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TOPIC: Expedition support staff

Expedition support staff 7 years, 1 month ago #487

What type of support staff is required for an expedition?
  • maddy
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Re: Expedition support staff 7 years, 1 month ago #493

IMO, support staff requirement depends on few parameters like team size, team capabilities, experience, difficulty of expedition, Number of camps etc. Based on my limited experience of organizing expeditions in Himalaya, I will try to put together some information on this topic which might be helpful.

Typically staff contains:

Cook - Number depends on team size. Generally one cook s sufficient for team of up to 6-8 team members. Assuming team will move together from one camp to other most of the time or in other words, team wont split in two staying at basecamp and advanced base camp at the same time.

Cook assistant or helper - For small expeditions with budget constraints this is a luxury. If team size is small and willing to participate in the cooking activities and there is no requirement of a assistant. Generally, climbing sherpa do participate in the cooking activities along with the main cook. and expedition members can always assist as well. Its a good way to kill time when at camp.

Climbing Sherpa - If team contains experienced and strong climbers then two climbing sherpas should be sufficient. If team contains more inexperienced climbers then adding one sherpa per three climbers might be helpful.

Guide - Again an optional choice. Some times venturing in a new terrain require this kind of persont with you. but if team member or leader is good enough and know map reading route finding etc. well then a guide may not be required. IMO, guide really is not required. one should try to explore o their own as much as possible rather than depending on a guide.

Medical Officer - If team can afford and doesn't have any expertise for first aid within itself, taking a medical officer is a good idea. But its not very common practice to hire a MO in Indian Expeditions.

Base Camp Manager - Required for some big expeditions to look after the base camp activities and serve as a person to provide help to the climber at high camp if needed. Also responsible to act in case of any emergency on high camp etc. to keep track of the expedition progress b keeping contact with the teams high on the mountain.

Apart from this, a expedition would need Low Altitude Porters (LAP) to move the expedition loads from Road head to the base camp. There is a maximum weight limit for the loads that LAPs would carry. So the number of required LAPs depend on (Total weight of the expedition loads / the max load limit)
  • paresh
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