Faces of Nepal

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014_7-1013#ETRkathmandu

“Travel is the discovery of truth; an affirmation of the promise that human kind is far more beautiful than it is flawed. With each trip comes a new optimism that where there is despair and hardship, there are ideas and people just waiting to be energized, to be empowered, to make a difference for good.” 
― Dan Thompson, Following Whispers: Walking on the Rooftop of the World in Nepal’s Himalayas

 

© copyright iancorless.com – no reproduction please

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 6 Image Gallery

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014_9-3348

Race Summary for Stage 6 HERE

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 6

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014_9-2954

Day 6 #ETR2014

On paper, today’s stage of the Everest Trail Race was mostly downhill with 3183m of descent in comparison to 2105m of ascent over the 29.5km course. Don’t be fooled though, it was a tough day. The terrain is relentlessly tough and technical and the altitude burns the lungs.

Leaving Tengboche the race retraces stage-5 to Phakding and then branches left up to the race finish in Lukla. It’s a course with stunning views and vistas and Namche Bazar is impressive when looked upon with a bird’s eye view. Surrounded by beautiful white peaks it would be easy to be tempted to stop and just look in wonder at the awesome arena the Himalayas create. Behind the runners, Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam slowly but surely disappear from view with every step to Lukla, a sure sign that the 2014 ETR is drawing to a conclusion.

Samir Temang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa really put the pressure on early in the stage reaching Khumjung in just 45-mins. From here they pushed on together through Namche Bazar, Monjo, Phakding, Cheplung and they crossed the line together in just 3-hours 20-minutes. A crazy time for the course and one that confirmed Samir as the 2014 Everest Trail Race champion. Zigor Iturrieta found his legs again today and finished 3rd on the stage and 3rd overall.

Anna Comet looked to take things a little more relaxed today secure in the knowledge that barring some disaster the ladies overall title was secure. Equally, Kerry Sutton decided to enjoy the final day and ran with 3rd place lady, Yangdi Lama Sherpa. Post race Kerry said, ‘I really enjoyed today and it was nice to look around and enjoy the surroundings.’

James Eacott placed 4th overall in the men’s race and he said that the ETR was one race that he would definitely come back to do again.

Samir Temsang and Anna Comet are crowned the 2014 ETR champions but all credit goes to each and every finisher. At 100-miles, this race may not be the longest but it is surely one of the toughest! The combination of tough technical terrain, relentless climbing and descending and of course altitude, all combine to make the ETR a race to do!

 

Results top-3 *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

OVERALL RESULTS *times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. Zigor Iturrieta

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 5

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014_8-2275

Day 5 #ETR2014

Many say that the 16km route from Phakding to Tengboche is one of the most beautiful trails in the world. The view of the Himalayan peaks is beyond mind blowing. Especially when you arrive at the summit an Everest, Lohtse and Ama Dablam await. It’s quite the picture postcard.

However, to take in this spectacle a journey of 16km and 2124m of positive incline waits. It doesn’t sound too much does it? However, many runners crossed the line saying, ‘that was a seriously tough day!’

Departing Phakding (2700m), Namche Bazar (3600m) is the first port of call then Kumjung and Cp2 and Phungi Tenga (3300m) before the tough and steep ascent to Tengboche at 3900m.

Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa once again ran like demons and ran the course in a super impressive 2:51. Samir once again pipped Phudorje for the tape and a couple of seconds. James Eacott from the UK ran a great race and looked really strong to place 3rd on the stage from Zigor Iturrieta who struggled in the closing kilometres.

Anna Comet made a clean sweep of 5-stages and 5-wins and Kerry Sutton despite a sprained ankle once again placed 2nd to secure her overall 2nd lady ranking. Yangdi Lama Sherpa repeated her consistent 3rd-place for every stage.

The finish line at Tengboche is arguably one of THE most amazing finishing lines of any race and this was reflected in some of the emotions shown as runners crossed the line today. However, a tough 30km from Tengboche back to Lukla awaits each and every runner on day-6 of the Everest Trail Race.

I’m pretty sure a few cold beers may well be enjoyed in Lukla tomorrow evening… believe me; they have been earned! The ETR may well ‘only’ be 100-miles but they are some of the toughest and most challenging miles available. The ETR is without doubt a bucket list race.

 

Results top-3 times to follow

 

  1. Samir Temsang
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa
  3. James Eacott

 

  1. Anna Comet
  2. Kerry Sutton
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 3 Image Gallery

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-9736

Results top-3 stage 3

  1. Samir Temsang 3:48:02
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:07:47
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:50:57
  1. Anna Comet 5:35:35
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:09:55
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 6:27:43

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 3

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014_6-0044

Day 3 #ETR2014

After yesterday relentless uphill struggle today, day-3 of the Everest Trail Race was all downhill, well, sort of. Starting in Jase Bhanjyang runners passed through Jumbesi, Phurteng, Salung, Taksindu and then from Jubhing the race finishes with a tough climb to the stunning monastery at Kharikola. At 37.4km in length the total descent is a quad busting 4110m in contrast to 2512m of ascent.

Many thought today would be an easier day, however, for those in the know… although descending may be a little kinder on the lungs, descending 4000m+ on tired legs is no easy task. Especially when the terrain has added technicality and steepness.

Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa led from the front once again and the stage looked all set for a replay of the previous 2-days. However, Phudorje took a tumble descending hurting his shoulder and knee. This allowed Samir to open up a gap and looking strong throughout finished the stage in an impressive sub 4-hours. Phudorje obviously shaken from the tumble arrived over 15-minutes later and this now places Samir in first place overall with a convincing lead. Zigor Iturrieta ran a solid 3rd-place once again but today gave away more time.

Last nights fears over Anna Comet’s sickness subsided as the stage-3 unfolded and she once again grabbed the race by the horns and lead from the front. Kerry Sutton did say that she felt strong today and may well have contested the first place with Anna, however, caution prevailed and she decided to leave a little in reserve for the coming 3-days that lies ahead. Yangdi Lama Sherpa one again placed 3rd on the stage looking tired. Yangdi is definitely not in the shape of 2013 but despite this continues to fight hard.

The trails and route for the ETR from Kharikola to Tyangboche and back to Lukla are now on the main trekking routes and in addition to this it is the main transport route for all supplies. Porters, mules and yaks are like cars on a motorway as they move up and down the trail carrying loads that are often beyond comprehension. It’s amazing to see life unfold and I for one feel very privileged for the opportunity to see it and record it in images and memories.

 

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 3:48:02
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:07:47
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:50:57

 

  1. Anna Comet 5:35:35
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:09:55
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 6:27:43

 

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Day 1 Image Gallery

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0269

 

RACE SUMMARY HERE

Results top-3 for stage 1

 

  1. Samir Temsang 2:30:01
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:30:39
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 2:56:46
  1. Anna Comet 3:16:16
  2. Kerry Sutton 3:36:35
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 3:56:33

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Stage 2

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0873

Day 2 #ETR2014

Day 2 of the Everest Trail Race is the toughest of the race: fact! It’s a brutal exercise in climbing and one that takes place at attitude stretching each and every participant to the limit.

Starting in Bhandar runners have the pleasure of running downhill along some twisting and technical trail before crossing a suspension bridge that stretches over Kinja Khola River. What follows is a lung busting and leg-sapping climb to Golla at just over 3000m. A little respite and then climbing starts again firstly to Ngaur and then onward to the highest point of the ETR; Pikey Peak at 4063m. From the summit at Pikey Peak an amazing Himalayan vista awaited but the runners had to work for it… really work for it! Dropping down a tough technical descent for several kilometres, a tough short climb is the sting in the tail to the arrival at Jase Bhanjyang at 3600m.

As one would expect Nepalese runners Samir Temsang and Phudorje Lama Sherpa set the pace for today. To be honest, they have a huge natural advantage on this high altitude terrain and they put this to great use. One again they ran together all day and in a repeat of day-1, Samir opened up just a short gap in the final meters to take the stage win and a slender lead overall. Zigor Iturrieta ran a stronger race today and looked in his element on the tough terrain. At the summit of Pikey Peak he laughed and joked and ran away sprinting… he may just get better as each day passes?

The ladies race was a repeat of day-1 with Anna Comet running strong and controlled from the front. Poles in hand, Anna powered her way up Pikey Peak with a huge smile and after the technical descent crossed the finish line with a repeat stage win. Kerry Sutton from the UK performed exceptionally well at altitude and produced a strong consistent performance to consolidate her 2nd-overall. Yangdi Lama Sherpa finished 3rd but says that she isn’t feeling too great at the moment. These things happen in multi-day racing and as we all know, anything can happen!

It was a tough day with many runners coming close to the cut-off time. Officially we only have one runner not making the cut-off and although he will be allowed to continue (if he feels he can) he will be withdrawn from the overall classification.

As camp settles to what will be a cold night under canvas (-12) ladies race leader Anna Comet has been sick and so we have some question marks for day-3.

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 4:14:06
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 4:14:12
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 4:31:05

 

  1. Anna Comet 5:01:46
  2. Kerry Sutton 6:10:00
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa

 

 

Day 3 Jase Bhanjyang – Karikola

 

is 37.4km and for a change has more descending (4110m) than ascending (2512m).

 

Starting in Jase Bhanjyang runners will pass through Jumbesi, Phurteng, Salung, Taksindu and then from Jubhing the race finishes with a tough climb to the stunning monastery at Kharikola.

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Stage 1

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-0269

Day 1 #ETR2014

The Everest Trail Race (ETR) 2014 started today at the stroke of 0900 in the small Nepalese town of Jiri.

Low mist but a relatively mild night afforded everyone a comfortable nights rest before the action started. The sound of horns and a local group of musicians enticed the runners on to the trails for what will be a life-changing journey.

The Himalayas are beyond beautiful and impressive… it’s almost difficult to find the words and although stage-1 for the ETR doesn’t reach the high mountains or break the tree line, the day is impressive non the less.

Phudorje Lama Sherpa set the early pace but was soon joined by fellow Nepal teammate, Samir Temsang. The two seemed to work together throughout the stage and slowly but surely they stretched the elastic over experienced Spanish ultra runner, Zigor Iturrieta. Temsang in the latter stages opened up a small lead and finished just ahead of Phudorje by 38-seconds. Zigor however was 26-minutes back after the challenging first day of just 21.5km and 3700m+/- of elevation.

Anna Comet started the ladies race from the front and looked impressive throughout the day. She continued to open up a convincing lead of British entrant, Kerry Sutton who finished just over 20-minutes back. 2013 second place, Yangdi Lama Sherpa finished 3rd a further 20-minutes behind Kerry.

It’s only day-1 and a very tough stage lies ahead for day with some tough climbing to the highest point of the race. The top-3 runners in both the ladies and men’s fields are only separated by 30-miutes so a tough day of running lies ahead.

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 2:30:01
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:30:39
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 2:56:46

 

  1. Anna Comet 3:16:16
  2. Kerry Sutton 3:36:35
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 3:56:33

 

 

Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 – Travel to Jiri

©iancorless.com_Nepal2014-8376

Departing in five 16-seater mini buses, participants of the Everest Trail Race made the long, twisty and at times stressful journey from Kathmandu to Jiri for the start of the 2014 edition. It’s a rollercoaster journey up single -rack roads, a frenetic and constant beeping of horns and a multitude of bends that would leave the most hardened rollercoaster freak with a turning tummy.

Our lunch stop at Karidunga was a welcome break from the journey. While runners found a space and enjoyed the view of the Himalayas, off into the distance I walked looking for some local colour. You never have to go far, Ladies working in fields, men weaving basket wear and children playing; all have wonderful smiles.

They seem to embrace tourists and actually seem to enjoy the process of having a photo taken. Off course it’s all the more appealing if they receive a ‘token’ for their efforts…

Weathered faces show the lines from years of toil from harvesting crops. Children have round faces, wonderful colour and piercing eyes and a cheeky smile. In all honesty, I could photograph these people all day. They fascinate me.

Back on the buss the toing and froing continued and finally our arrival at Jiri came. We had been on the road 8-hours and the glow of our yellow TNF tents glowing as the day began to loose its light was more than a welcome sight.

Water collection, tent allocation and final preparations underway for tomorrows race day. A mug of hot tea warms as the departing of the sun takes the heat away and the temperature slowly drops… little by little venturing to zero and then suddenly it drops below. ‘Don’t worry’ Pasang Sherpa says, ‘it will only be -3 tonight.’

 

Day 1 commences at 0900 Thursday 13th November.

ETR Stg1

Jiri (1850m) to Bhandar (2050m) – 21.5km 3795m+

The stage has two summits, one at 2400m and the high point of the day at Deurali Pass 2700m before descending to the finish at Bhandar.

Day 2 Preview:

ETR Stg2

ETR Stg2 Profile