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Roundup: Nepali mountaineers take "Great Himalayan Trail" vs climate change

KATHMANDU, Feb. 27 — Mountaineering legend Appa Sherpa and his counterpart Dawa Steven Sherpa have taken an adventure that will not only put them in the status of great mountaineers but also benefit the entire mankind.

On January 15, the two mountaineers along with other fellow mountaineers and travel hikers started the journey called "Great Himalayan Trail" from Nepali capital of Kathmandu, which measures 1,700 kilometers from East to West of Nepal and will take approximately 120 days to complete.

The trail aims to make people aware of the affects of climate change in the Himalayas.

On the 40th day of their trail on Feb. 23, the team had walked 530 kilometers across seven districts of Nepal.

Talking to Xinhua, the team shared their experience and findings about the entire trail.

"We spent nights in several locations, interacting with the locals about their situation and observing the region as to how climate change has affected it and we came across several facts," Saurav Dhakal, who is also documenting the trail, said.

Dhakal noted that in many places, the effects of climate change have been felt directly.

"In Taplejung of Eastern Nepal, climate change has immensely affected mass agricultural products. Farmers have been facing difficulties because their products like tea, orange and cardamom have been greatly hampered," Dhakal informed.

He also informed the size of the glacier lakes that falls along the trail has been increasing alarmingly.

Glaciers have been the source of fresh water for more than 1.3 billion people in the Indian subcontinent. There are about 15,000 glaciers and 9,000 glacial lakes in Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan and China.

However, due to climate change, the glaciers have been melting at a rapid speed.

Appa Sherpa also shared his experience about the trail.

When asked about what motivated him to do the trail, Sherpa said: "In 1985, there was an outburst of glacier in my village and the entire region had been swept away. After knowing that it was because of climate change, I wanted to do something about it."

"It is no doubt tiring. Walking 20 kilometers everyday in difficult paths and also carrying our baggage. But the team is very good," he said about the trail.

Dawa Steven Sherpa highlighted the aspects of possible tourism in the region. "The trails that were established in the paths are still in good condition," Dawa said.

The Great Himalayan Trail Climate Smart Celebrity Trek so far has also attracted a lot of trekkers and mountaineers who are enthusiastic about the cause.

"The German Ambassador to Nepal Graffin von Roedern, along with several individuals have joined us during the trail and we are expecting more numbers," said Prashant Singh, the Founding Chairperson of Himalayan Climate Initiative.

Likewise, he also said a team of researchers will be dispatched in the specific areas to further investigate the matter.

On their 44th day of trail on Monday, the team reached Pokhari Bhanjyang in central Nepal. The trail is expected to end in May this year. (PNA/Xinhua)


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