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Feb 182019

UPDATE: The website has removed Traveller’s Assist post with the names claiming it “The post was suspended as a rules violation.”  I have done the same and will no longer be reporting on information provided by Traveller’s Assist .   I know there is a problem – the Nepal Government has confirmed it. What we don’t know for sure is the scale and scope. My bottom line remains the same – trekkers and climbers need to triple check that they have evacuation and medical coverage before they leave their home country and that their outfitter is reputable and understands the proper continue reading

Feb 172019
Everest 2019: Companies Named on Everest Rescue Scams

UPDATE: The website has removed Traveller’s Assist post with the names claiming it “violated their standards against misleading information and harassment.”  I have done the same and will no longer be reporting on information provided by  Traveller’s Assist .   The alleged fraud with Nepal involving rescues continues to stay in the news with the lead company making the charges taking the strong step of naming the companies they feel are involved. Background: Fraud and Threats I updated in this post, the original story I covered in great depth last August in this post but the gist of it was mostly trekking continue reading

Feb 112019
Everest 2019: Update on Everest Rescue Scams and China "New" Rules - Updated

With the spring Everest climbing season only six weeks away, the well-publicized insurance fraud in Nepal heats back up while China seems intent on taking more control of their side of the Big E. Insurance Fraud and Insurance Threats I covered in great depth last August in this post but the gist of it was mostly trekking guides, helicopter companies and even hospitals were accused of scamming the companies that provide rescue coverage with unnecessary, false and/or duplicate claims plus unnecessary medical practices. The lid was blown off when a thorough investigative report by AFP reporter Annabel Symington found systematic cooperation continue reading

Feb 072019
Does Ecuador Replace Nepal for Best 20,000-foot Climbs?

I just returned from a rewarding trip to Ecuador to climb three of their volcanoes. I went with US-based, Mountain Madness. While this was my seventh trip to South America, it was my first to Ecuador and now I see what I’ve been missing! I’ve been climbing and going to Nepal 13 times since 1997. As anyone who has read my blogs knows, Nepal is close to my heart for many reasons. However, Ecuador was so impressive, Nepal may have to share the top spot. In evaluating the two countries for trekking and climbing, both have pros and cons and continue reading

Jan 062019
2018/19 Winter Climbs: K2 Climbers en route, Nanga Climbers Climbing, New Everest Route?

The winter 8000-meter teams are well on their way to their respective peaks. On Nanga Parbat, the climbing has begun. K2: In Skardu K2: Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan Team – Arrival Pakistan  The seven member team from Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan are in Skardu after taking a bus on Karakoram Highway for 30 hours. It seems there was some construction and repairs along the way that delayed their progress but all is well now. Next up is the 8 to 10 hour drive in Toyota 4Runners to the end of the road in Askole where they will being the trek to K2 continue reading

Dec 172018
How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest? - 2019 Edition

This is my sixth year to blog “How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?” and I firmly believe we are about to see the biggest changes in Everest, inc. that we have seen since Nepal went from one team permit per year to anything goes back in the early 1990s. The key drivers for changes include: China’s concern about reputation but more importantly to making as much money as possible with their side of Mt. Everest. Then Nepal’s Merry-go-Round of Ministers and lack of consistency in providing an understandable and predictable regulatory environment. Then there is the domination continue reading

Dec 052018
China Clamps Down on Everest Climbs

Over the past few years, I’ve been predicting two things will change dramatically about climbing Everest: 1) It will get more expensive and 2) China will make it more difficult to climb from their side. A recent announcement by Chinese Mountaineering Association and Mountaineering Association of Tibet aka CTMA has shown both to be true. China has informed operators that effective January 1, 2019, several new rules will be put in place: “expedition formation, audit, reception, management, safety and environmental protection” for mountain expeditions on Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and, of course, Everest. If implemented and enforced, this is a big continue reading

Dec 022018
2018/19 Winter K2, Nanga Parbat but No Everest

As the winter of 2018/19 begins, we are seeing another set of attempts on the world’s second highest peak K2 however the winter Everest commercial expedition has been cancelled.  K2 remains the only 8,000-meter mountain not summited in winter and Everest has only a few. Also there will be a winter attempt by a new route on Nanga Parbat. Before I get to who is climbing, one of the more interesting aspects of claiming a winter summit is exactly when is winter? Big Picture – When does Winter End? If you remember the K2 attempt last winter, there was a lot continue reading

Sep 022018

News broke in July, 2018 that Sherpa owned and operated guide company, Seven Summits Treks (SST), had forged Everest climbing permits for two clients cheating the Government out of $22,000 in royalty fees. SST has been fined double the permit fees and the clients fined and sentenced to jail time. Caught When the Himalayan Times published the story SST Chairman and co- founder Mingma Sherpa responded on Facebook: We seven summit treks pay around more than 2 million dollars royalty fee every year to the government . Why would we make fake permit for $20000 . Look we paid money for all continue reading

Aug 292018
Everest Rescue Scams Expose Corruption Across Nepal

A war has been brewing between the Everest rescue/insurance companies and the local operators for years now. This summer the battle hit the tipping point when a thorough investigative report by AFP reporter Annabel Symington found systematic cooperation amongst local guide companies, helicopter services and even some hospitals in Kathmandu to scam the rescue/insurance companies through fraudulent claims. An investigation by the Nepal government verified the charges. As usual, the Nepali government went into damage control but it remains to be seen if anything of substance changes. However trekkers and climbers going to Nepal, and even Pakistan, from now on continue reading

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