Photographs to accompany the
June 2012 Advance Information
Booklet (GEO4B/PM)
• You should study the photographs to see the extent
to which they show the Everest region as a fragile
environment under threat from tourists, trekkers,
mountaineers and climate change.
• Photographs made available by Nick Walker who,
with his wife Chris, trekked to Everest Base Camp in
2009. Used by kind permission of AQA
The flight took us through narrow
passes over isolated farming
communities with terraces on the
top of ridges. We eventually reached
the airport in Lukla built on the side
of the valley with a short sloping
runway and a small apron where
planes queue on arrival and before
take-off. There can be as many as 60
arrivals in one day, servicing the
Everest Base Camp Trail. The
alternative is a seven-day walk-in
over the foothills. There is no road to
After our arrival in Lukla we soon
started our trek and were
immediately immersed in the deep
valley with its simple villages.
Chris with Phurtemba Sherpa (who
accompanied us for much of our trip)
on one of the many rope bridges.
Kusum Kanguru – one of the first major peaks that we saw on the trek.
The snow is blown against the steep mountain sides where it freezes. It is eroded by the
action of wind and sun. Note that we are close to the tree line here.
There was a slight descent to
Monjo village, dominated by the
Holy Mountain, Khumbi Yul Lha.
Many of the people of the village
make an important part of their
living from trekkers. Some act as
guides and porters but many
others provide food and
A roof in the village doubles as a chimney. The health hazards are obvious!
Namche Bazaar, 3450 metres above
sea level. It is the market, service and
administrative centre for the region.
The next day we were high enough for yak to carry our baggage. They cannot
operate below an altitude of 2500 metres.
Our first view of Mount Everest. Lhotse is the peak on the right and Everest is the
peak with the cloud plume. It lies beyond the Lhotse ridge.
Below us we could still see woodland with the autumn colours developing. Although
some parts of Nepal have suffered severe deforestation there are very strict rules
controlling the use of wood in this area. Trekkers are forbidden even from touching
the trees in many areas.
Our next stop was in Dingboche. Here many of the villagers use solar heaters for cooking
and heating water
The terraced fields are used for crops
of rice and wheat, although it had all
been harvested when we visited. The
terrace walls are made of stones,
gathered from the fields over many
years of cultivation
The steeper slopes are very unstable as a result of the sparse vegetation cover and the
regular freeze/thaw action in autumn/spring.
The building with the red and yellow roof in the centre foreground is a Buddhist
Yak dung is also used as a fuel,
although it is being replaced by solar
power whenever possible. The dung
is dried and stored and now used
mainly for heating homes at night
and in winter
This improvised shower, for trekkers
rather than for local people, uses
solar heated water lifted up to the
container on the roof.
Down in the valley are more terraced
fields and a small settlement. The
stream on the valley floor flows from
a melting glacier. It has produced a
braided channel as it sorts and
redeposits the fluvio-glacial deposits
on the river bed.
In the distance you can just see the
summit of Lobuche. Then there is a
wall of moraine material, unsorted,
from the melting Khumbu glacier. In
the foreground, a meltwater stream
is sorting and eroding the fluvioglacial material. In the centre of the
photo is a bridge, put in place to
allow trekkers to cross the stream
The Khumbu glacier is one of the biggest in the area. An area of ice accumulation is
shown here. Ice can be seen frozen to the face of Lengtren. The cracks at the foot of the
slope show where ice in the corrie is moving forwards under pressure of accumulated
ice and the force of gravity pulling it downhill.
Here the surface of the glacier is
covered with moraine that has fallen
from the valley sides, weathered by
freeze/thaw action. On the left is part
of a glacial lake, formed where the
glacier blocks a meltwater stream
flowing from a side valley
Snow cocks seen on the tundra-like vegetation around the edges of the glacier.
The remains of an avalanche on the
side of Nuptse. The avalanche was
formed of snow, ice and rock that
became detached from the steep
side of the valley above the main
glacier and plunged downhill. The
main glacier, covered in moraine, can
be seen flowing from right to left
across the foreground of the picture.
A view of the Everest icefall. The icefall is the deeply crevassed glacier that flows from
right to left across the centre of the picture. The west ridge of Everest can just be seen
on the top right of the picture. Changtse is the pyramid peak in the centre of the picture
and Khumbutse is the mountain on the left with the steep ridges (aretes) leading up to
its peak.
Everest Base Camp on a slightly smoother part of the moraine at the foot of the icefall.
In the summer climbing season there would be many more tents here but, whilst the
autumn season is good for trekking, the weather is too cold and unreliable for safe
climbing at the higher altitudes.
It is still not too cold for the pica, small rodents that are common even at this height,
surviving on the sparse mountain vegetation and then hibernating during winter
Our final, closest view of Everest,
before the trek back down
Images from:
More of Nick Walker’s images of the Himalayas
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