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Thread: Ganesh Himal

  1. #21

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Hi Cycling Paul
    It is the correct decision. I am in touch with my friend in Leh he runs a trekking business and he feels it will be some time before the situation becomes stable.
    The airlines Jet Kingfisher and Indian airlines ran three flights each today to evacuate the tourists so I think more people are leaving Leh than going in.
    I have a friend who is stuck in Kaza in Spiti. She was to trek across Parang la to tso Moriri.
    I am sure we are all feeling very bad about this. Lets hope the rain abates and there is no further calamity.
    The Indian Army is doing a great job as far as relief and rehab work is concerned.
    Sujoy

  2. #22

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    A friend of mine who was in Leh

    iFirst-hand account of Leh floods
    I was able to fly out of Leh today to Delhi. I have limited access to internet and won't be able to respond, but I thought I'd share some first-hand information on the situation there.

    The cloudburst began sometime around 12:30 on the night of August 5th. I was staying at a guest house in old town Leh. The rain came down so hard that I first thought hail was banging against my windows. I soon heard shouting in the streets. I grabbed my flashlight (no electricity in Leh at this point) and went out to the balcony to see that the ground floor of my guest house was filling with water. A neighbor and I went to wake up the owner and the other guests to warn them of the danger. The owner and his family frantically tried to blockade the door with a sheet of zinc and sandbags to prevent more water from entering the building.

    The water continued to rise as we tourists tried to quickly pack our most important belongings in the rain and darkness. The neighbors kept shouting for us get out of the house. I couldn't understand why at the time. My instinct in a flash flood was to climb upstairs as high as possible. I only understood the next day, that the houses in Ladakh are often not built to withstand a cloudburst like this and that the neighbors were afraid the roof or the house itself might collapse. The water rose to about 4 feet at its deepest in the street, and about 2 1/2 feet in the guesthouse before the heavy rain stopped and the water began to recede. Locals said that they had never seen rain like this in 75years.

    It was only the next morning that the scope of the devastation became gradually apparent. All stores were closed and people began to move en masse to the the worst hit area of the bus station that was flattened by mudslides. When I arrived at mid-morning, 4 bulldozers were at work removing heavy debri. Along side them, hundreds of volunteers, both locals and many tourists, formed human chains to remove dirt and debri by hand, hoping that they might find survivors underneath the mud. Unfortunately, in the time that I was working there, only bodies were pulled out.

    Some roads were covered in mud and debri. The airport was closed, there was no electricity, and only one cellphone company was working. Most of the town was still largely intact though and tourists wandered the streets trying to find open restaurants and gathering in groups to share information. By Friday afternoon several cyber cafes had opened and very slow internet (via satellite) was available.

    That first day, (Friday August 6th) there was little sign of government or military presence in Leh. (There were places I didn't go such as the hospital or makeshift morgue, however, where they may have been present). With a lack of any clear authority or organizing force, rumors and fear abounded. The skies over the mountains were dark and stormy on late Friday afternoon and a rumor spread that another flash flood was coming. People began to run and drive in a panic trying to find high ground. It's easy to understand why. Given the death toll the night before, nerves were shattered.

    The news media arrived in Leh and Choglamsar on Saturday August 7th along with some aid and a more visible military presence. As of today (Sunday August 8th), however, there has been little news of the fate of people in the villages. Trekkers hiking into Leh, report seeing bodies of local people at the mudslides and I fear the death toll will be significant.

    Dozens, maybe hundreds of tourists were also trapped by the floods in the villages and mountains. Efforts have been underway to rescue foreign nationals who are still stranded. I've heard unconfirmed (again unconfirmed, only third-hand) accounts that a small number of foreign trekkers may have been injured and/or killed. Those trekkers who were able to hike back to Leh have some harrowing stories to tell. What started out as a fun holiday trek, turned into a life-threatening ordeal in the space of just an hour of rain. One family group from the UK (who have been interviewed on India TV) had to abandon all their belongings and cross many kilometers of dangerous mudslides and flooded rivers on foot with 5 children in tow. The trekkers emphasize the courage and selflessness of their Ladakh guides, who in some instances risked their own lives to save tourists and lead them to safety. Stranded trekkers also received help from the Indian military who offered transportation and shelter. Many monks and hotel owners have made amazing efforts to help tourists and keep them safe.

    For those who are considering travel plans to Ladakh this month, the most optimistic estimate I heard was 7 to 10 days to open the road to Manali again. This assumes that no more damaging rain will fall. If the rains continue, even the town of Leh will not be completely safe. The airport is open and today was mobbed with people who are trying to leave Leh. This will be a serious blow to the Ladakh economy. If the road reopens and the conditions are safe in the future, Ladakhians would certainly welcome the return of tourists.

    Finally, my deepest sympathies for the people of Ladakh who have suffered devasting personal and economic losses. It's an amazing place with wonderful people.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Hi Sujoy

    Many thanks for your updates, they're very useful. It's looking increasingly likely that our trip will be cancelled. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a No Travel to Ladakh recommendation and until it's lifted we can't go. This is because travel insurance is invalid if you go against FCO advice. We have to wait until Wednesday to know definitely what is happening.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  4. #24

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Hi Silvertops
    I dont think it is a very good idea to go just now even though the flights are running. Can you push the trip back by a bit say September first week?
    Sujoy

  5. #25

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    some more information about trekkers in zanskar

    Leh cloudburst: 81 foreigners rescued from Zanskar valley

    Snehesh Alex Philip Leh, Aug 9 (PTI) Eighty one foreigners and six tour guides were today rescued by the Indian Air Force from the 11,000-feet high picturesque Zanskar valley after being stranded there for over three days. The IAF carried out a record 62 sorties by Chetak helicopters in five and half hours to bring back 81 foreign campers from the narrow valley who were stuck there since intervening night of August 5 and 6 after cloudburst and flash floods wreaked havoc in Leh and surrounding areas. The foreigners rescued include 17 British and French nationals, nine people from the Netherlands, eight from Czechoslovakia, seven Germans and four Israelis. "We received information on late Sunday evening that about 150 foreigners were stuck in the Zanskar valley. Our operation started at about 5:30 AM and ended by about 11 AM," Air Vice Marshall J Chauhan, Air Officer Commanding for Jammu and Kashmir, said. The IAF flew the small five seater Chetak helicopter rather than the MI-17 as the valley was narrow. "The valley was so narrow that even the Chetak found it tough to turn around. We had to land on hard surface as there was no helipad there," said Wing Commander Manish V Patel, who was heading the operation and made the first sortie. Asked if it was a record feat, Chauhan said, "I think we have not done so many sorties. It is a record of sort." Though the initial information said there were about 150 odd stranded foreigners, the actual numbers was 81, IAF officials said. Meanwhile, the IAF has brought in about 100 tonnes of materials, including BSNL equipment, since the disaster struck.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Hi Sujoy

    I dont think it is a very good idea to go just now even though the flights are running. Can you push the trip back by a bit say September first week?
    You're quite right and I expect Exodus will come to the same decision. Unfortunately, I'm waiting for an operation and I asked for it to be done in September so that I could make this trip to Ladakh. After I've had the op I will not be able walk far for a few days and it will take 3/4 weeks for me to be okay again. We might look at doing our own trip possibly to Nepal later this year.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

  7. #27

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Yes back to Nepal! I am leading a group to EBC and Chukung in April 2011.
    Hope to take a look at the Khopra ridge in winter.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    188

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Thanks for the continuing info Sujoy.

    Yes, I too am thinking of doing a quick trip to Nepal this Winter season, now that we have cancelled our Ladakh trip.

    Perhaps the Ganesh Himal after all?!

  9. #29

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    I have never done Ganesh Himal! One for the future!

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Packington, Leicestershire
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    436

    Default Re: Ganesh Himal

    Exodus have been in touch today are they are now hoping to run our trek a week later. That would see us arrive in Leh on the 23rd Sptember. 11 of the original 16 clients are able to do that but it all depends on a lot of things so still not sure. They hope to confirm one way or the other on Monday next.

    Ganesh Himal looks a very attractive part of Nepal. There ought to be a good trekking route through that area.
    **************
    * thesilvertops *
    **************

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