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NEWSFLASH - May 2009

International Mt Everest Day celebrated
May 30th: Ministry of Tourism and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in association with various organizations involved in mountaineering jointly observed the International Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) Day on Friday 29th May. International Mt Everest Day celebrates the first ascent of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.

Furwa Tamang wins Tenzing - Hillary Everest Marathon
May 30th: The seventh Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, the world’s highest altitude marathon was held on 29th May, 2009. 21 year old Furwa Tamang emerged as the winner by finishing the race within 3 hours 40 minutes 47 seconds.Among the women participants Mingma Chhongi Sherpa came first. The participants covered a distance of 42 km stretching from Everest Base Camp (5356m) to Namchebazar (3400m).

Fishtail Air's base in Simikot
May 28th: Fishtail Air has decided to base its AS 350 B2 helicopter in Simikot from June to September, considering the increase in the number of Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarover area. According to the company, AS350B2 was flown to Simikot (2910m) airstrip, earlier this morning and is waiting to start its first operation.

Heavy Snowfall reported in Everest Region
May 27th: Continuous snowfall has been reported in Everest region.Climbers are leaving south side BC in a hurry. According to reports the last wave of climbers summitted Everest on Saturday ,as the weather window closed and conditions rapidly turned for the worse.

New Product - Tukuche Peak(6,920m) Expedition
May 25th: Mt. Tukuche is a spectacular peak situated in front of Dhaulagiri 1 and the Annapurna range.Due to its remote location and the seriousness of the terrain, the area is seldom visited by commercial trekking groups.Our summit attempt for Tukuche Peak begins once we reach Yak Kharka. More details.

'No' to concrete buildings in Ghandruk
May 25th: Ghandruk village which falls under the Gurung heritage trail within the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)has banned construction of concrete buildings. ACAP and Local Tourism Management Committee have issued the directive to conserve the originality of the traditional Gurung village that is known for stone houses with stone roofs, after a surge in construction of concrete buildings of late.

Face to Face with Kinga Baranowska
May 24th: Climbing with CAVAPLAND Kanchenjunga (8,586m) Expedition team ( logistics organized by Explore Himalaya), Kinga Baranowska became the first Polish woman climber to reach the summit of Kanchenjunga on 18th May.EH met up with Kinga on the eve of her departure for a short interview at Hotel Vaishali. (Interview)

Tenzing- Hillary Everest Marathon
May 24th: TheTenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, the world's highest altitude race, will be held on 29th May. The participants will have to cover the distance from Namchebazar (3400m) to Everest Base Camp (5356m). Till now 61 participants have registered their names. The registration is open till May 25th.

First Everest summit from SW Face
May 22nd: South Korean climber Park Young-Seok reportedly summited Everest on 21st May, via a new route on the difficult and technical SW Face.

Apa's 19th Everest summit
May 22nd: Apa Sherpa reached the summit of Everest on 21st May for the 19th time breaking his own record for the highest number of ascents.

More Everest summits
May 21st: Alltitude Junkies Everest expedition member Pam Westgate (UK) and climbing sherpa Chewang Palden Sherpa topped Everest this morning at 6:30am(local time), according to latest reports from BC.

Everest summit by Altitude Junkies
May 20th: We have just recieved information that four members and five sherpas have successfully reached the summit of Everest.Phil Crampton(UK/USA) summitted yesterday (19th May) while three members-1. Charles Scott Woolums (USA), 2. Brian Russell Strange (USA) and 3. John Robert Strange(USA)and five sherpas - Pemba Sherpa, Jangbu Sherpa,Da Ongchu Sherpa ,Namgyal Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa summitted today. Explore Himalaya( logistic organizer for the group) congratulates the successful team members!

KMC plans to turnThamel into a 'vehicle-free' zone
May 20th: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is planning to declare the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square and Thamel as vehicle restricted zones.According to KMC the roads in these areas will be paved with stones and linked with various temples, palaces and monuments in the areas to develop it as a heritage walk. Three special parking areas near the two tourist sites will be developed to make this project successful.

Lhotse's first 2009 summit
May 20th: Lhotse(8,516m) the fourth highest peak in the world has been topped. The sherpa who was fixing rope for the IMG Lhotse Expedition was the first to reach the summit on 19th May.Chhewang Lendu Sherpa(Khumjung), Gregory Vernovage (USA) and Philippe Robin Arslanian (France) reached the summit this morning at 7:45 am.

CAVAPLAND Kanchenjunga (8,586m) Expedition
May 19th: We have received information from the base camp that three members of the CAVAPLAND Kanchenjunga Expedition led by Oscar Cadiach Puig have successfully reached the summit of Kanchenjunga. Juan Jose Garra Lorenzo (Spain) and Kinga Baranowska(Poland) summitted yesterday(18th May), while Alberto Cerain (Spain) summitted today, a few hours ago. with her ascent Kinga became the first Polish woman to ascend Kanchenjunga.Oscar Cadiach Puig (Spain) and Julen Gotzon Anton(Spain) will  try to top it tomorrow. Explore Himalaya( logistic organizer for the group) congratulates the successful members and wishes all the best for the summit push to the rest!

Everest from North side Topped
May 19th: Mt Everest from the north(Tibet) side has been summitted by Japanese members of Kanagawa University Team, Yasunori Tanaka (57) and Kenta Miyamori (28) today at 10:45 AM, according to an Everest news report. This is the first Everest summit from north side this spring.

Chocolate Tasting Project at Everest
May 18th: Belgians Louis-Philippe Loncke and his team trekked from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp for 20 days, from April till the first week of May, on a chocolate tasting project with international mountaineers and Sherpas at EBC. Their aim was to raise money for a mobile hospital in Nepal. En route they distributed 200kg of chocolates, and another 100kg when they reached EBC. According to the team members, during the next few months they will try to raise awareness on the necessity of a mobile hospital and raise funds for the project.

Cho Oyu's first 2009 summit
May 17th: Cho Oyu(8210m),the sixth highest mountain in the world, has been summitted by Kazakhs Denis Urubko and Boris Dedeshko on May 11th. They climbed Cho Oyu's SE face in alpine style via a new route. With this ascent Urubko has joined the legendary ranks of mountaineers who have scaled all the 14 eight thousanders.

May 29 as 'International Mt Everest Day'
May 15th: Nepalese tourism related organizations have teamed up to create pressure on the United Nations and global travel and tour umbrella organizations to recognize May 29 as International Mt Everest Day. A joint meeting held on Thursday in Kathmandu by NATTA, HAN, TAAN and other organisations resolved to coordinate with the NTB to achieve this goal by 2011 - the Visit Nepal Year.Mt Everest Day is only celebrated in Nepal. But this year Denmark, Doha, Malaysia, Dhaka and Sydney will observe the day as ´Nepal Day´.

Bad Weather foils Everest summit push
May 14th: The deteriorating weather at Everest has compelled teams to postpone their summit bids. In fact, according to reports, dozens of climbers descended down to Lobuche (4,915m) on Wednesday, as snowfall continued unabated at the Base Camp(5350m). MountEverest.net has reported that heavy snow fall and high winds forced back virtually all teams in high camps on all Nepal’s 8000ers through the weekend.

Buddha Air sets record
May 14th: By operating 16 flights in a single day, domestic airline Buddha Air has set a record for operating maximum number of flights in a day. The reason for the unusually large number of flights, according to Buddha Air were 124 Spanish tourists bound for Sauraha who chartered flights from the airline. Buddha Air's record has been verified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Bharatpur as the maximum number of flights in a day by any airline in Nepal to date.

Above the mighty 8,000'ers
May 13th: Among the fourteen of the eight thousand meter peaks, five have already been summitted till now. Find out who were the first to reach the top of the five summits @ 'First Summits of the season (Spring 2009)'.

Fishtail Air operates 99 flights in April
May 13th: According to data recieved from Fishtail Air Pvt Ltd, the company operated 99 flights in April. (Details of the flights)

ATM – 2009, Dubai
May 12th: According to a press release issued by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), NTB along with five private travel trade companies and the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation participated in the ATM- 2009 held in Dubai, UAE, from May 5-8, 2009. Considering the increased air accessibility to the Middle East region Nepalese tourism industry gave the continuity to the Arabian Travel Market participation for the third time to keep tapping the expatriates as well as the Emirate travelers’ market for Nepal from the UAE countries. This year the special focus was to create awareness for Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011.  Arabian Travel Market 2009 boasted more than 2,100 exhibitors and stand-sharers, from 69 countries, including 70 new-to-market representatives, as well as nearly 60 national tourist bodies representing six continents.

Visit Nepal - Nepal Tourism promoted in USA
May 11th: The Embassy of Nepal in Washington D.C. and the America Nepal Society (ANS) jointly organized two programs to promote tourism in Nepal. The events, entitled “Embassy Open House” and “Cultural Program”, were held last week. The embassy and ANS set up information desks where various informative brochures, posters, postcards and CDs were distributed to the visitors.

International Symposium on Mountains
May 10th: Ev-K2-CNR, an Italian research organization, that has been conducting various research studies in Nepal, in collaboration with UNEP and with the technical cooperation of UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, is organizing an international conference “Mountains: energy, water and food for life," in Milan, Italy from May 27. The conference has received the patronage of the Italian President, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Regional Affairs, Education, University and Research as well as of Lombardy Region.

Everest News
May 8th: According to everestnews.com, an avalanche struck the lower area of the Khumbu icefall yesterday morning at around 10am. 22 climbers were present at the scene when the avalanche occured. Two climbers were buried under a crevasse, but were later rescued, while a climbing sherpa is still missing.Only his backpack and one boot were found. The rest of the climbers were all reported to be safe.

TAAN-Machhapuchhre Model Trek
May 8th: TAAN (Pokhara chapter), together with NCCR N-S PAMS Project, are working to develop the infrastructure for the TAAN-Machhapuchhre Model Trek. NCCR N-S' PAMS Project has started building five campsites and five shelter-houses for trekking supporters along the route. The construction is expected to be complete by September, 2009. TAAN Pokhara is developing this model trek to offer something new for trekkers after road construction in the Annapurna region shortened the length of trekking there. This trek offers the closest possible view of Mt Machhapuchhre.

Combining wellness with adventure: Yoga Treks
May 7th: As you go higher, while trekking in the Himalayas, the air tends to get thinner and there may be problems related to breathing and acclimatization. Yoga is a natural way to acclimatize faster in the Himalayas. A daily dose of Himalayan yoga during your trek, boosts your energy level. (More)

Fishtail Air adds the new AS 350 B2 to its fleet
May 6th: Fishtail Air Pvt Ltd has added the new AS 350 B2 helicopter to its fleet. Fishtail Air started the operation of the new aircraft from April 16th 2009. The aircraft can land up to an altitude of 20,000 feet, has a fail safe design and has a seating capacity of 5 people, excluding the pilot.According to the company, the operation of two brand new aircrafts, AS 350 B 3 are in the pipeline. (More details)

Guna Airlines to operate domestic flights
May 6th: Guna Airlines is operating domestic flights in Nepal launched with the introduction of two Beechcraft 1900s on 5th May. The airlines will be flying on these routes :Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Biratnagar-Kathmandu, and Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Kathmandu routes. The airlines also operates mountain flights.

KT Ama Dablam & Cholatse Expedition
May 6th: Two clients of Explore Himalaya's exclusive partner, Kipling Travels, summitted Ama Dablam(6865m) on 18th April 2009. Kristoffer Szilas from Denmark and James Robert Broomhead from UK successfully climbed Ama Dablam alpine style. They were planning to summit Mt.Cholatse(6440m), but had to cut short their expedition owing to an icefall collapse.

New Product - Tsum Valley Trek
May 5th: The Tsum Valley is a sacred Himalayan pilgrimage valley situated in northern Gorkha district of Nepal. Tsum comes from the Tibetan word "Tsombo" which means vivid. The trail heads up the valley of the Budi Gandaki River through wild and unexplored country inhabited mainly by members of the Gurung ethnic groups. Upper Tsum valley (part of the Inner Himalaya) open from Chhokangparo, where the hospitable "Tsombos" (people of Tibetan ancestry ) live. The Tsum Valley is extremely rich in cultural assets. The valley is dotted with gompas (Buddhist monasteries), chortens and mani walls. The valley preserves steps of the great Buddhist Yogi Chyuchin Milarepa and story about Guru Padmasambhava circumbulation. The people here, never slaughter animals, even as sacrifice to the gods. The valley is surrounded by the Buddha Himal and Himal Chuli to the west, Ganesh Himal to the south, and Sringi Himal to the North. Details of Tusm Valley Trek

Pashupati Area Development Trust increases entry fee
May 5th: Pashupati Area Development Trust has decided to increase entry fee for foreigners to enter the Pashupatinath area by 50 per cent. The new fee structure will come to effect from June 15th, The entry fee has been hiked from Rs.250 to Rs 500 per person, according to Ganesh Prasad Adhikari, treasurer, PADT. Visitors from India, however, are exempted from paying the entry fee.More than 300 foreigners visit the temple premises every day.

Tourist Arrivals up in April
May 4th: At a time of global recession, the surge in tourist arrivals has been reason enough for the Nepalese tourism industry to rejoice. The month of April saw a surge in tourists arrivals by 15.8 percent. According to the data compiled by NTB, a total of 8,303 Indians visited Nepal in April - up 27.3 percent. The number of British tourists coming to Nepal also went up by 38.9 percent, while the arrival of German visitors reached 1,858 in April - up 38.3 percent. Even tourist arrivals from the US- a country hard hit by the global financial crisis, showed a modest growth of 5.8 percent. Among Asian countries, arrivals from all countries, except Japan, posted a positive growth. The number of Chinese visitors went by up by 27.3 percent, while the number of South Korean tourists went up by 73 percent.

7 more World Heritage Sites recommended
May 3rd: Seven more places in Nepal have been recommended to be enlisted as World Heritage Sites. These include - Medieval Earthern Walled City of Lo Manthang, Vajrayogini and early settlement of Sankhu, The Medieval Town of Tansen, Rishikesh Complex of Ruru Kshetra, Ram Janaki Temple, Medieval village of Bandipur and Nuwakot Palace.

Nepal already has ten places in the list based on cultural & natural significance. Seven of these are within or around the Kathmandu Valley - Basantapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Changu Narayan Temple and Boudhanath Stupa. Other World Heritage Sites in Nepal are Lumbini (the birth place of Lord Buddha), Sagarmatha National Park and Chitwan National Park. Nepal joined UNESCO on May 1st, 1953.