That Settles That

They disagreed so they measured it together. It’s 8,848.86 metres (29,031.69 feet), a bit more than their previous calculations, they say.

New 3QD Column

On the Road: Kathmandu to Lhasa in a Bad Mood is live on 3 Quarks Daily this morning. Read it there now, and I’ll post it to CS&W later this week. Here are the photos, which you can also find in the China Gallery at

Climb a Mountain. Support a Poor Country.

Mt. Everest from rural Tibet
In How Mount Everest became a multimillion-dollar business, Zachary Crockett shows how massively the mountain benefits the Nepalese. This chart comes from the article.

Friday Photo #29 from Tibet


Prayer flags at Lalung Leh pass, 5050 meters (16570 feet) in the Himalayas, Tibet. Here is a story about our trip to Tibet from Common Sense and Whiskey, the book. See more photos from Tibet at And see all the Friday Photos.

The Clerk’s Stamp is Money

The northern Indian province of Sikkim, between Nepal and Bhutan, borders Tibet. To visit, non-Indians require an “Inner Line Permit/Restricted Area Permit” issued by the Government of Sikkim Tourism Department.

It’s because of history. China chased the Dalai Lama from Lhasa over these mountains and off the throne in ’59. India took in his cadre and donated a whole city, Dharmsala, to their cause. That peeved the Chinese mightily.

The Tibet/Sikkim border isn’t drawn to either sides’ satisfaction. These are barren, forbidding, 12,000 foot mountaintops. Nearly 2500 died fighting up here in the 1960s.  (The border at Nathula reopened for trade in 2006. Goods worth just over $1,000,000 moved through in 2013.)

So they try to keep up with where foreigners are.

The Inner Line Permit is a sheet of legal sized, pulpy paper with wood chips still evident. You can get one at the provincial border for free with passport photos and photocopies of things.

It cautions that the visitor must not overstay or go beyond the restricted areas, and must register at all check posts. It has us write down on paper what the NSA already knows: our arrival point, arrival and departure dates, names, nationalities, and passport information. This form requires a bureaucrat’s stamp.

The bureaucrat’s stamp is money.


permit copy

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