Wednesday, May 6, 2015


When the teachers training centre was built, the earth quake resistance factor was not even considered, but now it makes perfect sense as an affordable and safe and environmentally friendly habitat plan for the future. 


Our logistics are just about complete for the construction of an earth bag school in Sangachok situated in one of Nepal's most devastated regions east of Kathmandu.

We are building a school in conjunction with New Zealand based First Steps Himalaya while locals learn from the process to build their own homes. Earth homes have proven to withstand a 7.8M earthquake. They are finished with mud and chicken wire. The dirt bags and wire allows the structure stay intact while moving.  The current Teachers School that FSH built still stands and is currently being used as shelter for the homeless in this village.…/earth-bag-building-still-standing-…

We are currently running with 1 team of 12 volunteers on November 11, 2015. If everything goes to plan the walls can be assembled in just 10 days time with this many people, and with the help of some of the locals.

To donate

Kudos, hugs and big thanks to each and everyone of you who have stepped up to the plate and donated so far.

Know Your People

We first met Durga Aran, Founding Director of First Steps Himalaya back in 1991 in Nepal when he worked as a waiter at the hotel we frequented, everyone loved his big smile and eagerness to assist.  He won the lotto when he met Fionna Heiton during her time working in Nepal.  More about FSH, Durga and Fionna.!about-us/c14c3


Our other project begins October 11th, we are taking interested trekkers to the Everest region for 13 days visiting Sherpa families and their homes all while doing an assessment of their needs, and to learn about the future of the climbing industry, and to ask our Sherpa families advice on what we can do to make things better.

Autumn is the busiest tourism season in the Himalayas due clearer skies and comfortable temperatures, much busier than spring. We encourage trekkers and climbers to keep coming, getting our friends back to work and bringing a sense of normality back into their lives we feel is very important after this crisis.

Peak Freaks will donate 100% proceeds of this trek to aid these communities.


So many of our people have garnered close relations with Sherpa friends after visiting here climbing and trekking. Those interested can send monetary gifts through us to be delivered directly to friends.

For more information, please email us.

Tim and Becky Rippel

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nepal Earthquake- Update #3- Phortse

I'm exhausted fielding emails and social posts, but not near as exhausted as the people on the ground must be now.  It's got to be so so hard knowing the terrain, jet-lag, altitudes, monsoon rain and high temperatures on the way, never mind being witnesses to such tragic loss of life and the growing desperation of survivors.

The most painful part for me is while searching around making contacts for people and embassy's, having to return a message saying- " I'm so sorry - they did not survive" and feeling their pain. Most of my returns are saying "we are ok, our house is damaged, but we are ok".

Thankfully at the time of this post most of our Nepalese friends are getting their own messages out on their social sites. Some are good, some are incredibly sad.

Here's a one of those good ones that keeps me going.

Aunty Becky (what Yangzin calls me), We got new life but all safe.
Me and my husband and sister in KTM and our house also very fine. We stayed outside the day and time surfing Internet because we have wifi. All Nepalese people have no light, no water, not enough food, no phone. We got Internet so feeling very lucky. My home in Phortse also fine, papa (Sonam Sherpa- Everest guide) and momma (Yangzi) and brother also very fine. Even uncle Da Nuru's (known to many of our Canadian friends as Dawa, Everest guide) family fine too. But their house is little bit destroyed. Most of the things are ok.
Pictures are other people's houses destroyed in Phortse.  Hope everything ok there and uncle Tim too.  When uncle Tim comes he stay at my house if he not feel safe.

We've known Yangzin Sherwa Sherpa since she was 8 years old. Her father Sonam and her uncle Da Nuru, we've known since they were very young men. They worked hard all their lives to build their homes. Starting out as porters, then kitchen boys, then yak herders, soon climbing Sherpas and eventually Sherpa guides. It's been a long hard road.

                     We wonder what will become of the next generation? Will they rebuild?

Please keep helping, lets not forget too soon. Please donate only to people you trust and who you know will be in a good position to make a difference in the lives of people of Nepal during these desperate times.

1. Oct. 11, 2015- Join us to the Khumbu Everest region. $1000US of your trek fee goes to help stabilize homes and schools all while giving our Sherpa families a sense of normality by getting tourism back up and running again.

2. Nov. 11, 2015- Sanachok- rebuild mission. Building a earth home, safe and affordable housing for the future. Proven to have sustained a M7.8 earthquake.

3. FIRST STEPS HIMALAYA- Portal for donations towards our Sanachok project.

4. Sherpa Direct: Hand to Hand to Sherpa friends from friends who want to make sure donations go in their pockets and do not get reduced by relief agencies or taken by the Nepalese government.

 For more information please email me

Becky & Tim Rippel

Friday, May 1, 2015

Nepal Monsoon Season = floods, landslides and loss of more lives.

This is something we are now quite concerned with. Time needed to get people to safe ground and provide shelter and food is running out.

During a typical monsoon lives are lost each year by this annual event never mind the alteration in the landscape and a warming planet.

Nepal's people and rescue workers are in for some hard times. The land has shifted considerably and we are also looking at an unusual weather threat. One of the reasons we cancelled our Everest season this year was due to the El Nino Modoki phenomenon, to us this meant more than normal moisture in the Himalayas. Not just the pacific warming but a global oceanic warming reeking havoc in the mountains. So far it's appeared to play out as thought on Everest in 2015. Teams were way behind their normal progress and it hasn't changed to the better since the earthquake.

Here's an excerpt from the Weather Channels website on how landslides work.

"By definition, a landslide is when the topsoil of an area essentially 'loses its grip' on the underlying
Sun Koshi landslide August 2014 - Nepal
bedrock, and the entire area moves, en mass, down towards lower ground. This can happen very slowly - which is called 'creep'- and end up causing significant damage to houses, buildings, roads and other important part of our infrastructure over time.

The most dramatic events are the ones that happen very quickly, and those are also the most dangerous.

Often times, though, gravity has a helping hand. Earthquakes can produce an intense jolt that suddenly loosens the grip of friction between the top soil and underlying bedrock on nearby slopes. 

The overwhelming 'ally' for gravity in its fight for supremacy, though, is water!!!!

Not to forget the most recent landslide during the August 2014 monsoon season where a lake was created by a slide that threatened hundreds of villagers below.