May 29, 2016

Celebration of 9th International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day – 29th May 2016

                                    

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation organized a program to celebrate 9th International a Sagarmatha (Everest) Day on 29th May 2016. The program started with the morning procession from Sanchaya Kosh Building, Thamel and ended at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) premises. Mt. Everest Summiteers and other mountaineers, High level government officials, advisors and members of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), and representative from different tourism related organization were present in the program.

                                       

 

The official program started at the premises of NTB after the arrival of Chief Guest the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister K P Oli, he offered garland to the statues of Tenzing Sherpa, Edmund Hillary and Boris Lisanevich. After the welcome speech by Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa, Member Secretary for International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day Main Organizing Committee & President, Nepal Mountaineering Association chief guest inaugurated the program by lighting up the lamp. The program observed one-minute silence in memory of the demise of known and unknown mountaineers.

                     

The Expeditions on Everest was disturbed since 2013. Due to the local dispute in 2013; the avalanche of 2014, which killed 16 Nepalese Everest Climbers and Earthquake of April of the last year, created the situation of worst upon mountain tourism of Nepal. But this year's successful expeditions erased all these negative connotations and helped our mountain tourism to reposition it almost in previous stage. While talking about the successful expeditions, it is worthwhile to mention about the contribution of nine Nepalese climbers this year, who fixed the rope on the way to the summit of Everest in this season on time. They completed the very difficult task of rope fixation putting their lives in risk and their achievement is reflected in the successful ascent of Everest by more than 400 climbers in the Spring Season of this year. Therefore, on the occasion of International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day, the chief guest of the program felicitated following courageous hard worked climbers with the cash prize of Rs. 50,000 per climber managed by Nepal Mountaineering Association.

  1. Pasang Tenzing Sherpa- Gaurishankar -1 Dolakha – Ascent Himalayas Treks and Expedition
  2. Ang Pemba sherpa- Namche 9 Solukhumbu  - IMG
  3. Gyalzen Dorji Sherpa- Khumjung 9 Solukhumbu – Himes
  4. Pasang Dorjee Sherpa- Namche 5 Solukhumbu – Arun Trek
  5. Ngima Tshiri Sherpa –Khumjung 5 Solukhumbu – AC
  6. Mingma Chhiri Sherpa – Juving 1 Solukhumbu – NCC (Himalayan Expedition)
  7. Shera Geljen Sherpa – Khumjung 1 Solukhumbu – Asian Trekking
  8. Lhakpa Chhring Sherpa – Khumjung 8 Solukhumbu – Meddion Mountaineering
  9. Mingma Thindu Sherpa – Sankhuwashabha 9 Makalu – Seven Summit

At the same time the chief guest of the program also felicitated following coordination team for successfully coordinating the rope fixing sherpa team.

  1. Expedition Operators Association
  2. Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee
  3. Ang Janbu Sherpa
  4. Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa
  5. Russel Brice

                                          

On the same occasion the chief guest also released first day cancellation of envelope published to mark International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day.  On behalf of all Nepalese Mt. Everest Summiteers Mr. Pasang Tenzing Sherpa expressed his view and requested the government of Nepal to ensure the retirement plan and policy to the Sherpa, financial support to the climbers who went disabled during climbing. Mr. Sherpa also expressed that there should be a separate specialized rope fixing team above camp two. On behalf of foreign Mt. Everest Summiteers,   Mr. Isaih Paul Janzen from USA shared his experience about climbing Mt. Everest.

Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of NTB expressed his view about the Mountain Tourism in Nepal. The chief guest of the program the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister K P Oli put his view on the importance of mountain in Nepal. Finally the program concluded with the vote of thanks by Mr. Prem Kumar Rai, Chairman for Internationa Sagarmatha Day Main Organizing Committee and Secretary for Ministry for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Welcome Speech by Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa, Member Secretary, 9th International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day Celebration 2016 Organizing Committee & President, Nepal Mountaineering Association

It gives me immense pleasure and great honor to have this opportunity to extend my warmest welcome on behalf of 9th International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day Celebration Organizing Committee and myself to the chief guest, distinguished guests, veteran climbers, ladies and gentlemen and media personals on this august gathering of “9th International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day Celebration 2016” here in the beautiful historic metropolitan city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. On this occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my hearty congratulations to all summiteers.

 Ever since Nepal opened up its peaks to the climber’s way back 1949, the mountaineering and adventure tourism has become the most popular practices of alluring thousands of mountaineers and adventurers to Nepal every year. The pioneer of all these mountaineers were the major started of Nepalese tourism that dates back to the first successful ascent of world’s tallest peak Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgya Sherpa on 29 May 1953. We are gathering here to commemorate the glorious past achievement of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgya Sherpa on Mount Everest on 29 May 1953.

 This first historical achievement has prove to be the mile stone in the history of mountaineering itself and interested in mountaineering as well as to climbed the highest mountain grew even more vigorously. Numerous mountaineers all around the world were allured of climbing the highest peak including the other Himalayan peaks and that opened the gateway for mountain tourism in Nepal.  They are the sources of inspiration for millions of mountaineers in current and future generations. They encouraged the climbers and mountain lovers to continue to pursue in carrying out the mountaineering expedition to all other 8000m high peaks in Nepal, China, Pakistan and India.

 

Nepal is a country with extreme range of elevation with the lowest point being 67m above sea level and highest reaching 8,848m, the summit of world’s tallest peak, Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest has put Nepal at the top of world map as an ultimate (adventure) tourism destination in the world. Subsequently it has major effect on the livelihood of not only the mountain communities but all of Nepal. Everest is regarded as Goddess Mother of the Universe in Sherpa folklore. She is the guardian in whose shadow Sherpa children grow up. We think of Everest as massive, solid, unchanging, strong, lofty, mighty and unable to be hurt. The truth is, few people know that the home of “Sagarmatha” Mother of the Universe, “Chomolungma” Goddess Mother of the Universe is one most endangered place on the earth. There were about 3000 glaciers in the high Himalayas and in the last 50 years, almost as many glacial lakes have been formed. Less immediately noticeable at lower altitudes, the urgency is in the high Himalayas, now emerging as one of the worlds most vulnerable and quickly disintegrating areas due to the impact of climate change.

 The image of iconic Mt. Everest has been affected by a series of consecutive disasters. The death of sixteen valiant high altitude climbing Sherpas on Khumbu icefall of Mt. Everest on 18 April 2014, and the devastating earthquake  triggered a massive avalanche from the flank of Mt. Pumori that killed 18 climbers at Everest Base Camp on 25 April 2015 are some of the worst climbing disasters in Himalayan mountaineering history.

 Each disaster led to abandonment of expeditions that took years to plan. This leaves the future of not only mountaineering but whole tourism industries of Nepal uncertain. The lack of tourism recovery will lead to massive loss of revenue and livelihoods. This is serious concern for the government, entrepreneurs and mountaineering workers alike.

 Therefore, imaginative and creative solution will be needed to inspire recovery. Reduction of risk to lives is one of the most promising and effective solution. One of the main challenges of climbing Mount Everest is for your body to be able  to tolerate very  high altitudes because you might be a good mountain climber skillful in climbing mountains at lower altitudes, but you may not know how well your body can deal with low oxygen at high altitude. What are your chances of getting altitude sickness? These are two different things. We highly recommend that people climb at least one of the 6000 meter trekking peaks in the Himalayas to get an idea about well your body acclimatizes at high altitude before you climb Everest.

 The recent tragedies did not stop the desire to climb Everest or other high mountains as most people who climb accept the risks. Many of the climbers returned to Nepal in the spring of 2016 to provide work and income for the mountain communities. Nepal needs tourism more than ever to help rebuild the country. I am firmly confident that the infrastructure is in place to support climbers and trekkers.

This spring season’s successful expeditions have erased the negative image of Mt. Everest and help our mountain tourism to reposition almost in previous good years stages. While talking about the successful expedition, it is worthwhile to mention about the contribution of rope fixing high altitude Sherpa team especially the 9 high altitudes climbing Sherpas, who fixed the rope from South Col (8000m) up to the summit of Mt. Everest (8848m) on 11 May 2016. They did the job of rope fixing by putting their lives in jeopardy and their achievement has reflected in the successful ascent of Mt. Everest by more than 400 climbers in this season. Therefore on this occasion, our chief guest will facilitate each of these courageous climbers with cash award of Rs. 50,000: managed by Nepal Mountaineering Association along with appreciation letter. On the same occasion, we have also programme to facilitate Everest rope fixing coordinators and first day cancellation of envelope published to mark the 9th International Sagarmatha Day Celebration 2016.

 

If we all committed to work together on these ideals, I firmly believe that Nepal could become the best mountaineering destination in the world. This is very important for Nepal as it would go a long way in helping to eradicate poverty in our remote mountain regions.
 
Tourism is one of Nepal's most important industries, income and employment generator and key to develop the remote areas.  It is our collective interest to increase the number of visitors to Nepal and thus formulate appropriate policies that facilitate the tourism industry and at the same time does not compromise the safety and security of the visitors.

 There have been many lessons for the recent tragedies that will be applied near future for example:

Benefits/Anticipated Outcomes:

1.       Improved safety and security on Everest would save lives and generate positive message for mountaineering and tourism. This is expected to increase confidence and growth.

2.       Reduce conflict and complication related to high camp route setting among expeditions.

3.       Contribute to reducing negative impact of current rescue system of Nepal’s tourism industry.

4.       Develop skills, professionalism and pride among Nepali mountaineering workers.

5.       Lengthen the employment period, and increase income of guides that will contribute to improved livelihoods.

6.       Provide climbing and safety training opportunities to visitors, students and professional guides leading to safer tourism.

7.       To collaborate with SPCC and Expedition Operators Association to facilitate route setting between Base Camp and Summit and assist with expedition monitoring and reporting tasks.

 

We are therefore proposing setting up a well trained well managed and well equipped mountain rescue cell in Everest region.

 I wish that Everest continue to keep inspiring people to explore their boundaries and push their limits, all the while realizing that only with Mother Nature’s blessing do we reach the top. Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth. It is the entire world’s responsibility to help conserve the mountain and its surroundings from environment degradation. We need to respect and protect Mother Nature’s treasures.

 Our mountains are our heritage, glory, pride, identity and future of our nation. Mountain regions need conservations and sustainable developments for present and posterity. Our knowledge of mountain geography and ecosystems allows us - to be highly influential witnesses to climate change in our time and to extend that influence beyond the Himalayan community to everyone around us. We must put our efforts in improving the fragile mountain environment, developing the mountaineering and climbing activities and promoting mountains as a center of sports activities and providing livelihood support for the mountain communities.

The Himalayas are not only the tourist destinations; they are the water tower for three billion people in Asia. If the water tower is empty, it will cause humanitarian crisis. Therefore saving Himalayas means saving ourselves and our future generations.

 Lets’ think sustainably, work together, act now, what we can do today should not wait for tomorrow to save the Himalayas. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

 Finally, once again I would like to express hearty welcome to the chief guest Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister, distinguished guests, veteran mountaineers, ladies and gentlemen for your gracious presence in this historic event.

 
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