Nepali mountaineering legend to begin Great Himalayan Trail: Punjita Pradhan
Original Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2012-01/11/c_131355222.htm
KATHMANDU, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — Nepali mountaineering legend Appa Sherpa along with his counterpart Dawa Steven Sherpa are set to begin the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) on January 15. Appa Sherpa is a world record holder and 21 times Mt. Qomolangma climber. Dawa Steven Sherpa is an articulate advocate for mountaineering and tourism, and a world renowned climber and campaigner against the climate change and mountain pollution. Appa and Dawa shared their information about the GHT in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. The GHT will cover a 1,700 km long trial by Appa and Dawa with the message “Battling Climate Change in the Himalayas.”
“In 2009, when I reached the top of Mt. Everest (Mt. Qomolangma) , I carried the message “Stop Climate Change, Let the Himalayas Live.” The message has been carried throughout the world,” Appa said. “When we thought about how the message could be further intensified and how we could protect the climate around the Himalayas, we came up with the idea of the trail of the Himalayas from east to west of Nepal,” according to Appa.
Likewise, he also said that the secondary aspect of the trail would be to develop the entire range as a trekking route. “When we have visitors to Nepal, they feel that Nepal has only few mountains and that they have climbed everything after climbing these few. But the truth is that there are still several routes that people are unaware of. We therefore want to discover them and make them known to the world,” Appa said. He also said that just like mountaineering had changed his life, he would like the lives of the people of the remote Himalayas to also experience changes through mountaineering.
“We planned for a 120 days of the trek because we wanted to spend quality time in each of the points and explore the place and the people well,” according to Dawa. “When we talk about Himalayas, it’s not just the mountains but also the people and the environment that is associated with it,” Dawa said, adding that “the change in the climate has affected these regions.”
“Tourism can play a great role in development in the region from the economic and social perspective and the people can be self sustained because the regions are very underdeveloped,” Dawa said. “Many of our routes have been explored only from the north and south region of the country. The east and west routes have not been explored. Therefore, we want to explore these routes. We feel that this is possible and we are hopeful that this program will prove beneficial to the tourism sector and people living in the region and also spread positive message of the climate change,” Dawa said.
Dawa, after completing his studies in 2006, started climbing Himalayas as being inspired by mountaineers. He has climbed Mt. Qomolangma twice and has been regularly visiting the base camp every year arranging logistics for Appa Sherpa. “Mountain climbing is not an easy task. But we keep our head strong and keep the confidence persistent, the risks are likely to be less,” Appa told Xinhua.
“There will definitely be risks like avalanche risks. But we have experienced climbers like Appa Sherpa with us, who can guide us. He has a sharp judgment that will avoid any life threatening risks,” Dawa said. “Likewise, if we are to bring tourists into the region, we definitely have to understand what possible risks they might face and have to calculate the safety,” Dawa further said.
“We are doing the trail for a reason. We want to spread the message of climate change to the people and how it has been or might affect the lives of the people in the Himalayas and the rest of the world. Therefore, we expect support from people from all over the world,” Appa shared his message before the climb. Likewise, according to Dawa, “although Nepal is not accountable to climate change, it will also bear the consequences. Therefore, as Nepalese, we should definitely find ways to combat the consequences of climate change. Likewise, the effects of climate change in the Himalayas will also result badly in rest of the world and the entire ecology. Thus, everyone has to come together for the cause.” International celebrities along with several other important figures have been invited for the cause.
“Although we haven’t received any confirmation about their participation, we are expecting them to join us somewhere in between the trail,” Dawa told Xinhua. The program has been able to draw support from the Nepali Ministry of Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, United Kingdom aid (UKAID), British Council, Netherlands Development Organization. The whole event has been organized by Himalayan Climate Initiative. The trail is expected to complete on 13 May 2012.