Nepali runners dominate Everest Marathon

Suman Kulung and Nirkala Rai have won the men’s and women’s category of Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon held in the Everest Region on Monday.

Kulung, who ferries loads of trekkers between Lukla and Everest Base Camp, completed the 42.195 kilometers race in 3:43:57 hours. The 26-year-old Kulung had secured third position in last year’s marathon. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Surendra Basnet and Bed Bahadur Sunuwar secured second and third positions, respectively, with the timing of 3:52:8 hours and 4:5:40 hours.

The highest marathon in the world begins from the Everest Base Camp (5,300 meters) and concludes at Namche Bazaar (3,450 meters).

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

The event is organized every year on May 29 to commemorate the first ascent of Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary back in 1953.

Similarly, Nirkala clinched the women’s title with the timing of 4:51:33 hours. Purnima Rai and Dawa Doma Sherpa finished in the second and third positions, respectively, completing the marathon in 5:07:26 hours and 5:37:43 hours. All the three ladies are from Solukhumbu district.

The top three finishers in both categories became richer by Rs 100,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively.

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

Pitor Hercog of Poland won the foreigner’s category with the timing of 4:38:22 hours. Robert Celinski, also from Poland, clocked 4:48:48 hours to secure second position, while French runner Fabrice Arman stood third with the timing of 5:28:30 hours.

Meanwhile, Nepal Army athletes clean swept the 60 km ultra-marathon. Tirtha Bahadur Tamang secured first position clocking 6:38:56 hours, while Mohan Dev Joshi (7:18:16 hours) and Purna Tamang (7:30:00 hours) secured second and third positions, respectively.

The top three finishers in the ultra and foreigner’s categories were given equal amount of Rs 100,000 Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000.

The event was organized by Himalayan Expeditions.

Source: Travelpress

Anniversary at Kalapathar with ‘Nepal is safe’ message

How do you celebrate marriage anniversary ?

Decorate your bedrooms, blow up balloons, cut cakes, go on a breakfast, lunch or dinner date, wear your favorite dress, throw party, plan traveling to different places and take pictures for memories. These are all what we do. But for David Richardson and Jessica Richardson who are based in California, United States and are currently working at Mauritius, planning for making their anniversary unique is a tough task.

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As people say that marriages are made in heaven, this couple wants to do something different, unique and heavenly as each year passes. They decided to come to Nepal in November back in January to celebrate our fifth anniversary as this is the best time to visit Nepal though our anniversary in on September 18. They planned to celebrate their anniversary at Kalapathar (5644m), feel the Everest (which they say is a part of heaven) and at all the UNESCO listed heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley as far as possible.

“Yes! What we dream has been materialized. Despite of the earthquake in April and the problems caused due to economic blockade, our dream came true and we didn’t find any difficulties celebrating our anniversary,” said Jessica after accomplishing their dream anniversary and having a photo shoot on their bridal wears at all the places.

Jessica added the only problem to them was fitting on the same bridal attire for the last 5 years. “It was indeed a challenge for us,” added David.

The couple said that they are highly inspired by the incredible warmth of the people here, their patience shown at the gasoline lines, their resilience and friendly behavior and then they fell in love with the mountains.

This couple who celebrated their first to fifth anniversary in Salzburg, Brussels, Rome Mauritius and Kathamndu Valley and Kalapathar respectively said that now it’s hard for them to beat their unique, memorable and most expensive anniversary in Nepal.

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“We were googling if anybody has celebrated their anniversary on bridal attire at Kalapathar but we failed to find out and hence we also feel that we have set a record on this,” David and Jessica said in a common voice.

“We are going back today, with a message that Nepal is safe, secure and beautiful as before despite of all the problems it is facing. Hey, travelers do visit this beautiful country now as there are less tourist in many mountains and you can enjoy a lot”, said David and Jessica.

Source: Myrepublica

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We will try our best to bring back Nepal to No 1

Glenn Rowley, founding director of UK based KE Adventure Travel was in Nepal for almost a month, visiting Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), among others. Kriti Bhuju of Republica talked to Rowley on how KE has been supporting Nepal for the last 30 years and how KE can help in the revival of Nepal’s tourism industry. Excerpts:

Glenn Rowley

How did KE Adventure Travel start its journey in Nepal?

I have always been into climbing and trekking. In 1984, I just wanted to see the mountains in the Karakoram Range in Pakistan where nobody had taken any trekkers or been to. We trekked to the K2 Base Camp. It took three weeks and we found it was one of the hardest trekking routes. After coming back, we decided to take a group there to share the Karakoram experience which became the basis for the companys name KE). We spent the 1984/1985 season there. About the time we finished there, they opened the Khunjerab Pass that connects Pakistan with China for the first time, traveled there and then down through Tibet on road and came to Kathmandu in October 1986.

I then had the idea of offering trekking packages to peaks in Nepal as nobody was offering this type of destination as a holiday. I then climbed Chulu East peak and trekked through the Annapurna Circuit. The following year we named our experience KE Adventure Travel. In those days all we were interested in were new trek routes, so we did Dolpo, Humla, Kanchanjunga, Makalau and the Mera Peak.

In 1989, I took our first group to Tashi Lapcha across Rolwaling and from Tumlingtar to the Mera Peak. We promoted many peaks beside EBC and ABC and it was only in 1990 that we became more commercial and advertised these two most sought after destinations.

You focus mostly on adventure travel holidays. How do you ensure that you can still bring guests during times of crisis like now?

Nepal was the number one destination for us until 2013 when we used to bring 700 to 800 clients a year here. When the earthquake hit, we stopped getting new bookings for Nepal, but we also had no cancellations. We called all our clients and told them that Nepal was safe and that we could still organize trips here. We convinced them not to cancel even as all other companies were canceling.

We did face a few problems as our Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had issued a travel advisory asking citizens to practice some cautions about coming here. So we contacted our insurers and they agreed to continue coverage for us for operating in Nepal despite the foreign office advisory. We told our clients that the FCO would change its advisory soon and it did change in October. Till then we didn’t have any cancellation. This way, we managed to bring guests and now we are focusing aggressively in promoting Nepal in the best ways we can.

How did your clients respond right after the earthquake? How many tourists have you sent to Nepal after April 25?

We have brought around 400 clients post earthquake but we couldn’t convince our clients until we got a proper picture from feedback of people who were still trekking here and enjoying the beauty of Nepal. So far, we have sent more than 15,000 clients to Nepal for trekking, of which 80 percent are from the UK and 20 percent are from the US. Nepal was our top selling destination among 200 destinations before April 2015 and now it has dropped down to Number 10 not only because of the earthquake but also as more people are showing preference for Europe these days. However, we are trying our best to bring it back to Number 1 again by spring 2016.

Its only old houses and structures that collapsed. Solid structures are the same as before. People were surprised with the smiling faces, fantastic quality of service and all the still standing structures as back in the UK they were still thinking that everything had collapsed. They found less traffic, easier roads to cycle around, and trekking areas quieter. Most of our clients think its the right time to come to Nepal.

How are you planning to pull Nepal back to your No 1 destination?

We did a Back to Nepal campaign a month ago, with pictures from Annapurna, Everest, Dolpa, Mera Peak, etc, showing that everything was good and safe here. We also launched a “Save Pound 100” campaign on November 17 for all our packages to Nepal for the spring if they booked before December 31 for the spring season, and before February 29 for the autumn. We have also waived rental charges on trekking equipment.

We have been posting best pictures of Nepal from Annapurna, Everest, Dolpa, and Mera Peak, among others showing travelers that everything is good and safe.

Through the Juniper Trust a partner organization of KE we have raised US Dollar 150,000 and are building 10 schools at various earthquake affected areas in Nepal.

In your opinion, what is the USP of Nepal?

Its people and their friendly behavior, smile and resilience, the weather, and definitely the mountains. Of our total clients, 20 percent are repeat customers to Nepal and they come back here for the people.

What should Nepal do in the current situation to revive the tourism industry? How can the government here support private companies like your who have been supporting Nepal?

First, solve the current problem and solve the supply crisis of daily essentials and fuel that has a direct impact on prices. Right after the earthquake, the monsoon started and nobody knew what the situations were like in the trekking areas. The government could have done a lot during the monsoon period to revive tourism for the autumn but nothing was done.

The government can facilitate getting climbing permits processed faster as it has become slower with Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) not giving permits now. The government can reduce permit fees for trekking peaks for even a year i.e. for 2016. The government can come bring out campaigns like “Free Permit Year 2016” or something like that which will help Nepal revive faster.

We are trying to extend the season in December and January i.e. the Christmas New Year season as prospective clients have holidays. The government should also think of extending the season.

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Source: My Republica

Finnish Rock Band, Sign Language Rapper Perform Near Everest

Finnish rock band Ancara and sign language rapper Sign mark performed in the foothills of Mount Everest over the weekend to raise funds for a music school for children with hearing disabilities.

Finnish Rock Band near everest

In this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 photo, Signmark, whose real name is Marko Vuo, in red jacket, who was born deaf, along with Olli Pekka, in blue jacket, performs with the Finnish rock band Ancara at Dingboche, a village at an altitude of 4,550 meters (14,900 feet) and a popular stop for trekkers and mountaineers heading to Everest and other peaks, Nepal. Ancara and the sign-language rapper performed in the foothills of Mount Everest over the weekend to raise funds for a music school for children with hearing disabilities. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)

Dozens of music lovers cheered the musicians at Dingboche, a village at an altitude of 4,550 meters (14,900 feet) and a popular stop for trekkers and mountaineers heading to Everest and other peaks.

The performers flew to Lukla, the only airstrip in the Everest region, on Nov. 3 and trekked to the village, stopping along the way to acclimatize to the altitude.

They had hoped to perform at Everest base camp, where climbers prepare for summit attempts, but Nepalese authorities said concert permits could only be issued for areas with settlements.

Signmark, whose real name is Marko Vuo and who was born deaf, performs his raps in sign language, sometimes with others speaking the lyrics. He has performed in dozens of countries.

Funds raised by the performances will support a music school in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

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Source: abcnews.go.com

Indian children say very excited to reach Mt Everest base camp

The two Indian siblings who successfully reached the base camp of the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, becoming the youngest climbers to reach the destination, on Saturday said the experience was “very exciting”.
Five-year-old Kandarp Sharma and 8-year-old Ritwika successfully reached the base camp situated at an altitude of 5,380 metres in northeast Nepal on Monday. “It was very exciting experience for me to reach the base camp,” Ritwika told reporters here. “We saw snow falling from the mountain there and also saw the Everest which was very close from us.” The siblings reached the base camp of the 8,848-metre peak accompanied by their parents. After reaching Kalapatthar, the children had chanted ‘Bharat Maata Ki Jay’ and hoisted the tri-colour.

india children reach everest base camp

First-grader Kandarp and fourth-grader Ritvika are students of Little Angels High School in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Both of them are national adventure sports players and are the world’s youngest siblings to scale such height. “It was a challenge for us and we have accepted it, without hesitation,” said Bhupendra Sharma, father of the two. Sharma, an adventure coach with 20 years of experience as international mountaineer, said: “Along with breaking the world record in mountaineering, the siblings also excelled in other sports including horse riding, swimming, parasailing, river crossing, jumaring, parallel rope traverse, flying fox, rock climbing and rippling where they have won many awards.”

Sharad Pradhan, media consultant of the Nepal Tourism Board, said the two Indian children have not only shown their love for mountains, but have also helped in promoting tourism in Nepal at a time when the country suffers in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in April. The Kalapatthar peak is higher than the highest peaks in the US, Europe and Antarctica. By reaching the base camp, Kandarp broke the record previously held by Harshit who had reached the base camp in 2014 at the age of 5 years and 11 months.

The successful expedition has send a message to world climbers that the Everest trekking circuit was not damaged by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated other parts of the country and claimed nearly 9,000 lives. Felicitations and greetings have poured in for the children from many countries. Despite the difficulty, the two kids showed courage as big as the mountains themselves and by climbing the mountain in this challenging time for Nepal they helped in promoting tourism.

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Source: zeenews.india.com

Naturally Nepal needs tourists now more than ever, says Peter Athans

In the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, one of the world’s foremost high-altitude mountaineers Saturday appealed to foreign visitors to come to Nepal as the country was in need of tourists now more than ever to revive its vital tourism sector.

Peter Athens

Talking to this daily, Peter Athans, who summited Mt Everest seven times, noted that it was an opportunity for global tourism to help Nepal in time of need as the country was always very welcoming to visitors and travellers.

Peter, who is also embarking on a three-week trip to Mustang with his team to explore ancient cave dwellings as well as to summit a few mountains in the region, said there were numerous things to explore in Nepal beyond the world’s highest peak.

“Tourism sector in Nepalis really hurting now after the earthquakes and visiting tourists can only heal it,” he said, mentioning that it was also high time tourists gave back to the places they visited.

The motivational speaker is also highly concerned about ongoing recovery efforts. He says they should focus more on community-based approach. “From a high-altitude worker to a tea house owner along the hiking trail, recovery and rebuilding efforts must mean something to them,” he said, terming the country a tourist-friendly host with a big heart and an even bigger resilience.

Saying that the resilient communities were still struggling hard to rebuild their lives after the tragic disaster, the country’s tourism goodwill ambassador also requested world media to highlight the ongoing rebuilding process as well as the country’s flora and fauna that remains untouched by the earthquakes to their global audiences.

“It’s not the time to repeatedly draw global attention only to the rubble and debris as three months have already passed after the quake shook the nation,” he said, referring to the findings of recent assessment that substantiate the fact that the country is a safe destination for visitors with its famed nature and culture. According to him, the disaster has also brought all stakeholders together in efforts to build back a better country.

Peter arrived in Nepal for the first time in 1981. He said he has been visiting the Himalayan nation every year and has also led numerous expeditions to the mountains. Being a strong proponent of Sherpa culture, Peter has documented Sherpa talents at high altitude in books and films as his name has been synonymous with the exploration of Mt Everest. “Nepal has now become my first home and not the second one.”

Peter, who has also been awarded the American Alpine Club’s David J Sowles Award (with Todd Burleson) for unparalleled bravery and selflessness during the May 1996 Everest disaster, also launched Magic Yeti Library project to support children’s education.

The Bainbridge Island-based mountaineer is also associated with Himalayan Cataract Project that brings eye care to cataract patients in Nepal and has recently authored abook, Tales from the Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest with Pete Athans. The highaltitude film-maker has earned credits on films for NOVA, National Geographic Society and also the feature film, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’.

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Source: The Himalayan Times