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November-December 2010

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Weatherscapes

Kathmandu—Base Camp for the Roof of the World

Kathmandu is both a destination for and gateway to adventure. Visitors from around the globe have been traveling to Kathmandu for decades—some pass through on their way to the high Himalayan giants like Everest and Annapurna, others simply immerse themselves in the culture of Kathmandu itself.

Kathmandu lies literally at the crossroads of weather extremes. Just under 100 miles to the northeast, 100-mph winds can scour the upper slopes of Mount Everest and its high neighbors. At the same time, Nepal's lowlands, just 100 miles to the southwest of Kathmandu, can be flooded by drenching rains from the monsoon. And while Kathmandu can experience heavy monsoonal rains as well as cold temperatures and high winds in the winter, the densely populated city remains under balmy conditions most of the year. Its proximity to such disparate weather, while remaining relatively clement itself, makes Kathmandu a fascinating case study, climatologically speaking.

ED DARACK is an independent writer and photographer. Visit his Web site at www.darack.com.

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