foreign and one Nepali) are assigned to look after each group. For the initial five days the trainees are taught English language and a day or two of lessons on Extreme Altitude Medical Training. These trainings prepare the local Sherpas, who may have little or no knowledge of English, to communicate with the foreign instructors and rescuers when they face problems during the climbs. The medical training chiefly deals with bones, muscles and sicknesses resulting from altitude.

The Khumbu Climbing School is run with the support of mountaineering experts from the USA, Canada and other countries willing to volunteer. Donations from Outdoor Retailing Conventions in USA, which auctions mountaineering antiques twice a year, and from other interested organizations or individuals help fund the program. Two hotels close to the site of school’s makeshift camp have donated their land for a school office, which is to be built soon. On average the cost per candidate for the two weeks program is around NRs 18,000, which includes airfare, subsidized lodging, food and other expenses. The trainees are required to arrange for their own set of climbing equipment or rent it from the school’s store at Phortse for a small fee.The enrollment form for the climbing program is available for NRs 2,000 at Summit Trek Pvt. Ltd., Thamel, Kathmandu, each November/December. Contact Summit Trek by phone: 426.6217 or 426.0970.

English Department KCS.

From L/R Lila Bishop, Sonam, Lhakpa, Michael Sherpa

On the first day, the Lamas at a local monastery perform traditional prayers seeking the success of the program and safety of the participants. The instructors, the trainees and local people take part in the prayer. Even the equipment and accessories to be used during the climbs are brought together and consecrated beforehand. The prayers are also held at the climbing sites. After the prayers are over the trainees, finally, get to put on climbing gear—boots, crampons, ropes, etc., and are let loose to rock, and sometimes roll! Instructors are always at hand, though, leading, supporting and protecting the pack of rookies. The two weeks of strenuous training ends with a grand celebration in the tradition of the Sherpas of Phortse. The foreigners get to live through an all new experience as they taste Sherpa food, dress up Sherpa style and dance to Sherpa music. Phortse community members are highly supportive of the KCS’ activities and join in the celebration. After the training program is over each of the trainees receives a certificate of participation. Among those who have participated in the KCS program three times, the two best ones are awarded a scholarship to join National Outdoor Leadership program held in the United States.

Source: ECS magazine Nepal