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Post-quake assessment finds Ruby Valley safe to trek

September 01 , 2015

Post-quake assessment finds Ruby Valley safe to trek

Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Samarth-NMDP recently conducted a 10-day field visit of Ganesh Himal-Ruby Valley area to assess damages on the trail caused by the April 25 earthquake.

The field visit was a part of Ganesh Himal-Manaslu Tourism Infrastructure Development Project.

An 11-member team led by Project Coordinator Kul Bdr Gurung, who is also the 2nd vice president of TAAN, conducted the assessment. TAAN Executive Members Rajendra Sapkota and Namaraj Gauli (NG) as well as Nar Bahadur Lama, destination area adviser of Samarth-NMDP, and Chandra Gurung, Joint Treasurer of GHTDC, as well as local support staff, were also in the team.

The field visit started from Syabrubesi of Rasuwa and went through Somdang, Paldor Peak Base Camp, Pangsang Pass, Tipling, Shertung, Chalish, Jharlang and Darkha Phedi before returning to Kathmandu via Dhading Besi. The team visited places like Paldor Peak Base Camp Porter Shelter, Tyangro Khola Bridge, Pangsang Pass Porter Shelter, Pangsang Pass View Point and Marmailung Khola Bridge among others.

"Trekking trails in most of the areas were intact. There was landslide debris in some places. But it doesn't obstruct movement of trekkers," Project Coordinator Gurung said. "The area is safe to travel."

According to Gurung, some damages have been seen in porter shelters at Paldor Peak BC and Pangsang Pass. "Though the buildings are intact, they are in need of repair. Similarly, the trail to Paldor Peak Base Camp and the bridge over Paldor Khola on the way to Paldor Peak Base Camp needs to be repaired," he added.

Ganesh Himal Tourism Development Committee (GHTDC) had sent Engineer Gopal Singh Gurung along with the team to assess the trail. "As per the engineer's report, the area is safe to travel," Kul Bahadur Gurung, who is also the president of GHTDC, said.

The team also held interaction with locals as well as VDC representatives along the trail on the benefits that the project has brought to them.

Namaraj Gauli, executive member of TAAN and member of the team, said the trail was operable though some sections are in need of repair. "The porter shelters need to be repaired immediately as we could see multiple cracks in the buildings," he added.

Similarly, TAAN Executive Member Rajendra Sapkota, who was also in the team, said it was good to see that works have resumed after the devastating earthquake. "We should thank the locals as they resumed the work right after the earthquake despite the difficult situation that they are in," he said, adding, "The trial is safe. But groups have to be self-sufficient as teahouse trekking is not possible."

Sapkota even compared the area to Ghorepani-Poon Hill trail in terms of natural beauty and mountain views.

Nar Bahadur Lama, destination area adviser of Samarth-NMDP, said he found the trekking trail operable. "There were some landslides as we were traveling in the middle of monsoon, but they are being repaired by locals. The trail is operable," Lama said. "However, the porter shelters have sustained some damage due to last year's blizzards and this year's earthquake."

Lama also said the project was nearing completion. "We only need to built two box bridges. For that, materials have been already transported to the project site," he said, adding that he is satisfied with the way TAAN is implementing the project in such a geographically-difficult area.

Chandra Gurung, joint treasurer of GHTDC, said the assessment team found the trail operable. "The trail hasn't suffered much damage. Though there aren't any tea houses, we can accommodate guests in the home stay. Also, camping trek is possible," he said, adding that work on two box bridges is underway. "All other works have already been completed."

TAAN will begin rebuilding infrastructures damaged in the earthquake very soon, according to project coordinator Gurung. "We will also expedite undergoing projects very soon."

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