Hundreds Of Trekkers Stuck In Lukla, Nepal

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As is common this time of year, bad weather has struck the Himalaya and left hundreds of visitors to the Everest region stranded in Lukla, where they wait for the skies to clear so they can catch a flight back to Katmandu.

According to this story from Reuters, more than 2000 travelers, along with their guides and porters, are currently stranded in the tiny village of Lukla after high winds and dense cloud cover moved into the region a few days back. In order to address the situation, the Nepali Army will begin using their helicopters to shuttle the tourists out today.

The low clouds and high winds are especially troublesome for the small passenger craft that fly into the Lukla airport, which is widely considered to be amongst the most dangerous in the world. It is famous for its runway, which runs at an angle up the side of a mountain. The approach to the landing strip is also though the mountains, which can be challenging even in good weather. Private helicopters are not normally strong enough to fight the winds either, and they can be an expensive option for those looking for a way home.

Reading this story the first thing that came to my mind was “where the hell are all those people staying?” Lukla is not a big village at all, and while there are a number of tea houses, the place is built for people to come and go on a regular basis. I have to imagine that it is quite crowded there at the moment. I’m sure some of the trekkers in the region are staying further down the Khumbu Valley in some of the smaller villages and independent tea houses, waiting for their turn for a flight to Kathmandu, but it must be tough to sit and wait in Lukla at the moment. At least they have a Starbucks there, right? 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Hundreds Of Trekkers Stuck In Lukla, Nepal”

  1. We were there last saturday (13nov) on the second day that there were no flights. We were lucky to take the last "expensive" heli (2500dollar for 5 persons!) that flied that day. We payed so much because we had to catch our international flight on sunday. Two of our friends, we were 7, had bad luck and decided to walk all the way to Jiri and arrived in Ktm by bus on thursday. They'll be back in belgium tomorrow! I can tell you, waiting for so many days in Lukla is not a pretty thing at all! It's a very small village, not fitted for so many people.

  2. When I was there in the spring there was talk about a weather delay for getting out, but it didn't happen thankfully. I cant imagine spending more than a day in Lukla, especially with 2000 other trapped trekkers.

    Hopefully they're on their way out now.

  3. Getting out of there was a nightmare, and cost me $800 by the time I could actually get onto a helicopter after trying for a week. Friday morning someone smashed a window in the Agni airlines office, and random fights were breaking out. I was unlucky enough to spend $300 to board a Nepal airlines flight as the last passenger, and then get pulled off on the tarmac because the plane was too heavy with fuel. Learned my lesson – Lukla never again!

  4. I was one of the stranded trekkers. Just got out due to my Guides connections and Sherpa's that knew how to get us out. Was lucky that 9 of us got out 1st day, 8 the second and remaining 5 were out via helicopter. The 1st group ended up being flown to India's border and sat on turmack for over an hour waiting to fly again between clouds. Khatmandu was so backed up, that we couldn't fly in directly….crazy adventure!!!

    Starbucks in Lukla..yeah but they had no coffee, their machine had broken down. Food was getting thin and rooms were full, our rooms were taken over my trekkers stranded that wouldn't leave the rooms, so we had to find other space.
    My trekking Company was awesome and we feel lucky!!
    Our group was one of the last they allowed to enter Lukla from teh Valley below…

  5. Thanks for the update Darl.

    I believe the Starbucks is a fake, and I when I was there the machines were broken as well. They didn't have any power either. They sully the Starbucks name! 😉

  6. I remember hiking back from Island Peak to Lukla four years ago, in July. With the fear of missing my flight back to Belgium I skipped one of the extra nights on the way back. It turned out that I took the right decision: after me people had to wait for over a week. Lucky me!

    Besides that: great to read all the comments from people who are there right now. Definitely says something about this blog!

  7. Thanks Matthias! I love that my readers are active adventurers who like to share their experiences too! 🙂

  8. Yes, we got stuck there too. Just got back to Kathmandu, after a 4-day walk and an 11-hour bus ride from Jiri.
    The trouble was that we are independent travellers, who didn't have any guides or sherpas to help us out, most importantly, we didn't have enough money to bribe the airline to be able to get on the plane. We had a flight booked on 19th Nov and we weren't even on the passengers list; our spots were taken by people from trekking agencies (we took photos of the list and of people being bibed) so I am sure Darl is happy with the help he and his mates got from their trekking agency.

    Gosia

  9. Was stuck there three days and the price of helicopter went up to $900 plus 10 % and this with a trekking company. Even after arrangements it took over 12 hours and many harried moments until helicopter actually left.

  10. We walked in from Jiri with the hope of flying out at Lukla, i beleive we were on one of the last flights out on the 12th, scary actually flying through clouds with mountains all around. Annapurna area next year.

  11. I am also there with my wife in Lukla at that time. We saw many people waiting for their flights to Kathmandu. But we talked to our agency and they arranged us a flight with Nepal Army Helicopter so we did not miss our international flight.
    Thank you so much Ambition Himalaya Treks. It was so good of you!
    Visit them at http://www.ambitionhimalaya.com

  12. It was really hactic for us all. We contacted our Agency "Independent Himalayan Adventure" Mr. Chandra Niraula (you may get him by [email protected]) and he gave us very better suggestion to do fast trek to Shivalaya-Jiri for 3 days and drive back to Kathmandu. It was my 3rd time to Khumbu-Everest region trek and every time Mr. Niraula breifing us about the Lukla and bad weather over there.

    Suggestion to everybody… continue your trek to Shivalaya-Jiri and go to Kathmandu as we done.

    Thanks Chandra for your valuable suggestion with right decision, otherwise we were becoming in crowded expensive Lukla at this time.

    – A Myers

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