Himalayas and Alps: a comparison of apples with oranges? In high mountain research, comparison of the Himalayas and Alps has a long tradition. The dominance of the natural environment has always been emphasised. High mountain regions have been perceived both as remote enclaves, as marginal areas of marginalised groups, as well as containing a broad spectrum of cultural diversity and authenticity. Similar images are actually represented within the campaign "International Year of Mountains 2002" (with focus on high mountain) and the high mountain discussion forums (f.e. Mountain Forum). Today, the question can be raised, whether such huge spatial entities can be investigated in respect to commonness and difference. Concretely: Does the comparison of the Himalayas and Alps lead to new scientific results and actions, with particular focus on the livelihood strategies of high mountain people? To illustrate the complexity of these livelihood strategies, the new "livelihood Approach" is introduced. Taking the "Livelihood Framework" of a Nepalese high mountain region as example, comparable components of the Alps shall be identified. At the same time it will be examined, to what extent a comparison of the Himalayas and Alps becomes irrelevant, or whether alternative approaches can help to gain new insights.