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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