Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sujoy Das on Nikon Links

I have been featured on Nikon links which is one of the premier web sites for Nikon photographers!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Himalayas: Weather

If you read any guide book on the Himalaya or on trekking in the Himalayan region, you will invariably be told that the post-monsoon season is the best time to trek in the mountains. Clear blue skies, superb mountain views, mild sunny days and crisp cold nights are all forecast for the trekker.  You will also be told that the pre monsoon season i.e. March to May is the second best time to be in the mountains with mild showers in the evening but clear morning and the weather getting warmer as you approach the monsoon. Further, according to the guide books, trekking in the monsoon is strictly a “no no” and if the heavy rains and landslides don’t make your trek a nightmare, the leeches will! And of course the winter is so cold that no sane individual would venture into the high altitude at that time!

So what is the real story on Himalayan weather?

I have trekked in the Himalayas in all seasons, including the winter (Everest 2003-04), the monsoon (Sikkim 2000) and numerous autumn and spring treks.

One October I remember visiting Kathmandu airport every morning for the flight to Lukla and returning to our hotel at lunchtime. It rained for three days incessantly and the Lukla flight could not take off. Finally on the fourth day it did take off  and made a hair raising landing at Lukla narrowly missing the hill in front of the airstrip. Surprisingly the very next day the weather cleared and we did not get any rain for the next two weeks during our trek.

Again, walking the Annapurna circuit in October I remember repeated day after day of afternoon rain up the Marsyandi valley. One downpour near the village of Chame was so heavy that we sheltered in a bamboo hut and managed to stay dry until the rain stopped.

In December 2009 I trekked with a South Col group to Poon Hill in the Annapurna region and surprisingly other than the morning at Ghorepani, the rest of the days had cold, cloudy weather very unusual for December.

The rain shadow regions of the Himalaya like Ladakh, Zanskar, Lahoul and Spiti possibly get the best weather in the monsoon season July to September.

So in my opinion, good weather is a gamble. What with global warming, rapid deforestation and urbanization, the weather is no longer predictable. Every season has something special to offer so select your season and hope for some great views and weather!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everest Memorials: Scott Fischer

The Everest Memorials above Dugla on the way to the Base Camp is a sombre place. Sherpas and many top flight climbers who did not return from Everest have their memorials here. Scott Fischer headed Mountain Madness and was one of the  high-profile guides who died in the Everest 1996 disaster - Rob Hall was the other. In  January 2004, a chill wind was blowing across the memorials on a crystal clear sunny morning  as I walked down from Gorak Shep and headed for Pheriche. Earlier on in the day I had seen the jet stream winds blowing at great speed from the summit of Everest. The peaks  of Ama Dablam, Kangtega and Thamserku can be seen in the background.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Leh Flood Disaster: Request for Donations for relief work

This is a mail received from Abeer Gupta who is working in Leh on rehabilitation work. Please help them if you can

Dear All
We at LAMO have been working in old town (the area just below the Leh Palace) and at this time of disaster have gotten involved in relief work there.

after a survey over the weekend we realised there has been extensive damage to the homes in OLD Town by the floods. Some of them are beyond repair but some of them have been left filled with mud and our current effort is to clean up those homes, restore the families back in those house and try and get them basic kitchen supplies, bedding, and household goods to start rebuilding their lives. 

since yesterday we have taken up a number of houses and can extend our services more effectively with your support. any monetary donation / aid would be most welcome at this time to help us do the job we have set about, properly. 

we are also assessing the structural damage that has been caused to the houses and working towards a larger estimate of expenses which will be required for the proper reconstruction. a more detailed report of the situation here and our own plans should be ready by the end of the week and shall be forwarded to you.

donations can be sent to the following account: cheques (with account name and number) can be deposited to any SBI bank branch all over India or money can be transferred electronically with the details below

Account name: LAMO TRUST (ALL CAPS)
Current Account number: 30913378915
RTGS CODE - SB IN 0001365
Address of branch - SBI BANK, Main Bazar, LEH

you can call me on 9920958244 for clarifications. Please forward this email to people who you feel would be interested to help. if anyone is making a contribution pls send 
me a note at

"Abeer Gupta" <>, 
or to Monisha at   
"Monisha Ahmed" <>,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pheriche: Everest Kala Pattar Trek December 2003

On the winter trek to Kala Pattar in 2003-04 it snowed for two days in Pheriche on the way up to Base Camp. On the third day the snow stopped and we could see a patch of blue amidst the swirling clouds. The photograph  shows Kangtega and Thamserku with the trail towards Pangboche totally obliterated. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trekworld: Sikkim's most popular Trek

Larry Closs has founded an online magazine called Trekworld to publish articles and photographs on trekking, adventure, gear, outdoor experiences etc.
My photo-essay on Sikkim's Dzongri trek is now online at the link below. Please do visit.


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