The Himalaya Blog

Supping with the Devil in Tibet and Syria

14 August 2012
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You need a long spoon to sup with the Devil. The Devil knows that you know that. So when he invites you to dinner he makes sure to provide you with a nice long spoon. And, if he can, he makes sure that it's not quite long enough to keep your soul safe.

At the moment no one is seated more precariously at the Devil's table than the people of Tibet and Syria.

Support staff mandatory for trekkers in Nepal

4 August 2012

Another blow to the kind of trekking I like best...

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) says that from September 2012 the Nepalese government will require all trekkers to be accompanied by support staff (porter or guide). The rule has allegedly been introduced for the safety of trekkers.

Mohan Lamsal, general secretary of TAAN, said “The decision will help promote Nepal as a safe destination for tourists at a time when international media are questioning the safety of foreigners in Nepal.”

Himalaya or Himalayas?

13 July 2012
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Himalaya or Himalayas? Applying the word "Himalayas" to the Himalayan mountains is a piece of linguistic butchery that became popular in the last century and now seems to be in decline. Its origin appears to lie in the European fondness for pluralising mountains - the Alps, the Andes, the Apennines etc - coupled with a failure to appreciate that the correct plural of "Himalaya" is "Himalaya," just as the correct plural for the English word "sheep" happens to be "sheep."

Self-Immolations in Tibet

17 March 2012

Tibetan exile Jamyang Norbu wrote in March 2009 that "the one prediction we can make with any confidence about the future of Tibet is that there will be more uprisings."

Lhasa 1959

16 March 2012
Potala Palace, Lhasa

The month of March is a time when Tibetans reflect on their history. They do so because March was the month of the 1959 Lhasa Uprising against Chinese rule.

Rules, fees, permits

10 March 2012
Trekking fees in Gangotri National Park

In the 90's you could trek in the Garhwal with a minimum of formality, provided you stayed away from the Inner Line. For me, that was one of the main reasons for choosing the Garhwal rather than, say, Nepal. But that was then and this is now.

Inshallah Kashmir - Living Terror

5 February 2012
Kashmir - Living Terror

Ashvin Kumar has produced a compelling new documentary about Kashmir. Ashvin Kumar's previous film about Kashmir, Inshallah, Football was initially refused a certificate by India's censors. This time he's chosen to bypass the censors. On India's Republic Day - 26 January - he uploaded his film straight to the to the internet. A must-watch.

China/Tibet: Response from the Alpine Club

3 November 2011

Response from the Alpine Club to the Open Letter about Mountaineering in China

Dear Richard Haley,

Thank you for your letter e-mailed to me on 6th October. I apologise for the delay in replying but I have been away mountaineering in West Nepal on the border with Tibet. An excellent trip I am pleased to say with post monsoon conditions being particularly good this year.

Mountaineering in Tibet and China

6 October 2011
Flag of Tibet

Open Letter to Mick Fowler, President of the Alpine Club (UK), regarding Mountaineering in China

...The media and clubs of the climbing sub-culture aren't very powerful in the wider world, but their reach is prodigious compared with the channels open to most Tibetans, especially those living under Chinese rule. Climbers with access to glossy magazines have no business allowing themselves to become vehicles, by omission, for tendentious propaganda...