Nepal has been an amazing learning experience for me as well as the rest of the Vertical Nepal team. One thing I learned is that the Nepal people are amazingly resilient. Whether you're living in the mountains, the valleys or Katmandu, all places have their own challenges to overcome.
Trifc Pictures Courtesy of Robert Rose
Villages in the mountains are maintained through a web of rock trails traveled by porters, yaks and mules. Often these trails, though fairly wide, are steep and rocky. A half-day trek from one village to the next requires several thousand feet of up and down elevation often with 25 to 60 kgs on a porter’s back. Simple travel with just a small pack between villages would be considered a major hike in the US. All supplies for the mountain folks are brought in on the backs of porters, yaks and mules. The higher and more remote the village the more expensive the supplies become.
Work never seems to subside for these folks. There is always yaks to tend to or the fire to be stoked with dried yak dung, clothes washed, food to prepare. Lifestyle at high elevation, in the thin air of the kombu region near Gokyo is much like the Arctic. Many versions of arctic plants live here. Some greenhouse have been built here to help with food supplies…garlic, onions, and some root vegetables.
Lower elevations in the valleys, have a longer growing season where you’ll find tomatoes, potatoes, pickles and some apples. The warmer conditions and produce seem to make these folks a bit better off however the recent earthquakes caused more devastation in the lower flat areas then those villages built on the hillside…not sure way this was the case.
In Katmandu, much of the city relies on rural farmers to bring in produce. Produce is often transported via every manner from rickshaws to motorbikes to buses. The fruits and veggies are great…oranges, mangoes, tomatoes fruits I never heard of, little bananas, avocados, cabbage…
The Water system in Katmandu come in all forms. The central water system needs to be filtered…not just for bugs but for other impurities just to be safe. Some of the higher end hotels have a 3 tier carbon filtration system on the roof that then is gravity feed to the rest of the building. Unless you have a good portable filter system (not just for bugs), I would drink bottled water. To get a bug like a fellow I met trying to climb Ama Dablam would have been detrimental to the expedition… This man had lost 15 kilos in an incredibly short amount of time. Elias recovered from a stomach bug, but had to walk around for several days with toilet paper rolled up in his underwear as a safety measure.
It was nice to see throughout our journeys folks using solar hot water panels on their roofs or used on-demand propane hot water heaters for showers if money and supplies allowed.
Nepal is undergoing a fuel shortage because India decided to stop bringing fuel to the country due to not being included in Nepal's political discussions. We found many of the restaurants had short menus or had shut down altogether because of no available propane to cook with. This goes for kerosene, diesel and gas. There were lines of taxis, buses, trucks and cars parked in single file lines drivers waiting for fuel to come…someday. Many are hoping that the fuel embargo will lift
As hard as the quakes and shortages of fuel has been on the Nepalese, they always seem to improvise and push forward with a big smile as if this was just another small bump in the road. An inspiration and reality check for us.
Thank you again to our major sponsors for your long-term support of Vertical Nepal as well as many of our previous expeditions:
About PrimaLoft, Inc. PrimaLoft, Inc., a materials science company based in Latham, New York with offices in Germany and China, is the world leader in research and innovative development of comfort solutions with high-performance insulations and fabrics. The PrimaLoft® brand, a registered trademark of PrimaLoft, Inc., delivers feel-good products that are used in the top global outdoor and fashion brands, home furnishings, work wear, hunting and military applications. PrimaLoft® insulation was originally developed for the U.S. army as a water-resistant, synthetic alternative to down. Today, the brand is recognized as a benchmark in the outdoor industry for providing unsurpassed comfort in any condition, ultimately empowering users to stay in the moment. PrimaLoft, Inc. is active in sustainable textile production through partnerships with the bluesign® system, the International OEKO-TEX® Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index. For more information, please visit www.PrimaLoft.com, and follow PrimaLoft on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.PrimaLoft®, Feel the Performance™
About Hear In America Inc. Hear In America Inc. is the nation’s leader in the hearing care industry, providing access to the nation’s highest quality hearing care services, hearing aid devices and ongoing patient care, all with high-value pricing. Serving more than 10 million consumers, Hear In America provides managed care hearing services for Employer groups, Associations, and Insurance Carriers through creative solutions including hearing discounts, fully insured hearing plans, and hearing PPO solutions. Hear In America is also deeply committed to the environment and supports programs to raise awareness of climate change. Please visit us at http://www.hearinamerica.com
About Granite Gear, Inc. For 29 independent years, Granite Gear has brought cutting-edge products to the outdoor marketplace. Their award-winning backpacks, adventure travel gear,extensive variety of storage sacks, lifestyle accessories, and canoe gear offer excellence in design and construction. Granite Gear’s desire is for all outdoor enthusiasts and travelers to experience the incredible durability and comfort of their products. Located in Northern Minnesota, just minutes from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior Hiking Trail, they have a rugged and beautiful testing ground for their products. Please visit http://www.granitegear.com
You can help Nepal by visiting and supporting these partnered humanitarian & environmental organizations: