Latest news from the Himalaya and Karakoram

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Good to be back in Kathmandu!

Photo: Thamel in Kathmandu

As usual it is good to be back in Kathmandu, the weather is sunny and warm so it is looking like a good start to the Spring trekking and mountaineering season. Climbers on Annapurna are taking advantage of these good conditions and are making good progress on the mountain currently fixing ropes between Camp Two and Three, check out Explorersweb for their round up of the latest mountaineering news from the Himalaya.

There have been several changes announced recently over the trekking permits for Nepal (called Trekkers Information Management System or TIMS). There are now two types: firstly organised group trekkers will be issued a blue TIMS card costing US$10 and secondly independent trekkers will be issued a green TIMS card costing US$20. TIMS cards will be checked while on trek so it is important you have these otherwise you might be returned to Kathmandu! The new TIMS rules are effective from April 1st 2010.

I read an interesting article this morning from the New York Times, the piece discusses the Annapurna Circuit and the impact of the new road on this classic trail, please click here to read the article At The Mountain Company we have been aware for a long time of this issue, we have been working hard developing our portfolio of treks to visit remote regions to avoid the ever increasing road construction in the hills of Nepal.

If you are looking for a trek with similar landscape and characteristics of the Annapurna Circuit you could consider the Manaslu Circuit to the east of the Annapurna Circuit. This trek starts at Arughat and finishes at Besishar the starting point of the Annapurna Circuit. Or for a more challenging alternative you could trek the Dhaulagiri Circuit that joins the Annapurna Circuit at Marpha however we then fly out from Jomsom so avoiding most of the road.

If you are looking to get away from the roads and busy trails then you should think about walking along the new Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT"), we are organising two sections of GHT firstly Upper Dolpo to Jomsom in April 2010 and Makalu BC to Khumbu in April 2011. Please get in touch with The Mountain Company if you are interested in joining one of these groups.

Roland Hunter

Monday, 8 March 2010

Everest climbing season Spring 2010

Photo: Everest summit at 8,848m

2010 Everest climbing season is coming up fast with most teams planning to arrive in Kathmandu towards the end of March. There are teams attempting to climb Mount Everest from both Nepal and Tibet this year however plans several people had for Everest traverses have not been allowed to go ahead by the Chinese authorities.

If you would like to follow the various teams progress on Everest for Spring 2010 then I suggest you take a look at Explorersweb and Alan Arnette’s site.

I wish everyone climbing on Everest the best of luck and a safe climb! If you are interested in visiting Base Camp then please take a look The Mountain Company’s website for our Everest Base Camp treks scheduled for March, April, October, November and December.

Roland Hunter

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sherpa Heritage House in Khumjung village in Everest region

The Sherpa Heritage House is located in the village of Khumjung above Namche Bazaar in the Everest region. This is the historic family house of Pertemba Sherpa and has become dilapidated over the years however retains the original features that are fast disappearing in the Khumbu as many houses have been modernised.

The house has been donated by Pertemba along with the household items and religious artefacts in order to preserve a traditional Sherpa home as a living museum and to showcase the ancient customs of family life and worship.

Pertemba Sherpa has climbed Everest three times and was honoured to be chosen as a guide to HRH Prince Charles on his visit to Nepal who has now agreed to become the President of the Sherpa Heritage Musem.

For further information please take a look at the Sherpa Heritage Museum website

If you are interested in visiting Sherpa Heritage Museum (when open) then please take a look at our Everest Base Camp trek.

Roland Hunter

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Our Upper (Inner) Dolpo to Jomsom trek in April/ May 2010

Photo: Upper (Inner) Dolpo

Is anybody interested in joining an adventurous reconnaisance trek exploring a remote region near the Nepal and Tibet border starting in late April this year? If so, please read on....

As mentioned in our New Year newsletter we are organising a trek to Upper Dolpo in Nepal from April 25th to May 22nd 2010. I am leading this trek along with several of our Sherpa guides.

Upper Dolpo is a remote region in northern Nepal where few other groups have visited, I have no doubt this trek will be a superb journey. The trail crosses a number of high passes as well as exploring unspoilt Tibetan Buddhist villages and monasteries along the way.

Most other trekking companies run the relatively easier Upper Dolpo Circuit whereas we plan to walk out on the remote and challenging trail to Jomsom along a section of The Great Himalaya Trail.

Upper Dolpo has near mythical status among travellers and was first written about by David Snelgrove in his book titled "Himalayan Pilgrimmage" and more recently by Peter Matthiessen in "The Snow Leopard".

Please get in touch soon if you would like to join our group, for more information on the Upper Dolpo to Jomsom trek

Roland Hunter

The Mountain Company