the Nepalese Royal massacre and the mess today

The governance of Nepal has been sorrowful compared with neighbors India and Bhutan.

The Nepalese monarchy persisted 240 years until 2008.

The 1990s saw the beginning of the Nepalese Civil War (1996–2006), a conflict fought between government forces and the insurgent forces of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The situation for the Nepalese monarchy was further destabilised by the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre, in which Crown Prince Dipendra reportedly shot and killed ten people, including his father King Birendra, and was himself mortally wounded by what was allegedly a self-inflicted gunshot.

As a result of the massacre, King Gyanendra returned to the throne. His imposition of direct rule in 2005 provoked a protest movement unifying the Maoist insurgency and pro-democracy activists. He was eventually forced to restore Nepal’s House of Representatives, which in 2007 adopted an interim constitution greatly restricting the powers of the Nepalese monarchy. Following an election held the next year, the Nepalese Constituent Assembly formally abolished the kingdom in its first session on 28 May 2008, declaring in its place the establishment of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. …


The monarchy had governed poorly, not modernizing. A Republic will, hopefully, be an improvement.


The Nepalese Royal Family as seen in this 1989 photo at the Narayanhiti Palace in Kathmandu. The royal members, from left to right, were Crown Prince Dipendra, King Birendra, Prince Nirajan, Queen Aiswarya and Princes Shruti. An eyewitness to Nepal’s palace bloodbath said on June 7, 2001, the late Crown Prince Dipendra staggered and fell occasionally as he drunkenly mowed down most of his family in just over a minute. (Reuters)

The drunken son used 3 different automatic weapons to mow down his family. No doubt American Gundamentalists found a way to defend his access to those weapons.

The Nepalese Constituent Assembly was … formed as a result of the Constituent Assembly election that was held on April 10, 2008 in Nepal. …

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN (M)) was the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, having won half of the constituency seats and about 30% of proportional representation seats. …

Prachanda … is a Nepali politician and Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPNM). He led a guerrilla war against the government and later served as Prime Minister of Nepal from 2008 to 2009. …

Power corrupts. Once Prachanda was in charge he took residence in a 15-room mansion and started living a wealthy lifestyle. …

Top Maoists called him corrupt.

Bottom line. Prachanda and the (Maoist) (CPN (M)) party was no more effective in leadership than the monarchy.

In the Nov. 2013 election Prachanda and his party came a distant 3rd.

The centrist Nepali Congress, the Himalayan nation’s oldest party, established itself as the largest group in the 601-member constituent assembly, winning 196 seats …

Looks like Prachanda is history.


Prachanda escapes bomb blast in western Nepal

What does all this mean for hikers?

Nothing, so far. Certainly there’s no security concern.

I do recall being asked to make a donation to the (Maoist) (CPN (M)) party on Annapurna in 1998. They were very polite. 🙂

Why Nepal is the world’s best destination for solo trekking

That’s the sub-title of an August 2012 post by Mark Horrell:


So the government of Nepal has u-turned on a decision made earlier this year to ban solo trekking in the country. It’s a victory for common sense. Nepal is currently the best place in the world for solo trekking, and to ban it would have been a bit like the Jamaican Olympic team forgetting to register their athletes for the 100 metres. …

The ban was supposedly intended for security reasons after the decapitated remains of a female Belgian trekker were found in the Langtang region in June. This followed a number of other incidents involving solo trekkers in the area.

But leaving aside arguments that a solo trekking ban punishes the victims rather than targets the criminals, not everyone thinks security was the only consideration behind the decision. TAAN represents trekking agencies who provide porters, guides and logistics to trekkers. The biggest cash cow for agencies are organised trekking groups with many clients, and some independent travel bloggers have suggested the government may have been under pressure from organisations such as TAAN to implement a solo trekking ban in the misguided belief that it would encourage solo trekkers to hire guides or sign up for group treks instead.

A ban on solo trekking would certainly have been bad for Nepal’s tourism industry

Why Nepal is the world’s best destination for solo trekking

I hiked Everest independently in 2009. No problem.

But there’s some Nepali confusion in 2013 as to exactly where one can trek independently. And where you can trek solo.

If I get to Nepal in November I’ll check current regulations in Kathmandu. Most likely end up starting independently and solo in Langtang & Helambu.

How to talk to your daughter about her body

This blog post by Sarah is going NUTS online. Already 700+ comments as I post.

… step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

read more …


Gros Morne National Park – what the frack?

The UNESCO world heritage committee says a monitoring mission should be sent to Gros Morne National Park to assess fracking risks.

… it’s seriously concerned about plans for potential oil exploration near the site. …

Gros Morne

CTV – Fracking risks in Gros Morne should be assessed, UNESCO says

State of Canada’s Parks:

Among the good news: a huge new park in Québec which is now eastern North America’s largest protected area and Canada’s largest provincial park!

The bad news? We’ve identified numerous emerging threats to some of our most iconic parks. The threat of oil fracking metres from Gros Morne National Park heads the list, along with ongoing concerns about federal budget cuts and inappropriate commercial developments in our national parks. Also, some provincial and territorial governments are backtracking on promises to create new parks and protected areas. …

read more from CPAWS – One step forward, two steps back for Canada’s parks: CPAWS’ 2013 State of Canada’s Parks Report

hiking Hurricane, Olympics WA

At an elevation of 5,242 feet (1,598 m), Hurricane Ridge is a year-round destination. In summer, visitors come for views of the Olympic Mountains, as well as for superb hiking. …

Spectacular views of the Olympic National Park can be seen from the Hurricane Ridge viewpoint. The road leading west from the Hurricane Ridge visitor center is dotted with picnic areas and trail heads.

A paved trail called the Hurricane hill trail is popular with visitors, and is about 1.6 miles long (one-way) with an elevation gain of about 700 ft. It is not uncommon to find snow on the trails even as late as July. …

Hurricane Ridge is named for its intense gales and winds. The weather in the Olympic Mountains is unpredictable …

Don’t drive up the mountain before checking weather conditions.

Hurricane Hill is great.


Hurricane cloud

Sadly I got the the more typical vista when looking north to Canada. Nothing but cloud.


It started to clear as I descended.

descending Hurricane

Most visitors drive up. Take one of the wheelchair accessible walks, consume 1000+ calories at the snack bar. And drive on.

The biggest problem at Hurricane ridge, is this.

deer photo

Many wild animals get accustomed to humans. There’s supposedly never been a bear encounter in the park, but there have been animal encounters.

For example … A deer first followed. And then charged a leashed dog.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Owner not much help. 😦

In bright sunshine, however, it’s difficult to beat Hurricane Ridge. I like it even better than Logan Pass, the equivalent at Glacier National Park.

hiking Hurricane

more of my photos from Hurricane Ridge

flickr photos tagged “Hurricane Ridge”

hiking the Keystone XL pipeline


I wanted to learn everything about the environmental battle. I saw a country marked by apathy, and flickers of hope.

I’d felt strangely drawn to the Keystone XL.

In the fall of 2011, when I fantasized about walking the length of the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline — that, if approved, will carry oil from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas — I was a lowly dishwasher at an oilman’s camp in Deadhorse, Alaska.

At the time, I was broke, just out of grad school, and demoralized with my situation. I had a miserable job that didn’t require a high school diploma, let alone the liberal arts degree that had nearly bankrupted me, and I was living in quite possibly the coldest, darkest, dreariest place on earth. I was an adventurer at heart, burdened with the duties of making a living.

I can say, from experience, that when you find yourself washing spoon after spoon, in the middle of the night, in a silent kitchen, at a working camp 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, you will begin to question the direction of your life. But I can say this also: The soul must first be caged before it can be freed. And when Liam, the cook I worked with, suggested we go on an adventure the next summer and hike the XL, I knew his idea was both crazy and brilliant. I looked at him and said, with what must have been an almost frightening excitement, “We must!” …

read more on Salon – My 1,700-mile hike across the XL Pipeline


You might ask: WHY would they transport dirty oil so far?

… The Port Arthur refinery operates as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), which traditionally gives tax benefits to companies that use imported components to manufacture items within the United States. Usually refineries importing oil tax-free will still pay taxes when selling the refined products into the U.S. market. By both importing into and exporting from Port Arthur the company will avoid paying tax on the product sales.

A pretty sweet deal for Valero Energy Corporation (VLO).


I’ll be very surprised if President Obama does not approve the Pipeline.

But remove that corporate tax giveaway … ??

NEW – world’s highest national park

The world’s highest national park, the Qomolangma National Park, located on the border of China and Nepal with a total area of 78,000 square kilometers has been inaugurated.

The park includes five mountain peaks with altitudes of more than 8,000 meters

Qomolangma is Tibet’s third national park after the Namtso National Park, which was recently inaugurated near a holy lake for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims, and the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Park that opened in 2010.

The parks are part of the Tibetan efforts to turn the region into “an important world destination.” …

Press TV

Actually, not much has improved for the independent hiker in Tibet since I was there late 1990s.

Don’t go — unless you are willing to sign on to an expensive and often frustrating group tour. Or are willing to trek “illegally”, as we did.

Support Nepal instead.

(via National Parks Traveler)

related – Seven Tibetans Self-Immolate This Week

At least 62 Tibetans have lit themselves on fire since 2009 in protest of Chinese rule in Tibet.