Nepal Everest Base Camp Treks & Climbing Trips Cancelled — fundraiser set-up
After diligent and extensive research, discussions with physicians and public health experts, as well as a great deal of soul-searching, Mountain Madness has officially cancelled all Spring 2021 Nepal treks and climbs.
The ongoing and evolving COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the scarcity of testing, treatment, and vaccine distribution in Nepal, particularly in remote regions, all create a situation where visitors are potential threats to Nepali communities.
Instead of just standing by though, we are setting a target of raising $20,000 for local vaccination efforts, as well as Mountain Madness staff in the Mount Everest region.
At Mountain Madness, we take great care to ensure the health, well-being, and safety of our guests, but also of the people and places which we visit. Having worked in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal for decades, we have deep personal and trusted relationships with many people there — and highly regard them as an important part of the Mountain Madness family.
Photos by MM collection and Deana Zabaldo/Changing Lives Nepal
THE SITUATION IN NEPAL
Trying to balance what is best for adventure travel and what is best for Nepal are not mutually exclusive. The immediate priorities are to both limit any additional possibilities of exposure to at-risk people of the Khumbu region and to provide support in the effort to test, vaccinate and treat COVID-19.
COVID-19 data from Nepal measuring the prevalence and impacts of disease are currently either incomplete or unavailable. Testing capability and treatment options in more remote regions are inadequate in the face of a highly contagious and dangerous virus.
However, testing alone is not the perfect solution, and the rush to give a boost to the economy of Nepal will likely cause regulations to be relaxed. Encouraging tourist visits seems a dangerous gamble, and not one that Mountain Madness will take.
A government-driven campaign of vaccination in Nepal started on January 20 with 1 million doses donated by India (photo shown here by NDTV). There are over 28 million residents of Nepal and availability of testing and vaccines in remote regions will likely take a very long time. Without a successful effort to combat this virus, the impact on the people of the Khumbu will be devastating.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO VACCINATION EFFORT
To help in vaccinations, Mountain Madness is fundraising to provide direct financial support for the following: social mobilization, community outreach, vaccination supplies and equipment, cold chain capabilities, vaccination program staff and training, and other mass vaccination program needs.
Throughout our decades of work in the Khumbu, we have established relationships with efficient and highly competent local networks. And, we understand and appreciate the highly-skilled logistics and supply chain suited for this particular environment that will see vaccination through to the finish line. We can think of no better or more highly skilled logistics and supply experts than the Sherpa of the Khumbu.
While we recognize that a few thousand dollars is but a drop in the bucket of overall need, it is a place to start and a seed planted for growth. We encourage individuals and other guide services to donate or create their own relief effort and in solidarity we can all improve the situation for the people of Nepal. Collectively focused efforts can and do make a difference.
HELPING OUT STAFF
In addition to assisting the vaccination effort, Mountain Madness is donating $100 for each of our Nepal Khumbu trip registrants who are postponing their Everest Base Camp Trek, Ama Dablam, and Island Peak trips with us this spring. This money will be distributed to our Nepal staff to help offset the work the spring season provided would have otherwise provided. As there are no charges for postponing and all trip money is moved forward, we will also be contacting all our customers to invite them to contribute to our larger efforts, as they have so generously done following the earthquakes in 2015 and Spring 2020 when the pandemic first arrived.
Help reach our target of $20,000 toward vaccination efforts in Nepal and supporting Mountain Madness Nepal staff. Final amounts allocated to each of these two needs will be determined upon conclusion of the fundraising effort.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Call our office at 800−328−5925 or email company owner Mark Gunlogson at firstname.lastname@example.org