London-A team of 23 Nepalese living in the United Kingdom scaled mount Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain, last week. In a single day, this is the first time, that a large number of Nepalese climbed the peak, which is situated at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of Scotland’s highland.
The Nepalese team scaling the mountain include former first deputy mayor of the Nepalese origin councillor Dr Jagannath Sharma, Acharya Medinipati Mishra, Atmaram Dahal, Dr Keshav Dahal, Bishnu Paudyal, Laxmi Sharma, Anita Dahal, Ridhumna Dahal, Mohan, Bharati and Shubham Sharma, Saroj Nepal, Anjana, Ankita and Kopila Dahal, Dushyant, Arambha, Shobha and Asmita Bhattarai, Bhupesh Mishra, Suyash Bhattarai and Chiranjibi Paudyal. Nepalese team waved the Nepali national flags on top of the mountain, and took pictures wearing Nepali cap symbolically expressing their patriotic feelings. The team members were from different parts of England and Scotland.
The team started to climb the mountain at around 9 am in the morning and the last team members returned to the base at around 8.30 in the evening. Though the temperature in the base was 20 degree Celsius, whereas on the peak, at some point it was minus 3. The average temperature at the summit is one degree below freezing. It is said that ‘deep snow lies all year in large pockets at the foot of the northern and north-east cliffs, and snow can fall in any month of the year.’ The weather pattern changes frequently on the rocky top of the mountain.
It was very cold and cloudy and very difficult to stay there for long. One of the members of the Nepalese team, who stayed there for over an hour said: ‘’my hands were completely frozen, I could not move my finger and thought it was frost bitten.’’ Wrapping in warm clothes for a while improved a lot, he said. The descending was very difficult due to the rain and slippery stones. Despite some minor incidents and difficulties, no serious injuries happened to the team.
Most of the Nepalese trekkers were yoga practitioners and regular trekkers and some were practicing trekking for the last few days. Atmaram Dahal, who coordinated the climbing, is a regular marathon runner in the UK and yoga instructor, while Dr Sharma has climbed some mountains in Morocco, France and recently stayed for two weeks in Dhaulagiri mountain base camp for research with British army team.
Ben Nevis, which is known as Mount Everest of the UK among the Nepalese community, is said to attract more than 250,000 people every year, and among them 150,000 complete the ascents while 100,000 give up during the climbing. Trekkers use the mountain track known as pony track from Glen Nevis on the south side of the mountain near Fort William, a bustling beautiful small tourist town situated near the series of lakes and hills on the north west coast. There is a 700 metres high cliffs in the north face of the mountain. This is considered to be the highest cliffs in the UK.
The summit is at 4,411ft, which is recorded to have first climbed by botanist James Robertson in 1771. It also features the ruins of an observatory where Meteorologists made hourly observations from 1883-1904, when it closed. In the last 5 years, 13 people have died while attempting the summit.
Reading, United Kingdom