Monday, December 4, 2017

Who Pays for Corruption in Nepal?

The following is a response to an excerpt from Nation Swell from May, 2017, PERSPECTIVE ON POVERTY: A SYSTEMATIZED APPROACH TO IMPROVING HEALTHCARE

"there’s a fair amount of political will and a lot of interest in building a system of universal health care [in Nepal]" says Mr. Mark Arnoldy (salary unknown), Aid Agent at Possible Health

“POLITICAL WILL” with “A LOT OF INTEREST” exists because of resources brought by foreigners trying to engage in and ultimately change Nepal—typically without a mandate from the people themselves. Simply, money piques “POLITICAL WILL” of ruling gangsters—precisely, the people subjugating the country.

Unfortunately, this has been happening in Nepal for 60+ years. Instead of a dazzling Himalayan nation, Nepal is faltering in nearly every way--failing from the corruption, malfeasance and lack of development (ironically fueled by ‘aid’) and all the ills associated with a severe lack of development.


Few of the never-ending troops of foreign invaders, to none, seem to be the wiser as to the ultimate source of Nepal’s unceasing tragedy.

In fact, most foreign agents arrive to Kathmandu with little to no language and culture skills and unwittingly fall for the same old counter-effective strategies and activities that have kept Nepal in a pickle jar for decades. They end up playing into the hands of elite ruling gangsters (necessarily disguised as helpful participants, advisors, assistants, etc.). The deadly paradigm is thereby perpetuated no matter how hopeful the intentions of interlopers.

All the while, foreign agents collect massive salaries (tax-free) and are provided for in ways that elevate them to the very highest echelon of a society that they traveled overseas to change. In fact, the largest beneficiaries of ‘aid’ are the aid agents themselves and ruling gangsters that siphon off funds to become even more powerfully entrenched.

Meanwhile, the unrepresented people of Nepal face lethal suffering due to lack of development, lack of opportunity and chronic poverty and all its horrific ills including poor health. Nepalis are fleeing their homeland in droves for lack of opportunity at home wrought by dysfunctional rulers abetted by endless aid schemes. Most escape to countries rife with human rights issues, especially for migrant workers (including India, Malaysia and Gulf countries—can you imagine flinging yourself into a hard-labour job in these countries?). Over thirty Nepalis a month arrive back to Nepal sealed-up in cadaver bags and who knows how many return with life-changing disabilities. Any doubt about who pays for corruption -- even with lifeblood?

Well, who is to blame? Unfortunately, the aid sector with massive funding and immense power warps “POLITICAL WILL” (including the labyrinthine UN, World Bank, USAID, DFID—full of faceless bureaucrats--and countless others operating in Nepal—too many to keep track of, in fact there is no supervision of these entities overmastering Nepal other than toothless internal reviews, if that. Apparently, changing Nepal is too irresistible for this cadre of well-paid, well-fed farangs. Perhaps it’s the massive salaries, perks and social merit points that help them overlook their twisted effects on a would be paradise and its people!

One thing remains certain, political power of the elite class has held Nepal and its people hostage for centuries. Presently, with money, power and position, the ruling class, underwritten by ‘aid’, ruthlessly wields leverage and power over a long-oppressed people.

This may come as news to aid interlopers -- Nepalis are talented and capable enough to do everything that foreigner operators are trying to do and much more – if given the chance. They know what they themselves want and need most and they know exactly what to do, too. Unfortunately, they don’t have any opportunity at all. They are smothered by a ruling class abetted by foreign entities.

To have a chance, the people need the path cleared. They need cleared out of their way all of the corrupt, non-transparent, dysfunctional, self-serving bureaucrats and elite gangsters—an impossibility when these are the very wrong people that are deeply embedded and their domination is buoyed by foreigners handing over aid funds and thereby greater and greater means to power and control.

The ruling class and the aid sector hold total sway and use it in self-serving ways rather than empowering local people to chase their own dreams with their own talents and capabilities. Again, the biggest beneficiaries of ‘aid’ are aid entrepreneurs themselves and ruling gangsters that siphon off funds and become more powerfully entrenched—all to the lethal detriment of the people.

The people want nothing less than freedom and the right to chase their own dreams and goals with their own abilities and talents. Instead, they have 6+ decades of extra-bureaucrats in the form of ‘aid’ workers intervening and intermingling with the gangsters without knowing any better. They seemingly have an endless amount of time and funding, again, funding going to precisely the wrong cronies as well as their own fat wallets. INGOs underwrite dysfunctional ruling crocodiles and the indefinite tragedy roils on and on and on…indefinitely it seems--have the bad guys won out completely and in the process Nepal has become a failed state?

What will it take for the aid industry to get the message…will it tragically take more suffering and more death?


For more on this topic, please see: Great Himalayan Fairy Tale

#Nepal #GlobalDev #DeadAid #deadbeat #donordarlings #aid #SDGs #corruption

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Indefinite nightmare...

Will more Nepal lovers call out the deadly indefinite-aid nightmare?

Meanwhile, social engineering warps and destroys the culture to point of no recovery?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Khumbu Update

Khumbu Municipality invalidates TAAN/NTB TIMS fees in lieu of a local fee for local development

If government/governance is inescapable, then the more localized a governing body, the better, more informed, more responsible a governing body

Otherwise, of what benefit for local Khumbu-ites to NTB/TAAN/outsider fees--a financial barrier to visiting their dazzling corner of Himalayan Nirvana?

Up next, Annapurna, Langtang, Manaslu and so on...?

#SHERPAstrong #Khumbu #Everest #MoneySquabble

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Boondoggle Destination Nepal...?

Indefinite 'aid' cannot offer or achieve what Nepal needs most: clean and fair governance including open, free markets. 

Does 'aid' fuel more lethal corruption 💀 and deathly dysfunction ðŸ’€...?

Has decades of aid's social engineering destroyed a culture, warping it to a point of no recovery?

Friday, September 8, 2017


"The evil is not in bread and circuses per se, but the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease." -Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Unbelievable words from Dixiecrat-in-Chief, Ol' Slick Willy and the US Congress erupts with applause and a standing ovation:


If so-called 'aid' isn't working foremost for clean, transparent, effective governance (what Nepal needs most along with free markets), then is it part of a very lethal system? 

Q: With millions upon millions of talented Nepalese, why is the #aid industry, operated chiefly by foreign interlopers (many of whom know little to no Nepalese language and culture--some do), the most lucrative industry in Nepal?

A: Poor governance. In other words, dysfunctional ruling gangsters abetted by indefinite aid schemes, colluding together (wittingly or otherwise). The result is oppression of millions upon millions of talented Nepalese.

⚡️⚡️⚡️Kathmandu Valley ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Kathmandu Valley finally has a steady stream of electric power--not through international --through clean governance


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Aid-Ridden Haiti and Beyond

Sadly, from years of observation in aid-ridden Nepal, this article on extreme malfeasance by aid agents in Haiti is more the norm than exception in the world of aid and development.
Aid industry workers and ruling gangsters typically profit the most from often deathly interventions (particularly lethal due to the overwhelming oppression of people and the pox of chronic poverty and all its ills including lack of hygiene and health care, disease and premature death, lack of education and opportunity, migration abroad to exploitative work and even slavery and so on--people are dying for want of clean, transparent rule of law).

The aid industry's highly compensated, self-serving social engineering has been warping societies for the worst while their personal bank accounts become swollen with tax-free pelf and they rack up merit points on social media. 

"Aid undermines what poor people need most, effective, transparent government." -Nobel Prizewinner in Economic Sciences 2015, A. Deaton

"Development isn't a matter of 'experts', it's a matter of human rights." -W. Easterly, New York University Development Research Institute

“The incompetence is mind numbing...The UN/INGO people I encountered were frequently out of touch…anachronistic in their thinking at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst.There is NO accountability in the UN system or international humanitarian system.
[The local people] wanted to help themselves...they are experiencing UN/INGO fatigue...” -Chelsea Clinton, excerpted from a letter to her parents, Bill and Hillary Clinton, reporting on the state of humanitarian intervention and foreign aid in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.

Free Nepal and the world from Dead Aid and Deadbeat Donor Darlings...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sodom and Gomorrah 2.0+?

Nepal Traveller...and the forgotten rights of the poor

“Aid cannot achieve the end of poverty. Only homegrown development based on the dynamism of individuals and free markets can do that...Development isn't a matter of experts, it's a matter of human rights.” -William Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators and the forgotten rights of the poor

Please find more about Nepal's outdoor Nirvana in Monsoon of Himalayan Mushroom Gravy

Photo by Alonzo Lyons

Modern Millennial Mindset?

How to relate to Millennials....they behave as a group of invasive aliens species about 90% of the time in my reckoning.
#mmm #hummus #avocado #beardos

Modern Millennial Mindset? (#mmm)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Use-Fool Mad World?

Low Information breeds Confirmation Biases and Selective Outrage, perhaps suggestive of low intelligence capability?

'Infinite Sadness'...?

The crocodilian Ruling Class and self-promoting Deadbeat Donor Darlings are stealing Nepal.
Please don't let them take you, too.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Revisionist Hypocrisy?

-Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis were Democrats as were most if not all of the southern generals as well as the vast majority of the antebellum US slave owners.
-Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan
-Billary's mentor was R.C. Byrd, US Senator (Democrat) 1959-2010 and KKK Grand Wizard (Bill Clinton gave Byrd's eulogy and Hillary referred to him as 'friend and mentor')
-Democrats wrote the Jim Crow code

So on and so forth, despicably.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

¡Caveat Emptor!

Selective editing (and activist journalism) breeds #LowInformation #ConfirmationBias...and ultimately #SelectiveOutrage.
Please seek accurate, confirmed information from unbiased media. It might be challenging. Keep on for truth's sake if nothing else, and kind cheers for consideration of this post.
Image by Banksy

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"The government's gonna kill this guy [Trump] " -P. Mudd, CIA executive-analyst

Deep State Industrial Complex?
Philip Mudd has decades of experience as an analyst and executive at the CIA, FBI, and the White House National Security Council. Here he is on CNN, 10 August 2017:

For more on this please see, Neo Stasi?

And, Military Industrial Psychosis with Chinese-Style Censorship?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monomaniacal Russophrenia?

Hmmm...Nine-plus months of nonstop #Russophrenia monomania and allegations versus...uhhh...actual reality:

Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire

Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Twisted Logic...?

Mainstream, corporate media has an nine-month long (and running) thesis--the Trump campaign seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton proves Russian Collusion. Hadn't that long been established?

Is hatred of Trump (Trump Derangement Syndrome?) really more important than any other issue for them? When will the 'stages of grief' be completed over an election lost by an astonishingly flawed candidate?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trump's Unethical Aid Cuts?

The following is my response to the article, Trump's Unethical Aid Cuts, by Peter Singer on 11th July, 2017 published by Project Syndicate:

Hasn't indefinite 'aid' devastated Haiti, Nepal and many other countries, including much of the African continent?

It typically puts power, money, leverage and control into the hands of precisely the wrong, self-serving crocodiles looking after, no surprises, themselves while cannibalizing their own people and countries.

Often the biggest beneficiaries of 'aid' include aid agents themselves--donor darlings living in the top echelons of the societies they aim to convert and to change--all the while virtue signalling on social media and the greater world...virtue signalling the 'good' they want you to believe they are doing for a society, a society of which they often don't speak the language or know much of the culture. Do they do it for social merit points and relatively massive, tax-free salaries more than any redeeming societal benefits (which are highly in doubt, in fact the opposite seems to be true)? 

Meanwhile, long-suffering people endure chronic poverty and oppression. 

The biggest issue is governance, the issue from which most if not all of the other problems of development arise. If 'aid' doesn't support good governance, governance that is transparent, then it is likely abetting continued deathly dysfunction. 

As Nobel Prizewinner in Economic Sciences 2015, Angus Deaton states, "Aid undermines what poor people need most, good governance."
Does Professor Singer somehow know better?

Who are these folk with an irresistible desire to travel overseas with other people's money to try to change distant lands, people, cultures and societies which they might know very little including little to no language and cultural understandings?

Professor W. Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts, says it even better, "Poverty is not a matter of experts, it's a matter of human rights." 

In other words, people generally know what to do and how to take care of themselves if and when they have the freedom to do so (isn't that what you want for yourself and loved ones, too?). That is, get out of their way and especially stop funding the ruling gangsters who serve themselves foremost and then oppress the regular citizens. 

Wouldn't you want nothing better for yourself than the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness without the governing cronies coming in-between you and your hard work, dreams and goals, governing cronies with a proved record of harming the societies they govern?

'Aid' typically reinforces this poor governance directly and indirectly. It abets chronic, deathly dysfunction and has devastated Nepal, Haiti and other countries, including much of the African continent.  

Dambisa Moyo, PhD, author of DEAD AID proclaims it best,"Let my people go!"

Please find more information about the situation in Nepal in the following story:
Post Quake Nepal is Still Reeling--For All the Wrong Reasons (

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Washington comPost...?

" was less than three years ago that Amazon began to achieve any profits to speak of...
The first profitable year for Amazon was 2013. Fourth quarter profits were $239 million and $274 million for the year. The year before, Amazon posted a loss for 2012 of $39 million."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Nepal's #1 problem?

Foreign Aid typically doesn't support GOOD GOVERNANCE, Nepal's primary need. Does it then abet the chronic, deathly, indefinite dysfunction that plagues aid-ridden Nepal?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Himalayan Odyssey...

Photo by Alonzo Lyons in Rukum, Nepal

The Last Seduction of Buddha?

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much.
-Siddhartha Gautam (also known as Buddha, The Dhammapada)
The Last Seduction of Buddha (
Photo by Alonzo Lyons at foot of Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Planet Low Standards...?

'Fast and Furious 8 Is the Biggest Global Movie Opening, Ever (

Have you ever heard of Operation Mockingbird?

The United States Senate investigative committee led by Idaho Senator Frank Church and officially titled “Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities” uncovered disturbing evidence concerning Operation Mockingbird and delivered the following conclusion:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets…. In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.”

This assessment is more than forty years old. Imagine the dangerous advancements in stealth and deception since that time.

Even more alarming are President Truman's damning words about the anti-democratic syndicate that he helped set up-- 

"I think [the creation of the CIA] was a mistake. And if I'd known what was going to happen, I never would have done it.
Why, they've got an organization over there in Virginia now that is practically the equal of the Pentagon in many ways. And I think I've told you, one Pentagon is one too many.
Now, as nearly as I can make out, those fellows in the CIA don't just report on wars and the like, they go out and make their own, and there's nobody to keep track of what they're up to. They spend billions of dollars on stirring up trouble...They've become ... it's become a government all of its own and all secret. They don't have to account to anybody.
That's a very dangerous thing in a democratic society, and it's got to be put a stop to. The people have got a right to know what those birds are up to. can't do any housecleaning because everything that goes on is a damn secret... Secrecy and a free, democratic government don't mix."

Friday, May 19, 2017

Viva la Revolución y Revolucionar la Vida

Maybe crybullies are punch drunk from swilling too much corporate media Kool-Aid? 
The sock-puppet groupspeak of the Hive Mind is becoming more and more unhinged. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Exploiting poverty to extract wealth (and social status through Virtue Signaling, e.g., ‘look at me Fakebook friends – here in Nepal for 'Disaster Recovery')?

Nepal is failing through indefinite aid and not in spite of it. This Himalayan nation needs freedom from crocodilian ruling cronies, cancerous bureaucrats and an interfering aid cadre. They are abetting each other and are the biggest beneficiaries of the ‘aid’ they promote and that oozes into and through their offices, hands and pockets with but a trickle if anything left remaining for the people for whom it was targeted. The general population is suffering for lack of opportunity with chronic poverty and a host of other ills and lethal side-effects of dysfunction, corruption and malfeasance.

"The rich have markets, the poor have [cannibalistic, dysfunctional] bureaucrats [abetted by self-serving, deadbeat donor darlings]" -W. Easterly, Researcher of Development Economics, NYU, author of The Tyranny of Experts

Time for a Nexit from the crony ruling class and deadbeat donor darlings? The crony socialism of Nepal’s aid paradigm in collusion with the ruling class gangsters has failed on a massive scale causing enduring harm. Hasn’t six-plus decades of indefinite aid brought enough devastation to the people and culture of Nepal (even more than war, even more than natural disasters)?

Aid entrepreneurs, especially ones without language and culture skills, please consider ceasing and desisting. “Let my people go!” cries Dr. Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid, about indefinite aid in her home country of Zambia.

Can the ghastly destruction of a people, culture and country abetted by indefinite 'aid' intervention by foreign donor darlings continue much longer without total collapse after decades of misguided 'aid' and centuries of ruling class domination (i.e., caste apartheid) that the 'aid' abets?

"Do not go abroad to slay dragons that you don't understand" -John Quincy Adams, 6th US President

“Aid undermines what poor people need most: effective government.” -Angus Deaton, Nobel Prizewinner in Economic Sciences, 2015

“The problem of poverty is not a shortage of experts. It’s a shortage of rights...the most important factor in lifting people out of poverty is allowing free markets and entrepreneurship to flourish...when there's an environment of universal rights for poor people, for citizens of a society, then that does indeed make technical solutions happen." -William Easterly, Ph.D., New York University Professor of Economics, author of The Tyranny of Experts

#Nepal #Nexit #GlobalDev #CronySocialism #DeadbeatDonorDarlings #deadaid #boondoggle #aidcorrupts

Friday, May 5, 2017

"The incompetence is mind numbing..."

“The incompetence is mind numbing...The UN/INGO people I encountered were frequently out of touch…anachronistic in their thinking at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst.There is NO accountability in the UN system or international humanitarian system.
[The local people] wanted to help themselves...they are experiencing UN/INGO fatigue...”
-Chelsea Clinton, excerpted from a letter to her parents, Bill and Hillary Clinton, reporting on the state of humanitarian intervention and foreign aid in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.

Nepal is not different and perhaps even worse off after six decades of indefinite aid that has devastated the people of Nepal, devastated the economy and the country more than any war or natural disaster.
Since the quakes of 2015 the ruling cronies and aid agents have only consolidated power -- meanwhile the real people of Nepal endure chronic poverty and endless suffering.
The people and culture are dying. Dozens of Nepalis return from perilous migrant work abroad every month in body bags for lack of opportunity in Nepal, lack of opportunity and jobs that begins with corruption in the ruling gang aided and abetted by an indefinite aid paradigm.
The ruling class cronies and aid agents are the biggest beneficiaries of 'aid'. Most aid agents have little to no language skills and scant cultural understanding. Still, they typically enjoy a lifestyle in the top echelon of the society they traveled overseas to change.

"The rich have markets, the poor have [cannibalistic] bureaucrats [abetted by deadbeat donor darlings]" -W. Easterly, Researcher of Development Economics, New York University

“Aid undermines what poor people need most: effective government." -Angus Deaton, Nobel Prizewinner in Economic Sciences 2015

"Let my people go!" -Dambisa Moyo, Ph.D., Economist and Author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way

"The best road to progress is freedom's road." -John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America

#Nepal #Haiti #GlobalDev #DeadAid #deadbeat #donordarlings #NepalQuakes #AidCorrupts #SaveNepal

Heavens to Murgatroyd!

From Reuters news-wire: Obama Administration Sales to Saudi Arabia Top $115 Billion

Arming Saudi Arabia(gasp) – a monarchy cum totalitarian dictatorship with one of the worst records on Human Rights (e.g., severe oppression of women, cruel harassment and lethal punishment of homosexual people, persecution of beliefs and practices outside the ultraconservative cohort in command, silencing journalists, smothering personal expression and so on). Currently, they are bombing one of the poorest countries in the Gulf, Yemen, a defenseless nation-- and bombing Yemen with weaponry supplied by Obush et al.
...remember when fifteen of nineteen 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia (and how 9/11 illogically led to devastating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq)? 

Was President Obama just impersonating a Nobel Peace Prize Winner while arming Saudi Arabia(see above Reuters link) and many others?

From a Guardian article by Codepink founding member Medea Benjamin (

-In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries — a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.

-Obama authorized over 10 times more drone strikes than George W Bush, and automatically painted all males of military age in these regions as combatants, making them fair game for remote controlled killing.

-Given that drones account for only a small portion of the munitions dropped in the past eight years, the numbers of civilians killed by Obama’s bombs could be in the thousands. But we can’t know for sure as the administration, and the mainstream media, has been virtually silent about the civilian toll of the administration’s failed interventions.

#Obamawar #militaryindustrialpsychosis #militaryindustrialdeathcult #cronymilitarism

President Obama kissing Saudi king's ring.

President Bush and Saudi King holding hands in a flower meadow.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Neo-Puritans are Neo-Fascists?

SJWs are the Neo-Puritans?  Anti-fascists are the Neo-Fascists? Counter Culture the New Libertarians?

The New Counter Culture?

Libertarianism Conservatism is the New Counter Culture...?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Adventure is calling from the Himalaya including Nepal's Top 6 Peaks--can you summit one, too?

The following is my piece about climbing Island Peak (Imja Tse) in Adventure Travel magazine. Originally published 11 November 2013.
Island Peak is a sky-scraping Himalayan peak that rises over 6000m (over 20,000ft), a benchmark height, and the peak is a relatively easy Himalayan climb. Adventure is calling from Nepal. Will you summit a Himalayan peak, too?

Roped together on a sliver of ice, the crevasses on either side of the team could swallow a herd of yaks. On the eastern horizon a shard of light is signaling dawn, but we still wear headlamps, causing eerie shadows to flicker in the caverns beneath the peaks surrounding us. There’s no turning back on this adventure that has surpassed all expectations.

According to the Nepal Tourism Board, 326 of the country’s peaks are open for mountaineering. But apprentice climbers and enthusiastic adventurers not prepared for the highest peaks have options too. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) designates 33 mountains as Trekking Peaks. With summits ranging in height between 5,700m to 6,600m, these peaks are relatively low for the Himalaya and still higher than most mountains on the planet.

Confusingly, the name Trekking Peaks in no way implies that they are for casual trekkers. Some have had only a few ascents and are true mountaineering feats requiring sufficient experience, skill and technical kit. The ‘trekking’ part of the name is because they are near trekking routes and therefore easy to access. However, while some of these mountains can be summited in a just a few days from Nepal’s popular trekking destinations, others are off the beaten path and take up to two weeks. Still, Trekking Peaks entail less climbing than expeditions to higher peaks, fewer logistics and they are much more affordable. The climbing usually involves some technical skills (most guiding companies give basic training) and some technical equipment (at least crampons and ice axes). Rules stipulate that a seasoned guide certified by the NMA must accompany all climbers on Trekking Peaks. I’ve come to climb Island Peak which, at 6,189m, is the most popular of all of these mountains.

With frosty abysses meters away and a stream of climbers traversing through them, I wonder if Mother Nature is ever tempted to take a sacrificial offering to appease the mountain gods above. One by one we hop over a slit where the glacier opens up, a half-meter fissure of gloom resembling a grim smile from below. We make our way up to a massive snowfield at 5,800m, just below a 60-degree ice headwall the length of a football pitch. I think back to the decision to make this climb, which came over a cup of chiyaa (sweet milk tea spiced with cardamom) a world away at Endra Rai’s cozy office in Thamel, globetrotter ghetto of Kathmandu.

Endra is one of the most affable people in Nepal, quite a feat in a land of legendary hospitality. His friendliness and easy humor belie an enormous physical strength, skill and knowledge from years of experience. He is the first person of his ethnicity, the unique Rai people, an indigenous clan in Nepal prominent in the Gurkha regiments, to have climbed Everest. Endra is an expedition planner in Nepal, and he is even better known for his rafting exploits.

Endra and I have known each other for a few years and often go out for a traditional Rai-Limbu drink called tongba, named after the large wooden vessel it comes in and traditionally drunk through a bamboo straw. Our favorite establishment specializes in tongba and cheap fare of finger chips, momo (dumplings) and pakoda (battered and deep-fried vegetables). The place gets packed elbow to elbow in the cold season, when tongba consumption reaches its zenith. During these evenings the conversation often drifts to our dream of researching the Tongba Trail, a journey we’ve invented in eastern Nepal, land of Rais and Limbus, who created the incomparable beverage and maintain distinctive traditions and spiritual practices. This time, however, Endra had a different question for me.

“Lyons-jee, why don’t you climb Island Peak with us?”

I signed on straight away. At 43 I’m neither growing younger nor likely to be in better shape. Endra would take care of the red tape, allowing me to do the rest.

Summiting the number one peak in Nepal is especially tantalizing as it puts climbers over 6,000m – a benchmark height greater than the tallest mountains in Europe, Africa, Australia and Antarctica, four of the seven continents. You can also do it on the same trip as an expedition to Everest Base Camp. In 2012, Island Peak (also called Imja Tse) received 6,010 climbers out of a total of 12,759 for all of the Trekking Peaks that year. It’s an appetizer for anyone on their way to attempt Everest, or a side dish for trekkers in the alpine nirvana of the Khumbu. 

Most people tackling Island Peak fly into the mountain airport at Lukla. An ardent trekker, I preferred to hike in, so made the day-long scenic drive from Kathmandu to Jiri to begin walking. This route traces the steps of expeditions that long ago passed through the same emerald lowlands en route to the Khumbu, contouring fertile landscape before reaching the barren highlands filled with snowy masterpieces beloved by climbers.

I was fortunate to meet a like-minded Canadian, Gordon, who was also travelling at a fast and furious pace. He had camped solo around the rural Rolwaling area, a gem rarely visited by trekkers, and was in great shape. We made it to Namche in four days rather than the usual week to 10 days, walking dawn to dusk, and the rapid timetable agreed with my Bohemian budget.

Namche Bazaar, gateway village to the Khumbu, is in a magnificent natural arena surrounded by peaks to the south, east and west. I set off to the majestic Imja River valley, east of the Everest Base Camp route. The view is staggering. Island Peak stands alone among a sea of peaks. You can see Lhotse and Makalu, the world’s fourth and fifth highest mountains, plus the jaw-dropping massif of Baruntse and perhaps the most elegant of all Expedition Peaks, Ama Dablam (6,856m). Nicknamed the Matterhorn of the Himalaya, Ama Dablam translates to ‘mother’s jewel box’. The western aspect of the mountain resembles a mother with outstretched arms and a hanging glacier is her dablam, a pendant commonly worn by Sherpa women. But she can be a life taker. In 2010 a helicopter crashed on a rescue mission on the north face killing both pilots, and an avalanche in 2006 took six climbers. Island Peak can also demand the price of a life, but does so rarely. “Island Peak is challenging but acclimatization is easier and rescue, if needed, is straightforward given the landscape and elevation,” says Endra.

I join the climbing team in Chukung (4,734m), an otherworldly trekking outpost in the windswept highlands with perhaps the most magnificent mountain scenery on the planet. The impossibly close views of the face of Nuptse-Lhotse steal the show. The crew includes two local Sherpa guides based there for the season, along with cooks and logistics personnel. Sherpa, known as the Tigers of the Snow for their aptitude at high elevations, are the local guardians of the Himalaya. They have become the most trusted climbing partners in mountains that they consider divine. Most Sherpa guides are born and raised in the highlands of the Khumbu, and are therefore naturally acclimatized and fit for strenuous activities in the lofty region. Our lead guide, 26-year-old Tsering, is literally in his backyard. “I’ve climbed Island Peak 40 times.

Twenty-three-year-old Tashi, who hails from Thame, hometown of climbing legend Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, and a Swiss couple complete the team. They have been in Chukung for three days, taking a mini-mountaineering school.

The next day we set off for Island Peak base camp. Before we leave I’m given a short introduction to the jumar, a climbing device used with a fixed rope and rent a pair of climbing boots and warmer gloves at a local shop. Endra’s team supplies us with ice axes, crampons, harnesses and helmets. My own warm clothing includes the new Sherpa brand that I’m honored to wear in the Sherpa homeland of the Khumbu. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. From Chukhung it is a pleasant 2.5-hour hike to base camp which, at 5,100m, lies along the lateral moraine of Imja Tsho, a glacial lake. We eat a meal of noodles with a packet of cookies for dessert and are advised to take an early rest in personal tents. We’ll be leaving at 1am for the summit.

Sleep never comes easy at altitude, and after a few hours of restless slumber, loud Eastern European voices break the silence. They’re up at midnight, noisily preparing for an ascent. We are soon to follow and begin the long haul in a single-file line of headlamps, many more dotting the mountainside.

We all carry our own packs with water, snacks and warm clothing and keep a steady pace. Our smaller group passes larger groups moving at the pace of their slowest member. Just before 4am we reach the snowline, don our crampons, helmets and harnesses and rope into each other. I change to the warmer gloves at this point. Before long the skyline glows as the light of daybreak hits the tallest peaks. But I’m soon distracted by giant crevasses that we make an ‘S’ turn through. Endra had told me how the route changes seasonally due to shifting snow and ice and changing climate.
The altitude finally catches up with me at a 60-degree headwall of ice. I’m paying for the quicker-than usual journey to Island Peak from the lowlands. I can’t gulp in enough oxygen no matter how rapidly I breathe, and it slows me down dramatically.

At the top of the grind, using a fixed line and jumar, we meet a wind-whipped ridge with ant-like procession of climbers going up and down it. This perilous edge gives me a thrill that I haven’t experienced in years of outdoor activities. Perhaps less dangerous than it looks, hard ice at 6,100m with precipitous drops makes the safety line seem a bit rickety. We follow the short fixed-line up and reach the small knob of a summit battered by gusts and jammed with fellow climbers who don’t seem inclined to share the space (and there isn’t much to give).

The sunrise has drenched the sky in color and painted the mountains rosy. We savor the panorama, including Lhotse, the third highest peak in the world (which hides Everest from view), Makalu and Cho Oyu, the fifth and sixth highest peaks, and even Shishapangma far away in Tibet, which at 8,046m is the world’s 14th highest peak. After taking a few photos and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment for a few minutes, we head back down the ridge.

We meet groups still on the way up at the fixed lines of the headwall and have to use a different set of lines to abseil to the glaciated plateau. Retracing our steps, the brighter light of day gives a startling view of the crevasses that we had skirted on the way up, pre-dawn. After removing our technical gear, we meet people who have given up on a summit attempt and are descending the rugged trail with us.

After nearly nine hours of slogging we’re back at base camp and enjoy a short break before continuing to Chukung. The evening celebrations include a hot meal and a glass of locally brewed moonshine called roxy, followed by a well-deserved, early sleep.

The next day we all say goodbye. The Swiss couple head to Lukla for a flight out, the Sherpa and crew stay put for a return to Island Peak with incoming climbers, and I’m off to Everest Base Camp.
Would I ever do another peak? The group’s mixed feelings were summed up by Shanti Giri, a Nepali actor and producer who summited Island Peak in the spring of 2013 as a potential stepping stone to Everest, when she said, “Right now, I don’t want to decide about climbing again. I will have to think about it!”

Trekking Peaks give you a genuine taste of mountaineering highs and hardships in the world’s topmost stage. They serve as a straightforward Himalayan introduction for bigger things, or as an adventurous addition for travelers wanting to spice up trekking in Nepal. An attempt on a Trekking Peak, towering above the lush scenery and timeless culture of the Himalaya, can be a lifetime highlight.

Want to do this, too? Here’s how you can…
get there
There are not many direct flights from abroad to Kathmandu, but various airlines make the journey with just one change. From Kathmandu most people fly to Lukla to begin the trek. If you have time, or don’t fancy the hair-raising landing in Lukla, walking from the road head at Jiri (a day’s drive from Kathmandu) is excellent alternative. It will take a minimum of five days.
the expedition
A trip to climb Island Peak will typically take a minimum of two weeks (not including international travel), depending on route choice and how many side trips you make. Accommodation is a combination of lodges on the walk in and camping at base camp. Acclimatization is key for a safe trip.
Island Peak is a tough climb, graded alpine PD+. Climbing it requires the use of crampons and an ice axe, and a jumar and abseil device. Some companies require that you have previous experience using these; others provide training. Either way you should be fit, have previous experience with trekking at altitude (experience of walking on crampons will be beneficial), and be acclimatized.
when to go
The best time to climb Island Peak is post monsoon, so from late September to November, when the weather is clearest and most reliable. Pre-monsoon, from March to May, offers another window of comparatively good weather.
what to take
Most trekking companies will provide tents and technical gear such as ice axes, crampons, harnesses and helmets. I hired anything extra I needed, like climbing boots and warmer gloves, locally. Check what a guiding company provides before you leave.
Bring clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Hiking Nepal’s steep terrain can cause a swift build-up of body heat, especially carrying a loaded pack on a sun-drenched hill. In high altitude areas, the temperature will drop rapidly when the sun has set or is behind clouds or mountains, and more so if your clothes are wet and cold from sweat. It is important to be able remove or add items to adjust quickly to the conditions. You can pick up a lot of trekking clothing and gear in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Be sure to check its quality, especially the seams. Some vendors even have leftover top-quality gear from expeditions.
Bring sun cream and sunglasses that absorb UV light – at high altitude the sun’s rays can be especially harsh. Walking poles can help ease the load and impact on the knees. Also pack a headlamp and flashlight (for Kathmandu’s regular scheduled blackouts as well as while camping); earplugs (and spare pairs as they are easily lost) and a duffel bag if you plan to hire a porter (brightly colored makes it easier to recognize). A supply of duct tape can serve as a temporary fix for various situations. Wind it around a flashlight handle or water bottle to store it until needed.
There are more and more places along popular routes to re-charge gadgets so bring an adapter – a worldwide adaptor capable of connecting to multiple socket types is best, as socket types vary.
Nepal’s trails are steep and every addition to your load counts! Review your gear list and pare down items beforehand.
food and drink
Traditional dishes include daal-bhat tarakari, a heaping plate of rice with lentil soup and curried vegetables; shyakpa stew, a bowl of handmade noodles with potatoes and other seasonal vegetables which is a Sherpa favourite; and tsampa, buckwheat or barley flour mixed with hot water or butter tea. And potatoes in many variations. Typical drinks include chiyaa, a sweet milk tea, and solja, which is salt-butter tea and an acquired taste. Fermented spirits include chyang (not distilled) and roxy (distilled).
Himalayan outfitter
You can arrange an adventure through the Himalayan travel specialists (affiliated with the author or ask him directly for information and to recommend a talented peak-climbing Himalayan outfitter -- his email address is

6 Top Tips For Trekking in Nepal
1  Scan a copy of your passport and itinerary into your email account and make hard copies of your passport, itinerary and important documents and leave them with friends or family back home. Keep a set for yourself too.
2  Let credit card companies know that you will be in Nepal and bring their customer service phone numbers.
3  Trekking at altitude will be cold, particularly at night. A water bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in clothing is a good source of heat to keep in your sleeping bag.
4  Bring several handkerchiefs or bandannas. A bandanna can be useful as a makeshift facemask in windy, dusty areas and during vehicle travel, and to dry cups, plates and hands.
5  Most trekkers carry reading and writing materials, and hotels along the popular routes often have paperbacks to sell or trade. A pack of cards or miniature versions of board games can be a good way to pass time and get to know fellow trekkers.
6  Do not trek alone. Attacks are rare, but when they do happen it is usually against lone trekkers. If you are single, check online for partners (try ) or please contact the author directly at -- he can suggest Himalayan specialists and talented outfitters for a top Himalayan adventure including Island Peak (Imja Tse) and the following peaks, too, and beyond:

5 More Trekking Peaks in Nepal
Already did Island Peak, or fancy a different one? Here are five more Trekking Peaks to choose from, ranging from not-too-tricky to technical
1 Mera Peak, 6,476m
With nearly 3,000 climbers in 2012, Mera Peak is Nepal’s second most popular Trekking Peak and one of the tallest. The remote route to its base camp, northeast of Lukla, traverses astonishing territory rarely visited by tourists. From the top, you’ll have an exhilarating panorama of lots of Nepal’s major peaks, including four nearby 8,000ers – Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu – and one in the distance, Kangchenjunga. Most agencies ascend Mera Central rather than the true summit of Mera North. The climb involves ice axe and crampons and a fixed rope and jumar for the last 30m or so. The recommended acclimatization period is 12 days from Lukla. Other routes on Mera are more demanding and require extensive mountaineering skills.
2 Lobuche east, 6,119m
Lobuche (also spelt Lobuje) East is one of the most exciting and technical Trekking Peaks in the Everest region and, like Island Peak, can be climbed as a side trip from the Everest Base Camp route. The mountain is about 14km southwest of Everest and towers above the Khumbu Glacier and the settlement of Lobuche. It consists of two peaks – Lobuche East and a false summit called Lobuche Far East. Lobuche East, the Trekking Peak, is usually gained by the south ridge and saw 1,200 climbers in 2012. Lobuche West is an Expedition Peak connected by a ridge that is nearly two kilometers long.
3 Pharchamo, 6,187m
This impressive summit is a coveted peak in the remote Rolwaling region of Nepal. The route to the mountain is tough, passing through isolated territory that sees few travelers other than those seeking an exhilarating back trail into the Khumbu, and negotiating the Tashi Labsta pass, one of the most challenging passes in the Himalaya. Pharchamo is often combined with the nearby peak Ramdung (5,925m) and both are more challenging than most other Trekking Peaks.
4 Chulu East, 6,584 m
In the Annapurna region of Nepal, Chula East is one of the highest Trekking Peaks. It’s often combined with a nearby summit known as Chulu Far East at 6,060m (they share the same base camp) and these peaks, and Pisang Peak, can be done in just a few days from the iconic Annapurna Circuit Trek. From the top, enjoy views of the Annapurna Massif, Gangapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and more. The Annapurna Circuit has a well-deserved reputation for its fascinating cultural and scenic highlights along the way.
5 Naya Kanga, 5,844m
Also known as Ganja La Chuli, Naya Kanga is in Langtang National Park, famous for its natural landscape and mountain scenery yet much nearer Kathmandu than other trekking regions, allowing relatively easy access to its peaks. From Kyanjin Gompa, the uppermost settlement on the Langtang Valley Trek, the route ascends through yak pastures and timberland to high camp. The climb is straightforward, with steep sections that require ropes. Many people combine Naya Kanga with nearby Yala (5,732m), another Trekking Peak. Also try traversing the thrilling Ganja La high pass (5,106m) out of the Langtang Valley and into the serene Helambu region for a trek through picturesque villages of the Yolmo people and their unique Buddhist culture.