March 20 - May 4, 2003

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  • March 24-29 Five days of orientation, sightseeing, and practical lectures in Kathmandu. There will also be time for last-minute purchases of gear and supplies.

  • March 30-31 Two-day rafting expedition on the Bhote Khosi. This exciting plunge through Class 4 and 5 rapids is an opportunity for the group to get to know each other and build teamwork skills.

  • April 1-April 5 Five-day trek to Beding.

  • April 6-May 4 Four weeks of intensive mountaineering exercises, interspersed with workshops in heritage interpretation. The last week will include the ascent of Pachermo and the crossing of Tashi Laptsa pass to Thame.

  • May 5-May 26 [OPTIONAL] Trek to Everest Base Camp, Kala Pattar, Gokyo; participate in the Namche Conference ("People, Park, and Mountain Ecotourism) and closing ceremonies of the Mt. Everest Jubilee Year (50 years after the first ascent by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953)
Here we will focus on a variety of skills ranging from first aid, to avalanche forecasting, to technical ice climbing. Since we will be based in the small village of Beding (3693 meters), there will also be time to get to know the local inhabitants, learn about their customs and help with the numerous volunteer opportunities associated with the Bridges to Rolwaling program. While in the valley we will summit Ramdung Go (5930 meters) and Yalung Ri (5630 meters). Conditions permitting, we may also approach Menlung La,the historic pass where Eric Shipton captured his famous yeti photographs. Shorter day hikes will take us to the south wall of Gauri Shankar, the beautiful lake of Oma’i Tsho and numerous unnamed venues.

At the conclusion of training, we will cross the notorious Tashi Lapcha pass into Khumbu. During this technical traverse, we will have the opportunity to tackle an additional major summit. Pachermo rises 6273 meters above sea level and will be the ultimate test of your newly acquired skills. After navigating the difficult icefall leading to the pass, we will camp at over 5750 meters before attempting the summit. Following our summit bid, we will descend into the popular Khumbu valley and the town of Thame. At Thame our program will end, but you will have the opportunity to trek throughout Khumbu, participate in the Namche Conference and other events planned for the Everest Jubilee (50 years since the first ascent), or simply return to Kathmandu. Whatever your decision, you will have gained the necessary knowledge and skills to plan and execute your own mountaineering expeditions throughout the world.

Instructional Topics:

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 Prep, Planning and Logistics. We will then encounter more practical hands-on-topics during our hike in 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.

Working on the gompa gate
Summiters may participate in volunteer projects. Here, Bridges team members help build a new gate for the monastery. In 2003, projects will include the installation of Rolwaling's first micro-hydropower plant.
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 of the topics 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 figures into this decision-making process is hazard evaluation, we will learn about the unique hazards that are encountered in the mountains and how each figures in to our decisions.

As we begin 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 also learn about the proper use and placing of now and ice protection, those important pieces of gear that we use to protect ourselves in the event of a fall or other mishap. 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 Pachermo, 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.

219 W. Spencer St. #3
Ithaca, NY 14850
Tel: (609) 256-0102 Fax: (708) 575-6620 Email: etters@bridges-prtd.com