2011’s edition of the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon 2011 was held on May 29, 2011 in the Everest Region. Athletes had to cover a distance of 42.19 km stretching from the Everest Base Camp to Namche. Sudip Kulung from Solukhumbu emerged as the winner of the marathon by completing the race in 3 hours 49 mins. 6 secs. Ram Kumar Rajbhandari from Khotang finished second while three-time winner Deepak Raj Rai, clinched the third spot. The winner of the women´s category was Ang Futi Sherpa who finished the marathon in 4 hours 46 minutes 14 seconds. Mingma Lohmu Sherpa came second and Cheechee Sherpa was third.The top three winners in the men´s category bagged a purse of Rs 80,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 25,000 while the prize for the women´s category was Rs 40,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 16,000 respectively.
In the foreign category, Sylvia Zaskowiee became the first woman to win the title and create a new record in the Everest Marathon. The cross-country skier from Poland finished the marathon in 5 hours 34 mins 6 secs. Christopher Suggit finished second and Tomaz Kulinski came third. Raju Sindhu from India claimed the title of the half-marathon with a timing of 2 hours 44 minutes 15 seconds. The top three winners in both foreign and half-marathon´ categories bagged a purse of Rs 35,000, Rs 21,000 and 14,000.
The Seven Summits Foundation with the support of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 Committee is organizing concerts in the Everest Region to raise awareness about the effects of climate change in the mountains. The concert will be held at Everest Base Camp on March 23rd, at Namche Bazaar on March 26th and at Solu Salleri on April 2nd. Local as well as international artists will be performing at the concert.
Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal has been voted by Lonely Planet as one of the ‘10 Best Treks in the World‘. The write-up says “…reaching a height of 5,545m (18,193ft) at Kala Pattar, this three-week trek is extremely popular with those who want to be able to say, ‘I’ve been to the base of the world’s highest mountain…’” Though many readers have expressed dismay at not finding Annapurna Circuit on the list, some feel that Annapurna has been sidetracked because of the newly built roads on the circuit.
The other classic treks on the list are:
GR20, France ; Inca Trail, Peru ;Pays Dogon, Mali; Indian Himalayas, India; Overland Track, Australia; Routeburn Track, New Zealand; The Narrows, USA; The Haute Route, France-Switzerland and Baltoro Glacier & K2, Pakistan.
What will you do if you have travelled widely, traversed the Himalaya and love the mountains? If you are wise enough, maybe, you will think of smart ways to share your experiences.
Meet writer and intrepid traveller Bart Jordans, who has done just that. A widely travelled man, Bart has found a smart way to share his travel experiences. He has written guide books and is a regular guide leading trekking groups up the Himalayan mountains for than 25 years now. When not busy traipsing on the hills and mountains, Bart spends time with his family, selling outdoor gear in a trekking shop and writing. He has already published a trekking guide on Bhutan for Cicerone and presently writing about Everest region’s Khansung Trek.
Bart, who works as a group leader for Kipling Travels (Explore Himalaya’s partner agency in Denmark), led a trek to Everest Base Camp recently. He dropped in at our office after he returned to Kathmandu. Not to let an opportunity for a good write-up to slip by, I put forward a couple of questions to the expert himself.
A Dutchman who lives in Denmark, Bart first visited Nepal in 1984. He admitted that the country has changed a lot since then. Speaking about the changes he says, “There’s always the good old day as they say. You always remember how it was in ‘84. It was a lot more quiet and that’s what you miss now. But of course you can’t stop it. If more and more people come, more people can enjoy the Himalaya. In 1984 there were just three-four areas which were open (for tourists) but now many more areas are open and so the tourists have also spread. Of course its not everywhere as busy as you would think, still an Everest trek is busy.”
A widely traveled man, Bart has led treks not only to Nepal, but in Bhutan, Tibet, India and Pakistan as well. Asked where it is easier to travel to, he replied, “It’s easier here (in Nepal) if you fly. Travelling by road is also getting better, but if you fly that’s easier. All the services, like helicopters, it’s amazing. So you feel very safe here. On my trek, unfortunately, we had to order two helicopters. But it’s so easy to do. If the weather is okay, you could get the helicopter in no time. So that’s safe, which is not the case in many other countries in the Himalayas. It’s much more difficult.”
To people who have not visited Nepal, Bart’s advice is :
“ Come out here! Take an adventure and don’t sit on your chair back home and only watch television. Get up there! You know, its not that expensive and you will enjoy it. And if you are just a little bit more clever enough , you don’t get sick. Just listen to people who advise and the same is important with the altitude.If you plan to come out to the Himalayas for trekking, try to have those extra days for acclimatization. I think its also important to go with a big, known company because the back-up is very good. The back-up in cases of emergency , all the internal flights, the hotels – it makes so much easier!”
Not only for mountaineers and adventurers, the mountains of Nepal serve as a great place for nature and educational tours. In the high mountains, there’s much a young learner can learn – be it the unique culture, mountain ecology and bio-diversity or life’s lessons. The mountains, as one student remarked, “really opens up your eyes”.
This October, Explore Himalaya organized an Everest Trek for a rather large group of students and teachers from Wymondham College , Norfolk, UK.
The group included 21 students and four teachers. After the completion of their trek Explore Himalaya spoke to some members of the group and this is what they had to say:
Matilda Wace (Student, 15 Years):
“It (the trek) was really good. The views were really nice. The people were very friendly. It was good. “
Jordan Cadman – Rivers (Student , 16 Years) :
“The trip really opened my eyes. I think that the age we are on the trek is the perfect age to come because it’s definitely different to England and definitely changes your views on things. We are old enough to be independent and adapt ourselves on the trek. So I think it’s a good idea to come to Nepal especially at this age. I think Nepal was a good choice because this is a perfect place to trek. It is quite a friendly country, welcoming and the views are great. Coming here definitely opened up our eyes.”
Christopher Hoey (Teacher):
“I think Explore Himalaya has done an extraordinary good job. The staff from the company has been extremely friendly. Nothing has been too much trouble for them. In fact I have been really amazed at how much time members of staff have given over to the group. I expected a much low level of contact and support. You have always been there whoever it is amongst the group, who has needed your help and advice.
The partnership of Casterbridge(Tours) with Explore Himalaya has worked well and I think the success of any
trip depends upon the partnership. It’s about having well qualified staff from the UK but also a good company here to work with. The people whom we have not mentioned, Sirdar Kaji, the 5 guides and the 2 yak herders who did everything to ensure a safe trek in the mountains. I think you have got all safety factors of experienced guides and good company. There’s no reason why school groups from the UK can’t come and explore the mountains here.
Doing the Everest trail has been absolutely wonderful experience. I would like to come back to Nepal again. But I would like to see a different part of the Himalaya that is a bit more remote, that which doesn’t have quite so many trekkers. I am also very moved by the social and health needs of the country and I am thinking what I might be able to do about the development of the country.”
I am not the type of person that would usually take a trip from Beijing to Kathmandu by land. I had no idea what international travel was like or how difficult it can be gaining entry into Tibet. In fact I still don’t because Explore Himalaya made it easy for me.