6.22.2018

Adventure Mode on: Manaslu trekking in August (and more)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, hat, closeup and outdoorNamaste! 
I'm sorry for the long silence but I have been busy, in many ways. Recovering from my ankle's injury has taken a while and when I came back to work I had to hurry up with my Philosophy course because just 15 days were left. I'm proud because I managed to complete my program.
On a different level I have been busy with Ramadan. I have a severe chronic anemia so fasting would be 'haram' for me, it isn't that I 'can avoid to': I mustn't. This is a big limitation, not something you enjoy. Ritual fasting is a kind of ascetic practice common to every religions and spiritual paths: Islam, Yoga, Ascesis all mean 'willing submission to a discipline' aiming to the 'self' development by the 'ego' deny. That's why Ramadan is not just fasting, and fasting without the rest is absolutely NOT a valid Ramadan while the rest without fasting definitely is. According to Islam, two chategories of persons mustn't fast: the first chategory includes persons with a permanent problem due to their age or to a chronic disease, the second one includes persons with a temporary problem (a temporary sickness, menstruated women, travelers and all people whose health could be harmed by the fast), these persons must make up for the fast when the temporary problem is over. This in short: Islamic law is very dettailed and with slight differences according to different 'schools' or scholars.
The rest is worshiping, reciting the whole Quran (more or less ten pages per day), dhikr, zakat and being as good as possible. I take this seriously, so dudes it's a demanding month, and when it's over I  - like many Muslims - suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
Manaslu has been on my dream list for some years now and when I fractured my ankle I had just said: "Now it's time to start training because next August I'm shooting high!" In the Quran it's said we make planns... but god is the best planner, that's why talking about the future we add 'inshallah' ('if god wants'). I spent 20 days in bed with a plaster, then I started walking with crutches, painfully and very slowly. After almost three months I'm better, but it's still a long way to my top form. That's why I waited too long to buy my flight tickets and paid them too much as a result. Fortunately I got a very good price for the trekking by Nature Adventure Trekking and I'm looking forward to travel again with my guide and best friend Jaya Rai
I know: summer is NOT the best period of the year to vist Nepal as it's the monsoon season. In Europe we have four seasons basically defined by temperature, in Nepal there are two seasons basically defined by rainfall ammount: since September to December and since March to May the season is dry, in July and August as well as in January and February the season is wet, even VERY wet, with daily pourring rain and heavy snow in the mountains. In the wet season trekking isn't easy, not only due to rain making paths muddy and snow blocking high passes, but also for the risk of slides. Roads in Nepal are always dangerous, imagine with pourring rains... 
According to my friends though Nepal in summer is very beautiful, especially in the second part of August, when the monsoon has lost the most of its power. Fields and forests are intense green, air pollution is less in Kathmandu valley, and several festivals are held. In the mountains the weather should be moderately rainy, with rainfalls concentrated in the night hours. Temperature are around 25 degrees, nothing compared to Iran or even the Italian Alps in August. Umbrela and raincoat should be enough.
The most unpleasant side of the summer trekking in Nepal are sleeches. There is plenty of them, and they are big, invasive and annoying, although inoffensive. Long trousers and long socks seem a good choice, with some repellent. Salt is also said to be good against sleeches...  I'm kinda curious to see them! 
Manaslu trekking is demanding: first of all because the area is a remote and restricted one, at the border with Chinese Tibet, and it takes a long bus or jeep trip to get there, secondly because it's a long circuit, including Manaslu base camp and  Larke La Pass (5,135 m). That's why the permit is expensive and you can't go on your own: it's compulsory to hire a guide and the group must be at least of two. In August my son will join, and we'll have one porter, even if as always I'll travel light.
I'm set to leave on the 6th of August and my flight back to Italy is on the 30th, so I have plenty of time. For the trekking 17 days are a confortable ammount of time, and a few days are left for visits and friends in Kathmandu. By the way... I have been busy also studying Nepali.
Adeventure Mode is one. 

5.06.2018

Nepal: an interview with the poet, journalist and communist militant Geelu Ratos

A very young Geelu in the People's War
On his documents he's Ganesh Kumar Rai. He's one of the most interesting person I met in my travels in Nepal and I have got a big respect for his life experience and for his work, as a journalist, a poet and a communist militant.
I asked him an interview and I'm honoured that he accepted but it took a long time for me to edit it. Some answers bring new questions and I would like to explore with him the intricate subject of 'identity and class' in Nepali society, that recently became especially important due to the implementation of the Federal Constitution. But he's a busy guy!
When I interviewed him Nepal had just voted in its first local elections and completed the crucial national elections under the new Consitutution. The leftist alliance - Marxist-Leninist and Maoist - had won, badly defeating the Nepali Congress...

Ilaria: The political situation in Nepal is quite complicated for people who are not acquainted with it. Can you explain it in short?
Geelu: As you have assumed, the political situation in Nepal is quite complicated. Nepalese people are facing a political transition [from monarchy to democracy including the maoist insurgency] since a long time. This is due to the fact that Nepal is moving downwards.  The most of the youths in Nepal are unemployed, consequently they are compelled to move to the Gulf countries in order to find a job and a better earning. That's because the political situation remains confused, Nepal is not yet in the path of prosperity. 
Ilaria: You are a communist militant: can you introduce your political Party explaining the main points on its program and its position regarding the present leftist alliance?
Geelu: The aim of the party I am involved in is to establish socialism in Nepal. Its main purpose is to bring the exploited class, marginalized groups, regional groups and even the gender based discriminated people into the political power. If the alliance between UML and MC is committed to meet this goal, then they can join to form a single party and they can even form a government as leftist alliance. If it happens to meet the goals, it is significant in all. The problem is that these two parties' programs are different. CPN Maoist Centre has new democracy of 21st century as its major program whereas the CPN UML has multi-party system in democracy as a major program. Along with this, the CPN Maoist Centre has opened the door of insurgency whereas the CPN UML has already closed the door of insurgency. If they reach a compromise, they can be unified, otherwise it is not possible. But the fact is the communists across the world are getting weakened, in this scenario the attempt of unification is note worthy. 
A very young Geelu mocking US President Bush
Ilaria: How would you describe the class composition of the Nepali society? Is it possible to apply here a classical marxist approach given the peculiarity of the Nepali working class? What are the social relationships in the rural areas?
Geelu:The composition of Nepali society is more complicated. The classes in Nepal are not like the class as it's described by Karl Marx. There are three classes, namely Lower, Middle and Upper.  The class is not only based on the economy, but also the ethnicity, where 59 indigenous nationalities are out of the mainstream. This is because of the unilateral power of the cast that occupied the main political roles, representing the Upper class.  
Radio commentator
Ilaria: You took part in the People's War, tell us something about this experience, by a political point of view and also as a personal experience. You were very young...
Geelu: When I was a young boy 13 years old and about to complete the Grade 5, I came into the contact of ACM (area committee member of Maoist Party) Janma Rai and his team.  
My aim of taking part in the People's war is very simple but interesting. When I was studying grade 3, two cadres of Khambuwan Rastriy Morcha (Khambuwan national forum) came to my house one evening. They used to talk about the politics of identity. They left the pamphlets in our house. I could recite those words but could not understand them. My elder brother pasted those pamphlets on the wall. The elder brother and my father were arrested by the police. They had to stay in custody about two weeks. During this time, the police threatened me showing their guns. Later I knew that they had 3nod 3rifles. Because of this I wanted to kill the police once an adult. Then I knew that only the Maoists could kill the police. This is how I moved to kill the police. Later I knew the Maoist ideology, and left the personal egoistic aim of killing the police for the radical change of the society. I am still involved in this party since then. 
Ilaria:  In your opinion what's the main problem for Nepal now, the one that is more urgent to address?
Image may contain: 5 people, people standing, crowd and outdoor
Celebrating Sakela (spring holiday)
Geelu: The main problem of Nepal is the political instability on one hand and not addressing the issues of identity on the other hand.  If these two problems will be addressed, many things will be solved.
Ilaria: What do you think about the complicated relationship between Nepal and its powerful neighbours, China and India?
Geelu: There are two neighboring countries of Nepal, India and China like a yam between two stones. Our former government said so. India still behaves as Nepal was a yam whereas China has in mind the land link. 
Ilaria: Talking about economics, what's the model your Party suggest ? In Europe we are facing the consequences of a productivist and consumeristic development and the concept of 'development' itself is a matter of disagreement. Do you think Nepal can find its own way to a sustainable development, socially equal and respectful of the environment?
Geelu: My party wants to implement the economy based on socialism. The development in Nepal is now entirely based on the capitalism and that's why there is an increment of pollution and natural disasters. According to BBC report, the sixth reason of death in Kathmandu nothing other than the pollution. The economy based on Socialism does not prioritize individual interest but  collectivity. Thus, the world economy must be guided by the economy based on socialism.
Ilaria: After the local elections held in June, Nepal is now busy with federal and political elections. The Right Alliance leaders flooded the media with allarmistic warning saying that a victory by the Leftist Alliance would be a danger for democracy. We know 'democracy' is a name for different things. What's the model of political representation your Party enforce ?
Geelu: In fact, it is a wrong analysis.  If the Right Alliance wins the elections, the king may come back as they are in the favour of monarchy. Since there is Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (National Democracy Party) in the Right Alliance, the major agenda are to restore the king and Hindu state.  If there is a king and exclusively one religion is allowed, how can that nation be a democratic country?  Besides, we want to institutionalise the Republic, an inclusive approach to religion and to move towards the scientific socialism. 
Ilaria: Cultural differences are an important component in Nepali society and you are involved in the preservation and valorisation of your ethnical traditional culture as a living and evolving part of daily life and national identity. Can you tell us something about it and about your activity?
Geelu: I am involved in writing about those cultural values in various national newspapers, namely Gorkhapatra, Annapurna Post, and on line. Also I have been documenting cultural pratices, myths and so on. I am editing a collection of Myths to be published by Nepal Academy very soon in collaboration with the poet Swapnil Srimiti. I am also involved as an editor of Kirati Soundary Shastra (Aesthetics of Kirati) published from National Foundation for Indigenous Nationalities in collaboration with Tara Mani Rai (PhD). I am writing about the cultural values, norms and the aesthetics through poems, songs and articles.
Ilaria: You are also a writer and especially a poet. Your poems have been not translated from Nepali yet so I had to ask my friends for a first rudimental understanding, nevertheless I found them absolutely beautiful and inspiring. I would like to translate them myself one day! How did you start writing and which are your references in the Nepali and international literature, if you have any?
Geelu: First of all. I would like to thank for your appreciation. I went through the news of Royal massacre in Kamana Magazine(National Monthly) in 2058 VS.  Later I joined it and worked for two years as a reporter since 2069 to 2071 VS. The news made me more emotional and then I began writing my feelings on a diary. I remember the poem we used to recite shaking among the People's army in Okhaldhunga. During the clandestinity and insurgency, I read fictions like "A Mother" by Maxim Gorky, "Agni Dikchha" by Nikolai Ostrovsky, "Chamkilo Rato Tara" by Lee Sin-Thyen, "Bal Sipahi" by Xui Kuang Yao,  "Yuvaharuko Geet" by Yang Mo, "Naya Ghar" by Aahuti, "Anido Pahadsangai" by Parijat and many short novels from China, Russia and Vietnam etc. 
Ilaria: Your art name is 'Geelu Ratos': what does it mean and why did you choose it?
Geelu: My original name is Geelu Ratos. I was named by my mother and it means 'lovely babe'. 'Ratos' is the clan name. Even now my family at home and friends from my village call me by this name. I prefer this name much. When I was admitted in school, the teachers from the Hindu religion rejected my name and renamed me as Ganesh Kumar.  The name Ganesh Kumar is on my official documents but I am not satisfied with this name. 
Ilaria: Your bio on facebook says you are Media Coordinator at Chindo Fashion and Creative Writer at Chindo Books. Tell us more about your job.
Geelu: I am founder member of these above mentioned two companies namely Chindo Fashion and Chindo Books. Apparently they seem to be profitable non-government organization, but they aim to preserve and promote the cultural identity of marginal groups. For example, the traditional attires are modified to suit the young generation style by Chindo Fashion. 
Ilaria: You are also a books reviews writer: list us five contemporary Nepali books everybody should read (translated or not).
Geelu: 1. "Bhuiya" by Yagesh (not translated).
2. "Mangena" by Yug Pathak (not translated).
3. "Nepalama varnavyavastha ra varga-sangharsha" by Aahuti (translate as "Varna System and Class Struggle in Nepal").
4. "Hetchchakuppa" by Rajan Mukarung (not translated).
5. "Aagole Janmotsav Maaudaina" by Bhupal Rai (translated as "The fire Cares Not Its Birth Anniversary").
Ilaria: You have been newsreader at Radio Nepal and still define yourself also as a journalist. How do you judge the situation of media and information in Nepal? In Europe media are often biased to be too linked to political power and big economical groups, so few free and few open to represent social fights and a critical point of view...
Geelu: Exactly, the media in Nepal are the same as in Europe. Very few media represent the social fights. To be exact the personal blogs have been advocating the voice of the grass root people and marginalized people. The big media companies raise the political issues but do not prioritize the issues to be addressed, i.e. the Madhesh issue and the identity one. Media in Nepal are not serious, they are not analytical but superficial. For instance, the emendament of the Constitution has been brought in the media but the analysis of why the Consitution needs to be emendated has been not.
Ilaria: In Italy we have not had a Communist Party in many years. Social movements have been badly defeated and political parties moved to moderate positions. Now some local organisations of workers, citizens commitees and communist intellectuals launched the project for a leftist alliance with the aim to take part in the next political election schedulated for March 2018. What a suggestion can you give to the new born organisation? What's the most important point for a Communist Party in your opinion, the one it can't miss?
Geelu: First of all, I wish the best for formulating a new organization based on leftist alliance to partake in the election to be held on March 2018. The step you have taken is the great and full of challenges. If you turn the organisation into a political party then it could be easier to address the your political issues.  As Marx states that the world need to be changed and I feel it's true, too.
Ilaria: Thank you very much for your time. I'll be glad to talk with you again about Nepali politics and your work.

Geelu Ratos has got a blog  where you can also read some poems by him, unfortunately in Nepali only. I google translated some of them just to understand what they are about, and in spite of the poor translation I fell in love with Geelu's poems. I asked a Nepali friend of mine for a good translation and I think he did a wonderful job. You can read it here below: original Nepali and English translation by Badri Lamsal (owner of Spiritual Excursion by the way).


"के हो मेरो दशेको राष्ट्रिय रंग ?
निलो ?
पौडी खेल्दा निलो रंगसँग म सहवास गर्ने गर्छु
जो, किनाराकृत छ राष्ट्रिय झन्डाको किनारामा ।

कत्ति हो मेरो देशको राष्ट्रिय उचाइ ?
सरगमाथा जत्ति ?
त्यसकै शीरमा टेक्ने गर्छु आरोहण गर्दा
जो, किच्चिने गर्छ मेरो पाउमुनि ।

तिमीले भनेको राष्ट्रिय फूलको बोट
मेरी आमाले हरेक दिन ‘सिनो’ उसिन्ने कचेट हो
‘सिनो’ राष्ट्रिय जनावरको कुहिएको मासु
जो,‘पाङ्मुजे’  जाने बाटोको बिसौनीमा खाने गर्छु म

यसपछि ममाथि लाग्ने अभियोगहरु—
एक, बलात्कारी !
दुई, आतंककारी !
तीन, बनमारा !
चार, ज्यानमारा !

अभियोगअनुसारको सजाय र दण्ड
अभियोग नम्बर एक—
मेरै चुलाको मसो दलेर सजाय देऊ ।
अभियोग नम्बर दुई—
मेरै स्यालफुस्रेको धनुवाणले छेंड मेरो छाती ।
अभियोग नम्बर तीन—
मेरै भूमिको जंगलमा चितुवा बनाएर लखेट ।
अभियोग नम्बर चार—
मेरै घरको धुरीमा फाँसी दिएर झुन्ड्याऊ ।

त्यसपछि मूल फुटाएर रगतको
बागमति बगाऊ मेरो शरीरबाट
त्यसैमा डुबाएर निकाल कागजको रातो गुलाब
र मनाऊ प्रणय दिवस !

तर, ख्याल गर –
“स्यालफुस्रेको धनु तन्काउन
किन साह्रो पर्‍यो तिमीलाई ?”
(इसमताको 'कविता राजनीतिक बहस भाग-६' 14 February 2015 मा प्रकाशित ।)"

"What is my country's national colour?
Blue?
I am deeply connected with blue while I am swimming, this blue colour is at the margin of my national flag.

What is the national height of my country?
equal to the height of Sagarmāthā ?
I step on its head while summiting, and it gets squeezed under my feet.

The national flower which you talk about is the pot on which my mother cooks dead animal's body everyday.
Oh!! That dead body is the rotten meat of national animal. I eat that rotten meat on the way to "Pangmuze".

After that I am accused of being-
1) A RAPIST
2) A TERRORIST
3) An AVENGER
4) A MURDERER

Punishment according to accusations.
For first accusation-
 Punish me by putting black dust that comes from my stove.
Fot second accusation-
 Kill me by my "Shyalfushre's" arrow
For third accusation
 Chase me like a leopard in my country's forest.
For fourth accusation-
Give me death penalty on my house's rooftop.

Then flow bood's river from my body and pour my blood on the paper and create paper's red rose out of that and celebrate Valentine's Day.
 But, remember-
Why you found it difficult to stretch Shyalfushre's arrow towards me?"

I hope I'll translate more soon!


4.20.2018

Everything happens for you to learn a lesson

Image may contain: one or more peopleNamste! 
On April the 4th I fractured my left malleolous. I have to wear a plaster for one month. 
Everything happens for you to learn a lesson. 
Which one for me? 
Appreciate what you have, stop complaining, be patient, be kind. Was it this? Hard way to learn but probably the best way.
At first I felt sad: I had some pain in my leg and moreover have to stay by my parents because I can't walk and I'm not able to look after myself. 
Then something changed, I started thinking I have been given a chance. Looking for a duah in sickness I found this one... after I wrote on my diary:
"Reading this duah I realised that sicknesses is a kind of a gift, like anything happening in the end. First of all it reminds us about the fragile miracle of life: we are a living body, exposed to all risks. It's an healthy reminder that we are not just a thinking mind. Then it makes us cosider how lucky we are because as far as we are alive and conscious... it could have gone worse! Inactivity allows me to appreciate minimal pleasures like stretching a leg or feeling the sun on the skin. Dependence is a useful teaching of humbleness and kindness: we never really rely just on our own, only we don't notice. Finally we are gifted of all the time we need to do things in the proper way, without excuses. In my case it's probably a way to tell me I must overcome my irrational fear of injections... but I am not sure it's working."
Well... it's working. Not only about injection, but in general. I started seeing life in a much more positive way. On the net you can find all kind of garbages but also precious resources like this list of Positive Thinking execises. It's banal and helpful at the same time: banal if you didn't reach the turnpoint, very useful if you did. Only, in my opinion, we shouldn't say: "I deserve to be happy" - it makes no sense, why should I? - but "I AM ALREADY HAPPY"... if just I could see it. I started seeing it and feel full of energy. That's why this banal list is useful for me.
My next goal is the Manaslu Base Camp at the end of August. I'm going to make it, no doubt. 
Stay tuned!

2.06.2018

My solo trekking in Langtang fundraising for Child Rescue Nepal 7. From Lama Hotel to Syabrubesi by Sherpa Gau

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureWe slept few last night but it's 7 am and we are up because today we must be in Syabrubesi before 3 pm in order to buy our bus tickets, and the route isn't easy, not at all. It's possible to go straight down following the river, but we take a different path, harder but definitely more beautiful, climbing to Sherpa Gau and descending by the other side of the mountain.
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureI'm tired so my pace is slow and I remember a friend who used to say: "A ten kg backpack in the morning feels like15 Kg in the afternoon and 20 at night". It's true. Slowly I climb and slowly the view opens in front of my eye: the Langtang river down in the valley, like a silver snake, long landslide like a scar in the forest, the white high peaks... 
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureThere is nobody. A deep silence. A group of mountain goats drinking at a stream, surprised when I pop up and rushing away with incredible jumps. They don't need any path and gravity doesn't apply! then deers, big monkeys, a cub of bear that Jaya points at but I fail to see, so fast it disapears into the tangled vegetation. But many animals and birds remain well hidden and probably look at me... as I would look at them if I could, with curiosity and respect.
Image may contain: sky, mountain, tree, cloud, outdoor and natureThe path is steep and often exposed, with stone stairs and suspended bridges. A group of Nepali teenagers is quickly approaching, the music from their phone is loud and louder, they pass by. "I wonder where they are going" I say "There is nothing here...", "See they have some ropes. They go taking something from the village" Jaya explains "Six hours ahead". For a while we can see them almost running in front...
Image may contain: 1 person, tree, sky, mountain, plant, outdoor and natureSherpa Gau! we got to the summit and now we start the descent. Here, atop the hill, there is nothing special, just a few prayers flags and the same beautiful view. 
Image may contain: sky, mountain, tree, outdoor and natureWe almost don't stop. And as we are downhill it should be easier now, instead I think I'm even slower because the path is steep and I risk to slip at every steps. While we are cautiously descending we meet again the boys, already back with a large and heavy burden on their shoulders. I step aside to let them pass. "How can they bring this all the way back?!", "They stop often. Maybe five steps and they stop." Jaya says. And I see again the long rough path we covered, the dangerous stairs, the bridges... But I know. They are used and I'm getting used too. The music is still loud, they are already gone.
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureWe are closer to the town and this side of the mountain is much more inhabited. We take a tea in a small village and I can't avoid to be amazed by the guy who serves it: he lost a leg, uses one arm to move with a crutch and the other one to hold a tray with two cups and the sugar bowl! He wears short trousers and no shoe on his sole foot. He's young, maybe nineteen, slim and skillful. I wonder what happened, but I ask nothing. Life goes on. A banner advices this is an ecofriendly lodge: only cooking organic vegetables, using  solar power and separately collecting pastic and paper to be reclycled. 
Image may contain: sky, outdoor and natureFor lunch we stop by a big farm. We can already see Syabrubesi and there is a regular road from the village to the city. That's for the cars. We take the short cut, going straight down. Oioi! my legs are badly aching! but we are almost arrived and the tickets office is closing soon. I'm very happy when I can drop my backpack and lay down in the hotel room! Still I'm not happy, because the trekking is over. Fortunately I'll have a few days in Kathmandu...Image may contain: mountain and outdoor

Read also Part 1 HERE part 2 HERE Part 3 HERE Part 4 HERE Part 5 HERE Part 6 HERE.Image may contain: one or more people, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

Remember that you are still in time to DONATE to Child Rescue Nepal at this link HERE

And have a look to Jaya Rai fb page HERE

1.31.2018

My solo trekking in Langtang fundraising for Child Rescue Nepal 6. From Kyangjin Gompa back to Lama Hotel and New Years Eve

Image may contain: sky, cloud, mountain, outdoor and natureIt's supposed to be a lazy day. The golden sun light reaches the top of the mountains and I jump in my shoes to run taking some pictures. It's cold. Warm and confortable in the kitchen, where we eat our chapati. But the honey is frozen in the bottle so Jaya has to put it in some boiled water!
Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, outdoor and natureMy legs are still sore when we start walking . I look up to the view point we reached the previous day and I'm surprised  because it seems so close... It's just... ehm... VERTICAL. We see the cheese factory again, the monastry, the stupas and chortens, some yaks. 
Image may contain: mountain, sky and outdoor"I want to wash my hair" I say. And I do in Mundo, where we stop for lunch. The water is very cold, with ice pieces in it, but in the sun it's warm enough. Not enough to melt the frozzen water from a basin though... I dry my hair sitting in the sun, chattering with talking to Jaya and waiting for our dhal baht. Life is good. It's just a pity that we have to go down already, back to the valley and to Kathmandu.
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureWe take our time, we pass Langtang, where the villagers are holding their assembly, and the big landslide. It's very early when Jaya says we are arrived and I suggest we can go further. "Ok, let's go sleeping in Lama Hotel again then, and back to Kathmandu one day earlier." It's fine. We descend by the river, in the forest, and now I'm tired and looking forward to the dinner... but it was my choice so shut up and keep walking! In the end I'm happy with it.
Image may contain: outdoor and natureWe arrive to Lama Hotel at dusk. The big lodge is closed so we take a room in a smaller one, where we find again the Canadian trekkers. "It's New Years Eve! We are going to celebrate!" their guide says. "But for you the year begins in April" I reply, "In Nepal we celebrate anyway", "Oh yeah! In Nepal you have more holidays than work days in the calendar!" I joke... but it's true, as they celebrate as a national holiday the holydays of every religions. 
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureWe have our dinner, some cups of roksi (the local grappa), the owner turns the music on and we start dancing in the small kitchen, a little tipsy. More roksi! ahah! I'm getting drunk! it isn't very alcholic compared with European drinks, still after three or four cups it works also for me. It's a lovely night and when we go to bed, relatively late, the full moon is shining in the sky...
...............................................................................................

TO BE CONTINUED

Image may contain: sky, mountain, nature and outdoorRead also Part 1 HERE part 2 HERE Part 3 HERE Part 4 HERE and Part 5 HERE

Remember that you are still in time to DONATE to Child Rescue Nepal at this link HERE

And have a look to Jaya Rai fb page HEREImage may contain: outdoorImage may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoorImage may contain: sky, mountain, cloud, outdoor, nature and waterImage may contain: mountain, outdoor and natureImage may contain: outdoor

1.28.2018

Nanga Parbat: the humans and the death. About Tomek Mackiewicz, Elizabeth Rovel, Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko.


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One years ago on this mountains Mariano Galvan and Alberto Zerain disapeared. Not the first not the last ones, because humans' love for hard things is a part of their humanity. 
Now Tomek Mackiewicz. He probably got to the summit this time, together with Elizabeth Rovel. They had tried several times. Or maybe they failed again. So far it isn't sure.
Sure in human life is only the death, and we shouldn't be sad when it comes if we didn't give up on our dreams and fully lived our life.
Facts, they are in the news, for example HERE. The most touching words I found belong to mountaneer Mirza Ali who wrote on his fb profile:
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Elisabeth Rovel arrives in Skardu after rescue
"#Nangaparbat rescue mission concluded with mixed feelings !!! With grief, sorrows with Polish #Tomek and his family. Since, he couldn't be rescued due to bad weather and higher altitude, and on the other hand French lady mountaineer #ElisabethRevol survived,the words of admiration for #PolishK2 Team is indeed wonderful, respected the heights level and must be cheered for their fantastic volunteerism undertaking the most dangerous rescue mission, reaching Elisabeth at 6000m. 
However, for me #ElisabethRovel is a woman, who can't be described in words, she is a woman of steel nerve,she has extra ordinary courage the feat of bravery may not put in words, she attempted Nanga Parbat multiple times during winters and mostly with Tomek. She never gave up despite the extreme harshness of the mountain, most of their attempts were non supported and climbed alpine style, Elisabeth and Tomek summit push turned out to be a nightmare, not sure what happened. Elisabeth can speak about it either summit or not but above 7400m After Tomek had trouble health ,beyond words of wildest dream Elisabeth helped her descent, put her tent. Perhaps, when she realised she can't help him more, her life is also at risk, she solo descended 1400m most difficult part of the mountain, without rope and without partner and reached 6000m. I applaud, appreciate and Salute Elisabeth Rovel and her extreme feat. 
I really wish Gilgit Baltistan Govt on urgent bases form a mountain search and rescue team and make it part of Rescue 1122/NDMA these people should be highly trained and qualified high altitude mountaineers. Its shameful that we don't have search and rescue team in the country, the search and rescue team should be equipped with all necessary equipment, including a helicopter! 
Dear Tomek, Mountain wanted more than the people around you, you loved this mountain and it hold you forever!"


I agree: Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko did something incredible. You can find all dettails in the news. But Elisabeth Revol has been amazing. She's alive and looking good. Tomek Mackiewicz is probably dead. 
Who criticised the decision of the rescue team don't know what they are talking about and just show their inconsistency. It's true that the Pakistani authorities must urgently create a search and rescue team. In another post Mirza Ali said:
"Recent #Rescue mission on Nanga Parbat of Polish #Tomek French lady mountaineer #ElisabethRovel has opened two topics to discuss seriously, #1 Govt of Pakistan has failed in 70Yrs to allow private heli rescue services. Since, Army has many operational tasks to perform, therefore private sector must be encouraged. In the years, to come such incidents will happen due to increase in domestic adventure expeditions. #AskariAviation evacuation cost is very expensive and locals may not afford. Also, in NDMA a mountain search & Rescue section should be set up, because many domestic tourists also going on dangerous treks these days, for search and rescue missions you can not always look for expert people to team up at 11th hours. In order to take dangerous undertakings to form a search and rescue team, it takes plenty of time. under Govt. supervision "provincially"a highly experienced team should exist and should stay on standby all the time, either its search or rescue or during natural disasters.

#2 All tour operators must make necessary arrangements for such adventurous trips, must not sell cheap expeditions and cause difficulties, also ensure the clients have insurance that is enough for such costly evacuation, proper communication arrangements, use of GPS ,sat phone etc."
The death is a part of human life and life can't be spent avoiding to die. And still the risk involved in activities like mountaineering must remain a calculate risk. As Alpine Sange Sherpa told us: "The mountain will be there again and you'll have another chance... if you are alive". 

1.27.2018

My solo trekking in Langtang fundraising for Child Rescue Nepal 5. From Mundo to Kyangjin Gompa

Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and natureThe sun is rising from beyond the high mountains at the end of the valley, where we are going to climb today:  Kyangjin Gompa (3740m). In the kitchen we observe the making of our chapati
Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, people eating, indoor and foodIt's still cold when we start and the elevation is moderate so it takes longer to warm up. In add it's very windy. Pastures and the glacial moraine took the place of the forest, the path runs by Mani walls and chortens. Yaks are quitly grazing.  In the distance, an ancient monastery, its door open so that I can see the prayers wheels inside. Smaller prayer wheels are built over the river and work like mills, incessantly moved by the strength of the stream. There is a cheese factory, but it's closed, as well as the most of the guesthouses in the high valley, interested by maintenance work and enlargement. 
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoorKyangjin Gompa is a big village surrounded by high mountains covered in snow and steep hills. Here it's definitely cold but also sunny: the daylight is so fierce that for the first time I have to wear my sunglasses and put on a cream. The clothes hung to dry are frozen. We can't wait too long: we drop our backpack, we eat our dhal bhat - in the kitchen, in front of the fire - and we start climbing to Chorkari Ri (5050m).
Image may contain: indoorThis is probably the most demanding part of the trekking. The path is very steep and in few kms we gain a big elevation. I feel exhausted but I don't want to give up: "I can do it" I say, "You MUST do it!" Jaya replies. He never stops to encourage me and slowly slowly I go up. The last stretch is more climbing than hiking, finally I'm there, among the coloured prayer flags waving in the wind, in front of the majestic view of several peaks glittering in the sun: Langtang Lirung, Gyanghempo, Langshisha Ri, Yansha Tenji and Nayakang.  "Congrats!" This is my summit and I'm proud of myself.
Image may contain: outdoorThe sun is setting while we descend, cautiously, admiring the glacier from where the Langtang river springs and the remote beautiful places I will never reach... 
In the guesthouse there are two new guests: son and father from Canada, suffering from the altitude, sadly decided to go down earlier than expected. The son is in Nepal for his studies and the father is visiting "...but he got sick of Kathandu, so we came hiking, but it feel bad here, we both have headache, nausea...  and I feel a pain in my chest..." I almost feel guilty that I'm absolutely fine! "I think I suffer from Low Altutide Disease" I joke. Drying my socks close to the stove I look at Jaya who is playing cards with the Canadians' guide and porter, trying to understand the rules. 
Image may contain: sky, cloud, mountain, outdoor and natureI'm tired tonight, my legs are sore for the long climbing and I feel cold. After dinner we all drink a cup of roksi, the local grappa... and we go to bed.
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TO BE CONTINUED

Read also Part 1 HERE part 2 HERE Part 3 HERE and Part 4 HERE

Remember that you are still in time to DONATE to Child Rescue Nepal at this link HERE.
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And have a look to Jaya Rai fb page HEREImage may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and natureImage may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureImage may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureImage may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, outdoor and natureImage may contain: cloud, sky, mountain, outdoor and natureImage may contain: 1 person, mountain, outdoor and natureImage may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor, nature and waterImage may contain: sky, outdoor and natureImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting, table and indoor