Teams Head to Khumbu Despite Closure Rumors

8000ers COVID-19
Ama Dablam from the Khumbu Valley. Photo: Alex Txikon

Teams are currently heading to Ama Dablam and nearby trekking peaks in the Khumbu Valley, despite the uncertainty caused by a recent case of COVID-19 in Namche Bazaar.

Most groups plan to reach Ama Dablam’s Base Camp by Sunday, according to guide Kenton Cool of the UK, who is waiting out his seven-day quarantine in Kathmandu. Weeks after a member of Bahraini’s royal family summited Manaslu, Cool’s Himalayan Guides expedition has drawn another Middle Eastern prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani from Qatar.

Garrett Madison is also in Kathmandu to guide a climb of Ama Dablam and a trek to Gokyo. Madison was recently in the news after a lawsuit by a former Everest client, whose expedition was called off because of dangerous conditions on the mountain.

Garrett Madison (third from the right) in Kathmandu. Photo: Madison Mountaineering

SummitClimb’s Tim Mosedale and John Gupta are also expected at Base Camp shortly. Other teams might confirm in upcoming days, although the confusion about permits and closures has not encouraged clients to invest in a trip to the Himalaya. All those hoping to enter the Khumbu have weathered a flurry of contradictory orders from authorities, who have closed and reopened the region at least twice in the last few days, after that initial case of COVID-19 turned up in Namche Bazaar.

On Friday, authorities closed Lukla airport and ordered massive testing. Finally (we hope), the valley reopened to foreigners today, October 26.

Another way to get high on Everest, while waiting out quarantine in Kathmandu. Photo: Kenton Cool

This is the last chance for the local lodges, porters and guides to earn some income this year. Sagarmatha National Park also receives a fee from every foreigner who enters.

While flights from India have not resumed, Nepal has opened to most international visitors since October 17. Newcomers must show a new negative PCR test and quarantine for one week at a hotel in Kathmandu. Entrance into the Khumbu region requires a trekking or climbing permit.

Meanwhile, Prakash Adhikari of the Himalayan Rescue Association has succumbed to COVID-related pneumonia. The association runs several clinics in the Khumbu Valley, focusing mainly on those suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness. Buddha Basnyat, the Medical Director at the HRA, writes about Adhikari in Nepali Times.

The late Prakash Adhikari. Photo: Nepali Times

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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2 Comments on "Teams Head to Khumbu Despite Closure Rumors"

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jonesnori
Member

I’m sorry to hear about the death of Prakash Adhikari. Thank you for linking the long article about him. He sounds like an amazing person. A real loss.

Damien François
Guest

Our small Lobuche (will go to high camp tomorrow), Island Peak and Ama Dablam EVER QUEST Expedition is also enjoying this eerie situation in the Khumbu. The weather is great and 99% of the trekkers are Nepalis. It fills my heart with joy, in the screwed-up times, to see the locals enjoy their own magnificent country. Although it is my 14th time in the Khumbu, it is a very speical one. JAYA NEPAL!