A view taken on the ridge adjoining the longest glacier of the Himalayas, the Nguzumpa Glacier - the little hamlet of Gokyo, consists of three main hostels, sits directly beneath it. To the left of the glacier is Cholatse and to the right is the Third lake of Gokyo and the trail leading to Gokyo Ri could be seen as it meanders its way up.
Gokyo Ri at 5357m is a small peak by the side of the Third Lake (seen here as the largerest of the th...
The 2nd Lake of Gokyo is almost half-frozen by mid-December. Here the view of Cho Oyu(8201m)lying bet...
Lying beyond the much-visited Third Lake of Gokyo (Dudh Pokhari) towrds the border with Tibet are two...
Immediately after the hard slog up the cliff I took a breather and took this photo looking at the imp...
Nepal lies between India and China and it contains Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. The Himalayas here are pretty rugged terrain.
The first civilizations here date to 600 BC in the Kathmandu valley, where the capital is now located. According to Buddhist tenets, the Buddha was born here in 563 BC, incarnating as Prince Siddhartha Gautama and leading the world to enlightenment through liberation from suffering. Many small temples and shrines like this one exist for Buddhists to stop and offer prayers.
Early support of Buddhism gradually gave way to Hinduism and today Nepal is the world's only Hindu monarchy. The kingdom of Nepal was united in 1768 by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who fled the Moghul invasions of India. Soon after that there was a period of conflict with the British East India Company leading to a treaty recognizing the independence of Nepal -- in 1923!
After WWII Nepal was ruled by monarchy but it arrived at the 1990's split by an official ban on political parties. Intense protest by the pro-democracy movement and the Maoist guerrilla Communist movement led to free elections in 1991, only to be followed by violence between the Nepalese government and Maoist guerillas.
Since the turn of the millennium there have been several important steps taken in the peace process, including a new Constitution for Nepal and a cease fire agreement with the rebels. A compromise government was achieved whereby a Maoist was elected prime minister without his taking control of the armed forces of the country.
At the time of this writing it has been one week since the compromise government has collapsed. We offer our hopes that the citizens and government of this beautiful country will come to a peaceful agreement soon.
Text by Steve Smith.