The report of our trekking through Helambu around new year 2016
Nepal Now, latest facts
Instead of taking the usual trial from Sundarijal to Kutumsang, we took Melamchi Pull to Sermathang route. We followed the normal Gosainkunda route after reaching Tharepati.
What is the current status of Helambu after the earthquake?
Well, Helambu is very much open for business and trekking is possible. Enough lodges are open and the trekking trails are in good condition. However, villages were still in the phase of recovering and the number of sleeping places were limited there.
We arrived in Kathmandu on 29 December, 2015. Henk Wesselius, Pieter Hemels, David Hemels and Roy Heiner accompanied me on my trek to Nepal. We headed towards Helambu on a jeep the very next day. We decided to take the Melamchi Pull route.
Our main destination was to visit Shree Palanchowk Secondary School located in Kakani Village. We attended the inauguration of the new school building the next day. Our friend Chhiree, who had helped us in rebuilding the school for the last 6 months, also accompanied us. We wanted to hike to Laurebina La Pass(Gosainkunda) situated at 4600 meter. Pieter and David were trekking in the mountains for the first time and it was their first time in Nepal. We were accompanied by Chhiree throughout the trek to guide us.
We were not sure about the condition of the lodges in Helambu before actually reaching there. Thus, to be on the safe side, we carried our own tents, meals and cooking materials with us. We even hired a porter named Ngima Dorji Sherpa to carry our goods. That made us a total of 7.
Our trek started on a very sunny day. We passed by monasteries and stupas on the first day. Well, some of them were not at all affected by the quake whereas some were turned into rubbles. Watching a damaged stupa was terrible and painful. Palri Radma Odsal Ling monastery situated near Sermanthang was being reconstructed. Nepali people were still optimistic and their spirit was really admirable.
After walking for few hours in Sermanthang, we arrived at a small village which looked quite ok. Many houses in Shermanthang were still in rubbles. We had to sleep at Dorje’s Guest house, a sturdy concerte building that was actually the only building that was not damaged and the only operating lodge in the village.
The next we reached up to Tarkeghyang. Tarkeghyang can be reached by either following the usual route or the high trail over Yangri Danda. We opted for the second choice. The trial was beautiful with forest and we witnessed a beautiful view of the mountain giant Dorje Lakpa en the Jugal-massif. At 3200 meters there is a nice kharka (open field) where we made soup and had lunch just before the clouds arose. Tarkeghyang was even more devastated than Sermanthang. Almost everything was damaged by earthquake and it was disheartening to witness it. However, the Hotel Tarkeghyang was currently reopened. The hotel was spacious with sink plate roof and 3 rooms. What a perfect solution! We ate near the fireplace with the family of the owner and seeing his optimism made us happy too.
In Melamchigaon the situation is like in Sermathang. The Eco-friendly lodge had a kitchen, and a small room with 2 beds, a true homestay. It was a good thing that we had our tents with us but, part of the group had to sleep under the orange sheet. From Melamchi it’s a steep trail up to Tharepati, a beautiful route through the forest, where we rejoined the normal route again. The Sumchho Top Lodge was the only lodge that was rebuild and open. Nothing wrong with that, intimate! Here we met our first western people on the trek; 2 Australian women. The following days we passed the still beautiful Gosainkund, where we met another handful of people. NepalNOW should and has to be spread loud and clearly !!
The situation in the north of Tharepati is better than the circumstances in the south of Tharepati. There is less destruction and there are more sleeping spots. In Cholangpati and Sing Gompa, it’s almost like nothing has happened.
Conclusion: When you are not with a big group, trekking in Helambu is still possible without tents and sleeping in lodges. Even though the facilities were limited,we were welcomed warmly everywhere we went. It’s fantastic to experience this kind of hospitality in Nepal again. We enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and nature intensely. The hike and great weather enhanced our experience and of course the company to share the Nepal Experience with our friends . Nepal we love you!
Kakani (2000 m): 1 lodge open.
Nigale Bhanjyang (2500 m): the little teashop is open.
Sermathang (2600 m): 1 lodge open (Dorjé Guest House, no damage).
Tarkeghyang (2600 m): 1 lodge open (Hotel Tarkeghyang, rebuilt in a simple way, but very clean)).
Nakote (2000 m): Zambala Guest House is open.
Melamchigaon (2500 m): 3 lodges open (amongEco-Friendly Home & Lodge).
Tharepati (3600 m): 1 lodge open (Sumchho Top Lodge). In spring 2016 Tashi Delek lodge will reopen.
Gopte (3450 m): lodge is reconstructed but was beginning January closed. Will reopen in the spring season.
Phedi (3700 m): the 2 lodges are open, hardly any damage.
Ayethang (4150 m): reconstruction of the only lodge going on and it will open soon!
Gosainkund (4350 m): the damage to the lodges is repaired. During winter 1 lodge is opened, in spring all locations open their doors.
Laurebina (3900 m): big damage. Two lodges are temporary and simply rebuilt with just some places.
Chalangpati (3600 m): hardly any damage and both lodges are open.
Chandanbari / Sing Gompa (3400 m): best village we have seen so far: all lodges are full service open. Cheese factory is running. The gompa was being reconstructed while we passed..
Dursagang (2800 m): 1 lodge is open (MountainView Hotel).
Thulo Syabru (2200 m): some lodges are open. Mostly damaged and most people live on their fields below the village. If you do want to continue to the Langtang valley, you can not pass by Bamboo (the lower route). You first need to descend to the bridge of Syabrubensi (1450 m), and then climb to the village of Khanjgim (2300 m).
Syabrubensi en Dhunche: enough places to sleep, well reconstructed.
N.B. Personally, my husband Henk and me, we were in Helambu (Thotungdanda, just after Chipling on the normal route) on 25 april 2015 during the quake. I was told that the lodges in Mulkharka, Kutumsang and Mangengoth are reopened. Do check the situtation of Chisapani and Chipling. The village Pati Bhanjyang is totally devastated.
Katja Staartjes Inspiratie