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Unregistered
1st April 2005, 08:04 PM
The latest

15 March: I have refrained from commenting on the new situation in Nepal until now.

The Maoists have been fracturing, now the hardliner elements have taken over, and while things will get worse for a time, this is the beginning of the end for them. They are losing control. They already have zero popular support anywhere in the hills, including their supposed strongholds in Far West Nepal, but are blind to this. Now regional commanders have been given autonomy, no pretence that they have central control, and those regional commanders will make big mistakes. Nepal is nearly at the bottom of the valley with the hill of peace visible ahead; although the bottom of the valley cannot quite be seen for the trees.

So for many areas the situation will be more unpredictable, a chance of road strikes; rely more on domestic flights for transport, but Kathmandu and the Everest region are completely unaffected. There will be a partial blockade of roads from 2-12 April.
The King has decisively taken over

Kathmandu is functioning normally, indeed better than the last 6 years. I can see no reason for anybody to cancel their Everest trek plans. Annapurna and other areas should be planned more carefully.

With some (corrupt and/or incompetent) politicians under house arrest and King directing the Government the mood in Kathmandu is one of cautious optimism, this long overdue move was absolutely necessary to save the country - literally - and finally Nepal might be ruled by people who actually care. There are plenty of changes being made in government departments, all for the better.

The main blot is the appalling human rights situation, both from the Maoists and the Army; and the Army who specialize in peace-keeping should know better.
Background

Since the arrival of democracy in 1991 successive governments were feudal in behavior, grossly corrupt, shortsighted and narrow-minded and by neglecting basic development allowed a Maoist insurgency to start in 1996. As the stakes were raised to the point of a gun against the country's head, not one of the main political leaders could get their fingers out of the honey pot, proving time and time again they were utterly, hopelessly incapable of solving the country's multitude of problems. The ordinary Nepali people have suffered immensely. Thankfully, finally, 1 Feb 2005, the King has taken over with the intention of reforming the country and holding elections within 3 years.
Nepal security assessment

I completely revised this in March 2005 to reflect the new realities here in Nepal; until proven otherwise I see conditions improving.

The troubles in Nepal must be put in perspective. Trekking sensibly in Nepal is still MUCH safer than trekking-travelling around the USA or Italy, the incidence of theft-robbery in Nepal is still far, far lower than tourist-friendly New Zealand! Read the travel warnings for some of these countries.

Nepal has and will be in the headlines but very few if any incidents actually have any impact on you as a trekker-tourist, although there are the occasional delays caused by transport strikes.
Trekking safety

The Maoist leadership has regularly publicly announced that tourists are welcome to visit Nepal - will that change? I don't think so. The chances of you getting caught between the army and Maoists is marginally higher - but from a point of almost zero risk previously.

The Everest region from Lukla and above is a haven of peace, COMPLETELY SAFE for trekking, no Maoists at all. It is COMPLETELY SAFE for American, British and Belgian trekkers too, despite the government warnings. In other areas it is possible that Maoists meet the group and they ask (politely initially) for a donation, see the Trailblazer guide book updates section.

So should you come trekking in Nepal with us? If you are joining an Everest region trek, definitely. We fly in; no buses. For other regions don't let the headlines put you off but do discuss with us.

For the October-November season we suggest you book your flights now, if there is any positive development it could get very busy. We welcome bookings now and always have a "plan b" - but equally you are welcome to express interest and book in May-June after watching developments. So far it is shaping up well, for trouble now and calm then, and anyway we trek over the main Dasain (Nepal's "Christmas") holidays when traditionally there is a ceasefire.
The UK Ambassador says

"The fact remains that not a single foreigner has been kidnapped or killed as a result of the eight-year-old insurgency. During that time, the country has received more than three million visitors. The risk of being a victim of Maoist violence is clearly much lower than the risks of going trekking, mountaineering, rafting, or simply going in a bus," said Keith Bloomfield, 57, the British Ambassador to Nepal. "The threat is fairly small."
Kathmandu

Everyone who spends time here wonders what all the fuss is about, Kathmandu is functioning completely normally. Walking alone at night in Kathmandu is still surprisingly safe; I wouldn't do that in San Francisco.



Trekking in India is SAFE and a GREAT alternative.
Tibet-China has zero security concerns.


http://project-himalaya.com/treki-security-nepal.html

yakshaver
2nd April 2005, 08:44 PM
Sensible are realistic description of the situation. I have been saying more or less the same thing, less eloquently perhaps, like a broken record over the last 3 years...

Unregistered
14th April 2005, 09:10 AM
Nice try to drum up a clients. Do not buy into this B.S.. I was nearly murdered in the Kumbu last May. Like you, everyone wants to push this fact under the rug of false security. No they were not Maoist and a traveler will most likely not be attacked by the Maoist but to try and portray Nepal as a safe place is for a lack of better terms bull shit! One of the people that came to my rescue that horrible day told me I was the third westerner he had delt with that had been attacked and robbed. One was not so fortunate because she was hacked to death. The other one was attacked in the Kumbu also. Trekers get killed raped robbed and nothing is ever done it is kept quiet. To say it is so very safe does no good for anyone except the money hungry trekking operators. To say that it is safer in Nepal then trekking in the U.S. or New Zealand is a total crock.

mieke
14th April 2005, 03:44 PM
Hi Christopher, so how are you doing these days?
As for the original post, I don't agree with Bloomfield but that's no news of course. "The fact remains", no: the fact that remains is that certainly also due to the insurgency/civil war, the ever poorer living conditions and the absence of a strong will and orders to arrest and prosecute certain criminals, foreign tourists too have experienced a number of (very) nasty events.
But for the time being I think the best lesson to learn out of all this, is nót to go trekking all alone. Of course not only for safety reasons where the risk of being (violently) robbed is concerned; the general advice not to trek solo in(to) the mountains is far from new and doesn't concern Nepal or the Himalayas only. A sprained ankle or an accident like the one I posted a story about here yesterday imo would also make you regret you have to wait and hope for somebody to show up and help you out.

Pesty
14th April 2005, 08:36 PM
Big claims require a bit more explanation. To be nearly murdered is not something that is made much of in this forum. I do not want to deny the reality of Unregistered's story but a little more detail would be useful. Where? What happened? The circumstances would be useful for others to heed.

mieke
14th April 2005, 08:47 PM
Pesty if you like and should 'Unregistered' not return here for the time being, you can read more =in here= (http://www.trekinfo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1809) (old Trekinfo-thread), and a bit =in here= (http://com4.runboard.com/bgarethkochlostinnepal.fmainchat.t17) as well (Koch messageboard).

Unregistered
15th April 2005, 03:42 AM
Hi Christopher, so how are you doing these days?
As for the original post, I don't agree with Bloomfield but that's no news of course. "The fact remains", no: the fact that remains is that certainly also due to the insurgency/civil war, the ever poorer living conditions and the absence of a strong will and orders to arrest and prosecute certain criminals, foreign tourists too have experienced a number of (very) nasty events.
But for the time being I think the best lesson to learn out of all this, is nót to go trekking all alone. Of course not only for safety reasons where the risk of being (violently) robbed is concerned; the general advice not to trek solo in(to) the mountains is far from new and doesn't concern Nepal or the Himalayas only. A sprained ankle or an accident like the one I posted a story about here yesterday imo would also make you regret you have to wait and hope for somebody to show up and help you out.

Yes it is me again' and
For your information I was not "all alone" that just seems to be smug way of saying tough luck.

mieke
15th April 2005, 04:14 AM
Why the insult? "Smug way"; took me a dictionary to look up what it means.

For your information sir I've been taking the piss or the blame or you name something 'strong & nasty' on the internet, ever since April/May '04 when I became involved with matters re. the disappearance of Gareth and the many efforts to find him back or at least find people who'd be able to "tell more". Many people including an occasional webmaster don't want to hear about nasty events re. foreigners in Nepal. My IP even got banned from a Nepal-board recently because after the webmaster specifically and on his own initiative opened a forum "to discuss missing trekkers", apparently he hadn't taken into account that I would do that indeed and now he says too much focus on such cases is "bad for business".

Well anyway; you didn't come here to listen to me. Suit yourself if you feel my remarks regarding solo-trekking are crap. Want me to show you your old comments and criticism re. what happened to you and under what circumstances?
What amazes me is that as far as I can tell ever since you first "came out" re. your experiences, this is the first time you say or suggest that you weren't alone out there near Dragnag. So please explain what happened there and how, or I'm gonna ask you if you were assaulted & attacked with boulders by your own trekking friends/partners. Get the drift?

Unless of course you're not at all the US national you seem to be but just someone who tries to stir things up, in which case I apologize to Christopher.

Pesty
15th April 2005, 03:12 PM
Pesty if you like and should 'Unregistered' not return here for the time being, you can read more =in here= (http://www.trekinfo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1809) (old Trekinfo-thread), and a bit =in here= (http://com4.runboard.com/bgarethkochlostinnepal.fmainchat.t17) as well (Koch messageboard).

Thanks Mieke for the background. The point being made by Yakshaver and the update at the start of this thread which is from McGuinness( writer of Trekking in the Khumbu) appears to stand. This incident with unregistered was obviously serious occurred last May and other than the reported three other attacks and gareth Koch there have been no other reports.

By any logic you would have to say this is a rare occurence. I trekked alone three years ago and did not feel threatened. Having said that I would probably not go solo in the near future.
Although "alone" I certainly spent a lot of time talking to guides from other groups, lodge owners etc. They were very informative and certainly very welcoming.

mieke
18th April 2005, 04:19 AM
and other than the reported three other attacks and gareth Koch there have been no other reports.In the meantime I've been staring at these words of yours several times now, and I guess my conscience is aching. I don't get the impression you're planning on going there in the near future. I'm also aware that travelling is a risk in itself, but so is staying at home. And rather than posting more info here now I suppose I'll leave it to you to e-mail me by the time you want more (documented) information on these matters and regarding recent years. Address is in my profile.