Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reality of winter

Winter camping is one of those outdoor activities that, when planned on a sunny winter afternoon, seems like a good idea, and then, when experienced after that sun goes down, seems like a gigantic mistake. But after talking with former big-mountain climber Greg Mortensen, I have a whole different take on it. Imagine winter camping if you didn't have a choice.
Mortensen lives in Montana, where he runs the Central Asia Institute, a non-profit group that builds schools and helps with education and other services for people in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. The area served by the CAI was among those devastated by the October earthquake, and since then, Mortensen has been helping people prepare for winter. Villages sit at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, about the same as Barr Camp or the Crags. The people who lost their homes are living in tents. With donations, CAI is buying heavy-duty winterized canvas tents with windows. Each one can hold 20 people, and costs between $120 and $150, depending on size. For information on the Institute, go to www.ikat.org
(Above, photo of Greg with Korphe village children in the Karakoram Mountains) - Deb

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