Nepal and the Everest Trail Race by iancorless.com

Posted in The Sweat on Tue 19 Nov ’13

© iancorless.com

I had a dream, like any boy, I had a dream of what might be. Majestic mountains and blue skies; coloured flags draped onstring and spread across the trail. Nepal and the Himalayas, it’s sometimes quite difficult to convey an emotion…

Nepal stirs an emotion. You see, I had a vision; a vision of what this region would hold for me. Visual delights that can fulfill the photographic passion of even a novice cameraman, to be in this region of the world, yes, near the ‘rooftop’ of the world is something that I never thought would happen. It’s a shock to the system, 16-hours of travel and suddenly the noise, the chaos and the colour of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

It’s an incredible and frantic explosion on the senses after isolated seclusion of a plane. Toot-toot, beeeeep, honk-honk; car horn after car horn provide a soundtrack to our arrival and amongst this noise frenzy a gentle layer of permanent dust circulates. You look around, faces and colour everywhere. Reds, blues, greens, cyan, and magenta it’s just incredible.

Weary eyes through lack of sleep flick open and stay there allowing everything to soak in.‘Namaste’ welcome to Nepal and I am encircled with a garland of orange flowers from a gleaming local. I have been in Nepal 5-minutes and I am already excited at the prospects of what lie ahead. It’s not far, but far enough to get a taste of the life, the character and the passions of Kathmandu.

© iancorless.com

Moving through the streets in a busthat feels as though it is from another time, our short journey to Hotel Shanker is soon over and we are welcomed to our base for thenext two days by the team members of the Everest Trail Race. Sipping tea in our plush green surroundings while the sun beats down, the contrast between what is outside the gates and what is enclosed within them has never been more apparent. I need to move, I need to go out and I need to explore.

I need to get a feel for the place I am in and I am just desperate to take images. Within minutes I am walking along a dusty and unfinished road.It’s a paradise. I love to capture life as it happens, raw, uncensored and naked. The harshness of what I see is often softened by a beaming smile or a splash of colour.

The car horn symphony continues and minutes later I don’t even notice it, as I am engrossedin my camera and what is in front of it. A man selling apples, a girl begging; her friends a goat and a chicken while her little brother crawls around the floor in rags for clothes.I am in my element. While others relax and catch up on lost sleep, I am wired. Like an addict, I need my fix.

© iancorless.com

I need to capture images, I need to portray the story of what is unfolding before my eyes. The largest urban agglomerate of Nepal, Kathmandu is a gateway and it serves as a nerve center for tourism and as such, the variety of services and culture on offer is wide. Rich in history, most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot and English is widely spoken.As I walk, flowers (Rangoli) adorn many shops and homes.

Pavements are coloured with paints or powders, everyone is in a festive mood. It’s a very important time of the year. A religious festival is taking place. ’Tihar’ also known as Deepawali in the Terai region of Nepal is a five-day-long Hindu and Buddhist festival. Tihar means the festival of lights, were many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night.

Darkness soon arrives and with it, time to relax. Evening provides anopportunity to prepare for the up and coming adventure, the Everest Trail Race…

The Everest Trail Race is a multi-day journey that will test each and every participant in a way that they have not been tested before.

A total elevation gain of over 25,000m will mean that breathing alone will be difficult.Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the ETR lasted for six days covering a total distance of 160km.

© iancorless.com

© iancorless.com

Daily distances are on the face of it were relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 37, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude differences vary greatly. It is a demanding race and although each participant was required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp were provided by the race organization.

Daily temperatures varied from -10c to +18c and the terrain offered incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR was achallenge for all involved.

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