Everest has been voted as one of the top-ten destinations for 2011 by CNN. Not surprising, because Treks to Everest Region has been a favourtite among trekkers taking the Himalayan trail. With its rugged trail, towering peaks (including +8000m peaks like Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu), traditional Sherpa villages, well maintained tea houses and lodges and magnificent mountain scenery, the Khumbu Region is worth a visit. In fact, many return to this high and beautiful region after their first experience. A client who trekked with us to Khumbu in the Autumn of 2010, has expressed a similar desire in a written testimonial sent to us via email..
I am writing this mail to say many thanks for your good service during my trip in Khumbu in Autumn 2010. I really enjoyed it a lot and I am extremely happy that it worked out so well. I can hardly wait to get going to Nepal again…… I do not know when we will meet again, but one thing is for sure, we will meet again because I will certainly be returning to the Khumbu for climbing. It will really be good to see you all again.
Simone Moro, a pilot and mountaineer, is new addition to Fishtail Air’s crew. We managed to ask Mr.Moro a couple of questions when he visited our office in Thamel on 28th October 2010.
Coming from Italy which lies close to the Mediterranean sea, he said his family members were into sailing as well as climbing. He chose the latter and he recollects that he did his first bit of serious climbing when he was 13. “It was just a small hill, a mound actually, but it felt good at that time!”. Since then Simeon has climbed many peaks in Asia, Europe and America. He has reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountain Mount Everest twice, the recent one in May this year, 2010. When asked about his experience, he said like a seasoned climber, “Nothing much happened. We climbed via the classic route. We went up stayed a bit at the Base Camp went up to the summit and climbed down. So nothing much happened”. The first peak he climbed in Nepal was Lhotse.
If mountaineering is his passion, flying is both his passion as well as profession. An experienced pilot, Simeon is the newest member of Fishtail Air’s distinguished flying crew. He has already been on a search & rescue mission with Fishtail Air’s pilot Captain Sabin Basnyat to Mt. Baruntse(7129m), to retrieve the body of 19 times Everest summiteer Chhewang Nima who lost his life in an avalanche at Baruntse on October 23rd, 2010. He said, “Unfortunately we could not find his body as there was too much snow”.
Talking about helicopter rescues in the mountains of Nepal, Simeon believes that, “Helicopter is the future of Nepal.” He adds,“ There are few places in Nepal like Kathmandu. Most of the country is covered by mountains. There are places which cannot be accessed by roads. Fishtail Air, I believe is the first company in Nepal to understand this and it has taken steps in the right direction. By partnering with Swiss and other European pilots who are experts in this field, they are taking helicopter operation in the Himalaya to a new level.”
He added, “For the development of the country, I think your government should introduce more helicopter flights in the remote areas. These could be used to carry essential commodities as well as passengers.”
On 17th October 2010, Salah Salim Ahmed Al Habsi became the first climber from UAE (United Arab Emirates) to summit Mera Peak (6654m). The highest of Nepal’s trekking peaks, Mera Peak lies to the south of Everest, dominating the watershed between the wild and beautiful valleys of the Hinku and Hongu.
After his return to Kathmandu, we got to meet Mr. Al Habsi. It was a delight to meet this friendly and courteous climber, who is also a Lieutenant Colonel and Lecturer at Police College, Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. He seemed elated to have accomplished his mission and was grateful to the team from Explore Himalaya for their support in organizing his expedition. He said, “I am grateful to Explore Himalaya and the team of sherpas who made it easy for me to reach the top. They did a lot of hard work.”
Coming from a country devoid of high mountains (according to Wikipediathe highest point in UAE is a 1910m unnamed knoll), I couldn’t help asking how he got interested in mountaineering. Speaking about his passion for climbing, he said he got hooked onto climbing while he was studying in USA. According to him he has done a lot of climbing in America and Europe. In Nepal he has already summitted Island peak and Mera Peak. When asked what’s next on his agenda, he replied “Everest in March 2011!”
I have heard it often times and I heard it from from Al Habsi too. Like many others who had visited nepal, Mr. Al Habsi’s views did not differ: “Nepal is a beautiful country and it’s a great place to visit. The people are nice and the place is worth visiting, but the country needs to develop it’s infrastructure. I think to attract high end tourists the infrastructure needs to be developed.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the people concerned will take note of Mr. Al Habsi’s suggestion!
To know more about his views on climbing and others, check the video clip.
Mighty and beautiful, but equally treacherous, many climbers have perished on the slopes of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. One such unlucky soul was Bulgarian climber Hristo Prodanov. On 20th April 1984 he became the first climber from his country to summit Mount Everest and the first climber to scale West Ridge solo without the use of supplementary oxygen. Sadly Prodanov lost his life while descending from the West Ridge.
In memory of this valiant soul, a memorial plate was put up at Thugla by friends and family. Over the years, old and weathered, the memorial plate eventually got lost. But this autumn friends of Pradanov, Christo & Dorte Enkov from Denmark decided to journey to Nepal to place a new memorial plate for their departed friend.
Their trek to Thugla & to EBC was organized by Explore Himalaya. They dropped in at our office after returning from Lukla and shared their experience with us. Here is what they had to say;
Christo & Dorte Enkov – “We had a fantastic trek and we are back in Kathmandu after having fulfilled our mission. We have placed a memorial plate for our friend at the memorial site above Thugla. We saw and experienced the magic of your beautiful mountains, the proud, hardworking and always helpful and friendly people. The weather was as expected in high mountains changeable: clouds and rain and snow and sunshine and high skies.
Due to our photo equipment we chose two porters and are very happy that we took this decision. We were a fantastic team and the spirit was high every day even after days of walking. Thanks to local knowledge, enormous network and a very special “Fingerspitzgefühl”, we have had only good accommodation and fantastic food.
Our best recommendations for the team and organizers and for you for caring for us. Be prepared for the mountains and you will be sure to have an experience of a lifetime. See you in the mountains!”
On 20th October 2010, Explore Himalaya met up with veteran skydivers Roger Hoe from England and Peter Rotelle from Germany who had just arrived from Lukla after skydiving solo from 28,000 feet at Shyangboche drop zone.
Roger Hoe, who turns 65 in a month’s time, holds the distinction for being the oldest skydiver to jump solo from 28,000 feet.
When asked how did their adventure go, and both of them unanimously said that it was an experience of a lifetime – beautiful and unforgettable.
“My name is Roger Hoe. I come from Devon in England and I have been skydiving now for 33 years. I have visited Nepal on six occasions but never skydived. So I thought, I better put the record straight and do skydive here, because most of the countries I have visited, I have skydived in, which was Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America. Wherever I go I always manage to do some parachuting. But now today, I have jumped from the same height as Sagarmatha – 28,000 feet and I am overjoyed with it.
The scenery on the climb to altitude was fantastic. We got very close to Ama Dablam which is my favourite mountain. We also saw people moving on Mount Everest. We were so close and to climb for 45- 60 minutes in the aircraft up the altitude, going over the world’s highest mountains is something I will never forget. Well the whole experience, if I could sum it up in one word, I think the only word I could say is WOW!
I would love to skydive again. It may be a bit expensive but it’s worth every penny!”
“I have been a skydiver since 1968. As a solo skydiver I have made more than 2,500 jumps. But this adventure, Everest Skydive, was so unforgettable and so impressive.To see the mountains and to fly over peaks more than 7000 metres high , it was so impressive, one just cannot imagine it.
In the beginning we had some difficulties with the weather. But afterward, today, we had a great flight on the Himalaya. We were high up there, so close to Mount Everest, that we could see the climbers. It was so beautiful. I will never forget this adventure.
It was perfectly organized by Explore Himalaya and the Everest Skydive team was wonderful. There was safety first and the whole thing was organized so perfectly. It was great. I will never forget Wendy Smith and this adventure. It was impressive.
I plan to come back to Nepal next year with my wife, probably do some trekking.”