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September 28, 2020

Baharain Prince’s dream to unfurl flag on Mt Everest

  • Khim Ghale

Kathmandu: Bahrain Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s 18 member expedition team preparing to reach atop Mt Everest (Sagarmatha) has reached Nepal’s popular tourist area Khumbu region to climb Mt. Lobuche.

The royal expedition team had reached the Khumbu region via Lukla airport after staying in quarantine for seven days in Kathmandu. The expedition team is preparing to climb Mt. Manaslu (8163) in Gorkha after climbing Mt Lobuche (6100m) with climbing training.

Earlier to this, hundreds of experienced workforce of Sherpa guides and other staff have reached the Manaslu base camp to fix ropes and make the expedition trails ready for the royal team.

The Baharain royal expedition has a special historical significance as this is the first foreign expedition team that has come to Nepal in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Actually, the royal team of the Baharain wanted to come to Nepal last spring season for training. They had planned for training and the Lobuche expedition. However, the plan was postponed due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

That’s why the royal team managed to get special permits in autumn for training and Lobuche and Manaslu expedition.

Their plan is to unfurl the Baharain national flag on the top of the Mt Everest in the spring of 2021 said Mingma Sherpa, Chairperson of Seven Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd., who is managing the royal expedition team in Nepal.

Talking to Highlights Tourism, Mingma Sherpa said, “Lobuche and Manaslu expedition is pre-preparation for Mt. Everest.”

According to Mingma the royal team had come in contact last year and enquired about the expedition. However, Mingma’s team was not so sure about the royal expedition of Baharain coming to Nepal so soon.

“At first we received the few line email about a VIP team coming to Nepal for the expedition. We did reply. But we were not sure. But when the advance was sent to us and told us that Baharain prince was coming for the expedition, then we were confirmed and we started work on it, ” said Mingma.

File Photo: Lobuche Peak (6119m)

But that was a time engulfed by the Covid-19 pandemic. International flights were closed and the Nepal government had suspended all mountaineering activities too. The nation was totally locked down. That’s why the training meant for Lobuche was canceled. The main goal of the expedition team was to unfurl the Baharain flag on the top of the Mt Everest for which climbing training is very essential.

They asked the Nepal government to provide them permission to undergo climbing training and expedition in Lobuche and then climb the Mt Manaslu which is above 8000 meters in the same season.

Three members of the expedition team are British people. They are the trainers for the royal team of Baharain. Bahrain prince has not even seen the higher mountains of Nepal.

The board director of Seven Summit Chhang Dawa Sherpa says, “They are from sea level and climbing will be automatically difficult. However, we have managed all kinds of preparations. Training has been set accordingly. So, we have arranged a special team of guides for this royal expedition.

Manaslu base camp
File Photo: Manaslu base camp

Kami Rita Sherpa who climbed Mt Everest 24 times, world record holder brothers Minga and Chhang Dawa Sherpa who have already climbed 14 mountains above eight thousand meters, the world record holder Tashi Lakpa Sherpa who climbed Mt Everest without bottled oxygen at youngest age are engaged in this expedition, “This time very experienced guides are involved in this team,” said Kami Rita.

Many believe that this royal expedition will help the ailing tourism industry that almost reached the state of coma will be revived. First of all media coverage including national and international will take place. On the other side, the involvement of many people has given a respite to all. More than one thousand porters alone have been used in this expedition and More than 70/75 guides are involved in this expedition. Additional staff and manpower have been mobilized too.

‘This is a high profiled expedition team. So, it has special significance’  Nepal Mountaineering Association chair Santa Bir Lama said, ‘this expedition has given hope to Nepal’s tourism sector.’

We could not believe at first: Mingma Sherpa

MIngma Sherpa, Chair- Seven Summit Treks

Bahrain prince had planned to climb Himal in Nepal. His secretariat sent us an email after checking our official website. We also replied to them. They had been checking with all western expedition companies also and told us that we were selected to organize the trip for them. “We are a VIP group from Bahrain. We would like to climb Himal in Nepal’ mentioned their email, ‘We selected our company based on your experience and ongoing works and we liked it. So, we would like to come through your company.”

At this, we were very happy. But at first, we could not believe if the Bahrain prince was really coming to Nepal. We kept on communicating with them. They said we should send our account number. Then they also credited our account. Then we trusted that it was really the royal team that was coming to Nepal. So, we started preparing accordingly.

This was the matter before the outbreak of Coronavirus. When everything was fixed the Covid-19 pandemic began. The pandemic situation hampered the Bahrain expedition team from coming to Lobuche in May 2020 and Manaslu in October. Later on, they said that they would like to climb Lobuche and Manaslu together. Whether they climb Manaslu or not but their team should ascend Mt Everest in 2021.

Then they asked the government of Nepal to provide them the permit to climb these peaks. Nepal government also took a timely decision in their favor. We also completed all necessary processes and submitted letters to the government in time saying that this is a good thing.
All are positive. In my opinion, their coming means great publicity at a high level. This is good for the country and significant in the world too. They arrived in Kathmandu on September 16 to reach Lobuche and Manaslu by their private aircraft. When I personally garlanded the royal prince with Khata at the Kathmandu airport, he asked me, “Are you Mingma? I have read about you and your company many times.”
At that time I felt proud to know that the Bahrain prince also read about my website. Around 25-26 Sherpas are stationed at Lobuche for this expedition. Then other staff such as porters have got the jobs. There are more than 50 Sherpas and 40 cooks and other staff in Manaslu.

More than a thousand porters are involved there. They have all got the job. Besides, people from across the world are yet to know more about the mountaineering of Nepal. It is a great pride for us and our government that such a high profiled persons are climbing Himal in Nepal at such a critical phase when there is a Covid-19 pandemic. I have never known any other such high profile expedition before.
I don’t want to associate it with the money. Earning money from it is one thing while promoting the publicity of Nepali mountaineering is another high. This will not only improve the tourism sector but will also publicize about Nepal in the post-covid-19 phase. Nepal government would have to spend more than 500/600 million for similar publicity if done from the government side. It is a great pride for all Nepalese.

This is not only a matter of Seven Summit Company. It’s all about the publicity of the country around the world. Many have got jobs and another thing is that they have not brought even a single thing from their country. They have bought all clothes from Nepal itself which means they spent the money here which has given relief to many families.

I believe that their wish to unfurl their Bahrain flag on the top of the Mt Everest in 2021will be a success and a reality.

A good message will flow outside: Kami Rita Sherpa

Seven Summit is organizing the expedition. I am the brand ambassador since 2018. Mt Manaslu is also known as a killer mountain for it has killed many people in the past. A good message will flow outside as the Nepal government granted special permission for this expedition. Manaslu base camp will be led by Mingma Sherpa and Changdava Sherpa while the summit will be led by Tashi Lakpa and me. Five guides among us are world-record-holding Sherpas. We have a huge team of experienced guides in the climbing field. So I hope, this expedition will be a hundred percent successful.

Their dream is to scale Mt Everest: Chang Dava Sherpa

We have to follow all safety protocols due to Covid-19. They have not even seen Himal as they stay at sea level. Lobuche training will be for 15 days. We will give them the training to climb mountains above 8000 m as it is a rule to climb at least one mountain above 8000m before climbing Mt Everest. This is for security reasons too. We have hired Swiss, Chinese, and weather forecasting system from Nepal too for this expedition.

All Photos-Seven Summit, Lala and Anup Gurung

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