A committee is to get to the bottom of it. Since Friday, new guidelines for helicopter rescue have been in force in Nepal, with which the government wants to prevent insurance fraud with “fake rescue flights” in the future. A “Tourist Search and Rescue Committee” will monitor all rescue operations. The committee includes representatives of the ministries of home and of health as well as of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and the tourist police. Helicopter companies, expedition and trekking agencies, hospitals and insurance companies are now obliged to provide all details of rescue flights and medical care as well as insurance invoices in a timely manner so that the committee can review them. In the event of irregularities, the committee is also responsible for punishing the black sheeps in the sector.
Date3. September 2018 | 15:36
TagsCAAN, Fake rescue flights, Helicopter rescue, HRA, Insurance fraud, Nepal, Nepalese Government, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, NMA
The air is getting thinner for those in Nepal who feather their beds with fake rescue flights. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, international insurance companies have set an ultimatum until 1 September to put an end to these illegal activities. Otherwise, they no longer want to cover the costs of helicopter rescue flights. The Nepalese government plans to set up a police unit in the Tourism Ministry that is to manage all rescues.
Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, who has been coordinating rescue on Mount Everest since 2003 as base camp manager of the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), is sceptical. “Police officers are no specialists”, tells me the 37-year-old, who was trained as a helicopter rescuer in Switzerland in 2012. Similar comments are made by Maurizio Folini: “The solution is not practicable. The police have no idea how to save people in the mountains.” The 53-year-old helicopter pilot from Italy is a pioneer for rescue flights on the eight-thousanders in Nepal. Since 2011 Folini has been flying regularly on the highest mountains in the world, in 2013 he managed the highest longline helicopter rescue of all time when he brought down a Nepalese climber from 7,800 meter on Everest.
Date26. August 2018 | 17:22
TagsFake rescue flights, HRA, Insurance fraud, Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, Maurizio Folini, mountain rescue, Nepal, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Regierung, Rettungsflüge, Trekking
No more permits for solo climbers, blind and double amputees – following the argument of the Nepalese government, this makes the highest mountains in the world safer. A look at the facts shows that a sledgehammer is to be used to crack a nut. For example, let’s take a look at what’s happening on Mount Everest. The Himalayan Database (now freely accessible to all, thus also to the government of Nepal) has so far recorded 1967 expeditions to the highest mountain in the world. Of these, only six – say 0.3 percent – were classified as solo expeditions.
Date3. January 2018 | 18:12
TagsAlaina B. Teplitz, blind climber, Disabled climbers, Everest rules, Hari Budha Magar, Himalayan Database, Mount Everest, Nepal, solo ascent
Santa Claus has brought an early Christmas gift for mountain lovers from all over the world. Since today, the new version of the Himalayan Database, the electronic “Bible of Expedition Mountaineering in Nepal”, can be downloaded for free. Till now a CD ROM had to be bought to use the archive. Initially, the possibility to free download this extensive data collection should have been available already in November. However, there was a slight delay because the American Richard Salisbury, who added the data of the 2017 spring season, still had to wait for information on the Sherpas’ summit successes.
Date5. December 2017 | 13:34
TagsBilli Bierling, Expeditions, Free download, Himalayan Database, Jerevan Shrestha, Nepal, Richard Salisbury, Rodolphe Popier, Tobias Pantel
Mountain rescuers in the Alps often complain about climbers or hikers, who overestimate their abilities, suddenly can not move neither forward nor back and have to be rescued from this precarious situation on the mountain. That’s what happened to a young couple from Taiwan, who were on a trekking tour in the mountains of Nepal, more precisely in Langtang, without a guide. The two had been missing for 47 days. Now rescuers found the 21-year-old man lying unconsciously in a cave at the foot of a rock, his 19-year-old girlfriend was dead. According to the Taiwanese she had died three days earlier.
Date27. April 2017 | 16:24
You can’t just set off. If you want to climb am mountain in Nepal you should check the rules beforehand, otherwise you might experience a nasty surprise. Like the three Spanish climbers, who recently opened new routes on two six-thousanders. They were under way without permits, now the authorities in Kathmandu are investigating the case. They are facing a stiff fine and a 10-year-ban from mountaineering in Nepal. My compassion for the Spaniards is limited. I find their justification (“We are not pirates, we have left our money in Nepal at all”) flimsy. If you follow this argumentation, you could bilk any national park fee worldwide. Nonetheless there have been some construction sites the Nepalese “mountain management” for a long time, which are allegedly worked on but whose status does not change.
Date6. December 2016 | 17:22
TagsAma Dablam, Expeditions, Liaison officers, Nepal, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, NMA, Permit, Thundu Sherpa, Tim Mosedale
It’s like handling a water butt. The amount of rainfall is not manageable. If you want to prevent the butt from overflowing, you must drain the water. According to this model, the water level of Imja Tsho has now been lowered by a total of 3.40 meters over a period of two months. The glacial lake in the Everest region, which is almost 150 meters deep in some places, has steadily expanded over the last few years as a result of climate change, and has become a threat to the downstream villages, especially the nearby located Chukhung and Dingboche. A bursting of the natural dam at an altitude of about 5,000 meters could have devastating consequences. Soldiers from the Nepalese army were involved in the construction work for the canal, via which a total of four billion liters of water were drained. According to the government in Kathmandu, “an estimated 96,562 people, including tourists” – for this exact estimate Nepal earns an entry in the Guinness Book of Records 😉 – are expected to benefit from the project, which cost about three million US dollars and was funded by the United Nations. Daene McKinney, professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, was on site and has replied to my questions.
Professor McKinney, you were involved in the Imja Lake lowering project in the Everest region. How dangerous did you assess the situation before starting to drain the water?
Date28. November 2016 | 17:36
The numbers fill Ang Tshering Sherpa with confidence. “We hope that mountaineering in Nepal will revive very soon,” says the President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) when we meet at the International Mountain Summit in Bressanone in South Tyrol. According to his words, expeditions to Nepalese mountains higher than 6,500 meters, which are managed by the government, have already achieved 87 percent compared with the time before the devastating earthquake in April 2015. Climbing on mountains lower than 6,500 meters, managed by the NMA, has even fully recovered. Trekking is between 40 and 50 percent again, depending on the region, the head of the NMA says: “We need to let the world know that the best way to help Nepal is by visiting. Each and every person who spends time in Nepal will help to revive the economy and rebuild the infrastructure.”
Date15. October 2016 | 22:00
TagsAng Tshering Sherpa, Asian Trekking, Everest rules, Faked summit pictures, IMS, Liaison officers, Mount Everest, Nepal, Nepalese Government, NMA
A landslide in the trekking area around the eight-thousander Manaslu has killed three Nepalese and a Spanish tourist yesterday, the authorities said. Six other members of the trekking group were seriously injured in the accident in Gorkha District. Among the dead is Dorjee Lama Sherpa, a well-known mountaineer in Nepal. The 35-year-old was the President of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA).
Date23. September 2016 | 10:21
Certainly they won’t be the most elegant skiers on Mera Peak, but motivation and enthusiasm will surely not be missing. Six Nepalese mountain guides have set out to ski down the 6476-meter-high “trekking peak” in Nepal in September. They will be accompanied by two ski instructors from Europe, German Julius Seidenader and Austrian Michael Moik. What’s remarkable: The Nepalese have been for the very first time on skis only last February. “I am confident that they will be able to ski down along with us,” says Julius.
Date25. August 2016 | 21:06
TagsExpedition, Julius Seidenader, Mera Peak, Michael Moik, Nepal, Rolwaling, Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal, Ski course, Ski instructor, Ski school, Utsav Pathak
There are things that simply cannot be understood. Like the recent decision of the Nepalese Tourism Ministry. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times”, the Ministry refused to issue the compulsory summit certificates to all Climbing Sherpas who scaled Mount Everest this spring season.
Date15. July 2016 | 16:07
TagsCertificate, Climbing Sherpas, Himalayan Times, Mount Everest, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Zertifikat
When I saw the Beetle, I knew I was right. I knew the street, but had no house number, only a rough description of where Miss Hawley is living in Kathmandu. But there it stood in the courtyard: the light blue VW Beetle, built in 1963. “The car is right, of course. Those Beetles are just incredible durable,” says the legendary chronicler of Himalayan mountaineering. For decades, the US-American has driven with the light blue car in front of the hotels in Kathmandu to interview climbers about their expeditions in the Himalayas. However, the 92-year-old is no longer driving her Beetle by herself, she has a driver. “I can’t drive a car with a walker”, says Elizabeth Hawley and grins. Since she broke her hip, she is not quite as mobile as before.
Date5. April 2016 | 9:46
TagsBilli Bierling, Earthquake, Elizabeth Hawley, Himalayan Database, Miss Hawley, Mount Everest, VW Beetle
He is one of the Sherpas who stay well clear of Mount Everest this year. “I simply haven’t got the time,” says Dawa Sherpa Gyaljen, when I meet him in a cafe in Kathmandu during my visit Nepal. The 29-year-old is working for a trekking operator. “Maybe I’ll get the chance in 2017 again. I have been asked if I would lead an Everest team next year. Let’s see whether I can take as much vacation.” The Sherpa, who was born in the Khumbu region in a small village west of Namche Bazaar, has reached the highest point on earth already four times: in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The upcoming spring season could set the course for the future, Dawa believes.
Date2. April 2016 | 8:00
TagsDawa Gyaljen Sherpa, Earthquake, Khumbu Icefall, Lawinenunglück, Mount Everest, Nepal, Sherpas, Spring season
Perfect timing. Just when we reach the 5380-meter-high summit of Gokyo Ri, the clouds around the top of Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu turn orange. „The mountains are burning“, our guide Dipak Giri says. Step by step the first sunlight also meets the other summits around us: the eight-thousander Cho Oyu, the six-thousanders Cholatse, Kantega, Thamserku and in the distance Gaurishankar. A 360-degree panorama which is without equal. We were the only ones, who set off from Gokyo at 4,770 meters at 4 a.m. to admire this unique spectacle. Now we are sitting below the prayer flags and hardly believe our eyes.
Date22. March 2016 | 12:35
Phurba Tashi is a man of few words. The 45-year-old replies friendly but shortly. “This year, I will definitely not climb Mount Everest”, Phurba tells me when we sit down for a few minutes on a bench in front of his “Tashi Friendship Lodge” in the village of Khumjung. Actually, he has no time to talk to me because his family has gathered for a religious ceremony to commemorate Phurba’s parents who both died in the past six months. Some Buddhist monks have come to his Lodge. “The death of my parents is also the reason why I renounce the ascent this time,” says Phurba.
Date18. March 2016 | 15:00
TagsApa Sherpa, Himalayan Experience, Khumjung, Mount Everest, Phurba Tashi, record, Tashi Friendship Lodge, Yeti skull