Sherpa Climbing Courses. 37 Sherpas received certificates upon completion of mountaineering safety and rescue courses taught by two Sherpas and the members of the Eastern Sierra Himalayan Expedition in September. They were conducted in the Dzongla/Tsola Pass area of the Khumbu, quite close to the Sherpas’ homes. Three consecutive groups of twelve students each received five days of instruction. Course content included: anchors, belays and protection (Yosemite technique); rappelling, raising and lowering; glacier travel, self-arrest, technical ice climbing and crevasse rescue; handling and transport of sick and injured; basic mountaineering medicine, with emphasis on altitude sickness and cold injury. The project was inspired by requests from the Sherpas themselves who are renowned for their natural climbing abilities, but feel the need for instruction in technical safety and rescue techniques. All the students work as high-altitude porters and guides, and were sponsored by both their employer, Mountain Travel Nepal, and private sponsors from the U.S. Course directors were John Fischer and Pertemba Sherpa. Instructors were Gordon Wiltsie, Jay Jensen, Richard Collins, Lanny Johnson, Pasang Kami Sherpa and I. All involved considered the project quite successful, and Pertemba hopes to offer such courses in the future, eventually with all Sherpa instructors.
Peter Hackett, M.D.