In 1999, Empar Alos and Seth Sicroff set up a private company to promote backpacker tourism in remote mountainous areas. Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism Development (Bridges-PRTD) aimed to offer an alternative to extractive industries such as logging, hydro-electric, and hunting. One of our projects was to develop the international marketing capabilities of craftspeople in the Freak Street area of Kathmandu, which is why we took on the Sunrise project. (Freak Street was where most independent backpackers found lodging, before the commercial operators abandoned it in favor of Thamel). Bridges-PRTD recruited three small groups of students to do academic and volunteer work in Rolwaling, a remote valley to the east of Khumbu, home to Mt. Everest and most of the 8000-meter peaks in the world. Bridges also organized the Namche Conference ("People, Parks, and Mountain Tourism") in 2003, and subsequently (along with a small cadre of collaborators) established Mountain Legacy.
To find out more about these and other projects, see our Web sites: