Donations from friends in the US - July 2009
As part of Crystal Mountain's "redefining staff care" initiative, we have been able to procure clothing and boots for our porters and staff. It was on the Rolwaling trek in 2008 where Jwalant, Team Leader at Crystal Mountain Treks, after running into the bodies of two porters who had frozen to death on a previous expedition, decided that Crystal Mountain must be more responsibile for its staff. Ever since, we have decided to do more than the code of conduct prescribed by the International Porters Protection Group.
Crystal Mountain Treks has received a large donation of over a hundred gently used parkas from the Durango Mountain Resort at Purgatory, Colorado. Thanks to Jim Sumrall, Sierra Club leader and Nepal trek enthusiast, for making this possible. Jim worked part-time in ski-patrol at the ski resort. The parkas were brought to Nepal by clients including Ann Daigle (Sierra Club Annapurna Trek), Portland State University Khumbu study group and Steve Mannshardt. More are on their way over with Crooked Trail's clients, Island Peak group and the Sierra Club's Annapurna Sanctuary group.
Crystal Mountain received 14 pairs of new and almost-new boots (a collection of Asolos, Merrells, Montrails, Vasques etc.) from Worldwide Education Partnerships for Nepal. WWEP was founded by Steve Maanshardt who had trekked with Jwalant on the Rolwaling trek in 2008. WWEP will provide more boots in the future.
With these donations and past purchases, Crystal Mountain now has enough boots to equip porters for three large high-altitude treks at any given time.
Consider flying to Nepal via Delhi, India - February, 2009
With numerous airline operators such as British Air and Royal Dutch Airlines flying to India, it might make sense to fly to Nepal via Delhi. A quick check on kayak.com revealed that round trip flights to Delhi from Seattle cost around US$ 950 in May/June on Royal Dutch Airlines flying via Amsterdam. Round trip fare from Delhi to Kathmandu costs around US$ 300 and there are more than 6 daily flights between Delhi and Kathmandu. The only draw backs are that you must obtain an Indian visa in the US if you are flying this route plus additional transit time.
Six Crystal Mountain Trek guides attend First Aid Course - February, 2009
Crystal Mountain's guides, Buddhi Rai, Lila Subba, Kalu Tamang, Nima Sherpa, Monju Rai and Bhalakaji Rai, attended an intensive 3 day First Aid Training conducted by Kathmandu Environmental and Educational Project (KEEP). KEEP imparts training based on Dr. Jim Duff's booklet - First Aid and Survival in Mountain and Remote Areas - which is very specific to Nepal. Our First Aid kits contain medicine and aids recommended by this book. A kit is provided on all our trek.
2011 declared "Nepal Tourism Year" - January, 2009
Through the "Nepal Tourism Year - 2011" campaign, the current coalition government plans to lure a million visitors in 2011. 2008 was one of the better years for Nepal's tourism, given the relative peace in the country after 10 years of insurgency, with around 500,000 tourists visiting Nepal. As part of the initiative, the government will waive visa fee and plans to enable better access to Nepal by increasing direct flights from various sectors.