Our journey of 12 days of Learning Experience and Learning Exchange between Scientists, Practitioners, Local Leaders, and Communities in the Everest region went well as envisioned.
Third day (12 December, 2018) of the conference in Namche started with a short trek to Everest View Point (3880 m) in the morning for acclimatization to higher elevations along the planned route. In the afternoon, we had meeting and presentation at the Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) office in Namche. We had approximately 50 participants representing park officials, local leaders, rural municipality officials, Nepal Army and local communities.
Dr. Alton Byers gave the presentation on the summary of his book “Khumbu since 1950s: Cultural, Climate and Landscape Change in SNP” and also distributed the books. The meeting went ahead with presentations by Dr. Scott Watson and PhD scholar Ms. Katie Miles on “Understanding the importance and evolution of Himalayan debris-covered glaciers” and “The Ever Drill Project”, followed by Dr. Teiji Watanabe on “Trekking tourism and its impacts on pastoralism in SNP” and Mr. Pranav Dahal on “Earthquake and Baliyo Ghar”. Mr. Pramod Bhattarai, Chief Conservation Officer of SNP, gave a brief presentation on overview of the SNP. The meeting ended with a discussion on the issues highlighted in the research presentations.
Fourth day (13 December, 2018) of the conference headed with our journey to Phortse village (3950 m), which took about 7 hours of walking. We had snowfall that evening. The day ended with two presentations from Dr. Alton Byers on “Conservation and Restoration of Alpine Ecosystem in Himalayas and Andes: New Challenges for 21st Century” and PhD scholar Mr. Mohan Chand on “Development of supraglacial ponds in Everest region”. There was a good participation of local communities in the presentation. We had discussion on positive changes in alpine areas of Khumbu and solutions to lower the risks of Imja Lake through the possibility of utilizing the water through hydropower development.
Fifth day (14 December, 2018), the team headed to Dingboche (4410 m) via Pangboche through 7 hours of walking on snowy and narrow trails. We had only one presentation on “Drone survey in Ngozompa Glacier” by Mr. Yusuke Kobayashi where he shared his team’s experiences dealing with low battery problem working in high elevations.
Sixth day (15 December, 2018), the team spent the whole day in Dingboche and had seven presentations and discussions. The first presentation was from Dr. Dhananjay Regmi on “Transforming natural hazards into Economic Opportunities in Nepal Himalaya”, followed by Dr. Alton Byers’s presentation on “Some recent geologic and climate change impacts on Nepal’s glaciers and glacial lakes”, Ms. Weiqi Liu on “Lessons from field survey on the different cognition of the Imja Glacial Lake project between local people and project related people”, Mr. Chajung Gu on “Land Cover Data on Qiantang Plateau”, Mr. Cui Song on “Area change of Imja Glacial Lake and retreat of the Imja glacier, Nepal Himalaya”, Ms. Ichchha Thapa on “A Brief program Overview of The Mountain Institute”, and Dr. Monique Fort on “Are GLOFs possible in Dry Himalaya?”.
Seventh day (16 December, 2018), the team had optional tour to Imja Lake (5100 m) while some stayed in Dingboche for community consultations and visits.
Eighth day (17 December, 2018), the team headed back and stopped in Tengboche (3860 m), where we had community consultations and three presentations. The first presentation was from Dr. Alton Byers on “High Mountain Adaptation Project in Andes and Himalayas”, followed by Dr. Monique Fort on “Geodiversity and geomorphology in Kali Gandaki Basin” and Dr. Dhananjaya Regmi on “Seti Outbrust Flood”.
Ninth day (18 December, 2018), the team headed back to Namche via Khumjung village. Executive board members from Nepal Tourism Board joined the team, where we discussed future possibilities of sustainable tourism development in overall Nepal, especially in the Himalaya.
Tenth Day (19 December, 2018), the team headed back to Lukla from Namche.
Eleventh day (20 December, 2018), we had a community meeting in Lukla where we had participation from Sagarmatha National Park, Rural Municipality, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Nepal Tourism Board, Buffer Zone Community Forests, and local communities. We had presentations from Dr. Alton Byers on “ Walk the Talk: Conference and Community Consultations” and Dr. Dhananjay Regmi on an overall summary of the presentations presented by all scientists who participated in the conference. We had discussions on problems in Khumbu region and solutions for garbage management, hazards and sustainable tourism development. The participants also requested the team to conduct future research programs on geomorphological and hazard mapping, identifying risk areas and their solutions, and hydropower development using glacial lakes. At the end of the program, the local communities honored scientists.