Missing American woman in Nepal
August 3rd, 2013
09:31 AM ET

Missing American woman in Nepal

Aubrey Sacco from Colorado went trekking alone in Nepal, against her parents' advice, and disappeared. That was three years ago. There has been no trace of her despite many searches.

A breakthrough in her case came this week when Nepalese police arrested two men who hail from the region where she vanished. "We assume that she has been murdered," police said Saturday.

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Nepal • Travel • U.S. • Uncategorized • World • World Update
100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say
Tibetans-in-exile hold a candlelight vigil following the self-immolation attempt by a monk in Kathmandu on February 13, 2013.
February 14th, 2013
05:42 AM ET

100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say

The number of Tibetans in China who have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing's rule has reached 100, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.

Lobsang Namgyal, a 37-year-old former monk, set himself on fire earlier this month in Aba prefecture, known in Tibetan as Ngaba, an ethnically Tibetan area of the Chinese province of Sichuan, according to Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group.

"This grim milestone should be a source of shame to the Chinese authorities who are responsible and to the world leaders who have yet to show any leadership in response to the ongoing crisis in Tibet," said Stephanie Brigden, the director of Free Tibet.

Self-immolation has become a desperate form of protest in recent years for ethnic Tibetans unhappy with Chinese rule, and it shows no sign of abating.

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Children's campaigner Pushpa Basnet named CNN Hero of 2012
December 3rd, 2012
12:39 AM ET

Children's campaigner Pushpa Basnet named CNN Hero of 2012

Pushpa Basnet, a Nepalese woman who supports children so they don't have to live behind bars with their incarcerated parents, was named the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries, and space is very limited in the few group homes affiliated with the government. So when a parent is incarcerated and no other guardian can be found, children have little choice but to live in prison as well.

Basnet, 29, is determined to give these children another option.

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Filed under: CNN Heroes • Nepal
May 25th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Geographer reaches Mount Everest summit

[Updated at 10:07 a.m. ET] According to Chris Tomer, meteorologist and best friend of Mount Everest climber Jon Kedrowski, the climber has successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest.

At 3:30 a.m. in Nepal, Kedrowski's ascent ended well, amidst a "perfect weather window." Tomer posted an entry on the climber's Everest blog to let those following Kedrowski's journey know on the morning of May 26. Saturday marks the official end of the Everest climbing season.

Since beginning his ascent of Mount Everest in April, geographer and professor Jon Kedrowski has celebrated a birthday, used a constant stream of basketball metaphors to fuel his journey and witnessed tragedy that still gives him "demons."

He has also endured an attack from a yak that got out of line on April 13, and continues to carry a little red toy car to the summit, in honor of a young girl, Ryan Marie, who died too soon. The mini car was her favorite.

With help on the ground from his best friend, Denver meteorologist Chris Tomer, Kedrowski has been blogging his ascent.

His live blog, "No Off Days," reveals details both cheerful and chilling, from forming new friendships with fellow adventurers to trying to aid and rescue fallen climbers during Monday's tragedy on the mountain. Four people died due to a combination of bad weather and overcrowding on Everest.

Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

The assistant professor in Central Washington University's geography department has climbed countless mountains, and in 2011, he became the first person to camp overnight on the top of Colorado's 55 "Official 14ers," - peaks over 14,000 feet.

But Kedrowski, true to his profession, isn't climbing Everest just for fun. He regards his expedition as having a three-pronged approach.

Kedrowski wants to scale Everest in an eco-friendly manner, work with the Mount Everest Biogas project to test and study water quality from the melting ice, and give back to the Nepalese people through humanitarian initiatives, according to his website.

Because of the high amount of waste left by climbers, concerns over the water and ice quality have increased in recent years.

On April 17, Kedrowski posted on his blog that he and his climbing team had reached the Mount Everest Memorials. He was especially saddened to see Scott Fischer's memorial. The American died in 1996, Everest's worst year to date.

In the days that followed, he described seeing a trail of dried blood down the side of a crevasse, where a Sherpa didn't clip onto the line and lost his life. A constant stream of falling rocks and rough weather also halted his climbing team, and those ascending and descending the Lhotse Face.

"If anything, seeing this further focused my attention. I’ve had many wake-up calls throughout my career in the mountains, and this was no different. You never decide that you want to die up there in the mountains, but you do get to control certain things," he wrote.

At the beginning of May, Kedrowski began to describe the "deadly traffic jam" that others have blamed for the recent Everest tragedies. Slow-moving crews of climbers and even cameramen clogged both routes for those ascending and descending.

He showed an increasing frustration at not being allowed to begin his climbs earlier in the morning to avoid the snarl of traffic and bad weather.

Before May 21's tragedy, Kedrowski described seeing 300 climbers trying to summit, with high winds and brutal weather conditions that made frostbite inevitable. The bad weather only served to trap the surplus of climbers.

Tomer jumped into the blog's narrative when communications from Kedrowski became sparse. He detailed that Kedrowski was still "battling demons" from trying to rescue climbers that "were disoriented, frostbitten, sick and totally exhausted."

Tomer said the tragedy occurred because the jet stream, which Everest pierces because of its elevation, backed itself over the summit, leaving climbers caught in 80 mph winds.

This caused Kedrowski to change his tactics, moving lightly and quickly while skipping two camps in the ascent to the summit, which is rarely ever done, according to Tomer.

Tomer expected a "24-hour weather window" that should allow Kedrowski to summit safely Friday night or Saturday. The winds are forecast to return Sunday.

Kedrowski responded to Tomer's warnings that he expected 100 climbers to attempt to summit at the same time. Many of the others have left after Monday's tragedy and "the sound of helicopter rotor-chop is constant," he said.

Kedrowski remains determined and optimistic about reaching the summit. Because of his background as a basketball coach for kids, the metaphors of progressing from the "sweet 16" to the "elite 8" part of his journey are present in nearly every post.

"I’ve been climbing mountains since I was a kid, and I’ve become only as good as the mountains have let me become," he wrote. "Its [sic] time for the mountain to decide, but I’m gonna give it my all. Every mountain I’ve ever climbed, [...] I’ve always played “Everest” in my head, I’ve always rehearsed what I’d do on each day.  Then comes Summit Day. It’s gonna be the greatest game I’ve been able to play."

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Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?
This photo, submitted by iReporter Chelsie Kozera, shows a Mount Everest base camp.
May 22nd, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

What is being called a "deadly traffic jam" of climbers ascending Mount Everest might be a factor in the death of four people descending the world's tallest mountain.

The news came amidst the celebration of a landmark climb for Tamae Watanabe of Japan, who, at 73 years old, became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest on Saturday morning. She broke her own 10-year-old record.

Bad weather has also been blamed. Sandra Leduc, a Canadian woman who is climbing Mount Everest, has been tweeting about the storms. She saw lightning in the distance and tweeted that the peak winds were roaring at 100 kph.

She also tweeted that two or three hours from the summit, her sherpa wanted the team to descend immediately, because it was the worst weather he had ever seen. The very low temperatures appear to have affected a regulator she was using, which also has an effect on her oxygen supply.

What is altitude sickness?

But her most chilling tweet referred to those who did not survive their trek.

Michael Harley also made an observation that many are considering, perhaps for the first time.

Six people have died on Mount Everest this year, but it's not the disaster faced by climbers in 1996, the deadliest year to date for the mountain, with 16 deaths. On May 10, 1996, 10 teams were stranded by a storm and white-out conditions, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero.

Adventurer Bear Grylls, who was one of the youngest climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, shared his perspective on the tragedy.

Readers had much to say about the dangers of the climb versus the rewards. We received more than 1,500 comments on CNN.com.

Madhu: "Everest: Earth's highest graveyard."

daddy2010: "At least they died doing what they enjoy. Better than dying in a cubicle on Friday and having no one find the body till Monday."

darcechoke: "This is why I don't climb Mt. Everest. Well, this and the fact that I get winded climbing a flight of stairs."

Isocyanide: "Everest is the Disneyland of mountain climbing. Standing in line for hours and hours for the ride a million other people have taken."

Some talked not only about the dangers but about the bodies, the expenses involved and the waste left behind. The following commenter suggested a deposit to cover recovery expenses.

Unit34AHunt: "Everest has in excess of 200 known corpsicles, and massive heaps of discarded trash. Seems properly respectful of this earth to clear out all that detritus rather than allowing it to accumulate. 'They died doing what they love?' Tell it to the corpses of the ones who begged not to be left behind as they froze to death."

djfl00d: "Going up after dead bodies or trash means you bring less with you, which means you won't be carrying what you need to survive, and there's another dead body to go after."

For many, the sherpas who accompany climbers on some treks are indispensable.

MrsColumbo: "I hiked to Everest Base Camp in 95. The Sherpa's are unbelievable. They leave after you with your heavy pack, run by you get there ahead of you and have camp set up. It is not them who get paid the big bucks to take you to the top, it is the companies that sponsor them. You will not meet a nicer group of people than the Nepalese Sherpas."

Others were quite saddened by the news.

smc77: "I feel for these people and their families. I hike mountains, nowhere near this challenging, and have turned back when I thought the risk was too great. I can only imagine the draw to complete this goal, the costs (planning, physical, financial) involved, and the disappointment one must ponder when making the go / turn-back decision. I hope that all can take solace in knowing they died doing something they enjoyed and was important in their lives."

Would you climb Mt. Everest? What do these attempts say about humanity? Comment below and tell us what you think.

You can also sound off on video via CNN iReport.

May 14th, 2012
02:37 AM ET

Plane crashes in Nepal, killing 14

A small plane crashed as it attempted to land in a mountainous area of Nepal on Monday, killing 14 of the 21 people on board, an aviation official said.

The plane was coming into land at the airport at Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal, when it crashed, said Purusottam Shakya, deputy director of air traffic service operations in Kathmandu.

There were three crew members on board the plane and 18 passengers, most of whom were Indian, according to Shakya.

The seven survivors were being transferred to the town of Pokhara, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Kathmandu.

Jomsom is the gateway to Muktinath Temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus from Nepal and India.

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Soldier cited for holding off up to 30 Taliban by himself
Acting Sgt. Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles displays his Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
June 2nd, 2011
09:03 AM ET

Soldier cited for holding off up to 30 Taliban by himself

Britain's newest hero is a Nepali.

Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday awarded Britain's second-highest award for bravery, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, to Acting Sgt. Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

While stationed as a lone sentry at a checkpoint in Afghanistan's Helmand province on September 17, Pun fended off an attack by up to 30 Taliban fighters.

"There were many Taliban around me," Pun said in an interview with British Forces News. "I thought they are definitely going to kill me. ... I thought before they kill me I have to kill some of them."

During the 15-minute battle, Pun fired more than 400 rounds of ammunition, detonated 17 grenades and a mine and even threw his gun tripod at a Taliban fighter climbing toward his position, according to British Forces News.

"He was just about to climb up there and I hit (him) with my tripod and he fell down again," Pun told British Forces News.

Pun's actions saved the lives of three fellow soldiers at the checkpoint and were the "bravest seen in his battalion over two hard tours in Afghanistan," according to his medal citation.

Pun was not wounded in the firefight.

“That he survived unscathed is simply incredible," his medal citation says. “Throughout Dip’s actions he was under almost constant intense fire. Dip’s courage and gallantry were simply astonishing."

Pun, 31, joined the British military in 2000 and also has served in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Like other Gurkhas, Pun is from Nepal. The Gurkhas were incorporated into British forces after their fighting skill impressed the opposition British during the Nepal Wars of 1814 to 1816. As part of the peace treaty ending that conflict, Gurkhas were admitted into East India Company's army and then into the British military.

Gurkhas recruited solely in Nepal remain Nepalese citizens during their service. Gurkha unit officers are British.

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Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest
Briton Kenton Cool called his wife from Mount Everest.
May 12th, 2011
11:59 AM ET

Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest

As if his name weren't impressive enough. British mountaineer Kenton Cool summited Mount Everest for the ninth time on Thursday and called his wife on his cell phone - from the top, according to the BBC and other reports. The network interviewed Cool a day after he returned from his adventure.

Last year, 3G signal coverage became available on Everest.

Cool claimed to be the first to tweet from the mountain as well, but there's talk that that might not be the case, Wired magazine writes.

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November 5th, 2010
10:42 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.

Man in disguise boards international flight: Canadian authorities are investigating an "unbelievable" incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

Olbermann suspended for Dem contributions: Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's primetime firebrand host, has been suspended indefinitely for violating the ethics policies of his employer, MSNBC said Friday.

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October 26th, 2010
11:51 AM ET

Well-known Mount Everest Sherpa lost in avalanche

Sherpa Nima had summited Mount Everest 19 times, once fewer than the record.

A legendary Nepalese sherpa who scaled Mount Everest 19 times was hit last week by an avalanche, reports say, and the days-long search for his body has been called off.

On Wednesday, Chhewang Nima was leading a British expedition up Mount Baruntse in eastern Nepal. The 43-year-old was working ropes near the summit when the avalanche hit, according to reports quoting Jeevan Ghimire, a spokesperson for Nima's hiking agency, Sherpa Shangrila Trek and Expedition. The Toronto Star and other outlets reported that another guide was also struck.

The avalanche missed the party other climbers. When all the snow cleared, the group began to furiously dig in the snow but couldn't find the men, reports say. A helicopter search was also unsuccessful, according to Outside magazine.

Nima was close to tying the record for the most Everest summits. Fellow Nepalese climber Appa Sherpa has climbed the mountain 20 times.

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August 24th, 2010
02:22 AM ET

14 feared dead in Nepal plane crash

A single-engine aircraft carrying 11 passengers and three crew members crashed south of Kathmandu on Tuesday amid bad weather, government officials said.

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Filed under: Nepal
May 1st, 2010
11:15 AM ET

Thousands of Maoists rally in Kathmandu

Thousands of Maoist supporters swarmed into Nepal's capital Saturday for a May Day rally that was also intended to press the government to step down.

About 15,000 security forces were deployed throughout the capital and businesses were shut in anticipation of violence, but by midday the situation was still peaceful.

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April 26th, 2010
01:37 PM ET

U.S. teen begins ascent of world's tallest mountain

Even from more than 21,000 feet up the world's tallest mountain, 13-year-old Jordan Romero couldn't resist the opportunity to greet his mother in a live television broadcast Monday.

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