Alpine Club Supports Pakistani Porter Training Workshops

Over the past several years, the tragic deaths of a number of high altitude workers in the mountains of Pakistan have brought the world’s attention to the fact that these workers are often untrained and poorly equipped for the environments in which they are expected to operate.

There is no single, simple solution to this problem, but the Alpine Club has been given the opportunity to contribute towards improving the situation for some high-altitude porters.

In 2021, renowned mountaineer and Alpine Club member Rick Allen was killed while climbing on K2. Rick left the Club a bequest to fund our ongoing work for members and the wider mountaineering community. Rick made many of his most famous climbs in the Karakoram and had a strong bond to both the area and its people. We have therefore decided to use part of Rick’s bequest to support mountain training in the region.

The Alpine Club Committee has agreed to grant £2,000 p.a. for three years to AC member Karim Hayat who has set up a training programme for Pakistani high-altitude porters. This modest sum will support a much-needed local initiative and hopefully provide leverage for further funding.

The first of these courses, run by Karim through the Gilgit Baltistan Mountaineering Council, has already concluded, with seven participants completing a 12-day basic mountaineering course. Before the expedition season begins, additional training on snow, including the supervised ascent of a 6000m peak, will also take place.

We are very proud that our funding has increased capacity on the course, equipping more participants with the skills required to operate safely in the mountains. In the coming years, we hope to see other organisations and government bodies working to address the pressing issues around porter welfare.