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The April earthquake in central Nepal had a devastating impact on two of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal. The Langtang Valley trek was the victim of a massive landslide that has closed that trekking route, at least for tea house trekking. A new trail has been cut through the landslide area which will make it possible to do camping treks there until the lodges are rebuilt sometime next year.
ITrekNepal trekkers near Mt. Everest - October 2015
The Manaslu region was also severely affected although not as badly as Langtang. The Manaslu Circuit and Tsum valley treks are closed for now for regular trekking but should reopen for organized tea house treks in the spring. The Everest region had some quake damage but reconstruction of the trails and lodges was very quick and the region is back to normal. We have already had a several groups enjoy successful treks to Everest Base Camp and crossing some of the high passes. The Annapurna region was minimally affected by the earthquakes and all the major routes including the Circuit and Base Camp treks are in good shape. We have already had several groups complete treks to Annapurna Base Camp this season. All other parts of Nepal are open for trekking, including the Kathmandu Valley, Makalu, and Rara Lake.
ITrekNepal guest from Denmark on Annapurna Circuit Trek – October 2015
With the help of the New Hope Society and donations from many of our friends around the world, the ITrekNepal has helped the families of our guides and porters to build shelters in their villages where they will reside while their homes are being rebuilt. The ITrekNepal guides and porters are now safe and secure, and are looking forward to the opportunity to start trekking again.
The monsoon in Nepal has ended, the days are mostly sunny, and mountain trekking is as good as ever in those areas spared from earthquake damage, especially in the Everest and Annapurna regions. In the Kathmandu valley things look quite normal though a second look will reveal some demolished buildings. Bhaktapur was harder hit than most parts of the valley and whole neighborhoods are still digging out of the rubble. Although half of the residents have left the city, most return each day to rebuild and work in the shops.
Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur
Though dozens of major World Heritage sites have fallen, most are still intact. It’s not the same here as before the quake but it is still a vibrant, fascinating place. While is now possible to enjoy trekking again in most regions of Nepal, there is a fuel shortage that has made transportation difficult, especially around the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara. Ironically this problem was brought on by one of the greatest triumphs in modern Nepali history. After eight years of failed efforts to deliver a new constitution, the earthquake spurred a spirit of cooperation and the Nepal parliament approved one of the world’s most progressive democratic constitutions. Unfortunately a large constituency along the Indian border has disputed some of the constitution’s provisions and has blocked the Indian border in protest. The restriction of fuels and other critical supplies has been a major problem for most Nepalese and an annoyance for many tourists. It should also be noted that while there has been some violent protests along the border this area is very far from Kathmandu which remains very safe.
ITrekNepal guests at Everest Base Camp – October 2015
Fortunately the Bhaktapur Paradise Hotel where most ITrekNepal guests are staying has an ample supply of cooking gas and our drivers have a good stock of fuel so it is still a pleasant environment here. With the inauguration of the new government intent on remedying these political problems, the shortages are expected to ease in the next couple weeks and life should back to normal for everyone fairly soon.
In the meantime the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara are exceptionally peaceful. Similarly, the relative lack of tourists has made the popular treks even more enjoyable since there are no crowds to contend with.