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  Tibet Guide School: a new breed of Tibetan porters has come to the fore.


huge climbing wall at the Tibet Mountaineering Guide School. copyright Steve Poulsen

Traditionally, Climbing in Tibet was dominated by Nepalese Sherpas, while the only Tibetan staff permitted on the expedition were truck, jeep, and yak drivers or the occasional kitchen assistant. Now, a new breed of Tibetan porters has come to the fore.

 

The China Tibet Mountaineering Association and the Ozark Outdoor Gear Company established the Tibet Mountaineering Guide School in Lhasa Tibet in 1998. The school teaches the students to read and write and converse in Mandarin and English and instructs them in extensive mountaineering techniques to enable them to become high altitude porters and culinary techniques to become base camp cooks. 

 

The Tibet Mountaineering Guide School is a non-profit organization. Students receive free room and board, clothing and equipment. After three years of education and training the graduates work for the schools sister company, the Tibet Himalaya Expedition Company that provides qualified staff to work on expeditions bringing much needed employment to Lhasa and Tibet. High altitude guides and kitchen staff are hired by Chinese and western expeditions and all monies received for their services are directed back into the operational budget of the school enabling further students to attend.

 

The first twenty students were selected from the poorest rural areas of Tibet in March 1998. The initial mountaineering instructors were from the Tibet Mountaineering Team and language teachers from the Tibet University, and later foreign experts were brought to teach at the school. The Federation Francaise de la Montagne et de Escalade (FFME) supplied technical instruction with French climbers teaching European climbing techniques. The famous French 8000 metre soloist Jean-Christophe La Faille also works for the FFME. Jon Otto, Mustagata and Cho Oyu leader from SummitClimb.com conducted cooking classes for the students in 2000. The second group of twenty-three students was admitted in 2002 and European and North American climbers provided further instruction to enable the students to learn additional mountaineering techniques used by different nationalities.

 

One of the early pioneers in on-the-job training has been SummitClimb.com . Students have climbed with SummitClimb since 1999 with numerous ascents on 7000 meter unclimbed peaks in Tibet and China, and the giant 8000-meter peaks of Shisha Pangma, Cho Oyu and Everest. This year's SummitClimb.com Cho Oyu expedition was believed to be the first western expedition to an 8000-meter mountain with an all Tibetan staff, as opposed to the traditional Nepali staff that operated expeditions in Tibet. 

 

Two of SummitClimb's leaders teach at the guide school. Jon Otto is a gifted climber and lives in Chengdu China, where he is a partner in China's premier commercial climbing school Arete Alpine Instruction Center. He speaks fluent Mandarin and has traveled extensively through the mountainous areas of China and Tibet. He is probably the most knowledgeable westerner in the world on Tibet and China mountaineering and logistics. Phil Crampton is an experienced Tibet Himalayan climber with five expeditions to Cho Oyu and Everest and teaches the students high altitude climbing techniques and food preparation and hygiene techniques. Phil's wife Trish has been an excellent instructor to the students, in the realm of hospitality services, especially in cooking delicious dishes that European, North American, and Antipodean climbers love to eat.

 

The school is always looking for modern day climbing equipment that is very expensive and hard to find in Tibet and China. A donation of any used and unwanted gear would be greatly appreciated and those interested should contact Phil Crampton as he does a lot of fundraising for the school. The following companies have generously donated equipment to the school: Outdoor Research, The Mountaineers, Mad Rock, Prana, PMI, and the students thank them profusely. Tashi Dhelek. -Phil Crampton

 

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot Expedition and mountaineering boot for high altitude and extremely cold conditions. The Everest has conquered all 14 mountains over 8,000m and also the Seven Summits- and has now had a makeover to ensure continued peak preformance. With a newer sung, Alpine Fit, and even lighter Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

 

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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