|This is what the ponds behind our home looked like during the middle of the storm that dropped 11 inches of snow in our area. It was actually great to go out for a hike|
|In their 2017 report, the World Economic Forum reports that one of the most likely risks with the most severest impacts on society will be extreme weather events (top right corner). |
We know that climate change is the cause of those extreme events.
Interestingly enough those extreme events can be linked to many of the other threats on this graph.
The weather brought me thoughts back to our time in Nepal (I have written at least two more posts where I mention Nepal). I worked there from late 1981 to late spring on 1983. I worked in natural resources management in three districts (provinces) that ranged from the lowlands (in Myagdi) to the highlands behind the main mountain range on the Tibetan plateau (in Mustang). The other district I worked in was Gorkha, the district that was the epicenter of the recent earthquake and the home area of the famous Gurkha soldiers. This week’s weather brought back all the weather extremes we encountered while living there.
The next morning though we woke up to an unexpected snow storm. There was at least 4 inches (10 cm) on the ground already and it was a complete whiteout. My guide recommended that we get off the mountain and back to Jomsom (at approximately 9000 feet elevation or 2700 meters) as quickly as possible before everything became unpassable and we would be stuck up there for who knew how long. In those days there was no vehicular travel in these areas and everything was done by foot, so here we set off in a snow storm on a 4 to 5 hour hike down the mountain in heavy snow. I vividly remember the hike back; it was sometimes difficult to see the trail, but nothing really seriously happened during the trip, but if you have ever hiked in deep snow, into strong wind and heavy snow fall, you would know. Once back in Jomsom; however, I was literally exhausted, I could hardly move, had a headache, and I could not understand why. Finally, in the evening it dawned on me that I had never peed (urinated) that day; while hiking makes me thirsty, hiking in the snow storm didn’t, and I did not drink much or any water that day. Together with hiking in heavy snow, the dehydration and elevation were playing tricks with me and I was in danger of dehydration, and that could set of altitude sickness, or maybe I already had a mild case of it.
That evening in the hotel I just swigged water like crazy and enjoyed the Bollywood movie they were showing in the hotel. The movie was a rare treat, but me and a bunch of tourists were stuck, snowed in for a day or so until the weather lifted and I could fly out.
|On an earlier trip I had met Tsampa Ngawang a Tibetan scholar sitting next to me. Tsampa and a guy named Pasang Sherpa (who I met later) had joined the famous anthropologist/religious scholar David Snellgrove on his treks and studies through Nepal. Tsampa and I often spoke about those trips and about Tsampa's interests. This photo was taken when I took my wife (and dogs) to Mustang and we visited Tsampa and his wife at their home up in the highlands (a remote village in the back of the Annapurna at around 10 or 11,000 feet). We still own prayer flags, the printing block that Tsampa carved to print them and a publication that he wrote. Also shown in the picture is their young child and our "guard" (the project insisted we had a Gurkha guard) Bim Bahadhur.|