The flyer mission has now been completed and the SAR Dogs Nepal team has returned safely. We have received a report from Karna and would like to share this with you. The photos are made by Karna himself. SAR Dogs have been in different villages nearby and on the Dhaulagiri and have come to something after Italian Basecamp (over 3600m).
People involved from SAR Dogs Nepal (in random order): Jit Bahadur Masrangi Magar (director), Laxman Chaudhary, Karna Bahadur Dura, Bikram Ranabhat and porter Man Bahadur Gharti. And also Prinsa, 7 month old labrador.
On May 24th, SAR Dogs Nepal Team drove to Beni from Pokhara. The team met with police S.I. Hira Thapa Magar at District Police Station, Beni and updated about Christiaan’s case and also gave some flyers. He told us that he will spread flyers among other police posts. After this we drove up to Tatopani. On the way we gave flyers to the locals, students and hung flyers in public places and houses. After lunch in Tatopani, we drove to Dharapani (before Takam), spread flyers to the people and hung on wall of the houses, spoke with locals if they have found some stuffs as seen on flyer. After this we drove to Takam and met with Police from Police Post, Takam. Most of the police from this region were new so didn’t know much about Christiaan. After conversation with Takam police we headed to Muna Village. We spread some flyers to the youth whom we met at school of Muna Village and to the locals.
Karna (right) with a policeman of Tatopani
We drove next to Mudi Village where the new road ends then the team splitted. Jit and Laxman drove back to Pokhara and Karna, Bikram and Porter continued their way towards Mudi Village. After walking for an half and hr we stopped at Mudi Village. We spread flyers to the people we met. We also met with a German guy and gave him the flyer. He was planning to go back to Darbang. We had only very short talk with him because he only asked us for the way to Darbang. From Mudi, we continued going towards Naura. We stopped at Naura for Lunch. We gave some flyers to the owner of Naura hotel so that he can also spread flyers to other people. After lunch we started going. We reached Bagar and planned to stay there. We visited other houses in that area and spread flyers.
Villagers from Mudi looking at flyer hung on Wooden wall of a small local shop.
We started going towards Doban. We knew that the hotel in Italian Basecamp is still opening because there are more than 55 people are constructing the foot trail up to Swiss Camp. We talked with people we met with, spread flyers to them. We stopped at Dhapcha for lunch. The weather was bit bad. It was slightly raining before we reach Doban. We reached Doban and stayed there that night.
We moved towards Italian Basecamp. The weather on this day was good. We found that the river’s water level was high as compared to last time. Though the locals repaired the foottrail, in some places it was damaged by the rain water. We stopped before Sallaghari where we met with a local Buffalo Herder. We gave him flyer and asked him if he or other people from that area found some stuffs as shown on picture on flyer. He didn’t heard or found anything.
Local Buffalo Herder next to Sallaghari area where we stopped by for short break.
After a short break, we walked towards Italian Basecamp. We reached Italian basecamp around 1:30 PM. After a short rest, we walked towards Swiss Camp to see the area. Unfortunately weather became worse, started raining so we returned back to Italian basecamp. But we took several pictures from below Swiss camp.
Landslide area just above Italian camp with new route.
The river view below Swiss camp with new foot trail
The locals made the route much better than before and in some parts they had changed the route. We met with all the locals in the evening. We gave flyers to them and told about Christiaan and what he had brought with him for the expedition.
Locals at Italian basecamp gathered in the evening after they returned back from work.
We talked with the owner from the Italian Basecamp. He told us that there had happened an accident last October. A Nepali porter fell down from the Icy cliff which is below Japanese camp and washed away by the river. He was recovered only after a month nearby Swiss camp. The body was stuck in between two big stone and the Helicopter came and took him to Kathmandu. We found much snow this year in this region. The owner from the Italian Basecamp said that there is much snow above Swiss camp. We also noticed that there is much ice above the river next to Italian camp.
We returned back from Italian Basecamp. We came up to Bagar on that day. On the way we met with other Indian tourists. We told them about Christiaan too so that they can look around for Christiaan’s belongings. We stayed at Bagar.
We moved down towards Naura from Bagar. We met with a family from Mudi who went for collecting Yashragumba (Himalayan medicinal herbs) in the Himalaya. We informed them about Christiaan too. At Naura we had our lunch then continued till Kaleni and stayed there. On the way we met with several people from these areas so informed them about Christiaan and his belongings. Most of them knew about this case.
A couple who were returning to their home after collecting Yashragumba got our flyers.
We walked towards Darbang. We spread flyers to the people whom we met on the way. We reached Darbang and went to the Police station. We gave the overleft flyers to them so that they can spread to the locals too. The officer was happy to help us. From Darbang we drove by local taxi to Tatopani and then had our lunch. Then we went by Taxi to Beni and visited the Beni Police Station again. We updated them about Christiaan after this we drove to Pokhara by our jeep.
While we were talking about Christiaan and his belongings to the locals, some locals advised us if we can provide rewards incase someone find belongings of Christiaan. There may also come legal issue regarding the stuffs finding. People may become victim of it so mostly don’t showed interest in search of the stuffs while they are on their daily life work around that area, specially the river banks. But some said that they will inform Beni police or to SAR Dogs Nepal if they find any stuff related to Christiaan. We hope this may bring positive result sooner or later.
Links to earlier posts on this website about the area:
It’s almost 2 years ago since Christiaan left for his trip to Dhaulagiri mountain in the Himalayas, Nepal. Unfortunately he is still missing since May 16 2016.
Everyone has his own way to cope with the missing of Christiaan, with his own conclusions. What everybody has in common however, is the love for Christiaan, who has left such an unforgettable impression with so many people..
Looking forward: keep the search alive It’s tough to keep the search alive when there are no specific ideas for new search operations. After such a long time it’s impossible to search for trails. We do hope that if something (like trails or gear) of Christiaan will be found, the local people or trekkers will link it to Christiaan. And that we of course hear of it. There will be people passing through the area in the trekking seasons. We want to make sure that everybody there knows about the missing of Christiaan. We will spread a document with his photo, information and gearlist to different places in the area such as the police station in Beni and Italian Camp on the Dhaulagiri Mountain. He is also mentioned at www.missingtrekker.com.
Want to help us? Do you want to help us spread the information about Christiaan in the area or do you have other tips, please let us know through the contact page.
It’s slowly getting more quiet. There are less messages, less ideas for further search. Last week, we came back from Nepal as the last group. All nine friends have returned now, landed at Schiphol airport, without Christiaan. Life goes on.
Unfortunately, at the moment it is too dangerous to continue searching around the Swiss camp/Italian camp. So with a group of Dutch people we decided to stop looking in he area of Beni. In any case, chances that Christiaan has arrived there are very small. The search by Westerners may also backfire. The same questions you ask, they will ask you.
Our presence in Nepal during the last weeks enabled us to create very good contacts with the right people over there. The locals are well aware of the disappearance of Christiaan. If tips come in, we can ask Saron to further investigate. However, we should review all tips we get critically. The amount of $ 500 triggers people to respond, regardless of whether they saw something. If we promised more money, all of Nepal would start calling us.
And what now? Do we keep searching when the monsoon is over in September? Who? How? With what kind of techniques? These are the questions we are considering right now. If you have any ideas that might help us, please let us know through our tips page.
We are meeting each other at the Yak hotel in Beni. Ruben has gone to meet Paul this morning and I expect them to arrive along with two guys from Sardog. John and Ben are coming from Tukuche. They went to the army in Jomsom yesterday and have spent the night at Patrick from Dutch Bakery in Tukuche. They will be arriving shortly as well. For the first time, all five will be in one hotel. I am looking forward to this and can’t wait to hear their stories.
The previous days have been filled mainly with taking small taxis over impossible roads. There are generally three roads crossing the valley. The road from Beni towards Marpha and Jomsom, Marpha is where the trail towards Base camp of the Dhaulagiri starts. The road from Beni towards Tacam, the trail from Base camp via Italian camp back down the mountain runs along part of this road. And the road from Beni towards Pokhara. One can take a bus or airplane to Katmandu from Pokhara, where the international airport is located.
Flyers in hand and with the taxi driver’s help, who spoke some English, we stopped at every house, in every hamlet and at every village.
“This is our friend, he is missing. Have you seen him? Can we leave a flyer here?”
We received all the cooperation the local people had to offer. They listened intently and discussed things among themselves. Sometimes, we were redirected to other people. We were allowed to post flyers nearly everywhere. At hospitals and police stations, at the place where people meet in the village (often a tree) and at tourist checkpoints or in the local buses. Sometimes people would think they recognized Christiaan, giving us hope. Each time, the track led to a dead end…
The situation is known in the valley. Thank you, Karna and his colleagues at Sardog. Thank you, Facebook.
The search in Nepal brought together hope and despair. But in a weird way also a privileged knowing.
Privileged to know Christiaan as a friend.
Privileged to be doing this with so many people.
For that reason, Christiaan!
Christiaan, thank you!
“When was the last time you saw something for the first time?”
When we realized that – even for Christiaan – things had been silent for too long and we decided to travel to Nepal ourselves, Robin of the NKBV (Royal Dutch Mountaineering Society) said that he advised against going, but that he understood. I agreed with him, the facts weren’t on our side and what would we be able to achieve there, without a plan, and never having been in Nepal before. We were realistic and hopeful when we started the trip. Even before we departed, we were supported by a rich network of acquaintances in Europe and Nepal who were able to connect us to the right people locally. We were reaching the limit of the insurance budget, and you collected funds for a new budget, and the app group put forward ideas like using a dog team. Within a short period of time, we found the right people to help us. A day after we arrived, we were on our way to Dhaulagiri, and although I too wanted to take out my hiking boots and get as close as possible, I found my place surrounded by laptop and telephones, together with everyone in the valley, and Felix, John and Ben who also came to help search.
It’s good to know that we were able to search alongside and to connect with so many special people in Nepal, both familiar faces and new ones. We experienced a great deal of personal involvement. The rescue team SARON, SARDogs dog team, MAF Nepal, police in Beni, Mountain Warfare Army School in Jomsom, Air Zermatt, embassies, hotel owners, taxi drivers, helicopter pilots, hostel owners and many others. I’d like to acknowledge by name: Karna, Suraj, Pemba, Tchering, Patrick, Gagan, Kari, Gerco, Stan, Menno, Gerald and Spiderman (Paul might know his real name). The concern and involvement from climbers in the Netherlands, both famous and less well-known, was also a special experience.
It’s very difficult to understand what happened. We were able to get answers to questions that had been raised by various possible and impossible scenarios, both from other climbers and from organizations on the mountain. And by seeing the area with our own eyes, and feeling it. But the reality is also that we don’t know where Chris is. That is very hard.
Whether or not the trip was useful isn’t something that crosses our minds. Even though we’ve returned without Chris, it was the only and best thing we could do, being there ourselves. For Chris, for all of you, and for ourselves. Over the last days, I spoke with Paul about what a strange luxury and privilege it was for us, to be there and to not have to worry about work. I want to thank you all for that. Though we’re missing Chris, it makes all the difference to me to have been there together. The consul told us that, during her 20 years in Nepal, she’d never witnessed a comparable gathering of initiatives, energy and professionalism. That doesn’t bring back Chris, but I know that it’s significant.
It was very good to meet Pieter, Sander, Michel and HP a few days before we left, and to spend time together. It was a hard day, leaving and adjusting to being back home, and shifting gears from energetic endeavors to a period of rest.
“When was the last time you saw something for the first time?”, is written on one of my most important climbing photos with Chris. Since he took me to Switzerland 15 years ago and I first laid eyes on the four-thousanders in the Alps, this was at the core of heading out on the trails. After a few days of bad weather in Nepal, I saw the 8,000 meter high peaks on the horizon for the first time and had that same sensation.
In the time ahead, I hope that everyone will see new things.
Those mornings in Nepal, when it was still nighttime in the Netherlands and a flight was about to depart, this melody and text connected me to everyone at home and in Nepal and with the certainty that everything would be okay, now or in the future.. – https://youtu.be/-025lhWCXLE