February 21, 2022
KCC, back up and running post pandemic
After so much Covid uncertainty, cancelled plans and general worry, it was wonderful to kick off 2022 with our annual ice climbing programme, KCC’s 18th, especially as last year was lost to the pandemic.
The instructors arrived a week in advance of the students in order to get prepared and partake in some refresher workshops.
58 students signed up this year; 46 male and 12 female. Out of the 12 girls, 8 were under the Didi Initiative, lead by Dawa Yangzum. Of those 58, 15 were in the advanced group and 43 in the basic class. Despite years of combined experience within the group, some of course with more than others, the sense of excitement and a few nerves were palpable.
We were honoured this year, to welcome the Full Circle Everest Expedition Team to KCC, led by ALCF board member and KCC mentor, Philip Henderson, as they used the programme as an opportunity to share and practice their skills and to acquaint themselves with the Himalayas in preparation for the expedition itself in the spring. Having them work and climb alongside our instructors and students was truly inspirational and the whole KCC family will be rooting for them, for their safety and success in what will be a truly ground breaking expedition.
It was wonderful once again to welcome Dr. Daryl from the University of New Mexico, alongside Drs Emily and Hank – all of whom gave up precious vacation time to voluntarily teach the all-important skill of wilderness first aid.
The weather was both fair and foul this year, offering stunning blue skies one day, a snowstorm the next and guaranteed temperatures well below freezing. Although seemingly harsh, they were in fact the perfect conditions to gain a small insight into expedition weather, the effect it has on a schedule and how the body reacts to it.
Coughs, colds and mild fevers were rife throughout KCC during the programme, and we suspect that Omicron was the culprit given its explosion within Nepal at the same time. Because of this, we cancelled the evening courses so as not to exacerbate the situation. Thankfully nobody was seriously ill and the daytime programme was able to continue unhindered. Some rapid antigen tests were performed, but they all came back negative.
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved for making this year’s course a huge success despite the ongoing challenges. Without the support of the Phortse community, our instructors both international and local, our students, the KCC board members and most of all those from ALCF, we would not be able to run this programme and bring greater safety to the mountains of Nepal.