Valentine's Day, popularly known as 'Love Day', is being observed all over the world tomorrow. On this day, people go to any greater length to express their love to their beloved ones.
However, we can also safely say that people go to any greater height to express their love, if we are to take a glance at some rocks scattered on the ground and glaciers in Everest Base Camp (EBC).
So let's talk about the love stories set in stones at the altitude of 5364 meters above the sea level.
Every year, the EBC receives thousands of trekkers and mountaineers from all over country and the world, mostly during spring season. The otherwise deserted, inhospitable and bone-chilling EBC turns into a warm, bustling and happening human settlement during the trekking/mountaineering season.
EBC is not only the base to the highest mountain in the world Sagarmatha (Mt Everest), it is also a place from where ascent to many other towering mountains such as Nuptse (7855m), Lhotse (8516m) and Mt Pumori (7161 m) among others in the vicinity of 8,848-metre Sagarmatha are made.
This scribe was a part of a trekking team that trekked to this region last October. As you inch towards EBC from the last human settlement in the Khumbu region, Gorakhsep (5180,) many huge bare rocks with scribbles on them begin to hit your sight.
A closer view to these scribbles will unravel many juicy stories. Some are names and date of birth and date of death written in memory of the departed souls while some are very philosophical in nature.
Interestingly or say, co-incidentally, this scribe came across so many names and underlying love messages and stories in connection to them.
One among them was- In love memory of Rolland Rettinger. It was freshly written by a foreigner trekker who did not wish to be named. Although hesitant to disclose her name, this solo trekker revealed, I have written a love message in the name my partner in the rock here to express my love to him.
She further said, Also, so that he can find this message name at a mere glance when he visits EBC in the next trek.
Besides this message, there are many love messages written in the dozens of rocks in the EBC, mostly in English and other native foreign languages.
Another message hitting the sight was I love you Binita, penned by Suresh Karki. The Nepali youth from Itahari, Sunsari was on his maiden trip to EBC in the autumn of 2019. His love message ended with Your Suresh.
Karki was not the first person to affirm his love to his spouse in this unique manner at this alpine region. He gushingly shared, I was excited to see so many lovely lines written by people from all over the world in their mother languages. According to him, the sight of love messages scribed in the stones in the EBC had promoted him to follow the suit.
Inspired by others' love messages, I decided to demonstrate my love to my lover-turned-wife Binita Karki in similar manner. Thus, the message! he blushingly said.
Sagar Subedi, a local political leader from Sunsari did not hesitate to borrow a marker from a fellow trekker and swiftly composed a line in a huge rock at EBC, albeit in cypher. It read, S+S+S+P+M=?'.
Later Subedi described to his scribe, as saying, I am Sagar, my wife is Sangita and we have three daughters named Sangsa, Priyansa and Mansa. So all the letters stood for the names of my family including me! Responding to the query on the part of question mark in the line, he quipped, The question mark in the message is about upcoming member of our family.
He named those rocks carrying romantic messages as 'romantic rocks'. According to him, any exhausted trekkers would get a 'feel good' feeling by the sight of such lovely lines scribed in the stones. The politician philosophically concluded, EBC, nestled at the foothill of the highest mountain on the world, could be probably the best romantic venue in the world to affirm one's love!
Illegal yet rampant
EBC is a part of the Sagarmatha National Park (SNP). And, SNP is one of the world heritage sites of Nepal. Littering in any form including scribbling or writing anywhere in this zone is deemed illegal. However, writing to one's heart's content on the rocks in EBC is growing as a fad among national and international visitors here.
Rocks apart, Kasang Namgya Sherpa, who scaled Everest as supporting staff in last spring, said that he had witnessed mountaineers writing down their beloved's names even in the snow. I have seen so many doodles made by the mountaineers in the snow, mostly romantic lines around the summit of Everest, reminisced Sherpa.
He added, We have heard of mountaineers tying the nuptial knot on the summit of Everest and other mountains. For us, going by the sight of love messages written in papers, rocks and prayer flags and in snow in the summit of Everest is not such a surprising thing.
SNP is the world heritage site and writing anything on the rocks, trees and any other physical forms is illegal, said Pemba Sherpa, the Communications Officer at SNP over telephone. Pemba ranted, People are wantonly writing in the rocks, in the trees' trunk and littering the region. Unfortunately we do not have sufficient human resources and surveillance tools to check these illegal activities.
Calling on the trekkers and mountaineers to be responsible while trekking in the mountain regions that have extremer fragile ecosystem, he urged them to trek with conscience and have a compassionate approach towards mountain and the natural resources in the mountain region.
Source: National News Agency Nepal