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Rolwaling Mountaineering School

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Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism Development

Rolwaling, the sacred valley
Rolwaling, the Sacred Valley

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Projects in Rational Tourism Development

General Information

Mission Statement: Bridges promotes independent backpacking in remote mountain destinations as a basis for cultural and ecological preservation and as an alternative to more destructive avenues to economic opportunity.

Now accepting applications for Spring 2003 programs:

Bridges to Rolwaling is an innovative program that combines research with volunteer development work in a remote community in north central Nepal, just west of the Everest region. Since 1999, our international and interdisciplinary teams have collaborated with the people of Rolwaling in designing and implementing plans compatible with local needs and opportunities. Our fourth expedition will run from February 17 through May 31, 2003. For more info, see Bridges to Rolwaling Web site.

Summiters: Rolwaling Mountaineering School In 2003 Bridges will inaugurate a climbing school for tourists in association with the Bridges to Rolwaling program. Participants will join the academic/volunteer group for orientation activities in Kathmandu and for the shake-down rafting trip; they may also choose to participate in some of the volunteer projects, including the installation of the first hydropower plant in the valley. The instructors for this program are Dawa Chiri and Tsering Dorje, both natives of Rolwaling, and both Everest summiters.

Agenda: After the trek in to Beding (3600m), Summiters will have 4 weeks of training in a variety of mountaineering skills, including ice climbing, first aid, and rescue. Summiters will headquarter at Beding, from which there are quite a few spectacular daytrips and one- or two-day excursions: Menlung Glacier (where Shipton took his famous yeti footprint photos), the south wall of Gauri Shankar, Tsho Rolpa, Oma'i Tsho, Yalung Ri, and many others. At the conclusion of training, the Summiters team will cross Tashi Lapsta pass to Khumbu, pausing to climb Pachermo (6187 m). They will then be on their own to explore Khumbu and choose their own route back to Kathmandu.

An additional opportunity will be available for those who choose to stay in Khumbu until the end of May. Bridges-PRTD and Hokkaido University are organizing an international conference at Namche Bazar: "People, Park, and Mountain Ecotourism." This conference is scheduled to coincide with the grand finale of the Everest Jubilee Year, the 50th anniversary of the first ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Both the Jubilee and the Namche Conference will attract climbers and researchers from around the world, so it will be a good chance to meet them informally, and to make connections that will be useful in the future. Summiters are also encouraged to participate in conference discussions; if you need college credit, we can help you format an academic presentation on recreational tourism in Rolwaling.

  • March 24-29 Kathmandu (orientation)
  • March 30-31 Rafting on Bhote Khosi
  • April 1-April 5 Hike to Beding
  • April 6- May 4 Mountaineering exercises; the last week will include the ascent of Pachermo and the crossing of Tashi Lapts pass to Thame.

Requirements: From the outset we will assume that participants have no serious climbing experience. There will be instruction and practice in all necessary basic skills, including the use of equipment. A low student-to-instructor ratio will allow us to break up into small teams, however, in order to maintain a high level of challenge even for relatively experienced participants.


Altogether, the 7-week program will cost about $3800 plus travel. The program fee is $3800, which is discounted $200 if full payment is received on schedule. This fee covers the following items:
  • 2-day rafting expedition on the Bhote Khosi (whitewater grade 4-5)
  • room and board during fieldwork in Rolwaling (March 2-April 28)
  • bus to and from the trailhead in Dolakha
  • equipment: tents, ropes, stoves

The fee does not cover:

  • room and board in Kathmandu, Khumbu, or on the trail
  • Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight
  • travel to and from Nepal
  • insurance
  • hiking gear and personal climbing gear
Directors: Dr. Seth Sicroff is a specialist in Himalayan tourism. He has done field work in Nepal and China on grants from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation. Empar Alos Alabajos is an industrial engineer from Valencia, Spain.


Note: In order to keep costs to a minimum and also to allow for frequent updates, Bridges does not publish a hardcopy prospectus or catalog. Application forms can be submitted by email from the linked pages, or printed and sent by regular mail. Be sure to check the update page for program modifications and additional infomation. Latest update: Feb. 9, 2002.

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Rolwaling Valley