Tags / Mountains
Hikers in the Twin Lakes National Park, Negros, Philippines.
View on Twin Lakes National Park, Southern Negros, Philippines.
This video shows an explosion at a weapons depot located in the Nuqum Mountain, in the outskirts of Yemen's capital Sanaa, on 1 June 2015.
Every year around 50,000 trekkers trek around the Annapurna Massif making it one of the more popular treks in the world. Despite the number of trekkers introducing tourism as a stable source of income in the region, some of the inhabitants are still going about their business as they have done for hundreds of years. This collection is a visual journey following the Annapurna Circuit from Buhlebuhle to the world highest pass, the Thorong La Pass (5416 meters above sea level) and down to Muktinah on the other side depicting the scenery, while pausing to explore the life of the local inhabitants as they navigate in an ever changing world.
ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Old Nepalese woman carding wool on the main street of Muktinath (3800 meters altitude) 121 kilometres into the trek. As with Manang Muktinath is the main hub coming down from the pass and as such largely dependent on tourism.
Grandmother and grandchild at the former's shop in Muktinath (3800 meters altitude) 121 kilometres into the trek on 24 March 2015. With 50,000 tourists passing through Muktinath every year money has made Muktinath into a somewhat prosperous town and most inhabitants are in one way or another engaged in the tourists industry.
Thorong La Pass. 5416 meters above sea level and 111 kilometres into the trek on 23 March 2015. Highest point on the Annapurna Circuit and highest pass in the world.
The track to Thorang La Pass having passed 5,000 meters altitude on 23 March 2015.
The entrance to the village of Thorang Phedi at 4450 meters altitude 105 kilometres into the trek on 22 March 2015. The region had received more snow than in the preceding 30 years and the access to Thorang La Pass, the highest pass in the world, had been blocked until a few days before.
A cow on the slope of the Annapurna Massif after Manang at 3540 meters altitude 90 kilometres into the trek on 20 March 2015. Cows/Yaks still provide the people in the mountains with milk, cheese, meat, and wool. From Manang and onwards it is mostly just inhabited in the tourist season as the snow stops other activities most of the year.
The view from the village of Gunsang (3,700 meters altitude) of the peak of Gangapurna Himal on 20 March 2015.
The village of Yak Kharta at 4,050 meters 99 kilometres into the trek at night. Without light pollution the stars are highly visible in the sky.
Further up from Manang (3540 meters altitude) a woman is selling beads and religious figures to trekkers passing by flanked by a prayer wheel on 20 March 2015. Local production and sale of merchandise is another way to tap into the market generated by increasing tourism.
The village of Manang at 3540 meters altitude 90 kilometres into the hike. Manang is the main hub when heading for Thorong La Pass and as such packed with tea houses and restaurants. A bad snow storm killed at least 43 people in October 2014, and with heavy snowfall in the region in March 2015 the Nepalese authorities chose to close down the pass for a number of days in March until it was deemed safe to continue.
The village of Braga (3450 meters altitude) with the peaks of Annapurna III (7555 meters) and Gangapurna Himal (7454 meters) in the background on 19 March 2015.
Prayer flags at 4,300 meters altitude above the village of Bhraka (3450 meters altitude) 88 kilometres into the Hike on 19 March 2015. The peak of Annapurna III (7555 meters) is clearly visible in the background on 19 March 2015.
Bhraka located 3450 meters above sea level and 88 kilometers along the trail is a small town at the foothill of Annapurna III (7555 meters) and Ganggapurna (7454 meters). The village consists of a newer part along the road with tea houses and an old part clustered on the side of a small mountain. That progress has reach Bhraka is discernible by the number of satellite dishes on the roofs of the buildings in the old part of town (depicted).
Buddhist shrine on the way to Ghyaru (3730 meters altitude, 74 kilometers from start). Religion still plays an important part of many Nepalese's lives and shrines are found all along the trek.
At 2,710 meters altitude Chame lies 56 kilometres into the Annapurna Circuit trek. Chame, Nepal, 17 March 2015. Chame is a hub on the trek and houses numerous tea houses, which are mostly full during the peak season between September and November. Tourism in Nepal contributes just below 10% of GDP and employs around half a million people.
Trekkers trekking towards Upper Pisang at 3,310 meters altitude 70 kilometers into the hike on 17 March 2015. Trekkers have brought certain wealth to the region from the hiring of guides and porters to the numerous tea houses and restaurants that can be found along the route. With an expected 25 USD per person per day for just food and lodging the 50,000 trekkers are a source of survival for many Nepalese both in Kathmandu and around the Annapurna Massif.
Nepalese baby in Chame (2710 meters altitude), Nepal on a toy vehicle on 17 March 2015. As tourism creates jobs and a source of income an increase in the standard of living is discernible along the route. Many locals wear North Face (Fake), while the children play with modern toys.
Where before the Annapurna Circuit was accessible solely by foot, a road has now been build that makes it possible to move people and goods all the way to Chame (2710 meters altitude). The road has opened up for quicker access, but has also made it possible to bypass many small villages along the trek losing the family owned establishments precious income.
The village of Bhratang (2850 meters altitude, 63 kilometers from start). Along with the road the small villages along the trek have received power as well making life somewhat easier along the trek. The snowfall was particularly heavy this year, the worst in 30 years, making access to the villages more difficult and increasing the fear of lavines and landslides.
Nepalese lumberjacks cutting up trees on the slope of the Annapurna Massif close to the village of Chamche (1385 meters altitude) on 15 March 2015. Using depleteable natural resources like timber remain a source of income for many poor families in Nepal.
Little Nepalese girl breaking rocks for construction work on the slope of the Annapurna massif close to the village of Bahundanda at 1310 meters altitude on 14 March 2015. The Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular treks in the world and around 50,000 people hike around the massif per year.
Little Nepalese girl breaking rocks for construction work on the slope of the Annapurna massif close to the village of Bahundanda (1310 meters altitude). Despite the many tourists and the money it brings to the region the local residents still carry on as they have done for hundreds of years.
Old Nepalese woman carrying branches to her village on the slope of the Annapurna Massif close to the village of Ghermu (1130 meters altitude) on 14 March 2015. Some 30% of the Nepalese population live on less than half a dollar per day with poverty increasing the further away from Kathmandu you go. Most Nepalese live in the rural areas and depend on subsistence economy using the natural resources to provide for clothes, food, and heat.
Little girl turning stones to rubble on the slope of the Annapurne, Nepal on 14 March, 2015
March 11, 2015
Rebels and civilians in the Latamina area of northern Syria have taken to digging mountain shelters in order to protect themselves from government forces. A rebel battalion called Tajmmu al-Izza (Pride Gathering), aligned to the Free Syrian Army and operative in rural parts of Idlib and Hama provinces, is doing the bulk of the digging.
The ensuing network of artificial caves provides a base for combatants, as well as a shelter for the dwindling numbers of civilians who have not fled the area. These caves also house a field hospital and pharmacy with 30 meter walls and continue to serve civilians and fighters alike. On the other hand, any makeshift medical centers built above ground were routinely bombed by Assad forces, according to an interviewed rebel spokesman.
This video shows detailed scenes of workers digging one of these makeshift caves with only simple tools, a task that usually takes about 12-15 days to be completed. Footage also includes interviews with the spokesman and the head of Tajmmu al-Izza.
SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT
Wide of rebel vehicles outside cave
Wide of entry point to caves guarded by rebels
Wide of workers digging
Wide of worker taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers drilling rocks
Various of workers taking debris out using wheel barrow
Various of workers building protection wall to shield cave entrance from bomb shrapnel
Wide of makeshift pharmacy
Wide of nurse working in pharmacy
Wide of entrance and emergency room in makeshift medical center
Various of nurse handling medication
Various of medical workers setting up operation room
Close-up of nurse preparing injection
Various of medical worker setting up operation room
Interview with Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
Various/ cutaways of Ubada al-Hamwi
Various of makeshift medical center and other caves
Various of rebel fighters inside caves
Medium of batteries used to provide lighting
Various of rebels in an office inside a cave Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Interview with Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
Various/ Cutaways of Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ubada al-Hamwi, rebel spokesperson
05:26 – 07:22
“The hospital was built underground in a rocky cliff. The rocks above it are about 30 meters high. This was done because of the bombing carried out by the regime, using explosive barrels and rockets. There was a need for an underground hospital to be built in order to protect medical staff, as well civilians and [fighters] who are being treated from injuries.
The hospital has been established about 11 months ago. Most of the cases involve civilians injured in bombings. They could be injured by bomb shrapnel or suffer amputation. [The hospital provides] first aid to civilians. Fighters are usually treated from gunshots; undergo chest catheterization; and have shrapnel removed from their bodies as a result of mortar bombing. They also undergo surgery, which includes cutting the abdomen.
We needed a building that could protect doctors and medical workers, as well as the injured receiving treatment. An injured person feels more comfortable in a safe location.
Before we came up with this idea, we had an ordinary building that was repeatedly hit. We came up with this idea to provide the injured with safe and healthy conditions.
Digging was carried out using simple tools, such as drill compressors. The human effort involved was very large.”
07:02 – 07:22
“I am 23 years old. I studied Physics – I was in my second year at Tishreen University in Lattakia. I left university and joined the revolution since the outbreak of the early demonstrations.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Major Jamil al-Saleh, head of Tajmmu al-Izza Rebel Group
08:58 - 13:01
"We resorted to building underground shelters and caves to protect ourselves from the barbaric air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime. We went to the mountains because the altitudes above the caves are quite high. Caves have at least 20 or 30 meters of altitude above them. This provides more protection for our men and equipment. Hence, we have become able to last longer under air and artillery bombing carried out by the regime, thanks be to God. This gives us more strength, thanks to the thickness of the walls, which we can achieve by digging into hills.
The digging process… we are able to provide health services as well as electricity and water, but we face difficulty in providing these services. The means that we, rebels, have are limited. We do not have digging machinery. We are using simple tools. We do not have good means to provide fortification. We rely on manual labor. Our men are making a big effort.
We are accelerating our work, theerfore it takes about 12-15 days to finish a cave. By the end of this time caves would be ready for our men to use them. About 12-15 days, depending on the area of the cave.
Aircraft bomb field hospitals the moment they are discovered, whether these hospitals are used by fighters or locals civilians. This is done to exert pressure on the rebels' popular support base. We had to build hospitals in protected areas the same way we built headquarters.
"Thanks be to God, medical staff are able to carry out their work under bombing because of these hospitals. They serve the civilians – this is something that we care much about.
We are also protecting medical staff because we need them in the current war circumstances.
The number of caves is very large. Civilians as well as rebels have resorted to caves. Caves are everywhere because they protect us. It is difficult to remain in the northern part of Hama province without these caves.
We, as fighters, are able to follow up on our work thanks to God and these caves.
Civilians have to stay inside these caves to be able to live. They are not happy with this, but many people have no other alternative. They cannot leave the area. You saw the weather conditions that we experienced this year. There was a lot of rainfall and it was very cold. People suffered a lot.
Power is provided by generators and water is extracted from wells. The regime has stopped providing services, such as diesel and electricity. It is not only rebels; civilians suffer from this as well. There is no flour or bread. All of this is provided by aid organizations from Turkey because the regime has stopped offering these services two years ago.”
February 19, 2015
Sunni tribesmen, belonging to the Markha al-Alya tribe of the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa, announced today that they are closing their border with the neighboring al-Baydaa province. Situated to the west of Shabwa, al-Baydaa has been the scene of fierce battles between the Houthis and local tribesmen, who are trying to prevent the Houthis from advancing south.
In their announcement the Markha al-Alya tribe emphatically rejected the constitutional declaration of the Houthis and banned any military group from entering Shabwa. They have positioned their fighters along the border and installed sentries on the Farsha passage, the road which connects the neighboring provinces.
The tribesmen assured that they will defend their land to the death and not allow it to become a thoroughfare for Houthis and other armed groups to transport their soldiers and weapons. They are working in conjunction with the local authorities who support their mission to defend Shabwa.
Soundbite Sheikh Monser Salem al-Kabali, Tribal Leader (Man, Arabic)
"Based on the agreement among the tribe leaders, dignitaries and local authorities, we announce that we refuse the constitutional declaration made by the Houthis. We support the constitutionally legitimate authorities and will not accept any agreement outside the consensus among political powers in Yemen. Our stance regarding the Shabwa province follows that of the governor. It is guided by the governor of Shabwa as well as the security committee and the tribes in Shabwa and the regions of Hadramoot and Muhar al-Shabwa. We will stand against anyone who wants to use our province as a gate for chaos, whether they are armed militias, tribes or [any other] groups. We declare our support of the local authorities in the province in their bid to protect Shabwa borders from all directions."
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In Arizona Apache activists lead a 45 mile march culminating in an open-ended occupation of sacred land recently turned over to Resolution Copper for mining. In December Sen. John McCain attached a rider to the Defense Bill giving the 2,400 acre Oak Flat to the Rio Tinto subsidiary. This story follows several activists during the actions, beginning on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and through the occupation at Oak Flat.
Originally Oak Flat was part of the initial San Carlos Indian Reservation when it was established in 1872. As with much of the land surrounding the Reservation as it exists today, the land was taken away from the Apache Tribes parcel by parcel in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and given to an expanding mining industry. Oak Flat, however, unlike other parcels, was made exempt from mining in 1955 by an executive order issued by Pres. Dwight Eisenhower and was preserved as part of the Tonto National Forest. December's legislation effectively overturns that executive order.
The Apache now living on the San Carlos Reservation are not traditionally from that specific area. Apache tribes lived in the surrounding mountains, including the area of Oak Flat, before being defeated by the US Calvary and driven onto the Reservation in the late 1800s. The Reservation was originally a prison camp. Oak Flat is one of several sites that was once Apache land but has long since been out of the tribes' control. For countless generations the site has been considered a holy place in their native religion. In addition to it being an ancestral home of the Apache, Oak Flat is also a burial site; a place to gather acorns as part of a traditional fall ritual; and a location for the Sunrise Ceremony, the coming-of-age ceremony for young Apache women, among other traditions.
What makes the Oak Flat mining project especially controversial is the method of mining that will be used, called "block cave mining." At Oak Flat, the copper ore lies more than a mile beneath the surface. In contrast to conventional mining practices, "block cave" essentially digs deep and removes all of the matter from a site - copper ore, earth, waste, etc. - and the top eventually caves in on top of the cavern. This is a far cheaper but far more destructive process. Once the mine is in full operation no one will be permitted to access Oak Flat - not campers, climbers, and hikers; not the Apache who consider it a sacred place. And according to Resolution Copper itself, as the entire surface collapses Oak Flat will eventually be destroyed.
With 18 lifts and 18 kilometers of slopes, Mzaar Kfardebian is one of the biggest ski resorts in the Middle East. Located between 1600 and 2 800 meters of altitude and only 44 kilometers north from Beirut, the station is also one of Lebanon’s greatest open secrets. It host up to 100 000 visitors each year, including many tourists from Arab countries. “Lebanon is special because the sea is very close to the slopes. In April, you can go skiing in the morning and to the beach in the afternoon”, explains Christian Rizk, Executive Director of the station, proudly. “Mzaar Kfardebian can be compared to a small ski resort in Europe”, he adds. Open since the beginning of the sixties, Mzaar Kfardebian was developed into a modern resort in 1992, after the end of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1991). It’s owners have since then invested millions of dollars to make it as modern as any ski resort in the Alps, although the resort has kept its Middle Eastern charm, with visitors tanning while enjoying a shisha and playing “dabke” (traditional Lebanese drum) at the bottom of the slopes.
Article available upon request in English and French.
Photo gallery of Sally Greige, Miss Lebanon 2014, who was at the center of an international controversy after allegedly being 'photo-bombed' by Miss Israel at the Miss Universe beuaty pageant in Miami. Lebanon and Israel are technically in a state of war and Lebanese citizens are banned from having contact with Israelis.
Dust rises above the village. The Pamir Mountains are a snowless desert. For Europeans dust is associated with the scorching sweltering summer, cracked earth parched by the sun. Here it is dusty all the time until the first snow falls.
A calm afternoon in the village. Women sit in front of their houses. Here, houses are built with stones and clay mixed with straw. A roof is the most expensive part of a house as people need to import wood from Kirgizstan. During soviet times, it was not so expensive as it is now as it was imported from Siberia.
Sarabdek looks at his village. Roshorv is beautifully located village on a high mountain plateau. It is the biggest village in the Bartang Valley. 3 000 people live there in 165 houses. People came here 4 or 5 centuries ago from a village located below Yapshorv, which was slowly eroded away by the roaring Bartang River. Previously, there was only alpine pasture.
Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.
To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.
Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.
The leftovers from the yak.