NEWSLETTERS - Expeditions 2015

The Daily Moraine 2015 #8 - Return4 June 2015

Hi to all.

Return

It has been a hectic time since Everest as Himalayan Experience prepares to depart for Pakistan and our K2 and Broad Peak Expeditions. As we have already mentioned our Sherpa staff has a meeting and they decided that they wanted to continue with these expeditions. It appears that materials and tradesmen are scarce and that our Sherpa staff would have difficulties to repair their buildings in the coming months. The only Sherpa who was going to come to K2 who will not be coming is Phurba Tashi, but after the death of his mother and after the second earthquake his father’s house collapsed so this is quite understandable.

K2 / Broad Peak

It has been quite desperate to finalise the K2 / BP trip as despite starting our Climbing Permit Application in October last year, there have been serious hurdles to overcome. It became apparent that a Sherpa team that was on K2 last year argued with the Liaison Officers and therefore upset the authorities, which resulted in a ban for Nepal Sherpas to visit and climb in Pakistan. It has taken many visits, discussions and much letter writing with the Embassies in London and Kathmandu and the authorities in Islamabad to get this new direction overruled. So at last minute we eventually managed to get our Climbing Permits, and then there was a mad scramble by all members to get their visa’s. It seems that this has all worked out at the very last moment much to everyone’s relief.

Offices

I daresay that I need to thank Inmarsat for the poor reception at Everest Base Camp this year. Because of this I returned to Kathmandu the day before the earthquake and subsequent avalanche at BC. My communications tent is always on the highest ground in my camp in order to get the best reception, but this meant that this was the only Himex tent to be affected by the avalanche, blowing away my office / communications tent where I would normally be working. I hope for better communications and less wind next year !!

Some office pictures before and after.

Also our temporary office in Ktm.

And my last meeting with staff in Ktm one hour after a 5 scale aftershock, and one hour before I got on the plane to return to London. But still smiling.


L - R, Taxi Krishna, Office Kishan, Office Krishna, Makalu Cook Ganu, Everest Cook Puri, Office Chhuldim, Everest Cook Lachhu, Office Tamding, Heli pilot Jasen

Manaslu

Of course you will all be wondering if we will operate the Autumn season Manaslu expedition. I have discussed this at length with my office staff in Kathmandu and also with my Sherpa staff. We are all of the opinion that we need to continue with our planned expedition, and we all feel that it is important and vital to the survival of Nepal, our Sherpa staff and also our own company. There have been many discussions with the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal Tourist Board (NTB), Expedition Operators Association (EOA), Trekking Agencies Association Nepal (TAAN), and Ministry of Tourism and Mountaineering (MoT) all of whom are urging all trekking and expedition agencies to be positive and to carry on with programs as much as they possibly can in the immediate months and of course in the long term future as well. So we also have the support from all the local Nepal groups that are involved with tourism in Nepal.

It is my feeling that expedition groups are much more resilient and have more defined objectives than do trekking groups, so I see that it will be these expedition groups that will spearhead the revival of the tourist industry in Nepal. In fact expedition groups bring and spend much more money per person in Nepal than does the average trekker, and they also directly employ more local workers, so this is also a good reason for us to be continuing our expedition plans. Over the last few weeks I have had the chance to speak with many experts and advisors from New Zealand who have been involved with the two serious earthquakes in Christchurch (my home town), and the subsequent 16,000 aftershocks that they have experienced over the past 5 years. Their advice to me, and Nepal, is to try an carry on business as usual as best as you can, as this is what will give hope and will be the only way to bring back a stable economy, so I also need to listen to this advice.

On the ground in Nepal, I have been to see the Hyatt Hotel which has received superficial damage (as has practically every hotel in Ktm) but has been checked and certified that it is safe for occupancy. We have had reports from those who have visited Samagon that the “new village” is in good condition, although not surprisingly the “old village” which is many years old has suffered damage. It appears that there were no major avalanches at the BC which in fact is all on rock, and it also appears that some people continued to climb on Manaslu even after the earthquake this season.

I do have concerns about walking up and down the Kali Gandaki River but we as members actually never do this as we fly directly from Kathmandu to Samagon and back again, therefore overflying this area. And actually we had already decided even before the earthquake to take all our equipment and food loads in and out by MI17 the very large helicopter that can carry 2,500kg to this area this coming season. This is about the same price per Kg as for our equipment to be carried by porter and/or mule in this narrow valley, which is never easy right after the monsoon in any case.

So can I say that we have full intention to continue with our Manaslu Expedition, and I look forward to having a full team again this year.

Bigmoose

Today bigmoose is very proud to launch its first worldwide event! Sunday July 26th around the world people will join together and do the bigmoose walk for Nepal. So far we have bigmoose folk in Australia, New Zealand, Monaco, Spain, USA, Sheffield, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London all taking part. As we are all aware of the terrible earthquake in Nepal that has killed over 8000 people and devastated the country, we are going to be arranging a walk to bring people together to raise money to help rebuild. The plan is that we have people all over the world who organize a group of friends, neighbors, workmates, Facebook and twitter friends, to meet on Sunday 26th July, collect a £10 or equivalent currency per person to donate to the Sherpa backed earthquake relief fund which can be found here:
https://www.crowdrise.com/helpsherpashelpnepal

And then embark on a walk in their local area, which will give people the chance to socialize, get some exercise, and definitely complete their monthly moose.
http://www.bigmoose.co/monthlymoose/

This relief fund is arranged by the brand Sherpa Adventure Gear, and I have spoken to my Manaslu Sherpa with regard to the credibility of the brand, and having worn their clothing for the last five years I am a strong fan of their ethics and authenticity.
http://www.sherpaadventuregear.com/

If you would like to join in any of the walks in the regions mentioned, or would like to arrange your own bigmoose walk for Nepal please get in touch, and we will help you set something up. If you can’t attend or organize a walk, it would be great if you could share and like this message across your social media networks, as the more people around the world that get involved the better. Any ideas that people have that can help us grow this event as big as possible will be gratefully received as well. Please come and join us on this great event, and until we see you, Namaste.

Relief Fund

Please see our Relief Fund page.

Sorry the only thing missing is the bank details. I keep asking for these, but it seems that the bank in in no rush to help the people of Nepal.

Why we do not trust the Nepal Authorities

From an informer:
The Minister of Finance’s PA has been sacked. He was caught selling $35k of donated tin sheeting to a wholesaler. Caught because he wouldn't cut the driver in on the deal.

From a private aid project:
Returned yesterday from Nepal, having completed distribution of 220 shelters to various regions. Below are some photos from Nuwakot. We also delivered 65 shelters by plane, then jeep, then on foot to several villages in Solukhumbu. Those, and some additional Nuwakot photos (75 tents delivered in that area) will be posted in the next few days to the current set at:
http://facebook.com/kathmandutolangtang

You were correct, of course, At the request of Chabad Nepal, the foundation I work with sent 220 tents (12,000 lbs) through a local NGO. But for my letter of introduction from a UN agency, and after 18 hours over 2 days at Customs (and a sit down with the Army), we finally cleared Customs (yes a few dollars changed hands at an on-the-tarmac level at Customs, but it was very minor). Through the hard work of a cobbled-together network of volunteers, US Nepalis and locals, we were able to reach areas where no NGO had provided any aid. This had little to do with me, but is a testimony to the commitment of others who put their lives at risk to help others (I made one trip to Newakot and my New York sensibilities kicked in and I realized that I was way outside my comfort level! Glad I made the journey, but I gracefully demurred to a request to drive to Gorkha!)

Russ