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Ice Climbing Festival slated for Saturday

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 31, 2019-

Every winter in Manang when the temperature plunges below minus 20 degrees Celsius, and the rivers and waterfalls freeze over, people flee to the lowlands to escape the extreme cold. But from this year, adventure lovers are expected to gather in Humde at the height of winter to see the Manang Ice Climbing Festival which is planned to be held annually.

The Nepal Climbing Team is organising the event for the first time in Nepal in a bid to promote winter tourism.

The nine-day festival in Humde, located at an elevation of 3,200 metres in the central Himalaya, is scheduled to begin on February 2. The organiser expects to attract a horde of extreme adventure sports lovers.

 

“Technically, it’s an extreme adventure sport with people attempting to climb the frozen waterfall,” said Pasang Nuru Sherpa, a member of the Nepal Climbing Team. “As everyone knows, high altitude climbers become unemployed during the winter from December to February. This kind of festival will create jobs for them,” he said, adding that they had piloted the project in Manang and would be extending it to other areas if demand picks up.

Water flowing down from Mt Annapurna plunges 500 metres to create a spectacular waterfall in Humde. During the winter, it is completely frozen.

According to Sherpa, peak climbing involves climbing above 6,000 metres. Those who aspire to climb mountains begin with ice climbing. “But this activity can be promoted separately as an adventure sport.” There are 20 specialised climbers and trainers currently, the organiser said.

Ice climbing involves techniques utilised in rock climbing such as leading and belaying and rope systems. “Specialised climbers instruct the thrill seekers, and modern equipment is used.” Ice climbing is normally done on waterfalls, rocky ledges and cliffs covered in frozen water flows.

The objective of the festival is also to spread awareness about climate change and promote Visit Nepal 2020 with a new adventure product, Sherpa said.

Besides ice climbing, there will be many recreational activities like traditional archery, skiing, slack lining and ice climbing course, the organiser said. A 9-day package would cost Rs20,000 for Nepalis and $400 for foreigners. “We have targeted this event at both domestic and foreign travellers,” the organiser said.

Published: 31-01-2019 09:50

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