Tag Archives: Nepal

‘Swiss Machine’ Ueli Steck killed in Mt Everest accident

Ueli Steck (41), popularly known as ‘Swiss Machine’ in the mountaineering world, was killed in an accident near Camp II on Mt Everest on Sunday morning, multiple sources at the base camp of the world’s highest peak confirmed.

A group of six rescuers discovered a body of the multiple-record holder mountaineer near the Nuptse Face of Mt Everest where he could have slipped and fell on the ice-covered slope.

The team has collected the scattered parts of the climber’s body. A Fishtail Air helicopter has also been sent to Camp II to conduct a long line rescue, according to a source at base camp.

Continue reading ‘Swiss Machine’ Ueli Steck killed in Mt Everest accident

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Karmaflights: Paragliding the Himalayas to raise money for earthquake-recovering Nepal

A paragliding organisation based in Nepal’s tourist town of Pokhara is using the money it raises from flying tourists around the Himalayas to help fund the country’s ongoing earthquake reconstruction efforts.

Many villages in Nepal are still rebuilding from a devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck the mountainous nation almost two years ago, killing nearly 9,000 people.

Karmaflights operates paragliding tours near the Annapurna mountains, and donates its profits to local humanitarian projects, including earthquake relief.

One of the mountain views in the Pokhara region.

“In Nepal, need is everywhere,” says the organisation’s national director, Prem Bahadur Kunwar.

“Wherever you go, there is a need, because the villages are scattered here and there, the resources are very minimal, and government cannot fund all the [reconstruction] projects.”

Continue reading Karmaflights: Paragliding the Himalayas to raise money for earthquake-recovering Nepal

A photographer has spent 3 years taking pictures of women to see how beauty is defined around the world

In 2013, 30-year-old photographer Mihaela Noroc quit her job in Romania to backpack around the world full time.

Since then, she has visited every continent except for Antarctica and a total of about 50 countries, photographing hundreds of women along the way for her project, dubbed Atlas of Beauty.

And she’s still going.

More than ever, I think our world needs an Atlas of Beauty to show that diversity is something beautiful, not a reason for conflict,” Noroc explains to Tech Insider. “I hope that the portraits from The Atlas of Beauty can challenge many misconceptions that exist around the world.”

Noroc’s proficiency in five languages helps her speak with subjects either on the street or in their homes, but sometimes she relies on translators or body language alone to communicate.

Currently, she’s looking for funding to continue her journey, and hopes by 2017 to have enough images to publish a book.

You can follow Noroc’s trip and view more work on her Facebook, Instagram and Tumblraccounts. Keep scrolling to see more of her amazing images.

This is Mihaela Noroc posing in Bogotá, Colombia. The 30-year-old photographer travels the world taking photographs of women from different cultures.

Noroc has spent three years traveling for her “Atlas of Beauty” series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.

Noroc has spent three years traveling for her "Atlas of Beauty" series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. This woman was in Peru.

"I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place," Noroc tells Tech Insider. This woman was in Peru.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she’s invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman in her living room.

She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she's invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman in her living room.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman is a market seller from Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

This woman is a market seller from Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. “Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly,” Noroc says.

Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. "Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly," Noroc says.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

So far, Noroc has been to around 50 countries. Here, a woman smiles in Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

So far, Noroc has been to around 50 countries. Here, a woman smiles in Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She tries to capture each woman in her surroundings. This woman was snapped in Thorunn, Iceland.

She tries to capture each woman in her surroundings. This woman was snapped in Thorunn, Iceland.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up,” Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.

"I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up," Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. “While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along,” she says. “But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts.”

Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. "While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along," she says. "But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts."

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc visited Kichwa, Ecuador in the Amazon Rainforest and took pictures of the women there.

Noroc visited Kichwa, Ecuador in the Amazon Rainforest and took pictures of the women there.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts,” she says. “In other places, everybody accepts.” This was in Maori, New Zealand.

"In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts," she says. "In other places, everybody accepts." This was in Maori, New Zealand.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“Usually, in Western countries, I’m never refused [when I ask to take a picture],” Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.

"Usually, in Western countries, I'm never refused [when I ask to take a picture]," Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

An Uzbek woman in Kyrgyzstan.

An Uzbek woman in Kyrgyzstan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Here, a Buddhist nun poses in Kathmandu, Nepal.

 Here, a Buddhist nun poses in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc photographed this woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Noroc photographed this woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman is a computer engineer from Cairo, Egypt.

This woman is a computer engineer from Cairo, Egypt.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Traveling across the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Traveling across the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Going to North Korea was like “stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules,” Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Going to North Korea was like "stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules," Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman was spotted in Sofia, Bulgaria.

This woman was spotted in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.

Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman standing on a pier in the Baltic Sea, Finland.

A woman standing on a pier in the Baltic Sea, Finland.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A painter, in her studio in Valparaiso, Chile.

A painter, in her studio in Valparaiso, Chile.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman poses on the streets of Havana, Cuba.

A woman poses on the streets of Havana, Cuba.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A ballerina displays her talent in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

 A ballerina displays her talent in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“For me, beauty is diversity, [it’s] what makes us unique,” Noroc says. “I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant.” Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.

"For me, beauty is diversity, [it's] what makes us unique," Noroc says. "I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant." Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A young woman in Cape Town, South Africa.

A young woman in Cape Town, South Africa.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman in Oxford, UK.

A woman in Oxford, UK.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Wearing traditional dress in Otavalo, Ecuador.

Wearing traditional dress in Otavalo, Ecuador.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“[In India] I photographed subjects from very different environments,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. “From poor women living in slums to Sonam Kapoor, one of the most popular Indian actresses.” Here, an Indian woman poses at a train station.

"[In India] I photographed subjects from very different environments," Noroc tells Tech Insider. "From poor women living in slums to Sonam Kapoor, one of the most popular Indian actresses." Here, an Indian woman poses at a train station.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A young woman in Medellin, Colombia.

A young woman in Medellin, Colombia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“Many people tell me how the project changed the way they see beauty and diversity,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. A woman on the streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

"Many people tell me how the project changed the way they see beauty and diversity," Noroc tells Tech Insider. A woman on the streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

But her project has received criticism for showing a narrow a definition of beauty. “There is also negative feedback sometimes, but you have to accept it, even if you find it unfair,” she says. Below, a redheaded woman posing in San Francisco, USA.

But her project has received criticism for showing a narrow a definition of beauty. "There is also negative feedback sometimes, but you have to accept it, even if you find it unfair," she says. Below, a redheaded woman posing in San Francisco, USA.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“The internet can make you very popular but also very exposed to different opinions,” she says. “Which is not bad, in the end.” A blond woman outside a home in Latvia.

"The internet can make you very popular but also very exposed to different opinions," she says. "Which is not bad, in the end." A blond woman outside a home in Latvia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A Tibetan woman in the Sichuan Province, China.

A Tibetan woman in the Sichuan Province, China.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A mother and her son pose in Australia.

A mother and her son pose in Australia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc hopes to publish an Atlas of Beauty book after another year of traveling. This woman was photographed in Rio de Janeiro.

Noroc hopes to publish an Atlas of Beauty book after another year of traveling. This woman was photographed in Rio de Janeiro.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“There is much more diversity in the world, waiting for me, and I love to discover it. It’s an infinite treasure,” she says. Below, a woman in Myanmar.

"There is much more diversity in the world, waiting for me, and I love to discover it. It's an infinite treasure," she says. Below, a woman in Myanmar.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc also traveled around her home country of Romania. Here, a ceramic art student in a workshop in Cluj, Romania.

Noroc also traveled around her home country of Romania. Here, a ceramic art student in a workshop in Cluj, Romania.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc plans to continue to travel the world with just her backpack and camera. Her next stop? Greece.

Noroc plans to continue to travel the world with just her backpack and camera. Her next stop? Greece.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

You can follow her journey and view more of her work on her Facebook page as well as herInstagram and Tumblr accounts.

Video shows the deadly Mount Everest avalanche hitting base camp

A new video from Mount Everest base camp shows people fleeing from Saturday’s deadly avalanche that left at least 17 dead and 61 injured.

“The ground is shaking,” one man says as the avalanche approaches.

Nepal’s worst earthquake in 81 years — which has claimed at least 2,200 lives — triggered the avalanche.

The video was shot by German adventurer Jost Kobusch, according to ITV. He filmed the incoming wall of snow before diving into his tent for cover.

Nepalis turn to social media for post-quake tourism

Nepali tourist businesses get holidaymakers to promote country still suffering from impact of earthquake.

With their businesses left struggling by devastating earthquakes in April and May, Nepal’s tour operators have turned to social media in a bid to attract tourists.

Inspired by a campaign in Tunisia that urged tourists to visit the country after a terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum in March,

Raj Gyawali, the founder director of Social Tours in Kathmandu, asked tourists in Nepal or those planning to visit the country to post photos on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Soon Facebook, Twitter and Instagram began to be flooded with photos holding placards saying ‘”I am in Nepal now” or “I am going to Nepal” and hashtags such as #stillNepal, #stillsmiling.

“We started with a few tourists in [Kathmandu’s tourist district] Thamel asking them to support our campaign. Until now, the photos have reached 500,000 people and more than 2,000 have shared it,” Gyawali told Anadolu Agency.

“As tour operators we felt the urgency. If we didn’t market our tourism products, if we didn’t request people to come, who will?” Gyawali said. In May, he and other tourism entrepreneurs set up a Facebook page called “Nepal Tourism Recovery: Strategy and Action” to help the sector’s recovery.

Since then, the group has met in Kathmandu every Wednesday and proposed strategies to help the tourism sector bounce back from the catastrophe.

The group’s activities include an online photobook of tourist sites after the disaster and a website assessing the earthquake’s damage on hotels in Kathmandu.

The group, which has now grown into a 2,000 member forum, hasn’t confined itself to social media. It has its own travel advisory website for prospective tourists, including telling them whether or not ATMs are working, lists of the safest hotels and whether an area is affected by looting.

“The international media highlighted only the devastation and never covered areas that were intact. But that’s their business and we can’t do anything about it. So our attempt has been to build confidence in Nepal and spread the word that we are ready to welcome our guests,” said Gyawali.

Tourism contributes 7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employs roughly 500,000 people both directly and indirectly.

Last week, the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand lifted travel restrictions for their citizens, although the British Foreign Office continues to warn of “a general threat from terrorism” in Nepal.

Nepal’s government, with assistance from a British aid group, has commissioned a report from foreign experts to assess the trekking routes in the Annapurna and Everest regions.

“Apart from Langtang, Rolwaling and Manaslu, we do not see much of a problem in other trails such as the Everest Base Camp Trek,” Erwin Scheibert, a Swiss geologist, who assessed the routes in the affected areas, was quoted as saying in a press statement.

Nepal’s other tourist destinations undamaged by the quakes include Pokhara, a popular resort town in the shadow of Annapurna, the world’s tenth highest mountain, and Chitwan National Park, home to endangered Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros.

Nepal prays for return of tourists after earthquakes

Nepal earthquake: What does the future hold for tourism?
Nepal earthquake: What does the future hold for tourism? Photo: ALAMY

Nepal is hoping to welcome tourists back to the country in time for the next trekking season in the autumn

Nepal is hoping to welcome tourists back to the country in time for the next trekking season in the autumn, with attractions being rebuilt and trekking routes in the foothills of Mount Everest reopening.

Following the recent devastating earthquakes that killed more than 9,000 people, most hotels and restaurants in Nepal shut down, tourism numbers fell significantly and thousands of porters were left out of work.

“It has been hard,” said Sujan Sijapati, operations manager for Intrepid Travel in Nepal. “The earthquake meant that the season finished early and we’ve already written off the coming month to focus on rebuilding for the coming season.”

Two trekking routes, including the popular Langtang trekking route, were closed and hotels damaged in the quakes on April 25, the worst natural disaster in the country since 1934, and its aftershock on May 12, which destroyed nearly half a million houses and left thousands without food or water.

Earthquakes killed more than 9,000 people this year

The aftermath saw holidays cancelled for May, before spreading to the rest of the year. Relief and aid workers were soon filling the hotels left empty by tourists.

There is hope for the next season however, with tourism experts and officials suggesting that the effect of the Gorkha quake will not be long term.

Most trekking routes are still intact and could all be reopened by the autumn.

Several of the heritage sites damaged in the Kathmandu Valley are reopening this month, the Nepali Times reports, with Boudhanath stupa, Budanilkantha and Pashupatinath temples, among those that have been declared safe.

Boudhanath stupa (Photo: Alamy)

Meanwhile, the vast majority of hotels are apparently being restored as they did not suffer structural damage.

“People are keen for tourists to return – not just hotels and tour operators, but restaurants, gear companies, even those in remote areas rely on tourism. Now there is no work at all,” said Mr Sijapati.

He explained that most tourism companies are privately owned by Nepalese people on a local scale, and so he expects they will have a tough time.

“People have been traumatised, but you can’t cry all the time. People are united to work together to overcome the national crisis.

There is a strong sense of patriotism. Things are getting better and becoming more normal. Schools have opened. People are quite positive, they have started laughing and partying and voluntarily clearing debris. There is a strong sense of unity to rebuild Nepal.”

Monkeys outside of Pashupatinath temple (Photo: Alamy)

The UN’s World Food Programme revealed last week that thousands of out-of-work porters are being hired to deliver aid to the most remote parts of the quake.

Ang Tsering Sherpa, president of Nepal’s mountaineering association, said the scheme would “support the livelihoods of mountain communities who are facing great problems because of the quake”.

He said: “This is the time to help the Nepalese people. If you are serious about helping Nepal, don’t just give money, come to Nepal as a tourist.”

Independent assessments are being carried out to determine which trekking routes should reopen. Intrepid said it is working with independent safety experts and other government and industry organisations to start an infrastructure assessment on areas like Annapurna.

Mr Sijapati said that travellers he meets on the ground in Nepal seem eager to help a country focused on rebuilding itself.

Intrepid has launched a million pound fundraising campaign that will see all profits from the company’s next season of Nepal trips donated to local and international charities working to rebuild it.

The adventure travel specialist is also running three charity treks in the autumn, including one to Everest Base Camp.

Mount Everest

For more information see intrepidtravel.com/intrepid-charity-treks

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