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Hypoxic 05-17-2010 03:53 PM

Missing Trekker in Nepal
 
From Explorer's Web:

Alert: Trekker Aubrey Sacco missing in Nepal

American Aubrey Sacco, 23, is missing after a solo, week-long trek in the region of Langtang, Nepal. Aubrey began her trek on April 20 and was scheduled to return on or around April 30, but her family has not heard from her since her check-in at Dhunche on April 20


Here's more info, including photos:

http://www.explorersweb.com/trek/news.php?id=19348

If anyone has any connections in Nepal, especially in the Langtang region (closest villages to the valley head are Syabru Bensi and Dhunche) see if they're aware of Ms Sacco's disappearance and see if they have any information regarding her whereabouts or when she was last seen. If you do somehow hear anything about her but have no contact in Nepal, feel free to contact me with the info and I can pass it along to my own contacts in Syabru Bensi and Kathmandu.

I've been in the Langtang region, and while amazing and stunning, it is prone to accidents, particularly landslides and severe flooding. Acute Mountain Sickness is very common since the altitude gain up the valley is very quick. I spent two weeks there the last time I was in the Himalaya and in that time I met two seriously sick people with AMS and one man who had fallen and broke his leg (he was airlifted out). This was in February when there is hardly anyone around (including the three aforementioned trekkers, I only met three others) and most bhattis (tea shops) are closed; Ms Sacco disappeared in April, during peak season, evidence that caution is always the order of the day.

Note that I don't know Ms Sacco, but I think it is our honest responsibility as mountaineers to try to take care of our own, even if we have no idea who they are. If I was lost or injured in the mountains, I would surely like for people to be spreading the word in order to help me get back to my family and friends.

mosahlah 06-25-2010 07:32 PM

Langtang valley along with all the high valleys are dangerous. In fact just about everywhere in mainland asia is dangerous just for the fact that there isn't a lot of respect for the value of life. I witnessed my first Nepali die after being stuck by a bus 5 minutes out of Tribuvan airport. Nobody stopped to help her. Shortly after I left Langtang, a cyclone came up through Bangladesh and the high valleys in central Nepal were socked in with 3 meters of snow, in October. Pilgrims going up to Goisand Lakes were trapped in the high passes, hundreds died. Westerners were evac'd by those rickety choppers, but not all. I really love the scenery of Nepal, and I recommend it to anyone with strong intestinal fortitude and a strong sense of self preservation, but dont be that ignorant fool I saw hiking Langtang by herself. There's bad dudes in the villages on the trail. They're hungry, desperate, and love to drink.

Hypoxic 06-30-2010 12:36 PM

Forunately, my several experiences in Nepal were not nearly that negative.

Recent reports indicate that Ms Sacco is still missing. Her father is, or at least was as of June 10, there looking for her. Unfortunately some Buddhist lamas have told him that they "feel" she's still alive and in the Langtang valley.

skinsk 06-30-2010 09:31 PM

I went solo trekking in the Khumbu and Annapurna regions in 2001 after 9/11, the royal massacre and the initial Moaist uprising (the new king declared the first state of emergency at the time) and I never felt threatened or unsafe from the local population. I stayed with family friends (locals) in Kathmandu and they never worried about me.

In the Khumbu I did see a helicopter evac from Kala Pata after rockfall injured a woman from Utah, and heard another story of a man with altitude sickness who fell in a river. Thus, when going off the beaten path, such as to Everest/Pumori base camp or Kala Patar, I teamed up with 2 other solo travelers "just in case". (I did Muctinath? Pass alone, though, with some snow.) Not sure how much things have changed since then, but it was a wonderful experience, and I can see what lured Aubrey there. I hope she is found, and her family has some peace.

mosahlah 07-01-2010 11:53 AM

My guide in Langtang was "beer", a little Nepali guy. He was obviously "street-smart" as well as a veteran mountaineer, and I was relieved he seemed to account for many hazards I did not anticipate. For example, he secured our packs on the top of the bus from razor-artists and was meticulous in vetting a porter. One of his concerns was our traverse of the lower valley. He dutifully stopped at the Army posts along our route to coordinate with the armed patrols. During the descent of the valley, Beer was unable to locate a patrol for a certain section, and he became noticeably alarmed. He fished out ice tools and axes and under his lead, all 3 of us carried our weapons at the high-ready and continued moving all night. I must admit this was thrilling. My porter was a tall lean Sherpa who owned 3 things; rubber galoshes, greasy trousers, and a nylon windbreaker. Everyday he was paid twice, once by my guide, and I doubled it out of pity. Every night, he drank his wages in the form of a local fermentation in the company of the other sloshed male villagers. Not a pretty sight. I passed a few tourists along the trails, and they may also have felt at ease with the locals, or maybe they live with a different philosophy. I may be a bit paranoid after my experiences serving in combat, but I believe my sense of bad guys is well tuned. The city may be a carnival, the badlands are dicey.

Hypoxic 07-02-2010 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skinsk
I went solo trekking in the Khumbu and Annapurna regions in 2001 after 9/11, the royal massacre and the initial Moaist uprising (the new king declared the first state of emergency at the time) and I never felt threatened or unsafe from the local population. I stayed with family friends (locals) in Kathmandu and they never worried about me.

In the Khumbu I did see a helicopter evac from Kala Pata after rockfall injured a woman from Utah, and heard another story of a man with altitude sickness who fell in a river. Thus, when going off the beaten path, such as to Everest/Pumori base camp or Kala Patar, I teamed up with 2 other solo travelers "just in case". (I did Muctinath? Pass alone, though, with some snow.) Not sure how much things have changed since then, but it was a wonderful experience, and I can see what lured Aubrey there. I hope she is found, and her family has some peace.


Yep, I've visited all those places, too, a couple of them a few times, and I've had brilliant experiences. I did twice have trying experiences with an AMS inflicted friend though - scarey, I tell ya. But, of course, that's the deal handed by the climate and atmosphere, not the locals or culture, and it was something I'm also prepared for when in the Himalaya.

I believe you mean Muktinath, Sonia. Also, do you mean Thorong La (I don't think there's a Muktinath pass)? I was knee deep in snow going over that bad boy. Man, was it windy and cold on the day I went over. Beauty.

I was also in Nepal at the height of the civil war, and met on many occasions Maoists. They were all nice enough, and in fact I never paid a single rupee to their cause. I and my Nepali friend (more than a friend, a "mountain brother", to be cheesy), Dom, talked our way through them. No problems. In fact, the stats support that trekking through the Nepal Himalaya has always been safe from a social point of view.

Some may like to note that the Royal Asiatic Society is having a tour to Nepal and Tibet during Chuseok. Info is on their site: www.raskb.com.


Anyway, I hope Aubrey is found.

skinsk 07-03-2010 02:58 AM

Shawn, you remember my trip better than I do! yeah, it was blustery going over the pass-- I had three local dogs follow me much of the way. . . fortunately I seem to do well in altitude. . .

You remind me I need to go back, though. . . so many places to go, things to do, people to meet, so little time!

Hypoxic 07-03-2010 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skinsk
Shawn, you remember my trip better than I do! yeah, it was blustery going over the pass-- I had three local dogs follow me much of the way. . . fortunately I seem to do well in altitude. . .


I met a black dog going up the pass from the Muktinath side when I was descending. I sat with him for a while, sharing my dried apples (that I bought at a little hut in the middle of nowhere on the day before I reached Chame). When it was time to get going, I tried to get the dog to come down with me, but he just glanced at me, turned, and headed up toward the pass again. I always wonder what he was doing, as you know there's nothing but snow, ice, and altitude between Muktinath and High Camp on the other side of the pass.

I luckily fare well in altitude as well - despite my username. :lol:

Quote:

Originally Posted by skinsk
You remind me I need to go back, though. . . so many places to go, things to do, people to meet, so little time!


Ain't that the truth!


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