Mountaineering for the Ecotourism Professional

Summiters offers a program of intensive training in Himalayan climbing coupled with workshops in heritage interpretation.

Learn the skills to become a safe and successful mountaineer from seasoned Everest summiters! Our instructors, Dawa Chiri Sherpa and Tsering Dorje Sherpa, are both members of the exclusive Rolwaling Summiters Association. They have years of experience guiding world-class alpinists to the top of the highest peaks on Earth, including Mt. Everest. Now they have formed a school in their own home community, deep in the spectacular High Himal, where they will share with you their intimate knowledge of and appreciation for the ultimate adventure. More...

Who are you? More to the point, why should you join Summiters? You want to climb -- the higher, the better. You'd love to climb Everest.

Because it's there?

No. That doesn't cut any mustard for you. You've already got a career in adventure tourism. Or you want to have one. Something that will keep you out there, up there, for life.

Just now, you don't have time to be a tourist. But you do have time to invest in acquiring skills that will serve you, both as a mountaineer and as professional in the field of ecotourism development. More...

Why Rolwaling? According to Tibetan Buddhism, the great tantric saint Padmasambhava created a handful of hidden valleys to serve as sanctuaries for dharma during future times of trouble. Rolwaling is believed to be one such beyul. Cultural traditions were preserved more tenaciously in this sacred valley. Proscriptions against slaughter and hunting mean that the natural wildlife has flourished. Festivals and rituals have flourished.

Rolwaling's status as a sacred valley is not the only reason it has remained relatively unimpacted by the incursions of Western culture. For decades an arbitrary regulation has prevented free access to tourists. Now the Sherpas of Rolwaling have prevailed in their struggle for economic opportunity. The barriers are lifted, and changes are about to come. The challenge today is to manage the change, to make sure that the future will bring prosperity without destroying the cultural and natural legacy. More...

The agenda The program will run for six weeks, from March 24, 2003, to May 4. The first week will be an orientation to the context of mountaineering in Nepal: an exploration of the tourist attractions and services in Kathmandu and environs, as well as a rafting expedition on the mighty Bhote Kosi.

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This will be followed by the caleidoscopic trek up to Rolwaling Valley, and then by four weeks of intensive training in mountaineering skills. Ropework, survival exercises, glacial traverses, and challenging ascents of intermediate level peaks, including Yalung Ri and Ramdung.

Between mountaineering exercises, there will be workshops in various genres of copywriting and heritage interpretation, lectures on local culture and wildlife, and brainstorming sessions in which the team will analyze development hazards and opportunities.

The grand finale will be a traverse of the formidable Tashi Laptsa pass and the ascent of Pachermo (21,000', 6100m). An optional epilogue: independent trek through Khumbu, including Gokyo and Everest Base Camp, followed by participation in an international symposium, the Namche Conference ("People, Park, and Mountain Ecotourism") as well as 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). More...

Who are we? Summiters is sponsored by Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism Development an independent organization which has been helping the residents of Rolwaling Valley develop opportunities for climbers and trekkers. Summiters may participate in some of the other volunteer projects sponsored by Bridges-PRTD, including the installation of the first hydropower plant in the valley. More...

219 W. Spencer St. #3
Ithaca, NY 14850
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