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HimalayaNet #77 (December 2000)

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  • Himalayan Explorers Club
    HimalayaNet #77 (December 2000) Namaste, and welcome to the 77th edition of HimalayaNet, the online newsletter of the Himalayan Explorers Club. This will be my
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 23, 2000
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      HimalayaNet #77 (December 2000)

      Namaste, and welcome to the 77th edition of HimalayaNet, the online
      newsletter of the Himalayan Explorers Club. This will be my last
      stint as HimalayaNet Moderator. I've enjoyed working with HEC members
      and staff -- and have learned so much in the past year. Thanks so
      much for all your contributions -- and a happy holiday to all!

      Please send all contributions to himalayanet@egroups.com, and
      remember to include your membership number if you'd like to post a
      message. We are also very interested in sharing any travel
      information or updates you may have received from other HEC members.

      Kathie A. Mears
      HimalayaNet Moderator


      IN THIS ISSUE:

      1. THANKS TO KATHIE MEARS FOR MODERATING HIMALAYANET
      2. LEGENDARY PILOT EMIL WICK, REMEMBERED
      3. GIRL SCOUTS SEEK ASSISTANCE FOR NEPAL TRIP
      4. LUKLA AIRSTRIP TO CLOSE IN SPRING 2001
      5. ATM MACHINES NOW AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
      6. INTERNET CALLS NOW AVAILABLE FROM KATHMANDU
      7. HEC MEMBERS LOOKING FOR TRAVEL ADVICE/COMPANIONS
      7A. MEMBER SEEKS TRAVEL INFO FOR MARCH NEPAL TREK
      7B. SEEKING INFO ON DISASTER RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS
      7C. LOOKING FOR KANGCHENJUNGA TREKKING PARTNER
      8. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING SECTION
      VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
      HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE TO HIMALAYANET
      HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO HIMALAYANET
      HOW TO POST ON HIMALAYANET
      HIMALAYAN EXPLORERS CLUB MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

      **********************************************************************

      1. THANKS TO KATHIE MEARS FOR MODERATING HIMALAYANET

      I'd like to thank Kathie Mears for her excellent work over the past
      year moderating HimalayaNet. Circulation has grown from about 2,000
      readers a month to about 3,000 readers, and continues to increase
      every week. Kathie edited and organized the monthly postings, putting
      the information together into an informative, easy to read monthly
      digest.

      Sheri Robertson, from the HEC Kathmandu Clubhouse, will be the new
      moderator starting in January. Sheri is married to a Nepali guide,
      and as an "expat" in Kathmandu can provide readers with the latest
      news and information from the Himalayan region.

      Remember that HEC members can post entries by emailing them to
      himnet@... (remember to include your membership number).
      Nonmembers will continue to receive HimalayaNet, but we remind you
      that your U.S. tax-deductible membership not only helps us publish
      this newsletter, but allows us to continue running our homestay,
      volunteer, and porter clothing bank programs in the Himalayas.

      Scott Dimetrosky, Director
      Himalayan Explorers Club

      **********************************************************************

      2. LEGENDARY PILOT EMIL WICK, REMEMBERED

      [From Stan Armington in Nepal]

      Emil Wick, the legendary Pilatus Porter test pilot, died on September
      27, 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland. Best known for his outrageous sense
      of humour, he piloted many climbers into remote mountain airstrips in
      Nepal. He had the distinction of being one of only two people to
      descend an 8000 meter peak without climbing it. This was after the
      crash of the Yeti while delivering supplies to a Dhaulagiri
      expedition in 1960.

      Other recent deaths include Passang Kami Sherpa, one of Mountain
      Travel Nepal's earliest sirdars, also on September 27, 2000. In
      October the noted photographer Dolf Reist, who climbed Everest with
      the 1956 Swiss expedition, died of cancer in Interlaken, Switzerland.
      He was 79.

      **********************************************************************

      3. GIRL SCOUTS SEEK ASSISTANCE FOR NEPAL TRIP

      On June 23, 2001 the YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity and the Girl
      Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Nepal
      Scouts, will take at least ten U.S. girls ages 15-18 to Kathmandu,
      Nepal to operate, along with 10 Nepal Girl Scouts, a free 2-week day
      camp. The 200-250 campers will be underprivileged children from the
      area of the day camp site, the Laboratory School, built in the 70s
      with American foreign aid. Permission to use the Laboratory School
      has been given along with busses for transportation.

      The U.S. girls have now been selected. In January they will begin a
      6-month training program which will include study of Nepal's people,
      culture, and language as well as preliminary planning for the day
      camp program. The curriculum for the day camp will include sports and
      games, arts and crafts, English as a second language taught through
      games, and other activities recommended by the Nepal Scouts. Various
      professionals will be training our girls in teaching skills and
      working with children. All of the girls have substantial experience
      with children already.

      All expenses for this program, including airfare, lodging, meals,
      supplies, etc. total approximately $5,000 per girl. Each girl is
      being asked to pay half of this sum, while the two U.S. sponsoring
      organizations are raising the matching funds. A limited amount of
      financial aid is available to the girls for their portion ($2,500).

      We do not wish to deny this opportunity to any girl because of
      financial needs. However, this may happen if the financial aid does
      not meet the needs of the individual girls. Thus, we are seeking
      individuals and/or organizations who can help in this regard. We feel
      strongly that this program will have far-reaching benefits for all
      involved, not the least of which are the U.S. girls who will travel
      to a far away country and learn about its people and culture. Their
      increased sensitivity will be spread to their peers when they return
      home and share their experiences. Assistance in funding will help to
      make this possible.

      Thank you for your consideration.
      Curtinbarb@...

      **********************************************************************

      4. LUKLA AIRSTRIP TO CLOSE IN SPRING 2001

      [Update from Sheri in the HEC Clubhouse in Kathmandu]

      Just a reminder to all visitors trying to get to the Solu Khumbu
      (Everest) Region in the spring of 2001:

      The Lukla Airport will be closed for construction starting on January
      8th and then reopening again on May 1st, 2001. Although all winged
      aircraft will be forbidden to land on the runway, helicopter landings
      will still be permitted on nearby helipad grounds.

      In the past, you could normally fly directly to Lukla to begin a Solu
      Khumbu trek to popular destinations such as Namche Bazaar, Everest
      Base Camp (Kala Pattar) and Gokyo, just to name a few. Normally on an
      average good weather day during the peak season, 10-15 airplanes
      would land in Lukla carrying 15-16 passengers each.

      And you ask, "How much does this closure affect a visitor to the
      Everest Region?" Some, though, not to fret. Because, not only are the
      flight suspensions a problem for tourists trying get there but it's
      also problem for the regularly scheduled airlines companies cash
      flow.

      So, several airlines have opted to create new routes and/or increase
      the amount of flights to nearby walking-distance-away airstrips such
      as Phaphlu, Lamidanda and Rumjatar. And from these airstrips, some
      airlines are even offering helicopter shuttle flights to the Lukla
      helipad. I've seen a quote for $150 for a one-way Kathmandu to Lukla
      trip (airplane flight to other airstrip and then helicopter flight to
      Lukla). Current roundtrip airfare to Lukla is $182 (via airplane both
      directions).

      The other options for getting to the Everest Region are as follows:

      1) Bus ride to Jiri (about 10 hours) and then walk 6-7 difficult days
      to Lukla.
      2) Flight to Phaphlu and then walk 3-4 easy days to Lukla.
      3) Flight to Lamidanda and then walk 5-6 medium days to Lukla.
      4) Flight to Rumjatar and then walk 6-7 medium days to Lukla.

      Because of the need for getting people to the area as a priority,
      trekking companies are now forced to porter their gear into this
      region rather than fly it in. This is a big change for everyone.
      Check with your trekking company to see which is the best option for
      you.

      Please also be patient with the repairs. This closure and upgrade is
      an important project, keeping us all safe in the future.

      **********************************************************************

      5. ATM MACHINES NOW AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU

      International high-tech automated banking has finally emerged here in
      Nepal. Visa and Mastercard acceptable Automated Teller Machines have
      been installed.

      Actually, the ATM concept is not new here in Nepal. Some of Nepal's
      banks have already been operating ATM (Any Time Money) machines for a
      couple years but they give access to local direct bank patrons only,
      inoperable for most travelers with plastic looking for cash in the
      Himalayan Kingdom.

      So, for the past few years, tourists have had to visit one of the
      Visa, Mastercard or American Express subscribing local banks, fill
      out required forms and then wait in a sometimes seemingly endless
      queue to get local currency. But just recently this changed. Nepal
      Grindley's Bank installed ATM's capable of receiving cash funds in
      Nepali Rupees from a Visa or Mastercard (including many "debit credit
      cards" that withdraw funds directly from a savings or checking
      account).

      There are more than dozen machines in Kathmandu and one in Pokhara.
      In the tourist district of Thamel alone, there are at least three
      machines, including one in the Kathmandu Guest House. Outside of
      Thamel they're much more scattered.

      The local Grindley's Bank will not take an ATM usage fee but, most
      likely, the credit card issuing bank will assess a transaction charge
      of some sort or another. The exchange rate will also be the standard
      bank rate, so will be slightly less than the money changers in the
      carpet shops. I withdrew 7,500 rupees in November on my debit visa
      card and was charged $102.92 by my bank, or about 72.87 rupees/dollar
      (not including a $1 transaction fee from my bank). You may want to
      research your card policy before choosing this quick cash advance ATM
      option, however, as some credit cards and banks charge hefty fees.

      **********************************************************************

      6. INTERNET CALLS NOW AVAILABLE FROM KATHMANDU

      The HEC office in Kathmandu just recently installed a telephone
      headset to make international calling possible at a greatly reduced
      price. Instead of paying $3/minute for an out-of-Nepal call (they
      don't have AT&T, Sprint, MCI or any other calling plans here),
      members only have to pay, get this... NOTHING!

      The technology is available via a number of new Internet programs.
      According to Sheri, our "non-techy" yet friendly staffer in the HEC
      Clubhouse: "The program translates my voice into some kind of
      computer language, transmits it up to a satellite visiting the
      universe somewhere, retranslates it back into my exact words (it even
      translates my oohs, aahs and haha's ), and then, miraculously, sends
      my sweet voice (as my Mom calls it) to my Mother's ear,
      instantaneously. How about that? Cool, hey? Can't beat it!"

      In reality the connection can vary. Most of the time the connection
      is suitable, with little static. However, expect a long delay between
      speakers. This can be remedied by careful pauses to make sure the
      other person is finished speaking, or by using the somewhat
      trite "over" when you are finished your thoughts. The delay, however,
      is no worse than the STD/ISD telephone lines, and at no cost there is
      no rush to get off the phone.

      So, anyway... come on it and check it out. And say hello to us too.
      The phone is available for use during our regular office hours 10:00
      am until 5:00 pm seven days a week.

      **********************************************************************

      7. HEC MEMBERS LOOKING FOR TRAVEL ADVICE/COMPANIONS

      7A. MEMBER SEEKS TRAVEL INFO FOR MARCH NEPAL TREK

      I will be traveling to Nepal in mid-March and was looking for all the
      info I can get on trekking alone. I would like an individual or group
      to travel with if possible. I have about 35 days to travel in Nepal
      and would very much like to summit one of the "trekkable" peaks. I am
      use to long days and do not need the creature comforts so to speak.
      Would like to know what routes seem to be the favorites with trekkers
      such as yourselves. I am a male 46 years of age and in excellent
      shape for this journey. I hope to hear from one and all. Thanks.

      Alex J Hasson
      amed@...


      7B. SEEKING INFO ON DISASTER RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS

      I am a junior political science major at Brown University in
      Providence, Rhode Island (US) designing a summer research project in
      comparative disaster relief. I was narrowly evacuated from a forest
      fire in the western United States this past summer, and would like to
      use that experience as a basis for a comparative study. If possible,
      I would like to volunteer with an international organization in the
      Himalayas that does disaster relief and management. Can anyone
      provide any assistance or leads?

      Matt Perault
      Matthew_Perault@...


      7C. LOOKING FOR KANGCHENJUNGA TREKKING PARTNER

      Looking for anyone interested in exploring the Kangchenjunga region.
      The trip will be flexible. You are welcome to join for all or part.
      We will journey up the Lhonak glacier towards Tibet. There will be a
      chance to bag one or two unexplored +6000 meter peaks. The trip will
      be from 26 March until 11 May of 2001.

      Dave Haun
      dhcave@...


      **********************************************************************

      8. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING SECTION
      (updated December, 2000)

      GUIDES

      ARUN TREKS & EXPEDITIONS specializes in treks, climbs and
      mountaineering expeditions in the high Himalaya. Top western and
      local guides. Small groups ensure high quality, superior personal
      service. Customized itineraries and group discounts available. Please
      contact us for further information.
      Phone: (888) 495-8735
      aruntrek@...
      http://www.aruntreks.com

      Explore Himalaya: Can arrange individual/group holidays to all
      destinations in Nepal, India, and Tibet. High altitude treks &
      climbing, mountain biking, and white water rafting.
      Contact Suman Pandey, PO Box 4902, Kathmandu, Nepal
      Fax: 977-1-252 115
      adventur@...

      Join the Himalayan Explorers Club in the Himalayas! Pemba Sherpa
      leads Everest trek with Island Peak in October 2000 and March 2001,
      info@... or call (888) 420-8822. All trips also include an
      excursion "off the beaten path" to Sewangma, where Pemba grew up and
      the location of the HEC Bridge Project in November 2000.

      KE Adventure Travel. Unique trekking, climbing, mountain biking, and
      cultural journeys throughout Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan,
      Sikkim, Ladakh, Bolivia, Peru, Patagonia, Ecuador, Russia, Africa &
      more! Contact us for a free, color brochure.
      Phone: (800) 497-9675
      ketravel@...
      http://www.keadventure.com

      Africa and Himalaya with Daniel Mazur. Shishapangma, Ama Dablam, plus
      7000 meter peaks.
      Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya Rock Climb. Low Prices. All Abilities.
      Phone: (406)363-7747
      africa_inc@..., himalaya_inc@...,
      www.himalayaclimb.com, www.kilitrek.com, www.kenyaclimb.com

      Discover the Himalaya with local expert Pemba Sherpa. With over 14
      years of experience, HEC trip coordinator Pemba and his international
      guide team offer trekking, climbing, and cultural journeys to Nepal,
      Tibet, and Ladakh. Proceeds also go to support the HEC school and
      bridge projects in Nepal. For free brochure contact:
      SHERPA ASCENT INTERNATIONAL
      Phone: (888) 568-8924
      pemba@...
      http://www.sherpaascent.com

      NEPAL, TIBET, SIKKIM, PAKISTAN, & BHUTAN. Scheduled treks & tours
      with USA leader of 33 Sierra Club Himalayan trips. From $425. Custom
      itineraries. Off-the-beaten track areas. Environmentally sensitive
      and porter friendly. Peter Owens' Asian Treks.
      Phone: (800)223-1813 or (510)222-5307
      petertrek@...
      http://www.instantweb.com/p/peterowens

      World of Wonder Adventures, Inc. - specializing in adventure travel -
      WOW! Takes you to places you've always wanted to go, to do the things
      you've always wanted to do, at a price you can afford. Our exciting
      schedule of upcoming adventures includes Nepal, New Zealand, Baja
      Mexico, Spain and the Oregon Coast. For more details call toll free:
      1-888-4-wow-fun or e-mail us at: wowadventure@...
      http://www.wowadventure.com

      TRAVEL

      Himalayan Treasures and Travel. We have seats to Kathmandu all the
      time. Call us for the best price and best service. We book for many
      HEC members and give HEC discounts! Call (800) 223-1813 or (510) 222-
      5307.
      govindsh@...
      http://www.himalayantrekking.com

      Ticket Planet. We are America's leading round the world air
      consolidator, and also your Nepal airfare experts. We can get seats
      to Kathmandu when others can't. We broker over 50 airlines. We have
      over 15 years of experience pricing international airfares. Please
      contact us at (800) 799-8888, (415) 288-9999, Fax: (415) 288-9839
      himalayas@...
      http://www.ticketplanet.com


      **********************************************************************

      VOLUNTEER/STUDY ABROAD

      Volunteer Nepal Himalaya offers participants a unique opportunity to
      teach English in Sherpa villages in the Himalayas, near Mt. Everest.
      Accommodations are with local families. While not teaching,
      participants work on community service projects or explore the
      endless trails and villages of the Khumbu region. For more
      information, please contact the Himalayan Explorers Club at
      info@... or call (888) 420-8822.

      The Nepal Volunteer Handbook offers potential volunteers everything
      they will need to know about volunteering in Nepal, including a
      personal skills assessment, background on the history of foreign
      assistance in Nepal, tips for ensuring a worthwhile experience, and
      information on over 50 volunteer leads. Contact the HEC at (888) 420-
      8822 or info@...

      The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) is looking for
      experienced volunteer English teachers to teach English and
      educational workshops for sirdars, sherpas, cooks, and kitchen staff.
      For more information please contact:
      PT Sherpa"Kerung", Executive Director KEEP
      tour@...

      **********************************************************************


      HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE TO HIMALAYANET

      To cancel your subscription to HimalayaNet, e-mail a blank message to
      himalayanet-unsubscribe@egroups.com

      **********************************************************************


      HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO HIMALAYANET

      To subscribe to HimalayaNet, e-mail a blank message to himalayanet-
      subscribe@egroups.com

      **********************************************************************


      HOW TO POST ON HIMALAYANET

      (1) Send your HimalayaNet postings to himalayanet@egroups.com. Be
      sure to include your membership number in your E-mail. Only members
      can post on HimalayaNet. If you've lost your membership card, E-mail
      the HEC at info@....
      (2) Put your E-mail address at the bottom of your posting.
      (3) Send responses to postings directly to the author at the address
      listed.
      (4) If you receive responses to your posting, please send the
      moderator (himalayanet@egroups.com) a summary if the topic is of
      general interest so
      it can be sent it out to all subscribers in the next issue.

      **********************************************************************


      HIMALAYAN EXPLORERS CLUB MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

      The Himalayan Explorers Club (HEC) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3)
      nonprofit organization that seeks to promote a better understanding
      of and respect for the environment and culture of the Himalayan
      Region. Members can receive e-mail, postal mail, and faxes, store
      luggage, and browse through trip reports at our Clubhouses in
      Kathmandu and Islamabad, Pakistan. In addition, members receive
      discounts with many hotels, restaurants, shops, and travel agents.
      Members also receive our hardcopy newsletter, Himalayan News.

      For more information about the HEC please visit our Web page at:
      http://www.hec.org/, or contact us at:
      Himalayan Explorers Club
      PO Box 3665
      Boulder, CO 80307
      Phone: (303)998-0101
      Fax: (303)998-1007
      info@...
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