Everest Maoists update - climbers travel with Army escort in tank|
Apr 10, 2005 10: 39 EST
Most North side climbers have reached Tibet without any problems, but a team has been affected by this weekends Maoist events. An attack in South Nepal killed 2 and wounded 12 others, whilst two members of a Russian team were injured by a roadside blast on their way to the Tibetan border.
Climbers escorted by tank
Meanwhile, Lorenzo of the 7 Summits Club (formerly Alpindustria – Russian Adventure team), reported that parts of the expedition had an eventful border crossing.
The climbers had planned to be airlifted by a chopper but the Nepali army needed all the helicopters so the expedition traveled to the Friendship bridge with an army escort in a tank "searching and looking around for possible Maoists".
Climbers staying strong, decline in trekkers
The recent event is a blow to Nepal. This is the first time climbers have been injured in the Maoist conflict, and although climbers have been braving the situation, the country have already suffered a decline in trekkers. The King has imposed a 6 month media ban while he is attempting to solve the Maoist uprise.
Strike called last week
Last week, the Maoists called on an 11 days-long strike. Already Monday, April 4, teams on their way to Tibet from Kathmandu reported on possible delays due to Maoists rebels blocking the roads outside Kathmandu.
Ecuadorian climber Ivan Vallejo reported on his failed attempt to reach Pokhara by road last Sunday. The international group of climbers including Colombian Fernando Gonzalez, Italians Nives Meroi, Romano Benet and Luca Vuerich, and Spaniards Iñaki Ochoa and Nacho Orviz, whose goal is a double-header on Dhaulagiri and Annapurna reached Pokhara only at their second try.
Maoists rebels who were blocking the road
“About 45 minutes after departing, the bus stopped. We were told that Nepal army troops were checking the vehicles, one by one, as a security measure. It would take about two hours before we could move again,” reported Ivan.
“Soon we knew it was not the army troops, but the Maoists rebels who were blocking the road. The military were afraid of forcing the road free, in case it could trigger an attack.”
Patrolling around the Annapurna valley
Wednesday, April 6, Silvio Mondinelli warned of Maoist guerrillas patrolling around the Annapurna valley.
Image of vehicles halted on the road to Pokhara on Sunday April 2nd, by Klemen Gricar, courtesy of Ivan Vallejo.