The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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On Himalayan mission for adventure sports

Darjeeling, Feb. 27: A mountain lover from Kurseong is out to trek through the entire Himalayas, from Arunachal Pradesh to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, to encourage people from this part of the world to take up adventure sports.

Dhendup Lama from Gayabari has already completed the first phase of the journey and covered a 2,000-km stretch in Nepal in about 110 days.

Today, the trekker left for Arunachal Pradesh for the second leg.

To cover the entire expanse of the mountain, the 36-year-old will have to trek for about 10,000km.

Lama is travelling with a 50-year-old trekker from Darjeeling, Ram Bahadur Rai.

“We started from Darchula in Mahakali district of western Nepal on August 15, 2011, and reached Pashupatinagar (Ilam district) in eastern Nepal on December 9. We carried a load of 20kg-25kg, including our tents, during the Nepal trek. I plan to traverse all the regions of the Himalayas, from the base of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan to the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

The trekker had studied in Victoria Boys’ School in Kurseong before he worked as a mountain guide in Nepal for around five years.

“Whenever we talk about adventure tourism, the inspiration comes from the west. They have taken it in a big way but it is time for people in the east to inspire their own people,” said Lama.

He added that the journey was likely to be over by April next year. “I plan to cover the entire Himalayas by April 2013. In Arunachal Pradesh, we will start our trek from Tawang (on the Indo-Chinese border) and end up at a place in Anini. The trek would take around one-and-a-half months,” he said.

If Lama completes his mission, he would be the first Asian to trek through the entire Himalayan region. “As far as I know, a trekker from Australia, Robin Boustead, is the only one to have completed the Himalayan trail a couple of years ago,” Lama said.

The climber added that after covering Arunachal Pradesh, he would proceed to Sikkim, Bhutan and the Kumaon and Garhwal hills in north India before going to Pakistan. “I am in the process of getting permission from Pakistan and I hope this will not be a problem.”

The mountain-lover had moved to San Francisco in the US almost 12 years back and he completed a diploma course for outdoor educators (mountaineering).

But Lama said he never stopped dreaming about inspiring his own people back home. After returning from the US in 2010, Lama started preparing for the trek that he has named the Great Himalayan Odyssey.

“I did not take up any job after my return from the US. Arranging the logistic is the most challenging aspect of the trek and I have spent my time working out the details,” said the climber.

The whole trek is expected to cost anything between Rs 12 and Rs 15 lakh. “I am approaching sponsors for help,” Lama said.