News from Nepal - part 6
Updated, May 21st. More news from Nepal. Thanks to Cicerone Press authors Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons for this news.
From our own correspondent… flying today
Kathmandu May 11
Today was the first morning since our arrival on May 1 that we were rudely awakened by the alarm clock. Word has now come in from Purna Thapa Magar that the convoy left for Rolwaling/Dolakha this morning at dawn, well a little after - Nepalese time. The hotel courtyard and parking lot became a tarpaulin cutting salon this morning, as the heavy duty roll was too heavy (51kg) in one piece. Lots of local hands came to the rescue to do this job, including Beni Ghale’s young son, another recruit to the Yellow Hat Sect brigade. No sooner had that been done than news came from Steve and Erling that they were stuck in Arughat, the roadhead for Manaslu, still awaiting the chopper after an all-night drive. There was no news of the army chopper delivery to Tipling from last night’s airport supply delivery. More tarps are being ordered, but the supplies from India have currently run dry. Over a quick lunch of scrambled eggs at Pumpernickel, we met a trekker who had been eating lunch in Ripchet village (on the south side of Chumling in the lower Tsum Valley area) when the quake struck. Apparently all the houses crashed down and a few caught fire. We understand from her that no one died as a result of the quake there, but the trekking trail out was horrendous, across endless landslides all the way back to Arughat. She is hoping to get some supplies up to Ripchet by small chopper in a few days, using donations.
Sian and Bob swimming in the sea of blue tarpMeanwhile we were back at the Hotel Moonlighting, when word came that two more loads of supplies for Tipling could be dropped today by privately funded helicopters. So everyone at the hotel was drafted in to pack 600kg of rice plus sleeping bags, mats, 15 large Bergans tents and 15 smaller ones supplied by XXL in Norway. In addition, one of our 25kg heavy duty tarp rolls was added and the lot bundled off to the airport for immediate dispatch to Tipling. A further update will follow shortly… it’s a bit like the Archers or Eastenders, this saga… you gotta wait for the storyline later!
Most of the day was a waiting game, until Uttam and David appeared much later. Uttam informed us that the two helicopters had taken Frank and the supplies into Tipling so that meant all our efforts to use the donated money for the villages had proved fruitful after almost 10 days of trying. The choppers were funded by Mountain People for this and this was the first substantial drop of any aid into Tipling. We are now working closely with Mountain People, as they are proving very effective in their rescue endeavours. It is also heartening to hear that many of the big agencies are finally getting into top gear. Perhaps Jeremy Clarkson is looking for a new job!
the old wing of the KGH, damaged further by yesterday's quakeLater Victor Saunders and a climbing colleague arrived to see if they could do a recce in the Ganesh region, following a shortened attempt to climb Makalu. Heavy snows were again cited as the main problem for climbers this spring. Purna finally called from the airport, having been rescued from the landslide area in Dolakha. The news is terrible, with many villages probably flattened. We cannot report the details tonight as Purna and his team were clearly extremely distressed. News from the latest quake suggests that the classic trail to Everest has suffered badly this time along with Khunde, Khumjung and what was left of Thame. The state of Namche is uncertain, as reports are conflicting. It’s a sober and subdued atmosphere in general today, but there have been no further wobbles of note since 3am last night.
Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. Since then they have been leading and organising treks in the Alps, Nepal, Algeria and Niger, and exploring the world. However, they regularly return to their first love, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, and have published several books on the region.View Articles and Books by Siân Pritchard-Jones
Siân Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. Since they met they have been leading and organising treks in the Alps, Nepal, Algeria and Niger, and exploring the world. However, they regularly return to their first love, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, and have published several books on the region.View Articles and Books by Bob Gibbons