Monday, November 28, 2016

Join Us Earth Bag Building in 2017- Nepal

Ok, it's official!!! We are building again October 19 to October 28, 2017.  Join us on this rewarding adventure rebuilding Nepal's devastated villages left behind after the 7.8M earth quake.

We are working in the area hardest hit by the earth quake where thousands were killed and still today people are living under sheets of tin given as temporary shelters since the earth quake April 2015.

Schools and child safety is our priority and why we've joined with First Steps Himalaya who have been successfully providing quality rural education in Nepal for several years.

Come learn- build and explore the beauty of the people and land with us next autumn.  There is also a build commencing this spring for anyone wanting to get over there in April and May.

For more information and to get yourselves on the team, drop us an email..


Becky & Tim Rippel
Peak Freaks

Check out the video....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Earth Bag Rebuild - Mission Complete

We did it! The roof is on, three coats of plaster are on, kids are back in school playing with their new Montessori aid tools. All the volunteers are home or on extended adventures in Nepal while Durga is still on site finishing up the septic system. It was a wonderful and productive experience that will be cherished for a life-time.

We are back again next year and are looking for more volunteers. Put October 28th, 2017 in your calendar and be a part of this adventure with us, and since you'll be coming all this way, consider doing some add on adventures with us:

  • 10 Day - Annapurna Base Camp Trek
  •  5  Day - Annapurna Poon Hill View Trek
  •  Everest View Flight
  •  Chitwan Jungle Safari
  •  Whitewater Rafting
  •  Buddhist Meditation Centres and so much more.  We can hook you up!!
To learn more or to join, contact Becky at
 To donate to First Steps Himalaya 

We thank you for following us on this journey.

Tim and Becky Rippel

Friday, November 11, 2016


The roof is on the kindergarten and touchups are underway on the annex buildings roof.

We just wanted to take a moment to re-introduce Durga and the project, and why we have chosen to support earthquake-proof building with our longtime friends and co-founders and directors of First Steps Himalaya - Durga Aran and Fionna Heiton from Nelson, New Zealand and we are from Nelson, Canada, fancy that!

More photos and next years plans to be posted in couple of days.

To donate: First Steps Himalaya

To get on next years team:
Peak Freaks

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Pre-trusses ... photos to follow....
Team building a water diversion trench with earth bags, rebar and chicken wire. 

Wow! What a hard working crew. The team has been working full on. Up at 5:30 - get on site and give'er till breakfast at 10:00 - work some more in the heat of the day until the sun goes down, eat dinner and crawl into into their tents. Lots of sweat but no tears. Well maybe a few from Tim. One more day of welding and the trusses will be done. Everyone was excited today to see the building actually take shape with the trusses coming together. They are proud and so they should be.

Tim is working without a welders helmet, only goggles or body protection, he's burnt his face, arms and chest pretty good. Today he's wearing arm shields made of rice bags protect himself. Fortunately he bought a face mask in Kathmandu.

The Brown family leave the team tomorrow so there was a little good-bye gathering tonight. We've lost our photo downloader Wanda, she's not on the project anymore and had the foresight to purchase a data plan that allowed her to send out the photos you've seen so far.  After we wrap here we'll be able to bring everyone in the loop with visuals when we get back to Kathmandu. No internet makes for great therapy for anyone wanting to kick the habit.

Tomorrow all the trusses should be completed and we'll move on to another building, the round building you've seen in photos needs the roof fixed up. Right now it's in bad shape and the earth bags are getting wet. We'll have that all fixed up before we leave.

Next year we need a lot more time here. We need tools!!!!! A list is being compiled of equipment that is much needed to keep these projects going safely and more efficiently.

Great things are happening here. Please help and donate!!  First Steps Himalaya  The Montessori tools that were donated to the school are hugely appreciated. There will be stories and photos to show once we get organized. Right now building is everyone's priority.

Peak Freaks

Monday, November 7, 2016


We are starting to feel at home here in Sangachok. Our work site is situated on the side of the Friendship Highway, the name given the road as the trade route between China and Nepal. We are familiar with the hazards on the road as we used to use back it in the 90's to access Everest's north side in Tibet.  However it's become much quieter post earth quake as China has since decided they won't rebuild the road this time because of the forever landslide conditions here. There's a deep canyon that drops off into the raging Sun Koshi river below. It's just too dangerous to try and keep it open and instead rumour has it that China has turned the border town between Kodari and Zhangmu into a military post.

In Nepal there is always something going on. There was a bit of a protest yesterday because a woman had been hit and killed on the road. It brought back memories of the same thing happening in 1991 as we were making our way to Everest on this section of the road when a woman was killed.

Our team seems to have rockstar status here in the village thanks to all the good work Durga and
Leela churning out pancakes for the group.
Fionna have put forth building schools offering quality rural education. We are greeted each morning with warm "namastes" from families as we make our way to breakfast. There is a family that has opened up their home to feed the crew that has saved extra work having to do that. A mom and dad and their two children. They will lose one of their helpers tomorrow when the eldest boy leaves for school. 

School starts tomorrow after a 10 day break during the Tihar festival. The pressure will be on us to get this roof on the school. Tim was having a bit trouble with the welding because the power stream is so minimal and the welder has seen it's days.  Durga returns today with a generator and new welding machine so now he can get the welding done. The water supply runs at a trickle making gathering enough to make cement another problem. It's not easy building in Nepal with resource challenges, but you just keep going making it work.

Today the team made cement by shovel to build the header seen in the photo, and put the floor down on the teachers school. Gerry is in charge of the septic project and others are wrapping the building with chicken wire and plastering and other associated projects to get the building complete. 

We are joined with some other young workers from around the world making a total of 18 of us here. Others were here before us making the walls with the earth bags. Tonight they enjoyed a campfire as some are leaving us in the morning.  There is so much to do and it's likely we'll be back again next year, and hopefully we'll be bringing friends who couldn't make it this year. It's grunt work so muscles and stamina are greatly appreciated. 

On that note, we call it a day.  

Peak Freaks  &  First Steps Himalaya Please donate!!!

Many thanks to Wanda for the photo uploads.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Earth Bag Rebuild Underway- Nepal

Everyone including Tim are now on site in Sangachok. This is the second day for the team and they are working hard. Today they built a diversion trench with rebar and earth bags. Tim's welding fabricating skills have come in handy. Tomorrow he will be welding the roof frame together with the help of Dan Brown. They should have this complete in a couple days.

The building you see below now has all the walls and doors and window frames in thanks to the team that was in here before us, our team will now begin to assemble the mesh and begin plastering.

The building starts at 0700hrs and with breakfast at 1000hrs in an attempt to escape the day time heat, finishing up around 1800hrs.

Durga took Tim around to explain and explore new ideas and opportunities in rebuilding this area. "Warning"..... there is a renewed spark in Tim's eyes.

To donate:
First Steps Himalaya

Friday, October 21, 2016

Canadian team heads to Nepal for Earth Quake Rebuild

It's that time of year in the Himalayas when weather allows mountains to be moved. Tourist flock to the Everest and Annapurna region for trekking and climbing,  providing income to everyone working in the industry. Rebuilds and an array of volunteer projects also get underway this time of year.  There is a lot of activity in the hills getting in as much work as possible before the small weather window closes bringing winter chill and snow.

Durga has been in Sangachock since September initiating autumn rebuild projects. His assessment for our team will be completing the earth bag project shown.  Touch ups on the round earth bag classroom, and finishing a recycled brick classroom plastering, painting and so on. There will be a lot of jobs going on at the same time, so much to do to get the educational training facilities ready for local kids and teachers.

Our team will arrive on site early November. We've formed a great bunch of friends to help. Here's some names:

1. Owen Thurston- Nelson, B.C.
2. Christine Bialkowski - Nelson, B.C
3. Taylor Pritchard - Nelson, B.C.
4. Gill Brown- Summerland, B.C.
5. Mandy Brown- B.C.
6. Dan Brown - B.C.
7. Gerry Harmon - Rossland, B.C.
8. Derrick Felkar- St. Thomas, Ontario
9. John Wall- Comox, B.C.
10. Jeff Karry-Carlisle, Ontario
11. Tim Rippel- Nelson, B.C.
12. Becky Rippel- Nelson, B.C.

This team will be gathering in Kathmandu the end of October and are looking forward to getting on with helping out.

Anyone wanting to donate to an excellent organization, First Steps Himalayas are doing just a fantastic job in the name of education in Nepal. We feel that investing in quality education for an entire village is better than the individual education sponsorships that have become a booming business in Nepal the past couple of years. The government schools have failed their children, but taking them away from their homes and families to sponsor organized orphanages is not a good solution, instead providing it for the children at home is a much better way. Pooling the funds to benefit "all" children and to teach Nepalese men and women to become teachers makes sense and is working.

We will update here when we can on our progress. Communications are limited but we'll try our best.

Becky Rippel  Tim Rippel is currently in Nepal leading the program. He's been sending photos and updates on this link.

Sunday, July 31, 2016



Date:  November 2 to November 14, 2016
Cost: There is a cost associated with this project as we will not rely on villagers for our keep. First Steps Himalaya fees for meals is $25.00USD per day.

Durga Aran, founding director of First Steps Himalaya is now on the ground in Nepal. Our earth build team will be joining him mid November. He's currently working with villagers teaching the concept of earth bag building. 

We wish to express our deepest and heartfelt thank you for the donations we received to date to help rebuild Nepal, gifts from donors and monetary donations will provide the financial and moral support needed to continue our mission.

 With everyone’s faithful financial contributions the past year to First Steps Himalaya donation portal, and other donations to benefit those less fortunate in Nepal, through Tim and I and Peak Freaks, you’ve demonstrated your deep commitment to our work. 

With the help of volunteers providing muscle power and moral support, we will together be providing shelter and education to the poor and homeless left behind in the wake of this disaster.

 Peak Freak followers support has repeatedly played a key role in our success in reaching out to the country and the people we’ve come to love to much.  Let's never give up! 

There is no way to fully express our gratitude for everyone’s loyalty. We at Peak Freaks are continually inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors who answered the call to give and help. 

It is our hope that by following and sharing our blog while on this journey, we will inspire others to help after such a life changing and tragic disaster. We have a lot of work to do and will be coming back here again and again to make that happen. 

Becky & Tim Rippel

To register: email   Or send donations to First Steps Himalaya 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Earth Bag School Project November 2016


EARTH BAG BUILDING With Peak FreaksFirst Steps Himalaya

If you can't help us re-build, Nepal consider donating for educational and building supplies?

Peak Freaks is back on track with our earth bag school project in Sangachok,  the hardest hit region from the earth quake in Nepal.

Last November we were thwarted from our project due to the fuel crisis that prohibited us getting supplies and machinery in and out of Kathmandu to Sangachok. As well China Air (South and East) and Thai Airways who both offered economical flights from North America to Nepal at that time, were cancelled due to the crisis. It appears they've still abandoned the route but other airlines are slowly starting to fill the void.

Durga Aran, co-founder and director of First Steps Himalaya is in Nepal right now initiating the pre-monsoon ground work with a team. The monsoon sets in in the Himalayas the end of May. Because of this, work will have to halt due to landslides and the fact that it will be just too wet to work. But never mind.....we are back in November and are looking for helpers.

Here is the new the schedule:


Peak Freaks volunteers are welcome to come earlier or depart later to enjoy other activities helping to stimulate Nepal's hard hit tourism industry. We are happy to help with options.

There is a cost associated with providing food, transportation and infrastructure to volunteers. We will not rely on local resources impacting the fragile community environmentally or economically. First Steps Himalaya fee for basic meals is $25.00USD per day. 

To learn more about how to get on the roster and join this amazing opportunity,  please drop us an email. 

Becky & Tim Rippel