I wanted to publicly thank those who have contributed to my efforts to raise funds on behalf of the Khumbu Climbing Center. I am holding the official fundraiser in Denver on Friday, 6/15, but several of you have donated generously directly via the website (link below) already, which is truly appreciated. Many thanks!
Additionally, several local businesses have donated items for the silent auction that will be a big part of the fundraiser next week. Coohills has been a terrific partner in hosting the event, donating items directly and soliciting additional auction items from partners of theirs. ActiveJunky.com has provided several outdoor gear items as has Cocona, Proximus is providing tequila for the auction as well as our consumption, Beer Stick is providing custom Everest “Sticks” for the occasion, Aramark has provided tickets to a Rockies game in their suite, the Oxford Hotel has provided great room rates for the weekend for out-of-town guests and donated a free night’s stay for the auction, among many others. My sincerest thank you to all of the local businesses that generously donated items for this great cause.
Above is a rendering of what the structure will look like upon completion, which your donations will help make a reality, contrasted with where construction stands as of today. Here is more about this important organization, directly from their website, and what your donations will help achieve:
High in the Himalayas of Nepal near the beaten track to Everest, there is a humble pastoral village called Phortse that is perched among the clouds. You may not see it if you trek up the precipitous path more traveled, past Tangboche Monastery and beneath the breathtaking pyramid of Ama Dablam. But look to your left, across the gaping gorge of the Dud Kosi river and you will see a terraced knoll dotted with stone structures. It is there in the shadow of the holy peak, Khumbila, above a quiet birch forest that the Khumbu Climbing Center found a home.
In the spring of 2002, Jennie Lowe-Anker and her husband Conrad Anker envisioned a project for the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. They noticed the proximity of Phortse to abundant ice and rock climbing. They realized a need for better technical training for High Altitude Porters. Statistics showed that a staggering one third of all deaths on Everest were Sherpa. Few had the skills that most Western climbers accept as foundation. The Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC) was launched in 2003 and over the past nine years has become a successful vocational program for indigenous people. Each winter for two weeks, technical climbing skills are taught along with English language, mountain safety, rescue, and wilderness first aid. Dr. Luanne Freer, who oversees the Everest base camp ER, attests that KCC skills and knowledge are saving lives at the roof of the world.
Over four hundred Nepali men and women have attended KCC but due to limited time and space, hundreds more have been turned away. In 2007, the Nepali KCC board expressed a desire for a building to house the Khumbu Climbing Center, allowing for year round classes in Phortse. Land was donated by two local families and legally secured. ALCF collaborated with Montana State University’s School of Architecture (SoA) to design the structure. Ongoing creative support of the project is part of the SoA service learning curriculum of “Mountains and Minds”. The building will be the first earthquake resistant and passive solar structure in the region. It is open-source to encourage building in safer and more sustainable ways. Once completed, it will house climbing gear, educational materials, an indoor training wall, library, solar showers and community center, providing the capacity to generate income for the KCC program to continue and thrive.
Construction has begun and phase one is paid for and complete. We estimate that $300,000 USD will allow us to finish the building with phases two and three. ALCF has set up an endowment account for any donations above costs to ensure that our programs will continue to educate and benefit future generations of Nepalis. Please join us in building this dream!