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  Alan Hinkes 2004: Dhaulagiri


Alan Hinkes Update: Alan Hinkes has filed his first report from the Himalaya. He arrived safely in Nepal last week and took up residence in a hotel in Kathmandu. Once there, he made contact with Bikrum, his agent there, and has been busy finalising the details of his permit to climb Dhaulagiri.

The last few days have been a little frustrating for Alan as the Maoists called a bandh, or general strike, in Kathmandu and the city ground to a halt. All of the shops have been closed and there have been no vehicles on the road. The threat of Maoist recriminations has ensured that the bandh has been strictly observed. Bikrum's office has been empty and Alan has struggled to manage any administration or even get his equipment out of storage to check over. There have been a few demonstrations and the occasional riot involving the police. Otherwise, the streets have been very quiet and the smog has lifted a little, which is one pleasant side effect. The other is that bicycle travel is still 'permitted' and Alan has found it quick and easy to get around the deserted roads using pedal power.

The bandh is due to finish imminently, so Alan is confident that he can finish his preparations and start his trek to the road head at Beni on Monday or Tuesday. It looks like the Maoists may continue to interfere with Alan's plans, as there are rumoured to be many of them around the Beni area. He may end up having to pay Maoists for further access beyond the road head (a sort of unofficial tax), but as a good Yorkshireman is hopeful that this will be a modest one off fee! He'll be sure to get a receipt just in case he meets any more 'taxmen' and needs to prove that he has already paid up.

Alan comments: "Nothing is ever simple in Nepal and there's always something other than the mountain to test me! Despite delays, I should be able to get cracking with my final preparations over the weekend, pack my Berghaus expedition backpack and head off on the trek early next week. This all means that a mid-May summit is still possible, with a couple of summit windows available after that if necessary. Keeping in touch with the outside world will be tricky during the trek, but I will do my best to send updates through Bikrum's office and by satellite telephone to the team back at Berghaus."

Dispatches

Some of EverestNews.com past coverage of Alan is below...

Alan Hinkes Annapurna 2002

Kangchenjunga 2003 Alan Hinkes

Alan Hinkes Spring Makalu 99

Alan Hinkes Q&A

Kangchenjunga 2000 Alan Hinkes

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