Himalayan Expedition Spring 2018 News - August
Namaste, Tashidelek and warm greetings from Nepal.
It has been a long time since I wrote to you all. In fact, since the devastating earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, I unfortunately lost contact with many of you. As you can imagine, many changes have occurred in Nepal and the Himalayan Mountains since then. Starting again with this letter, I plan to keep you all in the loop with news from our Mountains.
Firstly, on my own professional capacity, I would like to let you all know that after serving my 4 th term as the President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, I decided not to contest another election. On 4 th July 2017, Mr. Santa Bir Lama, was elected as the new president of NMA. I wish him good luck in his very important position and extend my blessings so that he may continue to bring prestige and progress to the organization, just as I have always strived to do myself.
Though I remain on the board of the NMA as IPP, I will be focusing a lot of my time now on Honorary Consular Corps Nepal, to which I have been elevated to the post of Dean for 2018-2019. I am also supporting my son Dawa Steven with running our Trekking and Expeditions Business (Asian Trekking) as he is spending more and more time in the field with his own brand of hands-on management. Thirdly, I am also running a climate change advocacy organization "Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities" (CAHC) to give a voice to the plight of the mountain communities suffering the consequences of global climate change. I will be updating you on the various projects in the future newsletters.
Through my newsletters, I aim to share with you the stories and events of the climbing world in Nepal and Tibet. I will also continue to share with you important news from the Himalayan mountaineering world such as accomplishments, felicitations, festivals, celebrations, and upcoming events in the calendar.
I am also excited to inform you that I continue to study and analyze the climbs and summits on Everest and other 8000m Himalayan peaks; to document records and remarkable climbs in the past climbing season; to summarize the Himalayan mountaineering industry and examine what the economic and financial contributions of the mountaineering industry has had on Nepal. I also keep a close eye on the government's ever-evolving tourism policies on mountaineering expedition and adventure tourism such as rescue, insurance, garbage management, mountain environment protection, fee structures, etc. In the interest of keeping my newsletters short and manageable, I will try to focus on a particular theme in each future newsletter.
You can also follow me on Facebook for more regular posts and photographs of the specific topics I cover in my newsletters.https://www.facebook.com/angtshering.sherpa.37
Summary of the Spring Climbing Season 2018:
For those who missed the importance of this year, it was the 65th Anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. It was also the 40th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. A feat achieved by Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler the 8th of May 1978.
A great victory for the all mountaineers is that on the 26 th June 2018, the Supreme Court of Nepal overturned the Nepal Government's ban on disabled and blind persons from climbing Mountains in Nepal. We had been fighting hard for this and I know that many of you around the world shared our dissatisfaction in this blatant act of discrimination.
It was another busy and very successful mountaineering season for Asian Trekking this Spring, both in Nepal and in Tibet. The data also shows that it was a busy year for the industry as a whole, which I have covered later in this newsletter. Asian Trekking had 3 expeditions on the Nepal Side of Mt. Everest, 1 expedition on the Tibet Side of Mt. Everest and 2 Expeditions on Mt. Kanchenjunga. 3 of those expeditions were private groups, while 3 were international joining teams.
Asian Trekking's Mt. Everest Expedition:
Eco Everest Expedition 2018:
This year the Eco Everest Expedition was led by our veteran sirdar Naga Dorje Sherpa, supported by senior cook Birbal Tamang. The day to day affairs of the expedition as well the general well being of the climbers were take care of by Dr. Ben Clark, expedition doctor and base camp manager.
Our long time friend from Mexico, David Liano was the Expedition Leader, and the expedition had a total of 14 members, while there were 14 Climbing Sherpas, 4 Base Camp cooks and 2 Camp II cooks. The Nationalities represented in the team were Mexico, Denmark, South Africa, India and Nepal. Nine of the fourteen members summited.
BSF Everest Expedition Spring 2018:
The highly respected Mr. Love Raj Dharamshaktu of India, led the 15 man climbing team from the Border Security Force to Mt. Everest .All the 15 members and 15 Sherpas of the BSF team successfully summited Mt. Everest with 100% success rate. This makes the BSF team the largest team to have a 100% success rate. Clearly the experience of expedition leader and Mr. Dharamshaktu made the huge difference, as he broke his own record by being the first Indian to reach the summit of Everest for the 7th time.
The Expedition Sirdar of the team was our dynamic young climber, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa of Khumjung and the head chef was the veteran Kalu Bansnet.
This year, Asian Trekking implemented the "Cash for Trash" programme through the BSF team who took inspiration from the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's Swatch Bharat Campaign (Clean India Campaign). By the end of the season, the expedition logged 700kgs of garbage collected from Mt. Everest. We are grateful to the BSF team for your dedication towards a clean environment.
Uttarakhand Police Everest Expedition 2018
Asian Trekking also conducted the Uttarakhand Police Mt. Everest Expedition this past season. The Expedition was led by I.G. Sanjay Gunjiyal (I.P.S.) and the team members were mainly from the State Disaster Response Force.8 of the climbing members summited, together with 8 Asian Trekking Sherpas, making them the first state police force in the world to do so.
The expedition Sirdar was our very experienced Ang Sandu Sherpa and the head chef for the team was Pasang Tamang. In 2017, Ang Sandu had led the ONGC team to the summit of Mt. Everest.
International Everest Expedition (Tibet Side) Spring 2018:
Asian Trekking conducted a small expedition with 6 members to Mt. Everest on the Tibet side. 3 members were only planning to go the North Col (7000m) while the other 3 were planning for the summit. We are happy to report that all three summit members reached the top together with 3 Asian Trekking sherpas.
The Sirdar for the Expedition was Nawang Tenjing and the head Chef for the team was Nawang Pasang Sherpa.
Asian Trekking's Mt. Kanchenjunga Expeditions:
Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m) is the world's 3rd highest peak and lies on the border between Nepal and India. Kanchenjunga is the highest mountain of India and even features on its 100 Rupee notes. Kanchenjunga is one of the toughest mountains to organize an expedition to due to its sheer size, technical difficulty, temperamental weather and the remoteness of its location. Asian Trekking had two teams on the mountains, plus a separate rope fixing team of 8 expert climbing Sherpas who opened the route all the way to the summit of the peak.
A point to note on Kanchenjunga was that after all the acclimatization rotations were completed in the weeks before hand, both Asian Trekking teams made a summit push in the second week of May, only to be denied success by the unpredictable weather which turned hostile. The teams returned down to Kanchenjunga Base Camp to reassess the option. At this time, my son Dawa Steven, who was in Everest Base camp for just 3 days to coordinate the summit bids of the Everest teams, decided to fly immediately to Kanchenjunga BC and reorganize the summit efforts there too.
To my great surprise, 3 days later I received a phone call from Dawa Steven, who was now at Camp 4 on Kanchenjunga and making final preparations to launch the summit push in the next hour. He led the summit push from the front, heading up with the rope fixing team to open the route all the way to the summit on the 20th of May 2018. His efforts resulted in the single most successful season on Kanchenjunga. Of the 44 Climbers who summited Kanchenjunga in spring 2018, 35 were Asian Trekking expedition members and Sherpas, led by Dawa Steven.
ONGC Kanchenjunga Expedition Spring 2018:
After conducting the ONGC's successful expedition to Mt. Everest in 2017, Asian Trekking was again awarded the contract to conduct the ONGC expedition to Kanchenjunga this year. The team consisted of 12 climbing members and 3 base camp members. 10 of the 12 members summited Mt. Kanchenjunga together with 11 Sherpas.
ONGC Kanchenjunga expedition also collected 300Kgs of Garbage scattered throughout base camp. The garbage has been bagged in nylon sacks and kept in sheltered storage near the helipad. Unfortunately, due to the lack of porters and helicopters, it was not possible to bring the garbage from base camp this year. We hope to do so at another opportune time.
The Expedition Sirdar was Pasang Sherpa (Ghunsa) who logged his 4th summit on Kanchenjunga this year and the head Chef was our very own Maila Magar, who was also the head chef for the ONGC Everest Expedition 2017
International Kanchenjunga Expedition Spring 2018:
The International Kanchenjunga expedition consisted of 9 climbing members, representing Mexico, Holland, Greece, Georgia, Italy and India. Members on International joining teams tend to have different climbing strategies and philosophies. This was also the case this year with our team members, where some of the members attempted without Sherpa support and without supplemental oxygen, whereas some members had full support. 5 members and 5 High Altitude Sherpas of the group successfully summited.
The international team was managed by our Sirdar Pemba Tshering Sherpa (Maila) and the head cook for the team was Bhuwan Limbu, who himself is from the Kanchenjunga region.
Climbers from the Asian Trekking International Kanchenjunga Expedition team (L –R) Antonios Sykaris and Fotios Theocharis ( first Greeks to summit Mt. Kanchejunga ) , International team Sirdar Pemba Tshering Sherpa (Maila), Arjun Vajpai (The youngest person to summit six 8000m peaks in the world ) Alessandro D'emilia along with Harshad Rao (not in picture) successfully summited Mt. Kanchejunga
What are the latest climbing statistics of Mt. Everest?
Between 1953 and 2017, the total number of ascents on Mount Everest was 8306 by 4,830 individuals (some having summited more than once). This year's spring has seen 465 more ascents from Nepal. Similarly, there were 235 summits from Tibet. In summary, the total number of ascent of Mt. Everest until today is 9006 whereas the Number of total deaths on Mt. Everest is 290 climbers.
What are the latest climbing statistics of Mt. Kanchenjuga?
Between 1955 and 2017, the total number of ascents on Mount Kanchenjunga was 334 by 312 individuals (some having summited more than once). In summary, the total number of ascent of Mt. Kanchenjunga until today is 334 + 44 climbers from this spring season = 378 ascents.
Of these climbers, the number of female summiteers on Mt Kanchenjunga until 2017 was 12 Female Climbers. This spring season saw an additional 5 female climbers who reached the top, bring the total of female Kanchenjunga summiteers to 17. The total number of total deaths on Mt. Kanchenjunga is 48 climbers until today.
World Records and Remarkable Climbs of Spring 2018:
Kami Rita Sherpa reached the top of Mt. Everest for a World Record 22 times, passing the record (21 times) held by Apa Sherpa for 7 years while leading Asian Trekking's Eco Everest Expeditions. Kami Rita Sherpa 48 year old, resident of Thame village, reached the top of world's highest peak for the 22nd time on16 May 2018 at 8:30 am.
Female climber Ms. Lhakpa Sherpa, age 44, resident of Tashigaun village, made it to the top for the 9th time from North side of Mt. Everest 16 May 2018 - breaking the record for the most Everest summits by a woman.
Leader of Eco Everest Expedition Mr. David Liano Gonzalez, Guinness world record holder for being the "First Person to Climb Both Sides of Mt. Everest in One Season" and Pasang Rita Sherpa summited Mt Everest on 20 May at 5:58 am. This is David's 7th time on Mt. Everest. He broke his own previous record for the most summits on Mt. Everest for a Mexican national
BSF Everest Expedition Leader, Mr. Love Raj Dharamshaktu of India summitted Mt. Everest on 20 th May at 06:30 am. This is his 7th time to summit Mt. Everest. He broke his own previous record for the most summits on Mt. Everest for an Indian national.
This year a new record was created; Ms. Sheetal from India became the youngest female to summit Mt. Kanchenjunga, at the age of 22.
Another notable summit was that by Arjun Vajpai, India's rising mountaineering star. At 24, Arjun hold the enviable title of being the youngest person to summit six 8000m mountains. He has previously climbed Mt. Everest 8848m, Mt. Manaslu 8163m, Mt. Lhotse 8516m, Mt. Makalu 8486m and Mt. Cho Oyu 8201m. The sky is the limit for this young man and I look forward to seeing his many achievements in the future.
Amongst those who summited Kanchenjunga was also my old friend Antonios Sykaris, who led a small two man team, making them the first Greeks to reach the top of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Antonios had similarly led a small two man team to the top of Mt. Everest in 2017. We are proud to support his expeditions.
Upcoming Expeditions of Asian Trekking:
Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Dhaulagiri Expedition (Autumn 2018)
In September and October of 2018, Asian Trekking will be organizing a Double Summit Expedition to Mt. Manaslu (8156m) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m). The Expedition will be led by my son Dawa Steven Sherpa. This is what he has to say about the upcoming Expedition
"I am leading a team on a double-summit expedition to Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Dhaulagiri this autumn (The 8th and 7th highest mountains in the world respectively).
We will attempt Mt. Manaslu first, where we'll acclimatize and prepare throughout September and summit at the end of the month. Then we'll take a chopper and hop over to Dhaulagiri BC, from where we will do a single summit push to the top! Like my expeditions always do, we'll also be doing a cleanup of old trash on the mountains and at base camps!
If you just want to try just one peak, then Manaslu is a great introductory 8000er and perfect experience for attempting Everest in the future. Dhaulagiri is a more remote peak with a more exposed route and objective dangers so should be attempted by experienced climbers only."
Eco Everest Expedition-Nepal (Spring 2019)
As always, since 2008, Asian Trekking will be organizing the Eco Everest Expedition in Spring 2019. The team will be led by our Veteran Sirdar Naga Dorje Sherpa who has till date led 11 of our Eco Everest Expeditions. The team will be supported at base camp by the highly respected Dr. Ben Clark, in his capacity as base camp manager and expedition doctor for Asian Trekking.
The style of climbing is perfect for individual and small teams who wish to have autonomy over their climbing schedules, yet want to benefit from the professional support and mountaineering expertise only afforded by large teams. The format of the expedition allows for specialized services and requests for customization.
Eco Everest gets its name for the environmental work that we have been doing as part of the expedition since 2008. Some of the feats of the expedition are that it has cleaned up over 18,800Kgs of garbage from Everest. The expedition also requires all climbers on the team to use toilet bags to bring all human waste off the mountain. For more info on the works of Eco Everest Expedition please visit this video on the UIAA you tube channel. https://youtu.be/dAlNl5xmebI
Mt. Makalu Expedition (Spring 2019)
In spring of 2019, Dawa Steven will be leading an international team to Mt. Makalu (8485m), The world's fifth highest mountain. The team will climb the classic route, via the Makalu La and North West Ridge.
Makalu is considered one of the jewels of Himalayan mountaineering with an extremely beautiful line with Everest and Lhotse always at your back and Kanchenjunga to the east. The Mountain is huge and the summit route is particularly long, but fortunately there is almost no risk of avalanche or rock fall, making it a pure test of the climber's fortitude.
Our Efforts and Initiation of Cleaning Popular Mountains:
Mountaineering and Tourism also needs a positive image. A common misconception that Everest is dirty. Everest was once known as the highest garbage dump in the world. Today, it is recognized by the climbers as one of the cleanest popular mountain in the world. This is mainly due to greater awareness amongst climbers and operators and efforts of various expeditions to clean the mountains e.g. Eco Everest Expedition...
Eco Everest Expedition is an eco friendly expedition organized every year since 2008 as a platform to attract maximum global attention with the main objective to raise awareness about the impact of climate change and glacier melting in the mountain leading to high risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods affecting the lives and livelihood of the local people and downstream communities.
Cleaning Campaign "Cash For Trash Program": Under the "Cash for Trash" program of Asian Trekking, till now more than 18,800 kilos of old garbage from slopes of Mt. Everest for proper disposal has been brought down and also brought down more than 1500 kilos of human waste produced by the expedition itself and also six deceased bodies recovered and brought down from the slopes of the mountain for a dignified burial and funeral. It uses highly successful alternative energy solutions like the parabolic solar cookers, solar energies for lighting, battery charges and also encourages other expedition teams to use them.
We are also using the same models and methods on the other popular mountains but picking up old garbage and bring down from such a height 8000m and above are not easy as picking up garbage in the streets of Kathmandu. It is very difficult, risky, technical and very costly. Our Sherpas take all this risk and put their live in jeopardy for the betterment of mountain environment. The mountains are for all of us. The efforts of all the nations are required to prevent the deterioration of fragile mountain environments, so that the survival of human kind is guaranteed.
Finally, it is my pleasure to keep you all up to date as to our activities here in the Himalaya. I will be sending you another newsletter in a few weeks focusing on the effects of the Nepal Earthquake in 2015 on the mountain communities, and the rebuilding work since then. I thank you for your support in the past and look forward to cooperation in the future. If you have any questions then please don't hesitate to email me.
Ang Tshering Sherpa