Archive for the ‘Himalayan Trekking’ Category

Life and Death in Nepal: A Sherpa Funeral

November 18th, 2016 by
Travel to Nepal
A bit of life…and death…a Sherpa funeral…three days of a happening! We arrive to be fed tea or local brews – chang or rakshi – in a tented waiting area. Lakpa, our host, is sitting, talking, and laughing with us. To my surprise, he tells me it is his father who died–so typical in this country where life and death are one. A German lady arrives with her Sherpa escort. The lady is building a Sherpa Cultural Center in a monastery above the village. She appears to know it all, yet she has brought her camera equipment. I couldn’t. I am not here to stare but to learn and pay my respects. After tea and chang, we go inside the house. I sit a bit with Alice, a client and new friend, listening to the chanting of orange-clad monks, smelling the incense, and feeling the vibrations of their voices in my stomach, the familiarity of the sound. How can this now be so familiar, this strange Sherpa world? I remember laughing rudely in my first concert of chanting Gyuto monks in America. Now the chants here in the mountains are comfortable, peaceful. Rituals and Rites Lakpa explains what is happening […]

Traveling to India: A Journey to Diversity

September 22nd, 2016 by
Traveling to India
There is far more to India than the Taj Mahal, Rajasthan and Varanasi – the Classic India tour.  Of course, those places are most travelled, but wherever you go in the largest democracy in the world, you’ll encounter a dazzling kaleidoscope of people and activity. To say that India is diverse is an understatement: It’s home to more than 2,000 ethnic groups and all the world’s religions! India is also one of the world’s most colorful countries. What tourists often don’t know is that some of the richest Indian treasures are in out-of-the-way places like Northeast India, Gujarat, Sikkim and Darjeeling. They simply haven’t been discovered yet by the 200,000 visitors who gawk at the Taj Mahal each year. All you need to make any of the following trips your own treasured memory is curiosity and a sense of adventure. A knowledgeable guide will be sure you don’t miss a thing. Northeast India: Tribal India Take a look at a map of India and imagine it’s shaped like the head of a rabbit facing you.  The tall right ear, jutting eastward and attached to the India subcontinent by only a 12-mile-long finger of land, is Northeast India. Its 160 square […]

Pick the Best Trekking Route to Mt. Everest Base Camp

June 27th, 2016 by
Trekking Routes to Everest Base Camp
Traveling to Everest Base Camp: How to Pick your Path Fifty-three years ago, there were only two main ways to get to the south base camp of Mt. Everest in Nepal: Trek from Kathmandu, a four-to-five-week trek. Or, take a day-long bus ride over rough roads to Jiri and hike for five to eight days to Namche and then on toward Mt. Everest. Then, in 1964, everything changed.  That’s when the Himalayan Trust, created by Sir Edmund Hillary, built a mountainside airport and a dirt runway in Lukla to help the Sherpa people get their goods to market more easily.  (The runway was paved in 1999, and in 2008 was renamed the Tenzing-Hillary Airport.) The unintended result of Hillary’s effort was that the airport, considered by many experts to be the most dangerous in the world, also gave travelers a shorter route to Mt. Everest. Today an estimated 25,000 people a year take the 35-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla to begin their trek.  But a few hardy, adventurous souls still do the trek the old fashioned way. They begin walking in Jiri. Their feet never leave the ground. The Best Trekking Route to Everest Base Camp From Here to […]

Cyclone Hudhud’s Tragic Lessons for Trekkers

October 20th, 2014 by
The deadly Himalayan blizzard conditions and avalanches caused by Cyclone Hudhud are no stranger to Nepal… “Move the tents,” I told my friend Dawa, “It’s going to pour for two days and we need to set them up so rain and wind won’t wreak havoc.” He looked at me as though I was crazy. “I bet you the pants you’re wearing we are getting a storm,” I taunted. “It’s a bet, Didi,” he replied laughing. The day had been sunny and beautiful, yet suddenly clouds were coming up over the horizon, dark clouds that should not have been there on a day like this or at this time of year. I did not like it. In 1987, I had been caught in a heavy blizzard at 15,000 feet that lasted for more than 36 hours on a route rarely traveled in the Everest region. We ended out having to break trail over two precipitously difficult 17,000-foot passes down to safety below the tree line. Now, as we were just about to head up above the snow line on a side path of the main Annapurna route, the weather looked exactly as it had in 1987. Although fall in Nepal is […]