The Rolwaling Mountaineering School
March 24th - May 4th
As mountaineering is a generalized sport that draws countless skills from other more specialized disciplines, we plan to cover numerous topics during our time in Nepal. While in Kathmandu we will discuss such ideas as: Group Dynamics and Expedition Dynamics, Leadership, Minimum Impact techniques, Packing, Expedition Preperation, Planning and Logistics. We will then encounter more practical hands on topics during the approach hike as we learn a "knot-a-day." By the time we reach Rolwaling you will have mastered all the necessary knots for climbing. We will also touch on the more academic and information based ideas surrounding weather, nutrition, high altitude medicine and acclimatization. As our learning progresses we will have opportunities to apply this newly acquired information in our day to day exercises in the mountains.
Once in Beding, we will pick up the pace with intensive avalanche and snow dynamics courses, and first aid practicums utilizing scenarios so that we may "learn by doing." In addition to our first aid training, we will discuss accident site management and emergency response procedures, both necessary in remote areas such as the high Himalayas. Once we have a firm understanding in the issues learned in the first few weeks, we will discuss how it all figures into decision making and the choices we make while on an expedition. Another important aspect that plays into this decision-making process is hazard evaluation. We will learn about the unique hazards that are encountered in the mountains and how each effects our decisions.
As we enter the climbing portion of the course, we will begin with a thorough introduction to the equipment, its uses and its care. We will quickly progress to more exciting ideas such as glacier travel and movement on snow and ice. We will learn important techniques such as the Self-Arrest and Self-Belay as well as several different ways to belay our fellow teammates. We will also spend time on the glaciers practicing Self-rescue and other rescue techniques. During this time we will learn about the proper use and placment of snow and ice protection. Once we have become comfortable in all of these techniques, we will progress to topics such as leading, fixing rope, and other more advanced ideas. Conditions permitting, we may also have the opportunity to learn introductory rock climbing and repelling. When all of this is accomplished, most of our time will be spent ascending peaks and practicing the skills until they become second nature. By the time we attempt the crossing of Tashi Lapcha and the summit of Pacharmo, what once seemed like impossible mountains and difficult techniques will have become as normal as riding a bicycle. Following the program you will have developed the skills necessary for ascending peaks throughout the world.
During our time in Nepal, we hope to enhance the learning opportunities of our students through topics that are not directly related to mountaineering. These include background lessons in basic Nepali, geology, geography, Anthropology/Cultural studies and an introduction to the valleys flora and fauna. We will also have the opportunity to evaluate tourism, tourists and their role in development. Hopefully, we will have time to participate in volunteer opportunities in Beding, including the installation of a micro hydropower project. In addition, we hope that each group member can share personal insights and experiences from their own lives to enhance our understanding of each other and the world around us.