The international airport is fully functional and many hotels are structurally sound. The Nepal government has also been undertaking its own surveillance and there was an official function in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square held by the Tourism Minister where he announced that Nepal is safe for travel.
About 90% of Nepal’s 28 million people live in the foothills and mountain areas. Over centuries, they have established trade routes which in more recent history are the trails used by trekkers also. These trail networks are fundamentally important for trade, movement of goods, health and education and we know that any key mountain trails that have experienced damage will be repaired very quickly due to the complete reliance on them.
The Annapurna region sustained very little affect from the earthquake, other than some damage to the village of Jomsom (on the Annapurna Circuit route) on the north western side of the Annapurna range. The area up around Manang is also reported to be mostly unaffected.
In the Everest region there were two small landslips on the trails north of Lukla which have already been addressed by government appointed workers. Any danger has been removed and there are reports of trekkers and the normal stream of local people using these and all other trail networks in the region. There are some lodges, monasteries and schools that have been damaged throughout the area, but they will not pose any risk to trekkers. The Everest Base Camp is intact and the landslide that did occur post earthquake was at the base camp used by climbing expeditions, several hours hike above Gorak Shep, the highest village in which trekkers usually sleep. There should be no problems visiting base camp or Kala Patar. The Cho La pass that links the Everest and Gokyo valley is unaffected, as is the Renjo La pass linking the Gokyo and Thame Valleys. The Kongma La, being the pass between the Chukung Valley and Lobuche is also fine. The trails to Ama Dablam Base Camp are reported to be in good trekking condition.
As far as trekking peaks are concerned, Island Peak and Mera Peak are reported to be operationally ready for trips post monsoon. There is no information as yet about Baruntse nor Lumding Valley and Teng Kangpoche, but satellite technology indicates no landslips in that area.
The remote region of Dolpo in western Nepal has not been affected by the earthquake.
In Mustang the trails conditions are good but there were some monasteries that have sustained damage. Work is planned for their restoration.
In some parts the Manaslu area has sustained damage and an army survey will be under way before the end of the month.
Around Kanchenjunga there was a mud slide in the region last week following the onset of the monsoon which typically starts in the east and moves west. Two rivers became engorged with unprecedented rainfall that triggered the slide. This is unrelated to the earthquake.
Dr Buddha Basnyat, who is well known to many BGTHA members, lives and works in Kathmandu. Here is a link to his recent blog.
The world has been shocked and horrified to hear of the scale of injury, death and destruction following the recent earthquake in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. We hope to keep members up to date with the situation there and we would like to encourage you to contribute to both the immediate disaster appeal and the need for long term help and reconstruction that will follow. The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched an appeal at http://www.dec.org.uk to help with the immediate needs. One of the hospitals involved in treating the many injured is the Patan Hospital which would welcome contributions to help with its work. You can donate to the hospital by clicking here.
Community Action Nepal is a charity run by the climber Doug Scott which works in some of the remote areas that have been worst hit and will be involved in long term health and reconstruction projects. Their contributions page can be found here.
The people of Nepal are well known for the welcome, friendship and kindness that they show to visitors to their country. Now is the time for us to return some of that kindness in their time of need.
The International Red Cross is trying to reunite families and friends and has lists of those who are reported as still alive and those who are still reported as missing. Click here for more information.