The calm before the…
It was an exhilarating experience as the chopper rose a few feet into the air from the landing pad, turned and – and descended down the valley, towering mountains on each side, the pilot skilfully navigating his way through the clouds, occasional turbulence and mountain passes.
Whilst there are many trekkers like myself who choose to walk to and from our destinations, increasing numbers of well off travellers/tourists use choppers to visit the region. Many risk altitude sickness as they have not had adequate time to acclimatise to the altitude.
The helicopter is a critical form of transport in the mountainous Himalayas. Without roads – the transport choices are walking, yaks, occasionally horses. Helicopters save lives in medical emergencies, allow trekkers and mountain climbers to rapidly reach distant locations and carry supplies of many types, to wherever they are needed.
Rock and ice – the glacier is constantly on the move. The noise of crashing rocks and distant avalanches permeates the air.
The retreat of the Khumbu Glacier is a concerning and very apparent indicator of rapid climate change. The lower reaches of the glacier are shrinking every year. This is affecting villagers, wildlife and river flows.
Mount Everest with Everest Base camp in the foreground.
This place is so rich in history, stories of survival and death, the strength of the human spirit and great human courage. In particular the inspirational dedication, loyalty and utter dependability of the brave Sherpas, who made climbing Everest possible. I am drawn to return to the Khumbu, which I shall do in 2018.
A great two day hike. Lots of steep ascents but the views are superb. Driving from Hobart south past Mount Field, thru Maydena, then about 30 kilometres on ,turn left, and 20 minute drive on a gravel road. Sign to Mt Anne and the carpark is on the left. A well build cabin half way up – for the night. Or if you leave the car park, early in the morning the whole trip to the top of Mt Anne can be done in one long day. I would describe as a medium to hard hike. Always go well prepared as the weather can change quickly.