Volunteer Nepal charity non profit Service walks and projects Spring 2011
Volunteer Nepal charity non profit Service walks and projects Spring 2011
Photos in slideshow: Elselien te Hennepe, Murari Sharma, Lisa McClellan, Dan Mazur, John Vavruska, & Morris Prokop. For caption information on these photos, please visit our Service Trek photo gallery.
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Trip Summary: Thanks for following our just completed service trek and please be sure to join us for the next www.ServiceTrek.org . During that trek we will work with the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD) and walk the lush unspoiled green foothills near Mount Everest, spend fun time with friendly Nepali families who we have known for many years, stroll through uncut ancient forests and tiny terraced farms and clear flowing streams, visit and deliver crucial supplies to rural hospitals and schools, conduct medical checkups on patients (for our medically minded members), teach in the local schools (for those more educationally focused members), help build schools and a new health post (for the handy people among us), upgrade the village hydroelectric system, (for you electrical whizzes), experience ancient sherpa culture first hand, strategize with the villagers how to earn a better, safer, healthier, more educated life without wrecking the place and the culture, and spend valuable unforgettable moments in a land where we have never seen another tourist, far from the beaten path.
This is not a high altitude trek, and we will never set foot upon snow. The trails wind up and down through rolling hills and the highest altitude reached is 2800 metres, 9800 feet. Welcome to our next service trek, and please tell all of your friends to take a look at www.servicetrek.org and www.mefnews.org .
Welcome to our team, and thanks for your compassion, helping families living in the shadow of Mount Everest to help themselves with healthcare, education, cultural, and environmental preservation.
Our international flight was met by MEFSD staff and we went to our hotel. We all joined together in a meeting to discuss the service trek schedule and our expectations for the trip. Then we had a lovely meal together at a very nice restaurant. The next day we did a bit of shopping for missing bits and pieces of trekking kit, then toured around and saw some cultural sights, temples, neighborhoods, etcetera.
We boarded a small 18 seat plane and flew to the Everest foothills village of Phaphlu. The plane flight was included in the cost of our trip.
We walked up and down green hills for two days, and roamed on good sturdy paths across foothills through terraced farms, along rivers and valleys, through villages big and small and finally came to the Patale village spread out on the sides of sevaral hills. The people here grow wheat, potatoes, spinach, millet, and keep a few cows, goat and chickens. We saw lots of lovely forests, rare birds, and even some wild deer. We never saw any tourists, just friendly sherpa people, who were so incredibly welcoming to us. This is a poor region, so we stayed in our very own clean tenets each night, and ate delicious meals prepared with fresh local ingredients.
Everything about this trip was so healthy.
We stayed in Patale village and helped at the clinic and at the schools. I had never taught school before and was a bit nervous to stand in front of the classroom, but when I saw how polite and eager to learn the children were, my nervousness melted away. We had brought loads of clothing, shoes, books, paper, and pens for the kids. So we just broke these out and practiced alphabets, numbers, and we even had "art-class" where the children practiced colouring in drawings, making paper airplanes, etcetera. Also we had brought a few volleyballs and the kids loved practicing catching and throwing. back to top
Those of the more medically inclined helped out in the clinic and saw more than 50 patients with a variety of complaints. The clinic was fairly well stocked and we tried to diagnose and prescribe something for everyone. We saw some people who needed further treatment in a larger hospital and we helped to organise their transport there.
After a few days we carried on and walked for a few more days to the nearest road where we caught a bus back to Kathmandu.
Along the way we visited various schools and hospitals the MEFSD has interactions with.
Highlights of the trip: Amazing views of the Himalaya spread out across the horizon. We saw Everest and other massive peaks towering in the distance.
This was a low altitude trek so we never had to deal with high altitude, no headaches, no cold weather, no snow, etcetera. The greenness and unspoiled beauty of this place. It really is a remote area, and we never saw another tourist. Its hard to find a place like that any more. The people were so kind and caring and genuinely happy to meet us. They smiled a lot and were always singing and dancing. These are happy people! Something really special: we flew in and took a bus out, so we made a big loop through Nepal and were able to see a lot of the country, from the air, on foot, and by road. Afterwards, we felt like we knew a lot more about what Nepal really is. After the trip, we returned to our hotels in Kathmandu and it was very nice to enjoy a sumptuous feast and share stories and laughs with fascinating new friends. What a great group of people. We all really bonded and are still in touch over email, many months after the trip. back to top
This morning we woke up in the Kiji Village Hotel and had breakfast at the local restaurant. We visited Kiji school which goes all of the way up to the 12th grade, and were impressed with progress the school fathers and mothers have been trying to make since MEFSD first came here three years ago. A new building is nearing completion and solar panels and batteries are now in place, enabling a tiny computer center. We discussed further developments which are planned, such as library and teacher's hostel.
It looks like the project is coming along well and we are very excited that the MEFSD could become involved with the Kiji school and education administration office, as this is the headquarters of the district which contains 42 schools, 3 of which are Patale's Charmading school, Dhaurakharkha and Maidane schools, so the relationship between these three and Kiji is important. The MEFSD is hopeful that Kiji and Patale schools and educators will form a strong relationship for the future. back to top
Teachers and administrator and his daughter watch MEFSD director Murari Sharma completing sponsor paperwork at Kiji school. Computer room just assembled at Kiji school. Exterior of wood burning iron in Kiji, a town without electricity. Interior of wood burning iron in Kiji. New building to be used for teacher training. Solar panels on rooftop of Kiji school building to be replaced (Dan Mazur).
Today was our last day in Patale village. We began this lovely sunny morning by distributing clothing, shoes and toys kindly donated by Junos, Juniper Networks, Juliette Decena, Patti Pace, Stacey Clark Ohara, and Mitch Lewis.
The villagers had loads of fun figuring out who would get what, and it was really interesting to see how they organized themselves and conducted the progress in a calm and meaningful way.
After saying goodbye to everyone at the health clinic we trotted over to the Dhaurakharkha primary school to meet with the teachers and view the building, part of which is still under construction, after 3 years. Erik Petersen, www.theFitBar.com , Kevin Burke, Bellerina Yeo, Barclays Capital Singapore, Katharine Peacock, and her family and friends have kindly put forth a huge effort to make improvements to the school, and we discussed expansion of the school ground and adding ceilings to the rooms to add winter warmth to the students learning experience.
We said our goodbyes and shook hands, then we went off to visit an ancient and beautiful temple being restored by Maya Sherpa, Arnold Coster, and their families. It was really special to wander around this antique building and see all of the restoration work going on. It is indeed heartening and inspiring to see how much Maya and Arnold and their families care about cultural preservation.
Finally we wandered through the hills toward the village of Kiji, and we saw a lovely sunset, and it was the end of a fine day. back to top
The title of this photo is - 'Three Cups of Chang'. what more can i say. Ancient Buddha statues in Maya Sherpa's family gompa. Enjoying the walk through a temple laden valley in Ripal Village. Evening sky and sliver of sun setting over mount Gaurishankar above Kiji village. Following school kids on our trek to Kiji. Gyelze Sherpa and Puti Sherpa laughing and smiling at toys donated by Junos and Juniper Foundation. Thanks to Mitch Lewis and Juliette Decena. Head teachers 'office' at Dhaurkharkha school, with simple desk, file cabinet with toilet, poster of vehicles, rules on the wall, etc. Jamyang, health worker, and Jangbu, chief sherpa, show off photos sent by Junos and Juniper Networks. Jangbu Sherpa, carrying umbrellas in case of rain (it didn't rain) examines ancient paintings in Maya Sherpa's family gompa. Jangbu, and villagers, and Pasang and Nawang Nuri with clothing donated by Junos and Juniper Foundation. Thanks to Mitch Lewis and Juliette Decena. Kids and teachers at Dhaurakharka school with Murari Sharma and Jangbu Sherpa, directors of the MEFSD. Library corner, paintings, and statue (note the sword by the statue) in Maya Sherpa's family gompa New window and eve detail at Maya Sherpa's family gompa. Pasang, young boy with downs syndrome. MEFSD wants to raise awareness of how to care for people with disabilities (Dan Mazur).
Today started off sunny and bright and we walked down to the bottom of the Patale river valley and up the other side. We visited the health post sponsored by the MEFSD and met with the staff. Dati Sherpa, the new maternity nurse who's two year training was kindly sponsored by Katharine Peacock and family and friends is working there, along with Jamyang, Pasi, and their son Tenzing. It was really wonderful to see everyone again.
BIG NEWS: It looks like there is finally going to be a new healthpost for Patale village, after 7 years of renting in one of the larger homes in the village. Many thanks to Erik Petersen, www.theFitBar.com , Kevin Burke, Bellerina Yeo, Barclays Capital Singapore, Katharine Peacock, and her family and friends.
Tonight the sherpas hosted a lively party for us with lots of good music, costumes and dancing. They really put on a great show! Some of our climbing sherpas showed up to the party with their wives and children so it was a real family affair. Everyone enjoyed and stayed up to the wee hours.
Basically, the entire village turned out and it is wonderful to see how community spirited everyone is. back to top
Sherpani's studying photos of their husband's climbing. Anatomy posters bought by Pete, Inge and Mitch on display in the health post. Charmading Village, with new Charmading school at top of photo. Cleft palate surgery is provided by visiting doctors. Jamyang manages all of the medicine at the health post. Pasi Sherpa, health post director, holding Tenzing, and Dati Sherpa, the new maternity nurse. Nawang Nuri shows off his photos of him and his Sherpa pals in camp 2. Closeup of stone carving in a prayer wall, Patale Village. Sherpa dance party celebrating construction of the new health post. New Patale health post in progress, Many thanks to Erik Petersen, www.theFitBar.com , Kevin Burke, Bellerina Yeo, Barclays Capital Singapore, and Katharine Peacock (Dan Mazur).
We visited the local primary school. Called Maidane school, to see what the community would like assistance with.
The school is located in a gorgeous forest in a deep river valley, at the confluence of two rivers. It's a beautiful natural setting with big trees, rivers, birds, fish, and wild animals, but the school does not get a lot of sun. Attendance has been low as the school is dark and damp, there is no playfield, and several of the classrooms are extremely cold, wet, cramped, and have no windows.
The community leaders have requested the MEFSD help with enlarging and elevating the playfield, which currently has boulders jutting out of it and is beside a river, where a safety wall needs to be installed to prevent children from falling into the river. One of the classroom buildings is newer and satisfactory, but there is an old original building which is very tiny and needs to be enlarged to incorporate two new classrooms with windows. The cost of the project is $2400 to enlarge the school ground and build the wall beside the river. The cost of the new classroom building will also be $2400, so the project total is $4800.
Ps. Special thanks to last autumn's service trek team (Mitch, Inge, Pete) for providing books and posters. We saw them in use by the kids and teachers.
Everyone seems to love them. Nice work!!!!!! back to top
Students, teachers, MEFSD directors and community leaders at Maidane school in Patale. Dorje the mayor of Patale, walks on the school ground which will be elevated. On his left is the tiny dark school building which needs to be expanded. MEFSD directors and community leaders discuss what to do about the school ground elevation at Maidane school, while students and teachers look on. Rear wall of too small classroom, this is where the classroom is going to be expanded by 2 metres, 6.5 feet. Beautiful covered bridge that Maidane school kids cross daily. Kids in the Maidane classroom. on the wall please note posters purchased by last service trekkers and colourful books also. The kids and teachers love them. Overhead view of Maidane school, playing field at top of photo. Too small classroom is clearly visible. Pemba Tsering, 4 year old resident of Maidane, is part of the next generation who will benefit from school improvements (Dan Mazur).
Today we visited the high school being supported by MEFSD. It's called Charmading school and it has 400 students and ten teachers. It is the only high school of its kind in the region. The nearest high school of a similar type is a two walk from the village, certainly not on option for families who want their kids to be close to home or families who cant pay expensive boarding fees.
The MEFSD has been strongly supporting this school as it's the only way for local kids to advance their education beyond the 4th grade, or class, at the local primary schools.
During our visit to Charmading high school, we were impressed with the large turnout of students, near perfect attendance of the teachers, new solar system installed, completion of the building construction with new stairway, veranda, new ceilings. During our meeting with all of the teachers, they expressed their concern that the government and teachers union have agreed that a high school teacher will now earn a mandated $2800 per year ($233 per month). That is a 300 percent increase in what we were told they earned two years ago.
Of course, $2800 per year is nothing compared to western standards. The teachers also told us they need white boards in all of the classrooms, at a cost of $40 each, to include the boardmarker set. We estimate 20 whiteboards are needed to equip all of the classrooms and teacher offices in the district. They want to begin teaching computer classes as soon as possible.
Laptop computers are needed, with at least a Pentium 2 processor, 500 megabytes of ram, a 20 gb hard drive, and a good battery. Along the way to charmading which is 30-60 minutes walk from Jangbu's house, we visited various families and a lovely little preschool built by some generous Korean people. back to top
Tenji's wife's mother making butter tea for us. A building engineer in Charmading built his own 'smokeless' stove, with an electric fan. Charmading school. new building on right, with solar panels on roof. Children in the new korean preschool in Phapre. Jangbu holds the whiteboard example. 20 like this are needed, with bordmarker sets, at a cost of $40 each. Brand new solar charging system at Charmading school. It's a 1100 watt system. Jangbu, director of MEFSD, speaking to teacher at new Korean school in Phapre. Lots of children follow us from Charmading school. MEFSD directors Jangbu and Murari with teachers and staff of Charmading school. Murari Sharma, director of MEFSD speaks with Charmading head teacher Tej Narayan Chaudhary (Dan Mazur).
We awoke in Kamding village to find out that we were heroes, as Elaine Smith had been here on an MEFSD Service Trek a few years ago and taken photos of their children and then sent the prints back up to the Kamding villagers with a subsequent Service trekking group. The villagers remembered us and lined up to have more of the pictures taken. They wouldn't let us leave easily, and kept tugging at our sleeves needing more photos. Amidst the flurry of photography, they told us that their livestock herds are being visited by a large jungle cat which has been eating their goats and just yesterday, devoured half of a goat. We counciled them on not shooting it immediately, but instead contacting the wildlife service about what should be done. These jungle cats are rare.
Then we walked to Jamphre village along a rolling ridge and really enjoyed the greenery, and lovely old growth forest and the numerous flowers and abundance of wild orchids. Finally we walked through the big trees and grassy hillsides to come down to the first large wheat fields that surround Patale village herself, and we saw the houses sprawled across the hillside with a little cloud on top. It felt like a heartwarming homecoming and we look forward to our days in Patale, where we will work to build more schools, hospitals, and environmental projects.
Thanks for following our dispatch and please stay tuned for many more.
Namaste! back to top
Beautiful uncut old growth virgin forest in Jamphre. Bright yellow flower along the trail. The hallmark of our service trek. Closeup of orchid living in Jamphre old growth uncut virgin forest. Local villagers pose for a photo in Kamding. A carved Buddha prayer stone set into a niche in a wall along the trail. Little girl standing beside a cow shed near Patale village (Dan Mazur).
Today we flew from Kathmandu to Phahplu. The weather was pretty good, with only a few clouds and a smattering of rain. Our flight was unusually early, at 7:00 am. After a 30 minute flight, we had a bouncy but safe landing on the dirt airstrip. Phaphlu was the original airport for Mt. Everest before Lukla airport was opened.
After a nice breakfast of chapattis and eggs, we set off walking down the hill to the big village of Salleri and saw that several new houses and a new road are being developed. This part of Nepal is slowly beginning to develop and its going to be interesting to see how the MEFSD is a prt of this development, helping the local people to help themselves with health care, education, environmental and cultural preservation.
We walked down to the Siti Khola river and saw the hydro power station. Lots of water is in the river, in fact, the overflow spillways in the dam are very full, so there is more water in the system than the tiny turbine can handle. Then we walked up the hill to Dungopa and had a delicious lunch. After lunch we walked to Meran Ding, where the famous British climber Doug Scott has built a beautiful large health post and school, and we thank Doug Scott for his very generous support given.
We went down to Shisha and had tea and biscuits in this quaint riverside Tamang village, then climbed the big hill to KamDing, where we enjoyed our evening meal and fell asleep on beds in the lodge.
As I lay in bed and drifted off, I reflected on all of the gorgeous greenery I had seen today, with lovely flowers, trees, numerous birds, giant trees, and very healthy crops of corn and potatoes. We had even seen a lovely wild forest deer. It had been a truly beautiful day. back to top
Deep red rhododendron flowers in full bloom along the trail to Shisha. This hospital and school were built by Doug Scott, the famous British mountaineer. Kids swimming in the Shisha Khola river on a warm afternoon. The water is freezing. Murari Sharma, director of the MEFSD, admires rhododendron trees in Shisha Khola (Dan Mazur).
One of the community leaders, Kanure Sherpa, has asked the MEFSD if they would help improve the electricity situation in the village. Electricity is one of the things that helps people stay in their village through improvement in the quality of life. Electricity is very important for the children's studies, especially when they are learning advanced subjects in high school. The current source of electricity in Patale for 92 houses is a tiny 5kw generator fed by a stream which trickles from a spring in the jungle above the village. This amount of electricity is insufficient for the 92 houses and is already overloaded, even though it only runs a few hours each night.
MEFSD wants to convert the current 5 KW system to 10 KW. The cost of the original generator and control system was $4000, and the pipe and installation, plus construction of the powerhouse and stringing the wires to the 92 houses was $11,000. MEFSD estimates that upgrading from 5 KW to 10 KW will cost approximately $7000 to include new generator, new control system, extending the water pipe a further 100 metres up the hill to increase water pressure, and building a new water tank. back to top
Inside the Patale powerhouse is this poster of Vishwakarma, the god of industry. Interior of power house. The pipe can remain the same but the turbine will need to be upgraded to 10kw. Murari Sharma, director of the MEFSD, about to step into the Patale hydro plant. Murari Sharma, director of the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development, looking at Patale village sprawled out a cross the hillside, with clouds above. (Dan Mazur).
Today the greenhouse planning team met in the Kathmandu offices of the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD). The team consisted of: Jimpa Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Deha Shrestha, and Murari Sharma, unfortunately, team leader Marcia Macdonald could not be in attendance as she was working in a different greenhouse in a different part of the world.
During the meeting, the greenhouse team reviewed plans for the new greenhouse at Deboche Convent, so the nuns can do a more effective job of growing their own food. Mingma Sherpa, project leader, expressed concerns about occasionally heavy snowfall in the leader and also that we are unsure how well the nuns will take up this idea, so we should build the greenhouse very strongly with materials all imported from Kathmandu. Mingma said we should not use any locally available materials, such as wood from the forest for the frame, as we don't want to anger the national park officials, in case this first greenhouse does not work out and the greenhouse falls into disuse. In that case, at least we did not waste any valuable and limited forest resources on the project. However, this means that the cost will be increased, as we have to import iron pipe from Kathmandu.
The team made a rough estimate of costs (attached photo) and feel that the project might cost around $5000 (five thousand us dollars). As you can see from the attached estimate, transport is nearly half the cost. Thus we can see the pitfalls of working in remote areas, transport cost is extremely high. back to top
Deha, Mingma and Murari studying various designs in Marcia Macdonald's greenhouse book. Greenhouse team holding Marcia Macdonald's books, left to right- Jimpa Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Deha Shrestha, Murari Sharma. Hand drawn greenhouse estimate of costs. Deha checks out Marcia Macdonald's greenhouse book (Dan Mazur).
Today we awoke in Jorsalle village and had a lovely breakfast on the terrace of the teahouse. We enjoyed touring their immaculate garden and seeing all of the healthy vegetables and flowers. Then we set off and wandered down the trail through Monjo, Chumoa, Benkar, Tak Tak and stopped in phakding to eat yummy momos and chow mein. We continued on through Ghat and Tara Koshi, and finally climbed the big hill up to Lukla, arriving in the afternoon.
It was a lovely sunny day for a trek and we our emotions were bittersweet. It was a relief to be at the end of our trek, but also sad as we had become wedded to the Khumbu and her mighty mountains and majestic valleys and vistas. Thanks for following our trek! back to top
Woodcutters carrying firewood over the Monjo bridge (Dan Mazur). Gompa in the cliff side at Cheplung (Dan Mazur).(Sujata Karki). Hermits hut in a cave at Jorsalle (Dan Mazur). Dan enjoying daisies in Jorsalle (Sujata Karki). Lovely rosebush in Ghat village
Today was a big day for the sherpa people, the 50th anniversary of the Hillary school in Khumjung. There were volleyball tournaments, sherpa dancing and music performances, and lots of tea and momos and other sherpa treats. We enjoyed the wonderful sherpa hospitality, then at the end of the day walked down through some premonsoon clouds to Namche and Jorsalle village. back to top
Volleyball judges watching the game and the trophies. Belgians have done some great things at the Hillary school. At the gate to the Hillary school. Celebrating 50 years of education, 1961-2011. Generous Japanese government and private association built the boarding facilities at the Hillary school. Generous Korean alpine club donation built the computer centre. Massive crowd of sherpas make up the audience at Khumjung's 50th. Gudel village vs Solari village at the Hillary school 50th anniversary volleyball tournament. New style 'community policing' in Namche.Namche as seen from above. Sherpanis dancing up a storm at Khumjung 50th anniversary party. Shrine inside the school to the man himself. An alpine plant flowers in the premonsoon near Namche (Dan Mazur).
Today was a lovely day for walking, and we made the trek down the Everest basecamp trail, strolling from the village of Pangboche to Khumjung. We wound down the mountain at a leisurely pace, along the lovely green trails sniffing wild roses, hibiscus, and rhodendron flowers.
Along the way, we popped in for a visit at the Deboche Convent, Nepal's oldest (built in 1925), where 9 nuns currently reside and pray daily, grow their own food and eke out a simple life in the middle of a gorgeous pristine forest at the base of mighty Ama Dablam just a stone's throw from Mount Everest. Thanks to Marcia MacDonald and her generous friends and the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD), the convent is being ever so slowly rebuilt, but lots of help is needed. The current project is to construct a greenhouse which will hopefully be completed in 1 month, and the most recently completed project was a waterline from a nearby waterfall requiring 1 mile of pipe to be carried in for 10 days from the nearest road and to be dug in and installed by 17 workers. Today we stopped at the convent for several hours and shared a lovely cup of tea with the 9 nuns in residence.
They are so inspirational in the way live their simple lives. The oldest is around 70 and the youngest must be 30. they also have an ex-nun who is trying to teach them to speak Nepalese, as these 9 nuns speak Tibetan. So we toured around the convent and looked at the status of the various projects which Marcia MacDonald and the MEFSD are working on.
Our guides for the tour were three nuns and Tenzing from the Paradise Lodge. Tenzing has also been working hard to help the sisters. They showed us the big water tank they want to put on the roof above the kitchen, in case the flow runs dry. They also showed us their choice of spots for the new greenhouse location which we are very excited will be finished during the monsoon, thanks to Marcia MacDonald and Mingma Sherpa. During our tour of the convent, we looked at several buildings which are nearly ready to fall down, they are so in need of repair. We hope volunteers will come forward with ideas for these buildings, before it is too late.
Marcia had a brilliant idea make one of them into a retreat centre. What does everyone think of that? Jangbu Sherpa, the foreman of the September 2010 waterline crew, hiked up to the source of the waterflow to check out the new smaller water tank that Tenzing installed, to take advantage of the low flow situation. Its an ingenious application of low-tech that works fine in the premonsoon trickling water situation. The original big concrete tank built in September 2010 can be put back into play when the rain starts pumping out of the sky in a few weeks.
As we walked away from Deboche, and said goodbye to the sisters, we marveled at the powerful beauty of their homeland, the massive forest which has somehow been saved from firewood cutters against all odds, a forest which shelters a multitude of rare plants and wildlife, including one of the last remaining herds of Musk Deer. Perhaps the Nuns of Deboche can not only be spiritual shepherds for their local flock of sherpas, but perhaps they can also be stewards of the land and guards of the forest. back to top
Trekkers walking the lovely path to Mount Everest through rhododendron forests near Deboche. Closeup of rhododendron flowers near Deboche. Delicate flowering hibiscus tree in the forest at Deboche. New water source tank at Deboche. Tenzing from the Paradise Lodge has discovered that the smaller plastic tank is more effective than the original large concrete tank. Nuns making hot milk tea in the new kitchen provided by the Mount Everest Foundation. One of the Deboche convent houses which requires refurbishment. Any takers? Overhead view of the new drum Tenzing installed as water tank at the Deboche water source. Tailor repairing clothing in Deboche along the trail to Everest basecamp (Dan Mazur).
Hi there. Today we had a fine trek down the Khumbu Valley. We started at the highest village of Gorak Shep and worked our way down through the world's most famous valley through the villages of Lobuche, Pheriche and finally to lovely Pangboche village. It was truly a homecoming journey for us.
Along the way we saw up close and personal the mighty peak of Ama Dablam, elevation 6800 metres / 22,300 feet high. It was so exciting to see this fine peak, which is known as Asia's most famous rock, ice and snow peak. Ama Dablam is also called the "Matterhorn of the Himalaya".
If you or someone you know enjoys technical climbing which is safe, secure and accomplishable, then you may wish to consider trying Ama Dablam. Although during the time of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's ascent of Everest, Ama Dablam was considered to be "unclimbable", with today's modern techniques, this world's finest peak can be climbed in just 30 days from 10 October to 10 November, the season of the year with the best weather.
Ama Dablam is for everyone from the novice, to the intermediate, to the expert. In fact, on our last expedition (October-November 2010), 12 out of 14 members reached the summit! While most of Ama Dablam is considered easy rock and snow "scrambling", the toughest climbing grade on Ama Dablam is just 15 metres / 50 feet high of grade French 4, Uk Severe, and North American 5.6 . One of the most important things to remember about Ama Dablam, is that is all climbed on good fixed ropes, which are securely attached to the mountain from camp 1 to the summit. Thus, the mountain can be climbed and descended very safely, leaving the climber to experience the challenge of high altitude on Ama Dablam's fine solid granite rock and stable secure snow and ice. Welcome to www.AmaDablamClimb.com !
Please recall that we have conducted 15 Ama Dablam expeditions in 14 years, and our friendly and skillful leader Max Kausch from England is a real professional (this is his 3rd Ama Dablam expedition). We have very experienced sherpas to help us, our equipment is excellent, we serve delicious meals in basecamp and on the mountain, we maintain a cook in camp 1 to help everyone summit, each member has their own individual tent in Ama Dablam's beautiful grassy basecamp, and the trek to basecamp is extremely stunning, following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The view from the summit is amazing, with a stunning look at Mt. Everest herself, as Ama Dablam is just 20 kilometres / 12 miles from Everest. Our price is very affordable and it includes round trip internal flights! Welcome to our team and please ask us lots of questions, be sure to tell your friends (we offer cash rewards for bringing us new members) and see you at www.AmaDablamClimb.com !! back to top
Ama Dablam as seen from Khumjung Village. Trekkers doing their thing in front of Scott Fischer's memorial, Ama Dablam towers in the background on the left. Trekkers eating lunch in Dughla Village (Dan Mazur).
Today dawned cold and stormy in basecamp. Everest towered above us and as the sherpas brought tea to our tent at 6:00am, a huge cloud blew across the mountain and sprinkled snow down. The sherpas say the cloud came from Tibet.
It seemed the mountain was urging us to leave, chasing us away with a final blizzard. We hurriedly packed and dismantled basecamp. The yaks had arrived last night and their tenders fed them piles of grass, and we rushed around getting everything ready amidst tinkling yak bells. The sun finally came out, just in time for the pollution control people to come and present us with a letter stating we owed an exorbitant sum of money for the amount of waste we had generated, and they had hauled down, during our expedition.
Finally everything was ready and we said goodbye to basecamp and a pretty tiny red bird came to flit round our camp and bid us farewell. We walked down through the Khumbu Glacier to Gorak Shep, the nearest village to basecamp at 5050 metres. Along the way we took photos of glacial lakes for Doctor Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj, who is studying glacial recession in Nepal.
Upon reaching Gorak Shep we had lunch then went outside to spend the rest of the day taking measurements and photos of buildings for the Mount Everest Biogas Project, which is basically a group of engineers trying to figure out how to convert all of the human waste in basecamp and at Gorak Shep into usable cooking gas and valuable farm fertilizer. While wandering around Gorak Shep we were reminded of the challenges faced by high altitude tourism on Mount Everest. There is a huge trash dump that burns and processes rubbish for transport to lower environs and also we saw porters trying to get water from a trickling spring that our team studied last year, in 2010, and found to be contaminated. We spoke to them and asked what they thought about the water quality. They said that it was not very good and they had to carefully boil it, but that this water was easier to obtain than that from 40 minutes further away. So it was good to hear these porters were informed.
Indeed there are challenges faced by having this burgeoning village at such a high altitude near Mount Everest. Nevertheless, we find it encouraging that people seem to be aware and are trying to do something to improve the environmental conditions on our world's highest peak. Thanks for following our trek down the khumbu valley and we look forward to speaking to you tomorrow. All of the best for now, from Dan Mazur at www.SummitTrek.com . back to top