Rock and Ice Climbing Trainings a Success
Rock climbing and Ice climbing training sessions successfully finished this month on a positive note. The instructors of both trainings felt a significant amount of knowledge was imparted to the female guides.
Harry Brands, a climbing instructor from the Netherlands, led this year’s 12-day rock climbing training (December 8 - 20) for four of our female trekking guides. The girls spent the first day cleaning the rock face of loose sand and vegetation and then began learning the ins and outs of rock climbing. Brands taught climbing and belaying, emphasizing the importance of safety and communication. During the training session the girls were able to attempt 13 different climbs, facilitated by the work Brands did earlier this month in drilling over 100 bolts into the rock face. Brand was thoroughly pleased with the overall training and hopes the girls continue to practice these skills until his next training in 2010.
Climbers from the Magic Mountain Foundation (Poland) led EWN's second ice-climbing training on Chulu West (6419 m). This year's four ice climbers were selected on the basis of their performance from the previous year's expedition on Tent Peak. The ice climbers faced difficult winter conditions, but the team succeeded in placing one of our female guides on the summit. The training (November 25 - December 16) enabled the female guides to significantly build on the techniques they learned last year. The next step will be to send the trainees abroad for training in the Alps to fully prepare them for a 2011 Everest expedition.
EWN is very proud of the hard work and determination its female guides showed during the two different advanced trainings. Thank you to Harry Brands and the climbing instructors Robert Kazmierski, Dariusz Zaluski, Tamara Styś, Konrad Krol,
and Stanislaw Chmielewski for using their holiday time to teach our girls. EWN would also like to express its gratitude to its sponsors: Mama Cash from the Netherlands and Startfund NYC (Uniting People). Without these sponsors the advanced trainings would not have been possible.
I would also like to recognize a trip led by my niece Archana to West Nepal for two American professors from Principia College and one of EWN's volunteers. The group hiked from Jumla to Rara Lake in order for the professors to plan a research trip for a study abroad program next fall that will take place in the small villages along the trail. The trek was advantageous for the professors to plan for next year, as well as for EWN to monitor the progress of the community hall it is building in the small village of Jhyari, a project EWN was able to start with donations from the Women Trek for Peace and Development 2008 and Quebec Women’s Group 2009. EWN looks forward to collaborating with the Principia students next fall for the research project.