Slovenians visit Nepal to mark 40th anniversary of Makalu ascent


Slovenian mountaineers observing the building of mountaineering school in Manang. (Photo: Bojan Pollak)

A group of Slovenian mountaineers visited Nepal earlier this month to celebrate 40th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt Makalu (8485m) – the fifth highest mountain in the world – by Slovenes.

Makalu was the first eight-thousander climbed by the Slovenes – a South Slavic ethnic groups living in historical Slovene land.

The 22-member team was led by Viki Grosel and their trip was managed by Khumbi La Trekking and Mountaineering. Six Slovenian Makalu summiteers were in the team.

The team trekked all the way to Manang and observed mountaineering training school there. The school was built in 1979 under financial assistance of Yugoslav government. The school was built with an investment of US$ 100,000. These mountaineers became citizen of Slovenia after Slovenia split from Yugoslavia.

Bojan Pollak, one of the first mountaineering trainers to have come to Nepal, was also in the team. Talking to eTravelPress, Bojan said it felt good to come to Nepal and visit the mountaineering school. “We have sentimental attachment with this school,” he said.

First generation of Nepali mountain guides were trained by Bojan and his team.

Stating that the school is in poor condition, Bojan said he would try to solicit assistance to renovate the school. “We had requested European Union to assist the renovation works. Initially, they were positive toward our proposal. But they later diverted the fund to some ‘democratic’ projects in Nepal,” Bojan added.

Commenting on the expedition, Zimba Zangbu Sherpa, managing director of Khumbi La Treks and Expeditions, said he was pleased to be a part of the expedition. “I thank the Slovenian group for having confidence on us,” he added.

At a farewell dinner organized at Thamel, officials of Khumbi La Treks and Expeditions handed over national park permits and TIMS cards to all members of the expedition as souvenirs. Similarly, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) President Ang Tsheing Sherpa handed over climbing permits to the members of the expedition.

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