Tabei, first woman to scale Mt Everest, no more

Tabei, first woman to scale Mt Everest, no more

Junko Tabei, first woman to scale Mount Everest, has died at the age of 77.

Tabei was suffering from cancer for the past four years and died in the course of treatment at a cancer centre in a Japanese town of Saita, according Japanese Mountaineering Association.

Junko Tabei

Born in Japan on September 22, 1939, Tabei reached atop the Everest in 1975, becoming the first woman to ascent the highest peak in the world.

Breaking the sad news about Tabeis death, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association Ang Tshering Sherpa said the Japanese Mountaineering Association and Alpine Club confirmed the death of Tabei, saying she died three days ago.

Junko Tabei - the first woman to ascent the highest peak in the world.

He compared the death of Tabei as a huge loss to the mountaineering tourism sector of Nepal for Sherpa argued that Tabei adored the land housing Mount Everest.

Tabei has done many good works in the sector of mountaineering tourism. She has also contributed to advancing the cause of environmental conservation and played important role in the promotion of mountaineering tourism sector, admitted President Sherpa. With her demise, Nepal lost a good friend, he added.

Junko Tabei - The first woman to ascent the highest peak in the world.

Tabeis last visit to Nepal marked on April 30 this year when she led a Japanese mountaineering team to observe the golden jubilee of the first ascend of Mount Manaslu and Mount Lhotse.

Source: My Republica

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Despite concerns about safety and infrastructure following the earthquakes earlier this year, Nepal has gotten the all-clear for tourism, including on Mt. Everest.

Nepal-Kathmandu-Valley-cr-getty

Following devastating earthquakes this spring, Nepal has officially been cleared to welcome tourists again, just in time for peak hiking season. Miyamoto, a structural engineering firm, oversaw a survey of Nepal’s infrastructure that was paid for by the British government. They determined that the country—as well as Annapurna, Mt. Everest, and other places favored by international tourists—is safe to visit. While the Nepalese government, which counts on tourism money to help boost its economy, is happy about the news, not everyone feels the same way.

“Travel insurance is the major problem for us right now,” Shiva Dhakal, the owner of the Royal Mountain Travel tour company, told The Guardian. “Travelers from the U.K. are scared.” The survey’s methods also drew concern, as it was pulled together in a short amount of time, leading some critics to argue that it wasn’t entirely thorough.

But not everyone is put off. Tauck, a U.S.-based tour operator, has announced that its previously scheduled Nepal visits this fall will go on as scheduled. The 17-day itinerary is primarily across India but includes three days in Kathmandu. Tauck corporate communications manager Tom Armstrong told Condé Nast Traveler that he felt confident sending travelers back to Nepal after his own partners there had okayed the venues they would be visiting, including the famed Dwarika’s Hotel.”We’ve been in consultation with all of our partners in Nepal since the earthquake,” he said. “We sent one of our employees, who has been to Nepal many times, in [early] July to go visit all the places our guests visit on our tour. He inspected them and found that, much to his surprise, it was better than anticipated. Based on the media coverage, there were a lot of areas that were better than he expected them to be.”

Nepal Reopens Earthquake-Damaged UNESCO Sites

The Tauck itinerary in Kathmandu includes a flight seeing trip through the Himalayas, a Q&A with a Sherpa, and a visit to the historic village of Bhaktapur. It doesn’t involve any mountain climbing, one of Nepal’s riskiest outings. The only change to the itinerary, Armstrong reports, was a planned visit to Durbar Square, one of the UNESCO sites in Kathmandu that was seriously damaged during the quakes. It has been replaced with a visit to a similar monument in less-precarious condition. “It’s definitely not intended to be an adventure itinerary,” Armstrong added. “The Nepal component is much more about history and culture. Typically, this [tour] appeals to a seasoned traveler who is culturally curious, who has traveled extensively.” He believes that people who want to help Nepal’s recovery efforts should do so by going there and spending money, as tourism is such a key part of the country’s economy.

A second Miyamoto report, this one funded by the World Bank, is due this week. It’s also expected to say that Nepal is ready to welcome back tourists.

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Source: www.cntraveler.com

Most villages on Everest trail unaffected by quake: Report

A report prepared on the basis of structural, geotechnical earthquake damage and trekking safety assessment has concluded that most of the villages on the Everest Base Camp trail do not appear to have been affected by landslide hazards. The assessment entitled ‘Damage Assessment of Everest Region’ was conducted between June 27 and July 2 by Miyamoto International, a global engineering, construction management and project management company with funding from the International Finance Corporation.

everest_base_camp

“As there is no major damage, it is possible to begin trekking in the region. We have received the draft report and we have yet to get the final report,” said Tulsi Gautam, director general of the Department of Tourism, adding that the department will launch the report next week after getting full report.

According to the report, none of the nine suspension bridges assessed by Miyamoto engineers appear to have been affected by new geotechnical hazards. Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls, both above and below the trails, are undamaged as per the report. However, the engineers observed very little foundation damage to the buildings.

“As most of the trails and bridges are safe, we can resume trek from September after monsoon ends,” said Sagar Pandey, general secretary of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).

TAAN expects that trekking business will revive by 25 percent from August and more than 60 percent by autumn next year.

The report, however, notes that a number of villages like Phakding and Jorsale have significant existing rockfall hazard while Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore have been affected by very serious geotechnical hazards.

According to the report, the damage in the lower valley, below Namche Bazaar, is greater than in the upper valley as the slopes are generally steeper in the lower valley.

“In the lower valley, the damage tends to be concentrated on the true right side of the river. This is likely because the dominant defect orientations within the rock are dipping out of slope on the true right and into slope on the true left. This means that there are more kinematically feasible failure mechanisms on the right side of the river,” the report said.

The report further said that there may also be a seismic directivity effect since the true right of the river may have been shaken in a different manner from the true left as the United States Geological Society (USGS) modeling shows clear propagation of energy toward the east.

To manage risks associated with the hazards identified by the study, the team has recommended completing a detailed risk assessment study, including assessment of likelihood of failure, occupancy of specific areas of trail and villages, and combining these with hazard to assess the risk.

The team comprised of a structural engineer, a geotechnical engineer, a professional mountain guide, a project coordinator and an operations manager. It assessed 15 villages, 710 buildings and nine suspension bridges.

As per the report, out of approximately 710 buildings, earthquake damage of structural concern was observed in 120 buildings i.e. 17 percent, 83 percent of buildings can be given a green tag per Applied Technology Council-20/ Department of Urban Development and Building Construction guidelines.

The good thing, according to the report, is that most of the buildings that were damaged can feasibly be repaired and building owners have started reconstructing damaged buildings.

“The major concern is accommodation and the trails. As the trails are safe and the buildings, most of which are lodges under reconstruction, we can disseminate the message that trekking can resume in the region very soon,” said Pandey.

However, to provide training and guidelines during these critical months of reconstruction would greatly improve the overall built environment of accommodation structures on the trail, the report said.

“The owners also are facing severe shortages of cement, rebar and labor. Supply chains needs to be facilitated to ensure that these materials are readily available and that the quality of repair works will not be comprised due to these shortages,” the report stated.

Report highlights:

  • Many villages on the Everest Base Camp trail namely Lukla, Namche, Khumjung, Tengboche, and all villages above Dingboche do not appear to have been affected by landslide hazards.
  • Villages like Phakding and Jorsale have significant existing rockfall hazard while Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore have been affected by very serious geotechnical hazards.
  • None of the nine suspension bridges assessed by Miyamoto engineers appear to have been affected by new geotechnical hazards.
  • Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls, both above and below the trails, are undamaged.
  • Of approximately 710 buildings, earthquake damage of structural concern was observed in 120 buildings i.e. 17 percent and 83 percent of buildings can be given a green tag.
  • The damaged buildings can be repaired and building owners have started reconstruction.

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Everest Base Camp Trek among National Geographic’s World’s Best Hikes: 20 Dream Trails

Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Mt-Everest Base Camp

Hiker: Jim Whittaker, mountaineer

In His Words

I would recommend the trek to Everest Base Camp to anybody. The people are incredible, the scenery can’t be beat, and you get to take a look at Everest or Chomolungma, meaning the “Goddess Mother of the World.” It’s spectacular just to see the highest point on planet Earth. In 1963, it was a 185-mile trip. These days you can start by flying into to Lukla, a village at 9,000 feet with a slanted airstrip that makes for a hell of a takeoff and landing. In May, the rhododendrons are in bloom with orchids growing in them. There are guest houses on the way up. You can get a beer. There are waste baskets on the trail. They have done a nice job of cleaning it up. I made the trek to Everest Base Camp last year but had to turn back near the camp due to intestinal difficulties. I went ten years ago for the 40th anniversary of the climb with Gombu [Nawang Gombu Sherpa who summited with Whittaker in 1963] and our families. That is when my son Leif decided he wanted to climb it. Who knows, I might wander up there again. —Jim Whittaker

Length: About 40 miles

The Details: The two-week trek to Everest Base Camp and back has become increasingly popular—REI even runs a trip—but no less spectacular, if you don’t mind how much the route and the now-bottlenecked climb to the summit have changed since 1963. And why not? It’s a bucket list trip available to people who don’t have the ability (or money, a guided trip to the top of the world runs around $50,000) to actually climb Everest. Simply viewing the peak is a must. And while so many books and films have focused on the trip from Base Camp to the summit, the journey to Base Camp is no less miraculous.

Beyond the chance to come face to face with the mountain from the spot where climbers begin their ascent, the route passes through the heart of the Khumbu region and wanders into its bustling, little capital, Namche Bazaar. Perched at 11,286 feet, this is where most trekkers spend a few days getting acclimatized and immersing themselves in the local culture—as well as returning to their own by checking email at an Internet cafe. From here, the trek heads up past smaller villages, like at 13,074-foot Pangboche, with its famed Buddhist monastery, before topping out at 17,650 feet at base camp, with the summit towering over 11,000 feet above.

Don’t feel bad if climbers who are acclimatizing at Everest Base Camp seem to keep at a distance from you—they don’t want to be exposed to germs from trekkers before making an attempt at the highest spot on planet Earth. And while many trekkers are quite content just looking at that summit, some others, like Leif Whittaker, feel the urge to return.

When to Go: Spring from March until the monsoons move in in May is best but September–November after the monsoon season can be beautiful as well, and a bit less crowded.

 About Whittaker: Jim Whittaker became the first American to stand on the summit of Mount Everest on May 1, 1963, for which he and the members of his team were awarded National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal and invited to the White House by President John F. Kennedy. Before he climbed to the top of the world, Whittaker was already a proficient mountaineer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and like many climbing bums he worked in outdoor retail—he was the first full-time employee at Seattle’s Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI), and later its CEO. He also led the first successful American summit of 18,151-foot K2—the world’s second highest mountain and a more difficult climb than Everest—in 1978 and the 1990 Everest Peace Climb, which included American, Soviet, and Chinese mountaineers and helped remove two tons of trash from the mountain. His son Leif followed in his father’s footsteps, reaching the top of the world in 2010 and again in 2012 when Jim set out on the Base Camp trek with him.

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Source: National Geographic

Nepal trekking routes condition – update

Nepal trekking routes condition – update

Here’s the latest from our team in Nepal on the current state of many of the trekking routes and climbing areas. Overall, it’s a very positive message.

Nepal-trekking-updates

Dolpo – All the trails are intact. This area didn’t even feel the tremor of the earthquake. Just a few days ago a group flew to Phoksundo and walked back down to Juphal. Some private groups are still trekking from Juphal to Jomsom. Tarak Shahi, our contact in Juphal, says he has bookings at his lodge for this monsoon. All the locals are busy in Yarsa Gumpa harvest and traveling to high mountains to collect Yarchagumba (an aphrodisiac herb which earn them a fortune).

Dhaulagiri Circuit – No damage to the trekking trails, Karma Gyalze (one of our senior Sirdars) contacted the Tea house owner at Italian base camp and the Trans Himalaya lodge in Marpha. Similarly, Sirdar, Lhakpa ‘Tomato’ has checked on the trail from Beni-Darbang-Italian base camp, where there is no evidence of damage or changes to the trail. The locals who run little tea shops at Italian BC have just came down to villages for their off-season break.

Phu Naar – No damage to the trekking trails, but there is a section in-between Koto and Metha through the woods which is prone to rock fall. This appeared after the second earthquake, with locals warning of precaution moving across this section. BB Rai through local contacts confirmed that trail to Phu – upper route – Kangla pass – Manang are fine.

Annapurna Circuit – Mingma collected information through a lodge owner, Amrit Gurung, of the Thorong La lodge at Besisahar. The trails in this area are fine, though some sections are prone to landslides when descending to Jomsom via Tilicho Lake.

Annapurna Sanctuary – Mingma collected information through lodge owners at Chomrong, Bamboo, Himalaya, Deurali and Machhupuchare Base Camp. The trails are fine, with lodges running as normal. The owner of the Mountain View lodge reported that at least 2 to 3 groups were heading towards Machhupuchare BC every day.

Annapurna foothill trek – The owner of the Green View lodge in Ghorepani told us that the Annapurna foothill trek was accessible, the trails from Demuwa-Thulo Chaur-Jogikuti-Ghorepani-Tada Pani–Ghandruk and Nayapul are fine, with locals travelling from Ghorpani, Ullare to Jaljale to collect grasses for cattle, wild mushroom and dry wood almost everyday.

Mustang – Trails in this region are fine but most of the monasteries were damaged in the quake and a few collapsed. As per Ram Bista, a lodge owner at Lo-Mathang, the King’s Palace in Chharang and Lo-Mathang also suffered some damage.

Everest Base Camp – Local guide, Chogba, reported that the trail from Jiri –Shivalaya-Junbesi-Thaksindo–Kharikhola–Paiya- ukla or Phakding is fine, with the locals travelling along this every day. The trail near Phakding was blocked by a landslide about 20 metres wide, but the locals have already made a new trail which avoids it. The trail from Monjo to Namche is fine. Tenzing, the previous monk of Tyangbuche Gompa and the owner of Rivendale and Gomba lodge, said that a few lodges are damaged in Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Tyangbuche, Debuche, Pheruche, Dingbuche and Lobuche, but most of them have been rebuilt and are ready to business.

Mera Peak – Gyalzen TT and Dawa Tamang have contacted the locals in Khare. They said that there is no damage to trails but a few tea houses suffered damage. Rebuilding is in progress and all affected lodges are expected to be in working condition for the autumn season.

Island Peak – Conditions are fine, with a few people having climbed the mountain since the earthquake.

Kangchenjunga – Karma (Chinese) has contacted the locals in Yamphudin. The trail from Gopetar to Yamphudin and across the Sele La to Ghunsa is fine. Mingma also talked with Chungdak Sherpa, a lodge owner at the Kangchenjunga Guest house in Ghunsa. He said that the route above Ghunsa to Pangpema was fine, as was the route down to Taplejung and Suketar. The locals have been travelling back and forth along this as usual.

Rolwaling – no update as yet.

Manaslu – no update as yet, though reports are that much of the trail has been affected by the earthquake.

Langtang – as has been widely reported, the Langtang Valley was devastated by the earthquake. It is difficult to imagine trekking being possible here for some time to come.

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Source: www.jagged-globe.co.uk

Left intact in quake, Namche Bazaar awaits tourists

Left intact in quake, Namche Bazaar awaits tourists

Namche Bazaar, also known as the gateway of Mt Everest, that stood intact in the recent earthquake is now awaiting tourists.

Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists en route to the world’s highest mountain visit Namche Bazaar of Solukhumbu district every year to enjoy the scenic beauty of the place. However, rumors about devastation by quake have adversely affected tourism in the area.
Namche-bazaar
Angchhiring Sherpa, an hotelier, said, “Nothing except a few residential houses has been damaged here.” Fear among tourists is natural, especially after the strong aftershocks that followed the devastating April 25 earthquake. But Namche Bazaar, which stood intact in the quake, is without tourists these days. “Namche is still safe for tourists to visit,” Sherpa said.

Both the earthquakes of April 25 and May 12 have inflicted minor damage to Namche Bazaar area. Only around 250 private houses in the rural areas of Namche have been destroyed, while 150 residential houses have been damaged.

The news about complete destruction of Namche Bazaar is not true, according Angphinjo Sherpa, a civil society leader. “All the tourism entrepreneurs waiting to welcome tourists,” he said.

Namche is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. It has 53 hotels and lodges. However, only two people lost their lives at the Everest Base Camp due to an avalanche triggered by the earthquake.

Bikram Thapa, a local radio journalist, of district headquarters, Salleri, has recently reached Namche Bazaar for reporting after four hours of trekking. “I found Namche stood unaffected,” he told Republica. “I found half of a dozen hotels and lodges have developed cracks due to the earthquake.”

However, most of those tourists who were in the Namche area at the time of the earthquake have already flown back to their countries.

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Source: myrepublica