Lukla lives up to its nickname

May 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 29 May 2017: The co-pilot of a cargo plane that crashed at Lukla a small airport near Mount Everest, killing the pilot, has died from his injuries, Nepali officials said Sunday.

Lukla has been nicknamed the world’s most dangerous airport, but still remains the gateway for Everest trekkers and climbers.

The plane, which had departed from Kathmandu, broke into three pieces when it crashed in heavy fog while trying to land at Lukla airport on Saturday. Read more

Everest claims more lives

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Nepal, News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 23 May 2017: Three climbers died on Everest over the weekend and another is missing, officials confirmed Monday, in one of the deadliest episodes on the peak since an avalanche swept through base camp and killed 18 two years ago.

More than a dozen climbers have been rescued from the 8,848 metre (29,030 foot) mountain in the last three days after running into difficulties on the world’s highest peak, helicopter rescue operators told AFP.

The weekend fatalities appear related to altitude sickness and bring the death toll to five during a season marked by unpredictable weather, strong winds and unusually cold temperatures. Read more

Fast forward up Everest

May 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Nepal, News

KATHMANDU, 12 May 2017: As other Everest hopefuls were trudging up to base camp in April, Singapore-based Brooks Entwistle was at home, planning his daughter’s 13th birthday party and preparing for his company’s annual general meeting.

But at night he would climb into a hypoxic, or low oxygen, tent meant to mimic the thin air at high altitude.

Now on Everest, Entwistle, a partner with Singapore’s Everstone Group, is hoping to summit the world’s highest peak in just 35 days — half the time of a conventional climb. Read more

Nepal extends climbing permits

March 2, 2016 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 2 March 2016: Nepal has extended the climbing permits of hundreds of mountaineers forced to abandon Everest after last year’s massive earthquake, to try to lure tourists back to the Himalayas, an official said Tuesday.

Climbers, who paid USD11,000 each for a permit last year, quit their expeditions in droves when the April quake triggered an avalanche on Everest base camp that killed 18 people.

The quake marked the second year with almost no summits on Everest after the deaths of 16 Nepali guides in an avalanche in 2014 sparked a shutdown of the world’s highest peak. Read more

Lukla tests a pilot’s nerves

December 8, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

LUKLA, 8 December 2015: Flying into Nepal’s Lukla airport — the gateway to Mount Everest — demands courage and precision, thanks to its tiny, treacherous runway perched on a steep cliff.

For half a century, pilots have needed to navigate snow-capped peaks and endure erratic weather to land on a runway just 500 metres long, which has been carved into a mountain ridge and sits by a perilous 3 km (two-mile) drop.

A litany of deadly crashes, including one in October 2008 which killed all 18 on board except the pilot, has earned Lukla the nickname of the “world’s most dangerous airport”. Read more

Nepal grants Everest permits

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 24 August 2015: Nepal opened Everest for the autumn season, over the weekend, granting its first climbing permit four months after a deadly earthquake triggered an avalanche at its base camp.

Hundreds of climbers had to abandon attempts when the avalanche struck in April, marking a second summer season with virtually no one reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

The deaths of 16 Nepalese guides in an avalanche in 2014 sparked a shutdown that year.

Read more

Everest trek declared safe

August 9, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 11 August 2015: The vast majority of guesthouses and trails on the popular Mount Everest trekking route emerged unscathed from Nepal’s devastating earthquake, said an assessment report released last Friday.

Tourism-dependent Nepal had called in international experts to examine trekking routes in the Everest and Annapurna region following April’s disaster to certify that they were safe for hikers.

A team of structural and geotechnical engineers led by US-based firm Miyamoto International surveyed the Everest trail on foot and on a helicopter to check for quake-triggered destruction and hazards.

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Disaster a double blow for Sherpas

May 11, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

KATHMANDU, 11 March 2015: Mount Everest record holder, Apa Sherpa, ran for his life when a huge earthquake hit Nepal, and now fears for the future after the disaster cut short the climbing season for the second year in a row.

“Everyone here is scared and depressed, we have lost everything,” the climber told AFP by telephone from Thame, deep in the Everest region, one of the villages that is home to the Sherpa ethnic group.

The tight-knit community of around 50 families has produced some of the world’s greatest mountaineers, including Sherpa, who is something of a celebrity having reached the top of Everest a record 21 times.

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Climbers flee Everest slopes

April 28, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

BEIJING, 28 April 2015: China cancelled all spring climbs on the north face of Mount Everest, state media said Monday, after an earthquake in neighbouring Nepal triggered a deadly avalanche elsewhere on the world’s highest mountain.

More than 400 climbers have descended to safety in Tibet since Saturday’s quake, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the regional sports bureau.

Climbers, stranded for two days at high altitudes on the Nepalese side of the mountain, were rescued by helicopters Monday.

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Foreign tourists evacuate Nepal

April 28, 2015 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

NEW DELHI, 28 April 2015: After spending the night huddled in a car with his family at the airport fearing for their safety, Michael Mackey is among thousands of tourists who flocked to Nepal for spring holidays and are now desperate to leave the quake-hit nation.

The New Zealander, his wife and three sons were in a cafe in the capital Kathmandu when the 7.8-magnitude quake struck Saturday, forcing them to flee outside as surrounding buildings shook and toppled.

“There was extensive damage to buildings around there. After that, we didn’t stop and came all the way to outside the airport,” said Mackey, who has spent three weeks holidaying in the Himalayan nation where the death toll has passed 3,500 people.

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