Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Conquering mountains

People travel to Nepal to conquer mountains. Sometimes the mountains conquer them. It was tragic to hear about the loss of more than 40 lives due to an unseasonal blizzard and avalanche on the Annapurna circuit while I was in Nepal.

I’d read a lot of things about the trekking industry ahead of my trip – sherpas risking their lives in order to make big money – but the complexity of what is going on in the mountains was summed up on the front page of the Himalayan Times during my stay.

The story contained quotes from an Israeli backpacker who described the moment when the blizzard hit – and how, in the confusion of the white-out, tourist began pleading with a 46-year-old porter called Pasang Tamang to rescue them – offering him sums of money in US-dollars to save their lives.

Tamang saved 20 foreigners during that storm but he could not save himself. His dead body was found in the snow…his pockets stuffed full of rescue-money – cash that he, no doubt, had planned to carry home to his wife and two children.

A week after the tragedy I flew to Pokhara – the closest trekking centre to the Annapurna circuit – to escape the smog and noise of Kathmandu. Nearly every person I spoke with during my four days in that town asked me if I was going to go hiking in the mountains – and each seemed dumbfounded when I said, “No, I think I'll just watch them” – as if nobody had ever travelled to Nepal to sit and stare at the snow-capped peaks.

I found myself mesmerised from the moment I laid eyes on those mountains – so unfathomably high – so striking – so powerful – so unpredictable. One minute they were towering over me – the next, they were gone – swallowed by the clouds as if they never existed. 

And then, after hours of nothingness on the horizon, they’d burst through the blue – catching me so off-gaurd with their might and beauty that there was nothing to do but stand in awe and shed tears. In those moments, under those peaks, I felt so small – but at the same time was filled with a desire to be tall – to stretch myself to higher places – to make my life bigger. 

I spent my evenings on the rooftop of my hotel, watching the shadows of the night slowly creep over the town – enveloping the rice paddies, then the buildings, then the surrounding hills. Above this darkening landscape the mountains would stand ever so still, allowing the last rays of the day to paint their snow-capped peaks yellow, then orange, then pink, then grey…and then they were gone for another day.









5 comments:

  1. Hy!!! I am bikash dhakal..Your photographs are awesome!!i love it..i am also a nepali ..right now am not in nepal but promoting my blog which is about nepal you may click here if you have time.. Evrestnepal.blogspot.com and if you like it please comment too..i knew you are singer .i will try to listen your songs too..but right now your blog writing is brilliant which i loved much...moreover i like your writing and fellings about nepal ..thats cool...hey if you dont mind could i add you to my friend circle in google + ,please?? Ok..i will be regularly see your blog as much i got my time...go on writing the blogs..go ahead too..thanks.धन्यवाद (its dhanyabad)☺ See you next time!!

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  2. Dear Bikash, It's nice to meet a fellow blogger and it makes me happy that you have enjoyed my recent posts. I've just checked out your page and look forward to receiving news from Nepal through your eyes. Maybe I'll see you in Kathmandu sometime soon :)

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  3. Oh its would be my great opportunity to meet you ..but infortunately i am not in nepal right now..I will go by next november..see u there in kathmandu if time favours us..:)

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  4. beatiful pics I loved the bit about stretching to make your life bigger.

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