Coming to Nepal is itself a life changing experience for most of the western travelers and being here for the elite adventure on the top of the world, Everest Skydive is for sure the biggest holiday anyone could imagine. The biggest and the most thrilling sky adventure of autumn in the shadows of world’s highest peak, Everest Skydive 2015 has been a successful event yet again. After the Everest Skydive, relatively easier Pokhara Skydive was also accomplished by the same crew. After both Skydiving Expeditions, we had a brief interview with three crewmembers who have been the member of this adventurous aerial escapade since the inception of Everest Skydive in 2008.
Tom Noonan, Dr. Ryan Jackson and Derek Thomas, without whom the Everest Skydiving would have just an experiment long time ago, hear them.
EH: Overall Experience of ESD and PSD
Tom: Every year we come to Nepal to conduct Everest Skydive Expedition & Pokhara Skydive Expedition we face new challenges; Operational challenges, personal challenges, weather, aircraft and so on. However, we know no matter what the challenges are we have to overcome and the resources provided by Explore Himalaya and Fishtail Helicopters provide us the confidence to conduct the expedition overcoming all these challenges.
Derek: We have been coming here since 2008; we are three of the four who have been learning here form the first day. For me being an equipment guy, it is very interesting to see how the equipment is able to survive and work in extreme environment for high altitude and I am happy that everything worked well for all these years.
EH: Differences between previous years Skydives and 2015 Skydive
Tom: This year was unique as we arrived after the earthquake. It was difficult to see some of the places that we have known over the years having come down to the earthquake. Hearing about the fatalities associated with it, it was difficult for us to come in and conduct a sports celebration knowing that there was such damage. Moreover, there was a fuel crisis as well and managing to that crisis changed the dynamic of how we operate it. But in the end we decided that the best thing we could do is to promote Nepal and tourism industry of Nepal conveying the message globally “Nepal is back on top of the world” through Everest Skydive and Pokhara Skydive.
Derek: Nothing to do environmentally or equipment wise but personality wise we had few new group members and I am hoping to work more with them as they are very good as friends and have brought very good attitude and work ethic for the adventure like this.
EH :Having 80% of solo skydivers this year does it refer professional skydivers are more into ESD
Tom: I think that the interest between professional skydivers versus tandem skydivers’ rises and falls based on support tourism industry can do. Some years it’s financially viable for professional solo divers other years through global economic changes more tandem divers might be interested on the event.
EH: Difference between Everest Skydive and Pokhara Skydive
Ryan: Two extremes of skydiving for us, Everest Skydiving is enormously and technically difficult and challenging whereas, Pokhara Skydive is within what we normally consider what skydiving is. It is easy and fun with warm and stable weather. Everest Skydive and Pokhara Skydive are totally contrasting expeditions.
EH: Ideal participants for Everest and Pokhara Skydives
Ryan: Everest Skydiving participants are professional skydivers seeking to extraordinary skydiving adventure or they are high networth tourists doing something that can’t be done anywhere else in the world like going to the very peak. Pokhara Skydive is attractive to anyone who would come to Nepal for doing any other adventure tourism who would pay to go paragliding or bungee jumping.
Tom: Whether it is solo or tandem skydiver, Everest Skydive targets wealthy professional individuals. ESD is for Professional and successful individuals highly driven for the adventure. For the ESD we tend to see self made wealthy professional because it in lines with their personalities. PSD is more of a stable and traditional skydiving operation which can target individuals with reasonable income.
EH: Support of Explore Himalaya
Derek: That’s only that has not changed. Everywhere we go we get great support and everyone in Namche now have begun to recognize us and everyone here in Nepal and Explore Himalaya had been great with us and we have no bad experience at all.
Tom: In the beginning one of our first persons to contact was Pushpa, she was amazing. Then came Menuka, she was amazing as well as very easy to communicate. Now we have Monika, she is equally amazing. Every person we have communicated has done their job so well we could totally rely on. For the first few years we had Krishna to support our crew during the Expeditions and now we have Bharat to do that role. To be honest, without Bharat ESD & PSD 2015 would not have been this great. Whenever we had small hiccups during these expeditions we would just call Bharat and without any sort of hesitation the problem was solved. Without Explore Himalaya Everest Skydiving would have ended six years ago and every year we are privileged to come to Nepal to work with you guys. Thanks.
Kongma La 18,159ft / 5,535m, Cho La 17,782ft / 5,420m & Renjo La 17,930ft / 5,465m – trekking across three elevated passes is incredibly a challenging and fascinating Himalayan trekking that caters the best of cultural and natural aspects of eminent Everest Region. Three Pass Trek in Everest Region is probably one of the most challenging treks in Nepal that most of the times take you to the region above 4500m in the wilderness of Himalayan Region dominated by the world’s highest peaks including Everest.
Recently, a solo trekker Ms. Maria Hendrika Van Horen from Netherlands undertook the challenging Everest Three Passes Trek. A very happy trekker, Hendrika expressed few beautiful lines regarding the trek before she headed off for another intriguing trek to Dolpo in Nepal.
“It was very good. I really enjoyed it. It was beautiful; mountains were beautiful, people were beautiful. We had good weather and hence we could do all the passes. We went to different tops like Chhukung Ri, Kalapattar and Gokyo Ri. We were a lot high in the mountains and the experience was wonderful.”
“I liked the mountains, which were spectacular. The culture in the lower region was great and the facilities catered throughout the trek, were wonderful.”
“It is safe. To me it looked like every trekking trail of Everest Region is safe to trek. All the bridges were okay. There were some damages in the teahouses in certain villages and everybody is repairing them. We could always stay in safe places that had no problem at all.”
“I didn’t find any sort of challenges traveling solo in Nepal; rather it is easier to travel solo in Nepal than many other countries across the world. However, when trekking higher in the Himalayas, it is more fun to be with other people or join the group undertaking the same trek. Nevertheless, it is hard to find the trekking partner because it low trekking season in Nepal and after the quake not many travelers have visited Nepal.”
“I am really happy. I got good information before we started the trek and the briefing was wonderful. The quality of your office is great. The guide to be honest who really makes the difference during the trek, Megh (trek guide) did a great job. He told us a lot about Nepal and Himalayas. He chose a good place to sleep. He made sure we were safe. We could always talk to him about shortening the trip or the day trip or make it bit longer so that we could overnight in a better place. It was always good to negotiate with him. The service was great before and after the trek, though I came back in a very different time. I don’t think the company needs to improve in any area. You people did a great job.”
“I wish the flight back to Kathmandu from Lukla had been on the scheduled time. I waited couple of days in Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu because; the weather was not clear enough and hence no flight could fly back to Kathmandu. However, this is understandable.”
“Nepal and Everest Region is safe to trek. It is as beautiful as it was before. Anybody who loves the culture of Nepal in combination with mountains should travel to Nepal. For example, my friends back home think Nepal is not yet safe country to travel. They think roads are unsafe, trekking trails have been hindered heavily and the hotels to accommodate are not in good shape, which are not true at all. People in the west now consider that Nepal is in miserable condition, where people still live in the tents, but I did not see anything like that. My message is that Nepal has become normal and the beautiful country with beautiful people deserves more travelers than ever. Himalayas are the best mountain ranges and if anyone who likes trekking and climbing should travel to Nepal. There is plenty of trekking options hard trek like the one I did or the easy treks for novice trekkers; Nepal caters many easy treks as well.”
The dust of rubbles created by the quake of April 25 had not settled another powerful quake of 7.4 moment magnitude hit Central Nepal yesterday. Despite all adversities, the hope of Rebuilding Nepal remains intact and Explore Himalaya in collaboration with PATA Nepal Chapter continues to serve the quake affected communities in every possible ways.
“Doctors for You” an Indian Humanitarian Organization dedicated in offering medical expertise in disaster hit zones has started its activities in quake affected regions of Nepal in collaboration with PATA Nepal Chapter. The team of doctors supported by local medical professionals is now conducting the Medical Campaign in Nuwakot, one of the most quake-affected regions.
Dr. Mridul Deka, a prominent member of “Doctors for You” organization recently working in the quake affected regions of Nepal says something about the campaign.
About the “Doctors for You” Campaign in Nepal
We have always been working in disaster prone areas. We began our volunteering campaign after Koshi Flood in Bihar in 2007. We also served humanity during Kashmir Floods, Uttarakhand flat floods and Assam Ethnic violence. Earthquake is a different thing but it displaces people in mass, creates panicking situation all over. Since this is our first international campaign, we are here to help people. We arrived to Nepal on 27 April and were having problems in getting the permission. However, PATA Nepal Chapter stepped in and helped us throughout all the procedures. We are very much thankful to PATA Nepal Chapter and Mr. Suman Pandey (the Chairman of PATA Nepal Chapter) who understood we had the same goal of helping people during this crisis.
Plans of “Doctors for You” in Nepal
We do not have short-term plans and we are planning to be here for at least for 3-6 months. We are focusing in maternal child health after the disaster. We will be working on the needs of women, children and the trauma they have faced. For the next six months, when the media attention is not there we want to be here with them. We want to help on victims’ nutrition plans and reproductive needs. We are planning to recruit local team and go forward to give them some preparedness and resilience to face the disaster that might hit anytime.
Collaboration with PATA Nepal Chapter
Disaster response is an initial thing and later part involves building the capacity of the people in the community. All this will come into play once the initial stage is handled properly. We would like to have longer collaboration with PATA and see through all the process until the community, we look after becomes normal, get rid of the mental trauma and start to prosper once again.
On Tourism Industry of Nepal
While we were working in Uttarakhanda after the floods, people had apprehensive perception about the tourism industry. However, Tourism Industry was not affected and the same volume of tourists came to the state the very next season. Once the crisis is over and Nepal gets normal, the tourism industry will once again flourish because it is a beautiful destination to be.
Proud to play a small role in their especial trip- Alexandre & Noemie
Gokyo, Kalapatthar and Everest Base Camp Trek is an ultimate trekking adventure, that takes to you to the lap of Mt. Everest traversing across the high Cho La Pass 5420m. It is an opportunity to trek to the summit of both Gokyo Ri 5340m and Kala Pattar 5554m for experiencing the magnificent views of the mighty Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. In addition, the glacial walk to Everest Base Camp will give you an opportunity to savor the glimpse of “The spectacular Khumbu Icefall”, which is a lifetime experience for trekkers. Diverse landscape, floras and faunas of the Himalayas, Sherpa people and their culture are another exciting experiences offered during the trek.
This March Alexandre Wirth and Noemie Pomart had Gokyo, Kalapatthar and Everest Base Camp Trek with us. After the completion of their trek, they had a short conversation with us.
Have a look.
EH: How was your trek?
Alexandre: The starting of the trip was a different experience within itself. Landing at the Lukla airport was one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
Noemie: The overall trip was a very fantastic experience for both of us. Every day was very special, and the magnificent landscapes in every turn were pretty amazing and breathtaking. The first glimpse of the mighty Everest was just “Fabulous”.
The thrilling airstrips of Lukla
EH: How was our team assigned to cater services during your trek?
Alexandre: The crew and support team of Explore Himalaya was very good, especially our guide Sanu was a fun to be with, joking and smiling all the time.
Noemie: He took very good care of us.
EH: What did you like about the people and place?
Alexandre: The streets are particularly for us, it’s like jungle, but very colorful and exciting. People are very friendly as well. And we love the place…
The smiling Sherpa kid of Khumbu
EH: What is the most memorable moment of your trek?
Noemie: The whole trip was very special for me because, when we reached Kalapatthar, my boyfriend asked me to get married. “That was a big surprise”…
EH: Proposing a girlfriend at 5545m is a very good idea, isn’t it?
Alexandre: Just to make sure she says yes.
EH: Describe the whole experience in one word?
It has been 12 years that world’s best photographers and photographic wildlife safari leaders teamed up to facilitate photographic tours in the world’s most fascinating photographic destination- Orxy Photography is one of the best to travel with on the photography tour. One of the award winning photographic leaders Marius Coetzee was recently on a FAM Tour to Nepal with Explore Himalaya. He calls himself a cultural freak and he never researches about the place he is visiting the first time on an educational trip. “Any bad experience of a particular traveler shared on travel sites doesn’t make that destination awful so I ignore the travel reviews posted in any site in order to have an open mind about a destination and ensure the best possible future tour for my clients” say Marius Coetzee. Marius and Alan during a short conversation with us after the completion of the FAM Tour shared their experiences of Photography FAM Tour to Nepal 2014. Here we have a shorter version of the conversation with Marius Coetzee photo gallery on Nepal Photography Tour.
EH: How was the tour?
Marius: Its been incredible. To be fair, I knew it was going to be great but it has certainly raised my expectation. The country was great. Alan had an emergency incident at Chitwan but the medical care was excellent. We could not have asked for more. You guys have been great and Bishant [Tour Guide] was great. All in all its been a first class experience in a country that is on many people’s wish-list.
EH: As you guys were on a photography tour, do you think Nepal is a potential destination for photography tour?
Marius: Without a doubt, Nepal is a great destination to tour and photograph. Cultural aspect of the country is amazingly out of the world. For me Nepal is an incredible country that I can sell with the close eyes.
EH: What do you say about the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu?
Marius: Kathmandu is completely unique. It is just giving so much that there are plenty of stuffs to see and photograph here in Kathmandu.
Alan: Unlike any Indian city, Kathmandu is beautiful. It is full of hidden gems. You could walk pass places and not know where you are. You go down the passage way and you find fantastic temples and fantastic colors. It is a superb city.
EH: How do you rate the services you guys experienced during the tour?
Marius: Everything was great. Whenever people are on the tours to new places, food is one of the major concerns. Everywhere in Nepal the options of food were plenty. We had western food throughout the tour. Food services, hotels, transportation, guides and everything else were just great.