Yes we can measure the height of Everest

Yes we can measure the height of Everest

Buddhi Forehead Tika

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

 

Government of Nepal Survey Department is going to measure Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) afresh to settle a controversy over height of the world’s tallest peak, especially after some estimates suggested it became a little shorter in the wake of an earthquake two years ago. Before the earthquake, Chinese team had measured the mountain and calculated a height of 8844 meters in 2005, whereas they had measured as 8848 m in 1975. United States calculated Everest’s height as 8850 m in 1999. Italy calculated it as 8846 m in 1993 instead of their prior measurement as 8872 m in 1987.  Originally, height of Everest was first calculated to be 8840 m meters above mean sea level in 1852 by the British India Surveyors team. It was adjusted as 8883 m by Survey of India in 1907. And later India had calculated and established the final height as 8848 m in 1954. Nepal is firm, as it says the traditional height as 8848 m. To overcome all these different measurements, Survey Department has initiated to measure the Everest scientifically and precisely in the years to come.

Everest Measurement Sketch

Methods of measurement

The Survey Department recently organized an international workshop on the ‘Measurement of the Height of Mt. Everest and Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) Application.’ Main objective of the workshop was to discuss and finalize on the measurement methodology to be adopted to determine the height of Everest. The workshop was participated and presented papers by surveyors, map makers, photogrammetrists, geodesists, geologists, geophysists, geographers, GIS/GPS experts, equipment manufacturer and Everest summiteer Surveyor from the United States (University of Colorado, National Geographic Society, Trimble Navigation Incorporated), Switzerland (Federal Institute of Technology), Italy (University of Trieste), New Zealand (University of Otago), Japan (University of Tokyo, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Global Positioning Augmentation Service Corporation), Survey of India, China (National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information), and various organizations of Nepal.

Height measurement project consists of various activities such as literature review, workshop, height verification, levelling and gravity survey, GPS survey, summit observation, computation, conference and height announcement. During the deliberation, number of issues were raised and discussed whether both the traditional and satellite system should be adopted and rock or snow height to be measured.

It was agreed that precise levelling alignment will be connected to the new adjusted Indian levelling network. It will be extended to four observation stations. The accuracy will be 2 mm/km. The absolute gravity station will be established in the vicinity of the start of new leveling alignment; and observations will be carried out every 2 km along the precise leveling route.

Surface gravity observation in the Everest region, in supplement to airborne gravity, will redefine geoid model with densification of surface gravity observations, to obtain decimeter or better accuracy. Four stations will be continously occupied by the GPS. Trigonometrical survey will be operated and Lines of Sight will be observed from the triangulation stations. Vertical and zenithal angles will be observed from twelve stations. At the same time, the geometry of observation points will be revisited. Reciprocal leveling among summit-observation stations will be done. Deflection of Vertical will be conducted as well.

Meteorological data will be collected from Ev-K2-CNR Lobuche meteorological observations and Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. The department has started the construction of Radiosonde Baloon Station in Kirtipur. The baloon flies every day 18 to 20 kilometres above the ground level within half an hour. During the radiosonde’s ascent, it transmits data on temperature, atmospheric pressure and humidity to the land based receiving station.

Instrumental observations

GPS observation will be carried out in Permanent Bench Marks (every 2km) on the leveling routes. It will be carried out on several stations in the Everest region during observation period. Finally, GPS observation will be made on the summit by the expedition team. GPS, will play a crucial role for the precise and accurate measurement. A signal receiver will be placed at every station, and the team will monitor signals sent between the receiver and satellites. They will then convert the time it takes the signals to arrive into a height measurement. Simultaneously, snow height will be measured through Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for snow depth determination. In this way, the height will be calculated using a combination of geodetic data received from three mechanisms: levelling instrument, gravity meter and global positioning system (GPS) to obtain the rock height.

There will have measures of necessary corrections for refraction, deflection-of-vertical, geoid height, atmospheric anomalies and exact thickness of ice on summit. Sufficient attention will be given to minimize the instrumental and human error while measuring, computing and calculating the final height precisely according to the international norms and standards. Errors will be minimized up to the standard precision within permissible error adopted by the concerned scientific work of the world.

Measuring expedition

A mountaineering expedition will be mounted during the summer or autumn climbing season next year of 2018 in a favourable weather condition to measure the height with the set methodology. A team of Sherpas will climb to the top of Everest with measuring equipment. They will obtain sufficient training to handle, operate and record the GPS receivers before the expedition starts. Measurement work meets global standards and that will be internationally accepted to settle the debated height.

There was also a lively discussion that the height of the European Alps mountains and Americas Rocky Mountains and Andes Mountains, Pakistan’s Mount Godwin Austin K-2 (second tallest in the world) and rest of the Himalayan mountains of Nepal have been measured snow height. Then why to bother to find out the snow depth of the Everest summit ? However, it is firmly decided to calculate the rock height.

Taking responsibility

The world is looking to Nepal, as measuring the Everest is a challenging task and it is also an opportunity. They have curiosities like: is Nepal capable to measure and do they have sufficient budget ? The answer may be: Nepal is capable in this field, as it has internationally sound technical manpower with academic education and practical training for many years.

Nepal needs scientific equipments and tools like standard GPS receivers, precise levelling equipment as well as absolute gravimeters, although it has a few instruments and tools of its own. However, to fulfil the extra need, necessary instruments will be managed and procured/hired from international agencies and organizations like International Association of Geodesy and instrument manufacturing factories. Nepal government has spared some budget this year. Adequate amount of budget will be allocated next year, as it has taken as a national priority project.

Associate India and China

In course of measurement, it will be good to involve India and China in the project. It is in a sense that Survey of India found it as the highest peak in the world in 1852 and named Peak-XV. Later, it was named as Mount Everest in 1865. The reason for involving China is that Everest is located between Nepal-China border. However, the peak falls on Nepal side. Everest could be climbed from both Nepal and China side. So it would be appropriate if the Nepali team is joined by Chinese and Indian teams. It would be more relevant and recognizable to associate them during the measurement of the peak and announcement by Nepal.

The Surveyor General of India has sent best wishes to Nepal Survey Department for the success of measurement of the Everest. He has said that measuring the Everest by Nepal is a welcome step. Chinese participants have suggested measuring the peak collaboratively with joint surveys, observations and measurements. They have pledged to extend cooperation.

Nepal’s pride

Everest is Nepal’s treasure and heritage. So it has to measure the mountain and determine the accurate height. Nepal, home to Mount Everest, has never measured the peak on its own. But this is our responsibility as well. It’s a matter of pride and prestige for Nepal to measure the Everest by itself. So Nepal must perform the measurement scientifically; and determine and announce the authentic and latest height that will be acceptable to the scientists and researchers of the world.

Shrestha is the former Director General

of Survey Department and Border Researcher

 

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Japanese Climb Nepali Mountains

Japanese climb Nepali mountains

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Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

 

himalayan range

Nepal is known as the ‘Himalayan Country’ all over the world. And Japan is called the land of the ‘Rising Sun as Nippon.’ The boundary of Japan is surrounded by the sea water, whereas the boundary of Nepal is surrounded by the land mass. Japan has over 6,000 smaller islands, of which over 430 are inhabited with mainly four islands as Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Adversely, Nepal belongs thousands of mountains, hills and hillocks having three main physiographic regions as High Himal, Middle Mountain and Southern Tarai Plain. Nepal belongs Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world and Japan has its own tallest Mount Fuji.

 

Nepal belongs 1,310 peaks and pinnacles exceeding 6000 metre from the mean sea level. Japan has 363 so called mountains which bears less than 3776 metre to the lowest 85 metre height. Nepal has the highest mountain in the world as Sagarmatha (Mount Everest / Quomolongma) having 8848 metre whereas Mount Fuji with 3776 m is the highest mountain in Japan.

Everest-fuji

 

It is an interesting fact that the highest mountain of Japan may be regarded as the low mountain for Nepal. Japan is located 5,095 kilometre far sky distance from Nepal. However, both the countries have a very close relationship in mountaineering activities, no matter how far it is physically. The high Himalaya of Nepal has enchanted the Japanese expeditioneers and climbers. So, many Japanese mountaineers have successfully climbed the high mountains of Nepal.

 

Large numbers of mountain lovers from Japan are regular visitors to Nepal since the ascent of Mt. Manaslu by the Japanese mountaineer Toshio Imanishi on 9 May 1956. Many Japanese mountaineers have climbed the high peaks of the Himalayas, including Sagarmatha. Ms. Junko Tabei from Japan successfully reached the summit of Sagarmatha on 16 May 1975 and she became the first woman in the world to scale Sagarmatha. She is enthusiastically praised by the people of all around the world for her achievement. She has climbed Mt. Fuji and Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps as well.

 

It is commendable that Nepal Himalaya has become a great theatre of mountaineering activities in these days also for the Japanese. Indeed, the mountains of Nepal have many facets that will continue to engage human endurance and ingenuity for generations to come. Mountains of Nepal Himalaya be used as a field where people from different countries can enhance their spirit of adventure, while also makes a strong appeal and effort for the conservation of the Himalayan environment and ecology.

 

The Himalaya is the ‘abode of snow’ and it is the youngest and highest mountain system of the world. It is a natural fact that the main Himalaya does not form a continuous chain but rather a series of lofty ranges separated by deep river gorges and high mountain passes. One third of the whole Himalayan Range or 800 km of its central section from Mahakalai Border River to Kanchanjunga massif traverses to the east lies in Nepal and it is known as ‘Nepal Himalaya.’

 

Mountains in Nepal

Nepal Himalaya has a panophy of 1,310 peaks and pinnacles exceeding 6000 m, a unique concentration of lofty dazzling summits. Thus, of the peaks exceeding 6000 m, there are 246 in the west, 567 in the central and 497 in the east. The number of peaks in Nepal by category of height are as followings:
Altitude (Metres)
1.  Eight Thousander   Above 8000 m =    14
2.  Seven Thousander   7500 – 8000 m =  43
3.  Seven Thousander   7000 – 7500m  =  87
4.  Six Thousander       6500 – 6999 m = 301
5.  Six Thousander      6000 – 6499 m  = 865
Total = 1,310 Peaks

Out of 1,310 mountain peaks, 326 have been opened for expedition till this date. Government of Nepal has a policy to open the remaining peaks for expedition step by step in future. It is to be noted that 112 peaks are still virgin, of those opened to this date. Nepal government has delegated the authority to Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) to issue the climbing permit of 33 mountain peaks among 326 opened.

 

Mountains in Japan

Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, at the height of 3776 metre. The peak is located on the island of Honshu, close enough to the city of Tokyo to be constantly in view one of the world’s most populated cities. Mount Fuji, also known as Mt. Fujiyama, has a famous conic shape. Mount Fuji stands at the centerpiece of Japanese art and culture, from ancient wood blocking pieces to modern-day paintings and photographs. The mountain has long been revered for its nearly perfect conic shape.

There are 363 mountains in Japan having its altitude from 85 m to 3776 m, the most famous of which seems to be Mount Fuji (3776 m) and the lowest is Mount Komaki (85.9 m). Followings are the number of mountains in Japan with their height:
Number of Mountains and Height in Metre

21  Mountains Above 3000 m
33 Mountains 2500 – 2999 m
44 Mountains 2000 – 2499 m
89 Montains    1500 – 1999 m
97 Mountains  1000 – 1499 m
79 Mountains     85 – 999 m

363 Total Mountain Peaks

 

Japanese climb Nepal Himal

Eight out of fourteen highest mountain peaks, including Mt. Everest lie in Nepal. Nepal has been receiving lots of Japanese mountaineering expedition teams in Nepal. Following table shows the successful Japanese climbers to various mountains of Nepal above 8000 metre from the mean sea level:

 

Name of Mountains above 8000 Metre Height in Metre Successful Total Climbers Among Successful Climbers
Nepali Japanese
1.  Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha)=8848 m, Successful Climbers= 3344, Nepali= more than 1000, Japanese=113
2.  Kanchanjunga= 8586m, Successful Climbers=296, Nepali= 57,  Japanese=22
3.  Lhotse= 8516 m, Successful Climbers=479, Nepali=123, Japanese=25
4.  Yalung Kang= 8505 m, Successful Climbers=  53, Nepali= 6, Japanese= 7
5.  Makalu= 8463 m,  Successful Climbers=376,  Nepali=82,  Japanese=20
6.  Cho Oyu= 8201 m,  Successful Climbers=13,  Nepali=0, Japanese= 74
7. Dhaulagiri= 8167 m, Successful Climbers= 451,  Nepali=50,  Japanese=17
8. Manaslu= 8163 m,  Successful Climbers=844, Nepali=286, Japanese= 84
9.  Annapurna First= 8091m,  Successful Climbers=221,  Nepali=57,  Japanese=26
Total Japanese Climbers= 388

 

Nepali and Japanese record holders

Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, as one of the two expeditioneers, was the first mountaineer to scale the Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) in history on 29 May 1953. He was the Nepali, but India dragged him to become an adopted Indian. Apa Sherpa from Nepal holds the record for most summits with 21 times, the most recent on 11 May 2013. Teruo Matsuum with Naomi Uemora was the first Japanese mountaineer to reach to the Everest summit on 11 May 1965.

appaten

Junko Tabei, was the first female to reach the summit of Mount Everest located on the border of China (Tibet) and Nepal. She was the Japanese climber. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was the first Nepalese woman to climb the summit of Mount Everest on 22 April 1993. During her descent from the summit the weather took a turn for the worst and due to the bad storm Pasang’s life was lost.

pasang lhamujunko tabai

Ms. Tamae Watanabe (73 years of age) succeeded in climbing to the top of Sagarmatha on 16 May 2002. She is the oldest woman in the world to reach the top successfully. She has always loved the mountains and has been climbing in the Japanese Alps and around the world for many years.

 

Yuichiro Miura (80 years) was the oldest Japanese male to summit the Everest on 23 May 2013. He is internationally well known as “the man who skied down Sagarmatha.” Min Bahadur Sherchan is the oldest Nepali Everest climber on 25 May 2008 at the age of 76. He held the record until 22 May 2013, when the 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura scaled the Everest.
Ms. Toshiko Uchida (71 years) overturned the record only months later by successfully climbing Mt. Cho Oyu on 1 October 2002 becoming the oldest person atop this mountain. Ken Noguchi (29 years), who has made a name for himself as a committed advocate for the environment, organized a clean-up expedition to the South Col starting from Everest-Lhotse base camp from 12 April to 22 May 2002 and brought down a large amount of waste material. He had previously made clean-up expeditions to Sagarmatha in 2000 and 2001.

 
Nepali Nima Chemji Sherpa was the youngest person and woman who summitted Everest on 19 May 2012. Nepali, Lakpa Sherpa holds the women’s summit record with 6 times (1 south and 5 from north). Nepali mountaineer Babu Chhiri Sherpa stayed for the longest time (21 hours) on the summit that spent the night on 6 May 1999 (summiteed two times in one season).

 

Prem Dorjee from Nepal holds the record for the fastest ascent from Everest Base Camp to summit with 8 hours and 10 minutes on 21 May 2004. Nepali climbers Prem Dorjee and Moni Mulepati were the first two people to marry on top of Mount Everest on 30 May 2005.

 

Ming Kepa, the Sherpa girl of Nepal holds the world record as the world’s youngest person to climb Mount Everest. She was only 15 years of age, when she reached at the top. The record was retained from 2003 to 2010; however, she still holds the title of being the youngest girl ever to reach the roof of the world. Ming made the successful attempt from the Chinese side because the Nepalese law does not allow climbers under the age of 16 to ascend the Everest.

 

Latest death of a Japanese climber

A veteran Japanese climber Yoshimasa Sasaki 59 years of age, slipped and fell to his death while climbing Mount Manaslu in Nepal on 26 September 2014. Rescuers have recovered his dead body. Yoshimasa from Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan slipped on ice, while climbing at 7,300 meters on the 8,163-meter mountain, the world’s eighth-highest mountain peak. He fell 25 meters down. He was a part of the 10-member HTB Mountain Professionals Manaslu Expedition 2014, comprising two Japanese, three Norwegians, three Chinese, an American and an Irish climber.

 

Japanese climber felicitated

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) organized a felicitation program on 10 June 2012 in honor of Japanese climber, Hirotaka Takeuchi- the first Japanese to climb all the peaks above 8000 m. The chief guest for the program was Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary for Ministry for Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation and Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Kunio Takahashi attended the program as guest of honor.

 
Takeucha expressed his hope that the success of this expedition will definitely promote Nepal’s mountain tourism in Japan. The chief guest of the program also congratulated Takeucha for being the first Japanese to achieve this record and wished him for the success of his future endeavor.
Finally, NMA President Zimba Zangbu Sherpa recalled the first successful ascent of Manaslu by the Japanese team on 9 May 1956. He also mentioned about the good relationship of NMA with Japanese alpine organizations like Japan Mountaineering Association, Japanese Alpine Club, Japan Workers’ Alpine Federation, Nagano Mountaineering Association and Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan. He also expressed his gratefulness for having the opportunity to felicitate one of the greatest Japanese climbers.

International mountaineering activities

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and Japan Mountaineering Association (JMA) have a very good relationship with each other. Honorary UIAA Member Kazuo Saito of the Japan Mountaineering Association who initiated the establishment of the UAAA in 1993 to promote climbing in Asia and the UIAAs regional activities had visited Nepal and NMA last month. He suggested some points on the Nepal Himal Peak Profile, which NMA has started to prepare it.

 
The Union of Asian Alpine Associations (UAAA)’s 20-years special birthday was celebrated in a grand style at the group’s Annual General Assembly held in Hiroshima, Japan from 21-25 November 2014. The organization consists of 19 member Federation from 15 countries and Nepal is one of them. Ang Tshering Sherpa, President of NMA had led the delegation to represent Nepal and to make presentation on the activities of NMA. The other members were Mohan Krishna Sapkota- Joint Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Tulasi Prasad Gautam- Director General, Department of Tourism, Santa Bir Lama- Ist VP, Deebas Bikram Shah- IInd VP, Thakur Raj Pandey- General Secretary, Tika Ram Gurung-Treasurer, Churrim Sherpa-Board Member, Lakpa Sherpa- Board Member, Prem Gurung- Board Member and Bimal Naharki- Board Member Ang Tshering Sherpa President of NMA, Vice-President of UAAA and UIAA Honorary Member presented the activities of NMA in the general assembly programme mentioning that as the year 2014 marks the Diamond Jubilee of the first ascent of Mt. Cho-Oyu.

 

NMA has suggested that the government should waive the Royalty Fee for Mt. Cho-Oyu for that year. In the past 20 years only 2 climbers have ascended Mt. Cho-Oyu from Nepal side, so this decision to waive off the Royalty Fee may encourage and increase the number of climbers attempting to climb Mt. Cho-Oyu. Similarly, the same should be done for the Diamond Jubilee of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Makalu in 2015 and the Diamond Jubilee of Mt. Manaslu and Mt. Lhotse in 2016. It is important for the Government to celebrate these anniversaries as it helps in bringing media attention to Nepal’s tourism industry which will promote the peaks specifically, boosts up the image of Nepal and provides appropriate opportunities for Nepal to announce the developments and introduces new changes to improve mountain tourism.

 
NMA President Sherpa conveyed to the international mountaineering community to understand Nepal’s sincerity and positivism in addressing concerns and problems in Himalayan Mountaineering and environmental protection. He made International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UAAA) aware of Nepal’s vulnerability to Climate Change and the threats of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods. He requested to the Chairman and members of the international commissions, who are responsible internationally, to recognize the new 8000 m peaks of Nepal. He mentioned Nepal’s interests and pledging support to the project, as international recognition of these peaks will be greatly beneficial to the economy as well as employment generation of Nepal as a whole.

 
He drew the attention of Chairman and members of mountaineering commission, expedition working group, mountain protection commission and access commission- how to work closer with the UIAA and UAAA for better promotion of Nepal’s mountain tourism and protection of the mountain environment. It was discussed with the Chairman and members of International Ski-Mountaineering Federation to explore the possibility of ski-mountaineering in Nepal. In response, it was said that they are ready to give technical expertise and extend cooperation, if Nepal should require their assistance.

 
Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) also participated in General Assembly of Union of International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) held at Flagstaff of Arizona, USA from 15-18 October 2014. NMA President Ang Tshering Sherpa, 1st Vice President Santa Bir Lama, Central Executive Board Member Pemba Dorje Sherpa, representatives from Ministry Of Culture, Tourism And Civil Aviation- Secretary Suresh Man Shrestha and Under Secretary Ram Prasad Sapkota participated in the meeting. The meeting discussed on mountain environment, climbing and mountaineering ethics, access to the natures, mountaineering expedition, training standards, youth climbing and mountaineering mobilization, ice climbing development, UIAA safety standards, medical and anti-doping role along with mountain related issues. Sherpa as the President of NMA and Shrestha as Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Government of Nepal addressed the General Assembly.
Ang Tshering Sherpa expressed that NMA in collaboration with the government to of Nepal is willing to organize Himalayan Host Countries meeting in Nepal in a near future. Both the UIAA and UAAA General Assembly 2016 along with the marking of historic events of the diamond jubilees celebration of first successful ascents would be ‘Brand Event’ in Nepal, if the opportunity to organize the UIAA General Assembly 2016 is given to Nepal. The Government of Nepal will fully support these events for their grand success.
The UIAA was established in 1932 and it has a global presence on five continents with 80 member associations in 50 countries representing about 3 million people. Nepal is the member country and Ang Tshering Sherpa is the Honorary Member of UIAA. The organization’s mission is to promote the growth and protection of mountaineering and climbing worldwide, advance safe and ethical mountain practices and promote responsible access, culture and environmental protection. The UIAA is recognized by the International Olympic Committee for mountaineering and climbing.

 

Last item

Japan doesn’t have high mountains as Nepal belongs many high mountains including the highest peak in the world. Various shape, size, face and figure of the mountains of Nepal lure especially the Japanese people. More and more mountain lovers from Japan should visit Nepal not only for the mountaineering; but also for adventure tourism such as natural sight seeing, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, bungee jumping, para-gliding, rafting, skiing, and also for pilgrim tourism to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha. This will enhance the mutual co-operation between not only the mountaineers of Nepal and Japan but also in the people to people level.♣

Reference:

1. Harka Gurung (2004), Peaks and Pinnacles, Nepal Mountaineering Association, Kathmandu : 134
2. Mountains in Nepal Facts & Figures (2013)), Government of Nepal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Kathmandu
3. Source: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/…/List_of_m.
4. Based on the text of Mountaineering in Nepal Facts & Figures (June 2013), Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil aviation, Kathmandu ( Data up to May 2012).
5. Embassy, of Japan in Nepal http://www.np.emb-japan.go.jp/…/hi..
6. Everest for kids http://www.alanarnette.com
7. Kyodo 29 September 2014
8. http://www.holidayhimalaya.com/news-n-events/143-japanese-climber-felicitated#sthash.vxQoCC26.dpuf

Travelogue writer in the eyes of people

           दुनियाँका आँखामा नियात्रा लेखक

                - बुद्धि नारायण श्रेष्ठ                                             
                  सीमा अन्वेषक
                  मदन पुरस्कार विजेता

स्तरीय लेख लेख्न सजिलो छैन । त्यसमाथि लेखक बन्न झन गार्‍हो छ । यसभन्दा पनि नियात्रा लेखक हुन अझ कठिन छ । नियात्राको सक्कली पुस्तक लेख्न निकै कठिनता व्यहोर्नु पर्छ । ओछ्यानमाथि दोलाइँभित्र गुडुल्को परेर घरिघरि कोठाको दलिनतिर टोलाएर उपन्यासभित्रको पात्रको सम्वाद कोरेजस्तो एकै थलोमा बसेर लेख्ने कुरो होइन नियात्रा लेखन । तर यसका लागि त बर्ुर्कुसि मार्नु पर्छ लेखकले, घरि दार्चुलाको कालापानी त घरि ताप्लेजुङको धारापानी । नियात्रा लेखकका कति जुत्ता फाट्छन् र कति पाइताला खिइन्छन् भनिसाध्य नै हुँदैन । यसैगरी नियात्राकारले हिमालको फेदिमा लगाएको लुगा धुन नपाएर जुम्रो जन्माउँछन् भने मैदानको गर्मीमा पसिनाको धारा बगाउँछन् । यसैगरी कुनै दिन दिनभरी खान नपाएर पेटमा सारङ्गी बजाइरहनु पर्ने हुन्छ भने कुनै दिन बाध्यतावस दिनको तीन छाक खाएर सुत्केरीको बिंडो थाम्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । यसै पंक्तिमा पर्छन् नियात्रा साहित्य -वाङमय) को फँाटमा विशिष्ट चिनारी बनाइसकेका नियात्राकार प्रतीक ढकाल ।

प्रतीक ढकालको नियात्रा सम्बन्धी बान्की परेका अंग्रेजी र नेपालीमा गरी गोटा सातेक पुस्तक पढेको छु । सुशासन र प्रशासन साथै राजनीतिक चिन्तन र विश्लेषण अनि शोककाव्य र अनुवादिक कृतिलाई चाहिँ गोलीमारेको छु । उनका नियात्राका कतिपय पुस्तक रिठ्ठो घोटे झै गरी पढेको छु भने केही पुस्तकमा मेरा रुचिकर विषयका कतिपय अध्यायको जुम्रोको लिखा र त्यसको पनि चम्काना लिखा हेरे झैं पढिएको छ । जति पढ्यो उति पढुँ पढुँ लाग्छ उनका नियात्राका पुस्तक । प्रतीकका नियात्रा लेखन सत्यतथ्य घटना, भलाकुसारी, संवाद, तिथिमिति र स्थान विशेषमा आधारित भएकोले कौतुहलपर्ूण्ा तथा रोचक भएको होला भन्ने ठान्दछु ।

उनको लेखनी सरल एवं बोलिचालिकै भाषामा भएकोले लोभलाग्दो भएको होला । जहाँ जे सम्बाद भएको छ, त्यही उतारिएको छ पुस्तकमा । जहाँ जस्तो प्रकारको उच्चारणले बोलिन्छ, त्यही शब्दको उच्चारण सापटी लिएका छन् उनले । अधिकांश पुस्तकका अध्यायहरूको प्रस्तुति प्रभावकारी छ, विषयवस्तुमा झ्याम्म हामफालि हालेका छन्, भूमिका सुमिका केही नबाँधी । लेखन शैली पनि मैले पढेजतिमा मिठास भएको पाएको छु । उनको नियात्रा पुस्तकद्वारा पाठकलाई रोमान्चक हिमाल यात्रा -एडभन्चर ट्राभल) गराइएको छ भने छिमेकी देशको सिमानाको कुरामा राष्ट्रियताको जनजागरण गराइएको छ । पाठकलाई हिमाल, पहाड र मैदानको यात्रा गराइँदा यात्रामा दर्ुघटना गराउनु भएको छैन । अथात् नकारात्मक सोंचको यात्रा कुनै पुस्तकमा पनि गराउनु भएको छै्रन ।

यसबाहेक पुस्तकमा प्रशस्त सार्न्दभिक फोटा पनि समावेस गरिएको छ । उनको पुस्तक पढ्दा मलाई कस्तो अनुभूति भयो भनो यात्रामा उनी सँधै क्यामरा बोकेर हिड्ने रहेछन् र मौका पाउने बित्तिक्कै ख्याच्च ख्याच्च फोटो खिचिहाल्ने स्वभावका करहेछन् । अनि जन्माउन लागेको नयाँ पुस्तकका प्रासांगिक पानामा टाँसिहाल्ने रहेछन् । अर्को कुरा अरुलाई हारगुहार गरेर भए पनि पुस्तकका ठाउँ ठाउँमा नक्सा पनि समावेस गर्ने गर्दा रहेछन् । उदाहरणका निम्ति द्यभथयलम त्जभ ज्imबबिथबक नियात्रा पुस्तकमा १६१ फोटोग्राफ र ४ थान नक्सा सम्लग्न गरिएका छन् । यसैले यो पुस्तक युरोपेली मुलुकका मानिसहरूले पनि धेरै रुचाएका होलान् । भनिन्छ एउटा फोटो अथवा नक्साले हजार शब्दले भन्दा पनि बढ्ता वर्ण्र्ाागर्दछ र पुस्तकलाई सजीव बनाउँछ ।

टनकपुर र महाकाली
अब म उनले लेखेका मेरो अध्ययनसँग सम्बन्धित दर्ुइ चार बुँदाबारे टापटिप पार्न चाहन्छु । पाँचौ संस्करण छापिसकिएको उनको ‘सेती पनि काली पनि’ पुस्तकमा उनले कन्चनपुरको पश्चिमी सिमानामा भारतले बनाएको टनकपुर ब्यारेजबारे लेखेका छन्- ‘भारततिर पानी हुल्नका लागि नेपालको ठुलो भू-भागमा जलाशय बनाइएको छ । नेपालले पाउने पानीका लागि नहर बनाउनै बाँकी छ । टनकपुर बाँधबाट नेपालले हालसम्म फुट्ठी कौडी केही पाएको छैन । कुनै शङ्कै छैन कि यसमा नेपाल ठगिएको छ । धिक्कार छ हामीलाई । धिक्कार छ हाम्रो बुद्धिलाई । हामी आफैप्रति त इमान्दार छैनांै भने अरुले किन नहेपून – भारतमा गएर तर्क गर्न सक्दैनौं, जेे भन्छ त्यही मानेर आउँछौं लुरुक्क । यता आएपछि चाहिँ जनताले गाली गर्लान् भनेर उल्टै संसदलाई नै ढाँट्छौं । यो भन्दा ठुलो गद्दारी अरु के हुनसक्छ आफ्नो मातृभूम्रि्रति -‘

यात्राकै क्रममा कन्चनपुरबाट प्रतीक ढकाल गड्डाचौकी र बनवासाको शारदा ब्यारेज पारगरी महाकाली नदीको भारत-नेपाल सिमैसीमा झुलाघाट, पिथौरागढ, ओगला, अस्कोट, जौलजीवी, र धारचुला भएर नेपालको दार्चुला पुगेछन् । महाकाली नदीले अलिकति ठाउँ छोड्नेबित्तिकै भारतले नदीलाई नेपालतिर धकेलेर तटबन्ध बनाइहाल्ने कुरा उनले देखेछन् र भारतले यसै गरी गरी महाकालीको किनारमै सैनिक ब्यारेक राख्ने ठाउँसमेत निकालिसकेको पत्यक्ष अनुभव गरे । तर नेपालले भने रोकथाम गरेको देख्न पाएन छन् ।

यात्राका क्रममा राष्ट्रियताका यी सब कुरा उनले आफ्नै आँखाले पत्यक्ष देखे । प्रतीक ढकालको मन रोयो, नियात्रा पुस्तकका हरफमा जस्ताको तस्तै उतारे । वास्तवमा उनले यथार्थ देखेर ‘आँखो देखे हाल’ पाठकसमक्ष पस्किए । यो पंक्तिकार पनि यिनै बाटोबाट सम्बत् २०३७ मा धारचुला र दार्चुला पुगेको थियो । यस्तै २०६८ पुसमा व्यवस्थापिका संसदको मानव अधिकार तथा अन्तर्रर्ााट्र सम्वन्ध समितिका माननीय सभासदका टोलीमा सीमाविज्ञका हैँशियतमा टनकपुर बाँध अवलोकन र वस्तुस्थिति बुझ्न पुगेको थिएँ । यी स्थानहरूको मैले देखेको र नियात्राकार प्रतीक ढकालले देखेको विवरणमा रत्तिभर पनि फरक छैन । टनकपुर बाँधले बनाएको अथाह समुद्र जस्तो देखिने पानीको भाग र त्यसबाट भारततर्फनहरद्वारा लगिएको ठुलो नदीजस्तै पानीको परिणाम नाङ्गो आँखाले देख्न सकिन्छ । तर नेपालतर्फएकथोपो पानी पठाइएको छैन । जलाशयको पर्ूवतर्फो तटबन्धमुनि एउटा सानो प्वाल बनाई थुनिएर राखिएको छ र सबैलाई देखाइन्छ यसै प्वालबाट नेपालतर्फटनकपुरको पानी पठाइने हो भनिदो रहेछ । यहाँ प्रतीक ढकालको बोलीमा लोली मिलाउँदै म पनि विवश भएर भन्छु- धिक्कार छ हामीलाई, धिक्कार छ हाम्रा देशका राजनीतिक नेताहरूलाई । ढकालले भनेजस्तै भारतमा गएर जायज तर्क गर्न नसक्ने, जे भन्छ त्यसैमा सहीछाप ठोकेर आउने हाम्रा नेताहरूको कहिले चेत फर्किने हो !

महाकाली नदीलाई नेपालतर्फधकेलिएका सम्बन्धमा भारतले ठाउँ-ठाउँमा बडेमान तटबन्ध बनाउँदै नदीलाई बलजफती नेपाली भूमितिर मोड्ने प्रयास गरिरहेको छ र नदीले छाडेको ठाउँको ढुंगा, रोडा, बालुवा झिकेर उपयोग गरिरहेको छ । नेपालको कालापानी लिम्पियाधुरामा भारतीय अर्ध सैनिक बल तैनाथ गरेर नेपाली भूमि अतिक्रमण गरेको कहानी त बेग्लै छ । प्रतीक ढकाल कालापानी पुग्न पाएको भए अर्को एउटा सजीव नियात्रा पुस्तक प्रकाशित हुने थियो होला । तर अपसोच, नेपालीलाई टिङ्कर माथिलो कावा नाध्नै दिंदैन भारतीय सेना बलले । यही नै बिडम्बना छ, नेपाली भूमि नेपालीले नै टेक्न नपाउने । यहाँ एउटा कुरा उल्लेख गरौं, नियात्राकार प्रतीक ढकालले बनावासाको शारदा ब्यारेज पार गर्दा बाँधको बीच भागमा नेपाल र भारतको झण्डा रहेको देख्न पाएनन् होला । ती झण्डा भिकिसकिएका थिए होलान् । झण्डा देखिएको भए उनले अवश्यै उल्लेख गर्ने थिए । तर यो पंक्तिकार २०३७ सालमा त्यतैबाट दार्चुलातर्फजाने क्रममा १७ ढोके बाँधको बीचखण्डमा नेपालको झण्डा पर्ूवतर्फफर्काएर र भारतको झण्डा पश्चिमतर्फपारी ब्यारेजको रेलिङ माथि फहरिरहेको यिनै आँखाले हरेको थियो । नेपालको त्यो झण्डा ३ किलोमिटर पर्ूवतर्फउडेर आइ अहिले गड्डाचैाकीमा गाडिएको छ । झण्डा जहाँ गाडिए पनि नेपालीले त मुकदर्शक भएर हर्ेर्ने मात्रै हो जस्तो भएको छ । यस सम्बन्धमा सबै नेपालीले एकै आवाज उठाउनृु पर्छ । देशको सिमानाको संक्षाण गर्नु पर्छ ।

सगरमाथा
अब अर्को बुँदातिर लाग्दैछु, सगरमाथातर्फ। प्रतीक ढकालको छोटो समयमा चौथो संस्करण छापिएको र साझा प्रकाशनले वर्षोनी गर्ने पुस्तक पर््रदर्शनी र विक्रीमा लगातार ४ वर्षप्रथम स्थान ओगटेको पुस्तक ‘सगरमाथाको आधारशिविरबाट’ को केही प्रसंग कोट्याउन खोज्दैछु । नियात्राकारले सगरमाथा चुचुरोको यात्रा नछिचोलेको भए तापनि उनी आधारशिविर पुगेका छन् । त्यहाँसम्म पुग्दाको हण्डर, सुखदुःखका अनुभवको रोमान्चक यात्रा त्यस पुस्तकमा जस्ताको तस्तै उतारिएका छन् । आधारशिविरदेखि शिखरसम्मको यात्रा सम्बन्धमा चाहिँ आजका मितिसम्ममा २१ औं पटक सगरमाथाको थाप्लोमा टेकिसकेका आपा शर्ेपाको मुखारविन्दबाट उजागर गराएका छन् । सगरमाथा अभियानका विभिन्न क्याम्ापका अवस्थितिको वर्ण्र्ाासहित ‘भी’ आकारको खरपस परैबाट देखेर जोगिनु पर्छ । तर ‘ए’ आकारको खरपस भित्रभित्रै खोक्रो हुने हुनाले झुक्किएर पनि यस्तोमा टेकिनु हुँदैन भन्ने सन्देश नयाँ चढारुलाई दिइएको छ । आधारशिविरबाट आइसफलको बाटो कसरी हिंडने, कहाँ कति खाना खाने, कसरी टेन्टमा सुत्ने, राती शौच गर्दा पनि यात्रामा टाँगिएको डोरीलाई छाड्न नहुने, कुन क्याम्पमा अक्सिजन बदल्नु पर्ने, ब्लेडजस्तो डाँडाको धारको बाटो कसरी हिंड्ने, अन्तिम चरणको हिलारी स्टेपबाट कसरी सगरमाथाको चुचुरोमा पदार्पण गर्ने भन्ने यात्रा अनुभव तथा यात्रा शिक्षा बारे पुस्तकमा सरल ढंगले कोरिएका छन् । यस पुस्तकले झन्डै झन्डै ‘माउन्टेन गाइड’ को काम गरेको छ । आफूले सगरमाथा नचाढे पनि चढेकै जस्तो अनुभव गरी आपा शर्ेपाको भनाइ चित्रण गर्नु पनि नियात्राकारको लेखनकला मान्नर्ुपर्छ ।

सगरमाथाको चुचुरो अलिकति दम्साइलो सम्म ठाउँ जस्तो छ । तर चीनतिर कोप्रो परेको छ । टुप्पोको मुख्य चुचुरोमा ५/६ जना मान्छे उभिन मिल्ने ठाउँ छ भनी उल्ल्ेख गरिएको छ ।  यस पंक्तिकारले लेखेको नेपालको सिमाना नामक पुस्तकको ‘सरगमाथा चीनले दावी गरेको थियो’ भन्ने अध्यायमा नेपाल-चीन सीमारेखादेखि दक्षिण सगरमाथाको शिखर करिब ६ फिट चौडा र ७ फिट लम्बाई भएको पाटो -स्लोपिङ टेरेस) नेपालतर्फपर्दछ । तर सीमारेखाको चीनतर्फो भाग भने ठाडै भिरालो परेको छ । यसैले सगरमाथाको उत्तरी मोहडा चीनतर्फाट आरोहण गर्नेले नेपालको भूमि नटेकी सगरमाथामाथि विजय प्राप्त गर्न सक्दैनन् भन्ने लेखेको थिएँ । यो विवरण आपा शर्ेपाको प्रत्यक्षतासँग ठयाक्कै मेल खायो । ‘नेपालको सिमाना’ पुस्तकले मदन पुरस्कार पाएको थियो ।

तेङबोचे
नियात्राकार ढकालको अर्को पुस्तक ‘पाइतालाका छापहरू’ नामक पुस्तकको ‘तेङबोचेको चिसो रातसँगै’ अध्यायबारे छोटकरीमा छयास्स छोऔं । नाम्चेबाट यात्रा गर्दै तेङबोचे पुगेका नियात्राकार तेङबोचे गुम्बाले सन्चालन ठेक्कामा दिएको नयाँ भवनको लज कोठामा बास बस्न पुगेछन् । लज कोठाको दररेट सोधिसकेपछि नियात्राकार लेख्छन्- ‘जे होस्, आज कात्तिक २१ गतेको एक रात रु. १,१००।- तिरेर यही गुम्बा लजको एउटा कोठामा सुतिँदै छ । प्रिय पाठकहरू तापाईहरूलाई शुभरात्री, अनि मलाई पनि शुभरात्री !’ उनी अगाडि लेख्छन्- यहाँ नेपालीका लागि छुट्टै दर नतोक्ने हो भने हामीले बास बस्न सोच्नै पर्ने हुन्छ । यहाँको जस्तो चर्को मूल्य यस क्षेत्रका कुनै पनि ठाउँमा छैन ।

मैले यहाँ यी कुरा कोट्याउनाको कारणचाहिँ म पनि यस क्षेत्रमा जाँदा यस्तै लजमा बसेको थिएँ भनी स्मरण गर्न खोजेको हुँ अमेरिकाको बोस्टन म्युजियम अफ साइन्सले सगरमाथाको नयँा उचाइ निर्धारण गर्ने सिलसिलामा नाम्चे, तेङबोचे, लुक्ला, अपर राउजे, लोअर राउजे, सोलुङ, सुनसेरा आदि स्थानको जिपिएस र्सर्भेक्षण गर्ने कामको कन्सल्टिङ टिम लिडरको जिम्मा मैले पाएको थिएँ । तेङबोचेमा २०५२ जेठमा चार दिन बस्दा लजले हामीलाई पनि यसरी नै ठटाएको थियो । ठटाउने काम अझै जारी रहेछ । मैले यहाँ स्मरण गरेको अर्को कुराचाहिँ तेङबोचेमा पानीको अभाव । विहान हामी मुख धुन पानी माग्ने गथ्योर्ैं । लजका मालिक्नीले अलुमुनियमको बिर्के टुटिवाल भाँडोसँगै अलुमुनियमकै एउटा बाटा दिँदै भन्थिन्- कृपया तपाईले मुख धोएको पानी यो बाटाभित्र पार्नोस् । त्यो बाटाको पानीले बाहिर रहेको अर्को पुरानो ठुलो बाटाभित्र पनी पर्ने गरी खुट्टा धुनोस् । हामी त्यसै गथ्र्यौं । मुखधुने क्रममा हाक्क हुक्क र सिईं सिईं थुक्थाक गर्दा बाहिर गथ्र्यौं र त्यही बाटामा मुख खोकल्ने गथ्यार्ंर्ैै अनि त्यो पुरानो बाटाको पानी नजिकै करेसामा रोपेको साग तर्कारीमा हाल्थिन ती लजवाल्नीले । मलाई लाग्थ्यो, अहो यहाँ पानीको यस्तो दुःख ! अहिले काठमाडौंमा खानेपानीको झन्डै त्यस्तै अभाव भइरहेछ ।

चोयु
प्रतीकको अर्को रचना दोस्रो संस्करणको पुस्तक ‘चिनको विचित्र चित्र’ को चुयुको आधार शिविरमा भन्ने अध्यायबारे नलेखौं भन्दा पनि कोट्याउन मनलाग्यो । चोयु नेपालको पनि हो पहिले नेपालतिरबाट पनि थढिन्थे । नेपाल सरकारले पनि सलामी दस्तुर कमाउँथ्यो । तर अहिले चीनतिरबाट बाटो छेकिएका कारण ठयाक्कै १५ वर्षेखि नेपालको चोयु सलामी सुख्खा लाग्यो भनेर सूचनामूलक सन्देश फिजाएका छन् नियात्राकारले । चोयु नेपलतर्फाट आरोहण गर्न चीनतिरबाट उक्लनुपर्ने बाटो छेकिएकोले यस कार्यलाई भारतसँग जोडिएको सुस्ता सीमा अतिक्रमण जस्तै भएको दृष्टान्त पस्कँदै नेपालको राजस्व मरेकोमा चिन्तित छ प्रतीकको मन । यो कुरा र्सार्वभौमसत्तासम्पन्न राष्ट्रको राष्ट्रियतासँग गासिएको छ, पैसा दस्तुरीसँग मात्र होइन । नेपालको हिमाली चुचुरो भावनागत तरिकाले अतिक्रमितै भएको हो भने सम्बन्धित निकायले कूटनीतिक तहबाट कुरो उठाउनु पर्‍यो नि ! यति सानो कुरोमा चीन नमान्ने कुरै छैन ।

यस्तै गरी सगरमाथाको शिखरमा एउटा प|mेन्च कम्पनीको हेलिकोप्टरले अवतरण गरेको कुरा सन् २००५ मा सिंगापुरको सम्मेलनमा नेपाल सरकारको ध्यानाकर्षा गराएको कुराले ढकालको मन खिन्न भएको बुझिन्छ । उनी लेख्छन्- कुनै शक्तिशाली नेपाली शासकले आँखा चिम्लेर आफूले थाहै नपाएझैं गरी सगरमाथा शिखरमा हेलिकप्टर उत्रन दिएर हाम्रो सम्पदा शिखर सुस्ता, महलीसागर, सरसियावाल खर्ुदलोटन बाँध जस्तै भएछ, युटोकोप्टरले शिखरको कुमारीत्वलाई समेत ‘कालापानी’ बनाएको रहेछ उहिल्यै । यस प्रसंगमा म त भन्छु- हाम्रो देश नेपाल, हामी नेपाली । यस्तै यस्तै भएर हामी विक्दैछौं, हाम्रो राष्ट्रियता विक्दैछ अन्तर्रर्ााट्रय बजारमा । त्यसमाथि पनि बढाबढ भएर होइन, थाहै नपाई सुटुक्क र लुसुक्क । ढकालका नियात्रा सम्बन्धी पुस्तकबारे केही लेखौं भनी वसेको त लेख्दा लेख्दै लामो भइसकेछ । अब छोट्याउँछु । अन्तिममा उनको ‘पाइतालाका छापहरू’ पुस्तकको ‘आँखाभरीको ओखलढंुगा’ अध्यायबारे केही लेखेर बिट मार्छर्ुु किनकि ओखलढंुगा मेरो जन्मथलो हो ।

ओखलढंगा
नियात्राकारले ओखलढुंगामा युगकवि सिद्धिचरण श्रेष्ठको प्रतिमाअगाडि टोलाउँदै कविको वाणी ‘क्रान्तिबिना शान्ति हुँदैन’ भन्ने कविता स्मरण गरी सिद्धिचरणले ओखलढुंगालाई मुलुकभरी चिनाए भन्ने वाक्य मनमा गडेको कुरा ओखलढुंगालाई आँखाभरी सम्झँदै पुस्तकको पानामा छापे । हो, युगकविले ‘मेरो प्यारो ओखलढुंगा’ नामक कविता लेखेर ओखलढुंगालाई जताततै चिनाए । यही चिनाएको कुरा नियात्राकारले आफ्नो पुस्तकमा लेखेर ओखलढुंगालाई अरु बढी प्रचारमा ल्याए । यसका लागि ओखलढुंगेलीका तर्फाट प्रतीक ढकाललाई धन्यवाद भन्ने शब्द यहाँ  लेख्न अनुमति मागेको छु  ।

युगकवि सिद्धिचरणको प्रतिमा उनले यो संसारमा पहिलो ‘चिहाँ’ गरेको स्थानमै प्रतिष्ठापन भएको छ । प्रतिमा निर्माण समितिको संयोजकमा भाग्यवस यो पंक्तिकार रहेको थियो । काठमाडौंमा प्रतिमा तयार गरी ओखलढुंगा जिल्ला विकास समितिको संयोजनमा स्थापना गरिएको थियो । प्रतिमाको अनावरण २०५५ माघ ८ गते बसन्त पञ्चमीका शुभ दिनमा नेपाल प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठानका उप-कुलपति मदनमणि दीक्षिले गरेका थिए । कार्यवाहक प्रधानमन्त्री बलबहादुर र्राई विशेष अतिथिकहा रुपमा उपस्थित थिए ।

अर्को कुरा नियात्राकार तीन दिन मात्रै ओखलढुंगा बसे तापनि ओखलढुंगोलीको बानिव्यहोराको गुहय बुझिहाले छन् । उनले लेखेका छन्- दुवैतिरका बजारियाले अर्कोतिरको बजारलाई ‘पल्लो बजार’ भन्दा रहेछन, यताका मान्छेका लागि उता ‘पल्लो बजार’ र उताका लागि यता ‘पल्लो बजार’ ।  साँच्चै त हो नि, कुनचाहिँ हो पल्लो बाजार – म त्यहीं जन्मी हर्ुर्के बढेको मान्छे, आप\mनो घरदेखिको अर्कोलाई पल्लो बजार अझै भन्दैछु । पल्लो बजारका मेरा मित्र क्याम्पस चिफ् नारायण बहादुर सैंजू मेरो घर भएको बजारलाई अझै पल्लो बजार भन्दै आइरहनु भएको छ । मैले यहाँ उल्लेख गर्न खोजेकोे कुराचाहिँ स्थानिय समाजमा जकडिएर रहेको बानी अझै नसुध्रिएको कुरा नियात्राकारले कसरी टप्प टिपेछन् । यसबाट नियात्राकारको सुक्ष्म दृष्टि रहेको बुझिन्छ । धन्य हो कलममा सरस्वतीले बास गरेको नियात्राकार । जे लेख्यो, त्यसैले प्रसिद्धि पाउने, राजा मिदासले जे छोयो त्यही सुन हुने भनेजस्तो ।

नियात्राकारले एउटा कुरोचाहिँ लुकाए जस्तो लाग्यो । सगरमाथाको आधारशिविर नामक पुस्तकको ‘नाम्चेमा एक चक्कर ‘ भन्ने अध्यायमा नाम्चे बजार क्षेत्रको यात्रा वर्ण्र्ाागरिएको छ । लेखनको क्रममा थामसर्ेर्कु ट्रेकिङ्गले काठमाडौंमा दिएको यती माउण्टेन होम कुपन नाम्चेको त्यही होममा प्रस्तुत गरिएको कुरा सम्बन्धमा नियात्राकार लेख्छन्- ‘जब त्यस होमको प्रवेशद्वारभित्र पसेर हामीले आफ्नो कुपन प्रस्तुत गर्‍यौं, हामीलाई त्यहाँका मानिसले यति अपमानित गरे कि सहन नसकेर दर्ुगाजी र म पुनः झोला बोकेर तल बजारमै झर्‍यौं ।’

त्यहाँ त्यस ऐनमौकामा के कस्तो अपमान गरिए भन्ने कुराको पनि ‘आँखो देखे हाल’ लेखिनु पथ्र्यो । त्यस होमका व्यक्तिको फोटो पनि खिचिनु पथ्र्यो । अनि यात्राका तीता कुरा पनि पाठकसमक्ष पुग्ने थियो । सायद आफू अपमानित भएको कुरा किन उजागर गर्नु भन्ने दृष्टिकोणले अथावा समाजमा नकारात्मक सन्देश जान सक्छ भन्ने ध्येयले विवरण नकोरिएको हो कि ! हुन त कुनै पनि रचनाकारको समाजप्रतिको सोचाइ सकारात्मक पक्षकै हुनर्ुपर्छ ।

बचेखुचेका कुरा
अब म यो लेखोटको बिटमार्ने पक्षमा छु । प्रतीक ढकालको नियात्रा सम्बन्धी पुस्तकहरू यति धेरै संख्यामा किन विक्री भए – ‘हिमालपारि पुगेपछि’ को सातौ संस्करण बजारमा सकिन लाग्यो । साझा प्रकाशनद्वारा आयोजित वृहत पुस्तक पर््रदर्शनीमा लगातार ५ वर्षम्म र्सवाधिक विक्री हुने प्रथम स्थानमा पर्‍यो । ‘सेती पनि काली पनि’ ले पाँचौ संस्करण गुजार्दै छ । २०६४ देखि ०६७ सम्म यो र्सवाधिक विक्रीको दोस्रो पुस्तकका रुपमा रहयो । ‘सगरमाथाको अधार शिविरबाट’ चौथो संस्करणमा दौडिरहेको छ । यस पुस्तकले २०६६ मा नवौ स्थान र ‘चिनको विविध चित्र’ ले अधिकि विक्री हुने तेस्रो स्थान प्राप्त गरेको रहेछ । अन्य कुनै किताबले दोस्रो तेस्रो संस्करण खेपिरहेको पाइन्छ भने केहीअघि २०६८ मा प्रकाशित ‘गण्डकीको मुहानतिर’ पहिलो संस्करण मै रहनु स्वभाविकै हो । यसले पनि कालान्तरमा अर्को संस्करण खोज्छ नै । प्रतीकका नियात्रा रचना लगातार ५ वर्षम्म र्सवाधिक विक्री हुने पुस्तक भएको तथ्यता साझा प्रकाशनले औपचारिक तवरले नै प्रकाशित गरेको रहेछ । यहाँ फेरि प्रश्न दोहोर्‍याउन मन लाग्यो किन यत्तिका र्सवाधिक विक्रिको पंत्तिमा पर्‍यो प्रतीक ढकालको नियात्रा पुस्तकहरू – यसको जवाफ हुनसक्छ- प्रतीक ढकाल वहुसंख्यकले मन पराएका नियात्रा लेखक हुन । उनले रोचक र समसामयिक नियात्रा पुस्तक लेख्छन् भन्ने आमधारण रहेको पाइन्छ । बहुचर्चित लेखकका आदर्श पुस्तक रोचक हुन्छन् भन्ने धारणाले यसै पनि पुसतक बढी विक्री हुने नै भयो । अर्को कुरा उनको नेपाली पुस्तक गर्‍हौं मूल्यका छैनन्, रु. १५० देखि २५० भित्रका छन् । यो बजेट र्सवसाधारणको खल्तीभित्रको पर्दछ ।

अर्को कुरा, यिनको यात्राको क्रममा कुनै व्यक्ति भेटिएर एकैछिन भलाकुसारी भए पनि हतार हतार आफ्नो नोटबुकमा उनको नाम, थर, वतन, तिथिमिति टिपोट गरिहाल्दा हुन् । अनि क्यामेराले ती व्यक्तिको फोटो ख्याच्च खिचि हाल्दा हुन । हिंड्दा हिंड्दै यस्सो मनमोहक ठाउँ देखिए अथवा हिमाल र हिमालको मलमूत्र हिमनदी देखे भने क्यामेरा खच्याक-खच्याक पारिहाल्दा हुन् । अनौठो दृष्य भेटिए त यिनले बाँकीराख्ने कुरै भएन । हुँदाहुँदै हिमालतिरको भारीबोक्ने ट्रकरुपी खच्चर, घोडा, गदाहा, च्याङ्रा आफ्नो क्यामेराभित्र कैद गर्न बाँकी राखेका छैनन् यिनले । र्फमल खानपिन पार्टर्ीी अफिसियल कामकाजी व्यक्तिको कुराकानी समयको फोटो खिच्न त कहिल्यै पनि विर्सने गरेका छैन होलान् । अनि यस्ता फोटो नियात्रा पुस्तकमा ‘कपी पेस्ट’ गरिहालेको पाइन्छ । एउटा पुस्तकमा सयौं जनाको नाम समेटिएको हुन्छ । फोटोका हकमा मैले माथिका पानामै उल्लेख गरेको छु, एउटा पुस्तकमा १६१ थानसम्म फोटो छापिएका छन् । अनि फोटो छापिएका र नाम उल्लेख भएका ती सबै व्यक्तिले पुस्तक किन्ने नै भए । मेरो नाम पनि ‘चीनको विचित्र चित्र’ नामक पुस्तकको पृष्ठ १४८ मा उल्लेख गरेका रहेछन् र मलाई प्रश्न गरेका छन्- तपार्इंसँग भएको नक्सामा जस्तो कहाँ छ र आजको नेपाल – मेले आज उत्तरतिरको ‘सुस्ता’ हेरिरहेछु, जसका बारेमा आजसम्म पनि अधिकांस नेपालीलाई थाहा छैन । मैले यो पुस्तक नियात्राकारलाई मनमनै सलाम ठोक्दै एक प्रति खरिद गरें । आफ्नो फोटो अथवा नाम छापिएको पुस्तक हिमाली भेकका मानिसले आफ्ना नातापाता, इस्टमित्र, भाइवन्धुसमक्ष धक्कु लगाउन आफूले २०/२० थना किनेर बाँडेको यस पंक्तिकारले थाहा पाएको छ । ३०० जनाले १७ थानका दरले पुस्तक किनिदिए ५ हजार थान त स्वतः विक्री हुने देखियो । ढकालले आफ्नो पुस्तकमा हजारौंको नाम उल्लेख गरिसकेका छन् । अनि र्सवाधिक विक्री हुने भएन त उनको पुस्तक ! यसबाहेक नेपाल पर्वतारोहण संघ, ट्रेकिङ एजेन्ट ऐशोसियसन, सगरमाथा क्लाइर्म्बर्स एशोसियसन जस्ता संस्थाले दर्ुइ तीन सय प्रति डक्कै किनेका पनि होलान् ।

बधाईका साथै शुभकामना छ बहुचर्चित नियात्रा पुस्तकहरूका कृतिकार प्रतीक ढकाललाई । उनको कलममा सरस्वतीले बास गरेको होस् । जुन पुस्तक प्रकाशित भयो त्यो ‘हट केक’ सरह विक्री वितरण होस् । संस्करणमाथि संस्करण थपिदै जाउँन् । अन्तिममा के लेखेर यो कलमको बिर्को बन्द गर्न चाहन्छु भने- प्रतीक ढकालले नियात्रा लेखन खोजिरहेको छ । हिमाल, पहाड, मैदान, भंज्याङ, देउराली, पर्वत, डाँडाकाँडारुपी नियात्रा लेखनले उनलाई खोजिरहेको छ । मलाई लाग्छ, यो चक्र अविरल गतिले चलिरहेकै छ । दुवैतर्फो खोजीको यो क्रम कहिल्यै नरोकियोस् र नथामियोस् भन्ने कामना गर्दछु । हिमाल, पहाड र मैदान क्षेत्रको भ्रमण गरी प्रतीकले त्यहाँको संवेदनशीलताका तसवीरलाई शब्दद्वारा अंकन गरी नियात्राका नयाँ नयाँ रचना जन्माउँदै जाउन् । पाठकले उनको नियात्राको रसस्वादन गरिरहन पाउन् ।

Traffic Jam on Mount Everest

Traffic Jam on the Mount Everest

Buddhi Narayan Shrestha

There were 39 expeditions on the mountain at the same time, amounting to more than 600 people during May 2012. It was the first time that Everest was crowded. Last week of May, four climbers died on their way down from the summit amid a traffic jam of more than 200 people scrambling to conquer the world’s highest peak as the weather worsened.

During the third week of May the weather prospects were bad, the jams of people were appalling and therefore also led to hours of waiting around which led to hypothermia and exhaustion. Many climbers were dehydrated. it was because of the fact that everyone was fixated on making it to the summit by 19 May or they faced the prospect of missing their chance for 2012 season.

People nowadays treat the mountain as if it was a piece of sporting apparatus, but not a force of nature. It really makes soul touching. To avoid the traffic jam, Nepalese government should introduce stricter regulations to control both the flow of tourists and to filter out those not physically fit enough to do the climb. However, Nepal government has little choice to ask tougher questions of would-be climbers in future. If the number of climbers fall down, the royalty goes down. So the Nepal government seems that it is not willingness to make it strict to the Everest expeditioners.

More than 3,500 people have climber Everest since Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach its 8,850 meter summit in 1953. At least 225 climbers have died attempting it, about half of them in the past 20 years.

Many people may wonder how Everest (Sagarmatha) could be of Nepal if Nepal-China borderline runs over the peak. On top of that there is the curiosity of which country should claim the rights to the peak or on which country the peak is located. The shortest and the easiest answer is that the peak or the highest portion lies on the Nepalese side and Everest belongs to Nepal. But for those who want to go deeper, the explanation is that the peak of Everest is formed by three slopes coming from three different sides. In other words, from the peak of Everest the slopes go down towards three different directions as the sloping roofs of a house. Of them one slope runs down on the west; the second slope moves down towards northeast; and the third slope goes towards the south. The western ridge is long and steeply slanted. The northeastern slope appears to be very steep as a cliff, and the southern slope is less steep, bears considerably gentle decline and a little more comfortable than the other two. The western and southern ridges act as the international borderline between Nepal and China. The northeastern slope lies completely on the Chinese side. And the northern face of the ridge is more dangerously steep than the western and southern ones. In comparison to the others, the southern side located towards Nepal is less steep for climbing.

The most important matter about the peak of Everest is that there is about 2 meter by 2.3 meter of sloping terraced portion on the southern side of the demarcating line of water-parting ridge. And that piece of sloping terraced area with the highest portion lies on the Nepalese side. But the Chinese side from the borderline is almost vertical, and anyone conquering Mount Everest from the northern or Chinese face cannot set foot on the peak without stepping on that sloping terraced area of the Nepalese frontier and no one can remain standing on the water-parting ridge of the borderline. As that sloping terraced area of the world’s highest portion is located on the Nepalese side of the borderline, so Everest is said to lay in Nepalese territory.  As the watershed principle was adopted while demarcating the borderline, the highest part joining the slope remained on the Nepalese side. That sloping terrace with the highest peak cannot accommodate more than seven or eight conquerors at a time, and if more climbers reach the peak at the same time, they will have to wait for their turns to step on that highest part, since there in no sufficient place for a considerably large group. The successful summiteers must get a little bit down to provide the turn to those who are waiting to step on to the highest part of the mountain. In 1988, when the joint friendship expedition team of China-Japan-Nepal placed 12 climbers from both the southern and northern sides at the same time, some had stepped on that highest portion, while others had waited a little bit down, and then those on the peak had got down to make room for others. It was also the same case with the 38 and 54 summiteers on 10 May 1993 and 16 May 2002 respectively. In short, it is because of the fact that the highest peak with the sloping terraced portion lied on the Nepalese side during demarcation and China gave up its claim to Everest.

It is ridicules that there are controversies time and often on the height of the Everest. Some countries or organizations measure the mountain and they say that Everest has gained its height. In other times, some countries make propaganda that the mountain has been lowered. In such a situation, Chen Bangzhu, Director General of the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping told to pressmen on 15 October 2005 that ‘The elevation of Mount Everest’s summit is 8844.43 metres, with a precision of 10.21 m so the world’s highest mountain is 3.57 m lower than previously thought.’

On the contrary and most recently, preliminary results of a survey and measurement being jointly undertaken by the National Space Institute (DTU) of Denmark and the Department of Survey (DoS) of Nepal, obtained the new height of Mt Everest to be approximately 8,848.9 metres in World Height System, which is 90 cm higher than the current official value of Nepal. The margin of error is about 10 cm. The final results of the survey, are yet to be calculated. In connection to height determination, the geoid of Nepal was measured through an airborne gravity survey in December 2010. The Himalayas are the most rugged gravity field on the planet, and one of the goals of the 2010 airborne survey, which was done at a height of about 35,000 feet, was to find a revised height of Mt Everest, said researchers from DTU and DoS. The Nepal government had entered into an agreement with DTU in 2009. All these statements are in its position. But scientists think Everest is growing taller by about 4 mm every year due to uplift caused by the Indian tectonic plate pushing northward into Asia.

If we look at the history of the measurement of the height of the Everest, there are variations measured by various institutions in different periods. Followings are the different measurements made by various institutions.

Year

Country

Name

Height in meter

Remark

1852 India SIR GEORGE EVEREST, RADHANATH SICKDHAR, TEJBIR BUDHATHOKI, Survey of India*

8840.07

±3 mPeak was named as XV
1907 India SIR BURRAD, Survey of India*

8883.36

1922 India DE GRAFF-HUNTER, Survey of India*

8863.85

1954 India B.L GULATEE, Survey of India*

8848.00

1975 China WANG WANGCHUK, Chinese Survey Team*

8848.13

± 0.35 m
1987 Italy PROF. A. DESIO, Milan University*

8872.00

1993 Italy PROF. A. DESIO, Milan University*

8846.00

1999 USA WASHBURN, National Geographic Society*

8850.00

±2 m
2005 China Y. CHEN , Chen Bangzhu, State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping**

8,844.43

Rock Height ±0.21 m
2011 Denmark RENE FORSBERG, National Space Institute (DTU) ***

8,848.90

Preliminary results ±0.10 m

* http://www.nepalhomepage.com/himalaya/sagarmatha.html

** http://www.explorersweb.com/everest_k2/news.php?id=821

*** http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullTodays.php?…Everest+goinggrea.

 

The Nepal government should try to measure the height of the world’s highest mountain on its own, using latest technology. Because Mount Everest belongs to Nepal and it is the heritage and wealth of Nepal. Nepal must determine and declare the latest height of the Everest. Exact height of the Everest should be fixed and determined by Nepal in a scientific manner to be accepted by all the countries of the world. It is the sovereign right and responsibility of Nepal.  United Nations or some international organizations may help for funding and support new technologies to measure as precisely and accurately as possible. In other sense, it could be said that Nepal and China should measure and determine jointly the precise height of the tallest mountain of the world, also to settle the new height of China. The height controversy should be settled once for all.

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