The Khumbu Climbing Center
Founded in 2003, our mission is to increase the safety margin of Nepali climbers and high altitude workers by encouraging responsible climbing practices in a supportive and community-based program.
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.
The Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC) was launched in 2003 and over the past fifteen 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. Nearly one thousand Nepali men and women have now attended KCC since its inception.
In the beginning, our instructors were qualified western climbers and guides who had experience in the Himalaya. Most of the teachers are now Nepali but we continue to have a small Western team travel to KCC each season. They often include National Park rescue rangers and professional guides who generously offer their time and expertise. They pay their own way or get sponsorship to give of themselves to the Sherpa community. We at KCC are deeply indebted.