Porter Shelter Projects
GOKYO LAkes: Porter Rescue Shelter
CAN worked hard to raise funds to build a porter shelter at Gokyo, an area well known to trekkers and climbers in the Everest area.
The project fundraising went well and CAN is very grateful to all those who contributed to meet the £52,000 cost of building the shelter. A special thanks to Porters’ Progress UK (£7,500 donation), IPPG UK (£1,000 donation) and a private third party donor (£7,500 donation) who all contributed vital funds to the project. As the shelter stood up well in the earthquake and did not collapse the bulging walls have been repaired with earthquake resistant features inserted and replacement solar power units installed.
The Gokyo Lakes area ranges in altitude from 4,500 – 5,500 m. At these altitudes the body may struggle to adjust to the lack of oxygen. Altitude sickness and exposure to extreme weather can affect anyone, including Nepali porters. The value of a porter shelter has been demonstrated at Machhermo, where previous to the shelter there being available on average 10 to 12 porter boys and girls died each year.
Gokyo is becoming the more important porter rescue shelter with the increase in the number of trekkers crossing Renjo La [5,360m].
As regions are so remote all the building work must be done by hand and materials carried in over testing terrain. The shelters provide affordable food, drink and accommodation for less than £1 per person/night. The money raised by this fee helps to maintain the shelter. Volunteer western doctors based at the shelters give free medical support to porters and help to raise funds by treating trekkers and giving talks about altitude sickness, for which a small fee is charged. This helps make the shelters sustainable.
The timber for the project has now been delivered to the site. This has been difficult and tiring work for the porters who have been carrying heavy loads of construction timber from lower in the Khumbu region.
GORAK SHEP: – Porter Rescue Shelter
The shelter was built in 2008 and is one of the highest situated buildings in Nepal and certainly the highest that CAN has built. Fortunately, there was little damage resulting from the two earthquakes, the main problem, as with most other buildings built with stone, was the collapse of the top of the gable end above wall height. This has now been repaired.
MACHhERMo: – Porter Rescue Shelter
High in the Khumbu near Mount Everest the Machhermo Porter Shelter and Rescue Post opened in October 2006 and was the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group) and CAN’s first such shelter.
The shelter did not escape the earthquake and needed significant rebuilding especially to incorporate earthquake resistant features in line with CAN's adoption of the "Build Back Better" principles of ensuring through stones, wall plates and ring beams. The Scottish Mountaineering Trust provided a grant of £6,000 which helped ensure the shelter was fully operational for the 2016/2017 trekking seasons and CAN is very grateful to have had this support. For more information about the Scottish Mountaineering Trust.
Mountaineers and trekkers from Scotland have been great supporters of CAN over the years and helping to rebuild the shelter at Machhermo is a wonderful expression of solidarity with the mountain people of Nepal.
These buildings provide a vital, lifesaving function in the harsh landscape and extreme climate at high altitude. Altitude sickness and hypothermia can affect anyone and mountain porters are particularly vulnerable if they have only a boulder to shelter under overnight.
The shelter provides affordable food, drink and accommodation for less than £1 per person/night. The money raised helps maintain the shelter. Volunteer western doctors give free medical support to porters and help raise funds by treating trekkers for a small fee. This helps make the shelters sustainable.
IPPG and CAN are very grateful to all donors including the wonderful donation of £11,000 from the Himalayan Trust UK. The Trust explains its aims as follows ” We would all like a world where everybody’s basic needs are met and every child has access to an education. The Himalayan Trust UK aims to ensure this happens in the remote mountainous districts of Nepal – in particular the regions surrounding Everest and Kanchenjunga.” Click here to find out more about the Himalyan Trust UK.
The Gorak Shep and Machhermo shelters provide approximately 13,500 bed nights during the spring and autumn trekking seasons, saving lives and creating better conditions for porters in the Khumbu. If you’re trekking in the area please do call in and say hello!
Marchermo "Singing Doctors" on Youtube!
Doctors working with the International Porters Protection Group at Machhermo save lives by educating and helping trekkers understand and prevent the life threatening effects of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
They have recorded and filmed an amusing but informativeshort film and song(on their mobile phones). Check it out by clicking below. Our apologies to The Edge and Bono from the band U2 – we hope they’ll understand!