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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Trekking in the Kingdom of Bhutan"

by Erik F. Shores - Bio

The Kingdom of Bhutan, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is a small landlocked country bordered by Tibet on the north and northwest and surrounded by northern India. High Himalayan peaks form the western and northern boundaries and Bhutan's elevation ranges from 100 to 7541 m. In fact, Gangkhar Puensum, on the disputed border with China and the country's highest point, is widely recognized as the world's highest unclimbed peak.

Military checkpoint.

Los Alamos Mountaineering Club (LAMC) member Erik Shores was fortunate to visit Bhutan in May 2010 and will discuss the trip during February's meeting. He will share pictures from the Druk Path, one of the countries popular trekking destinations, and his travels around Paro and Thimphu, the capital. High mountain climbing has been banned since 2004 and Shores will discuss the history of mountaineering in a country that didn't really open to foreign tourists until 1974.

Tiger's Nest, a monastery reputedly held on to the cliff face by the hairs of angels.

The Royal Government of Bhutan is famous for the concept of Gross National Happiness in lieu of GNP and also requiring visitors travel with a prepaid and pre-planned itinerary. In the spirit of "high value, low impact" this second point comes with a daily fee of $200-250 USD per person! Travel logistics will obviously be discussed.

Chile from the Paro market; hot dishes are ubiquitous and this
New Mexican was at home!

Erik Shores has been a member of the Mountaineers since 1998 when he took the LAM climbing school with friends Bill Geist and Lori Daane. He's climbed and hiked extensively around the western states with close friends and fellow mountaineers and, when convenient, collects state highpoints. Erik enjoys trail running and long solo hikes in the wilderness; two favorite spots in New Mexico are the Truchas and Latir Peaks. Traveling to coastal areas provides opportunities for sea kayaking and diving. A snowboarder since 1999, he took his first ski lesson at Pajarito Mountain in March 2010. In short, regarding outdoor pursuits, he fashions himself as a jack of all trades and master of none.

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