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June 6, 2019

Baruntse Peak Attempt Aborted

– Bish Bahadur Gurung

Baruntse peak attempt aborted due to lack of trails in Nepal

An attempt to climb Baruntse peak 7129 meters was aborted by a team of mountaineers recently due to lack of trails.

An expedition team of 6 foreigners and 10 Nepalese returned after reaching the Baruntse height 6900 meters, on realizing that it would be futile to move further as there were no marks of trails to reach the peak.  

Writer

All the mountaineers were disappointed at the indifferent stance of the government and its tourism department that charges the peak fees without ensuring the proper trail arrangement.

I was one of the guides involved in this expedition to lead our foreigners this season. Our expedition team was very hilarious and enthusiastic as we took flight from Kathmandu and landed at 2900 meters high Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary airport.

We walked uphill trails to reach 3400 meters high Chhungangma to stay for the night. There is usually a big rush of trekkers here and there are only two lodges.

Baruntse peak attempt aborted due to lack of trails in Nepal

Most of the trekkers use their tents to spend the night. Local foods are delicious to relish. Local dogs also followed us. The second day is to reach 4600 meters high place called Chatra-La Pass.

ChatraupPu is only 4200 meters. The expedition becomes entertaining due to the panorama of green mountain peaks and waterfalls on the way.

The third-day trail is to reach 35 meters high Kothe by walking downwards. The fourth-day trail from Kothe is to walk uphill until the place called Thyaknath is reached which is 4400 meters.

Baruntse peak attempt aborted due to lack of trails

The fourth day is to move towards a place called Khare, which is 4900 meters and is the only last human settlement in this region. There are no hotels after Khare. So, tents must be used to stay and cook for food. Walking on icy boulders of stones are the hallmarks of this trail.

On crossing Mera-La Pass 5400 meters, we reached Khumaddin which is 4200 meters. Then we halted at 5000 meters high Seto Pokhari. Few tea stalls are found here. Walking for nearly 5-6 hours enabled us to reach the base camp of Baruntse peak.

Baruntse peak attempt aborted due to lack of trails in Nepal

We set up our tents here. For a few days, we prepared ourselves for the ascent of the peak and then finally planed to move on. Weather is the foremost thing we should take care of while planning to climb peaks.

We climb Baruntse after staying at Baruntse base camp -2. I was guiding two foreign mountaineers. One retreated due to his own personal problem. I traversed forward with one foreigner and reached 6900 meters.

But, to our disappointment and disgust, there were no further marks of trails to follow. Everywhere, there was a heavy heap of snow which could not be cleared with only human labor.

So, we aborted our mission to reach the peak.

Our whole enthusiasm to reach atop Baruntse peak suddenly subsided. I felt guilty to see the plight of the foreign mountaineer.

Baruntse peak attempt aborted due to lack of trails in Nepal

It was only 229 meters remaining for us to reach on the top of the Baruntse peak (7129 meters).

But we were hopeless. We thought why should the government permit such peaks to be scaled when the trails are in shabby conditions.

Later, we came to know that it was not only us who aborted our expeditions, but other mountaineers for two years had also been failing to attempt the peak of Baruntse because of the same reasons.

After experiencing this miserable situation of trails for the permitted peaks, I found the future of “Visit Nepal 2020” quite bleak and dim.

The government appointed liaison officers are negligible in this case. They are not found in the upper side of mountains to discuss and solve such issues.

I beseech the government either to make good trail arrangement for the peaks permitted or not to permit the ascent of such peaks in the future.

– Mt. Everest sumitter writer is a mountaineering guide.

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