“He picks up 25 Kg for the party. On top of that he has a blanket etc and some rations for himself. Sometimes he carries more than 40 kilos over those altitudes and distances." Attaullah Khan, Executive council member, Alpine Club of Pakistan.
"Sometimes they have to walk 8-10 hours, sometimes 12. So it is a very tough job.” Attaullah Khan, Executive council member, Alpine Club of Pakistan.
"The kitchen staff often work the hardest. The last to sleep, the first to wake and we carry all the kitchen equipment over great distances." Fida Hussain, Camp cook.
"They will get you there but then sleep under nothing more than plastic" Local Porter Sardar
Porter Welfare and Climbing Village support
Through our welfare programs we aim to provide livelihood and welfare support to porters. This includes the creation and implementation of a fund for the purpose of:
Providing equipment and vocational training support for promising climbers from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds.
Contributing financial support in case of accidental death to the family of the deceased to augment current insufficient insurance policies available to porters.
Providing medical support in case of illness or injury sustained while supporting treks or expeditions.
Contributing to welfare of families and financial support for education of children.
Creation of a retirement fund for porters and guides.
In the current quarter we have provided: .
Medical assistance to portersIn 2015 HASP provided free first aid support in all our camps to porters and high altitude staff. If you are a medical health professional and would like to accompany us on an expedition or donate to our medicine bank please contact us.
Vocational trainingThe the first training for “High Altitude Cook training in Health and Hygiene” in collaboration with the Serena Shigar Fort was completed in October 2015. The training is provided free of charge to the HAC involved. If you have climbed or trekked with a dedicated HAC please nominate him for the next training window from March till May 2017.
Specialized Equipment supportHASP provides custom or specialized equipment to porters with special needs on a case by case basis. Please contact us to support a porter with special needs.
Climbing Village Support
In order to support the welfare of high altitude support staff it is imperative to address the health of their mothers, wives and daughters.
The “Maternal Health support for climbing villages” (MHCV) project is part of HASP objective 2: Porter Welfare and Support.
Maternal health care in the Baltistan region (north) of Pakistan is currently suffering from a severe provision gap. While in urban areas (like the regional capital of Skardu) the provision of adequate support is often assured the remote rural parts of the area are often overlooked from a human resource perspective in the way maternal health care is organized.
In most isolated villages accessibility to health facilities and delivery services is extremely difficult due to the terrain featuring mountains, vast glaciers, rough roads and heavy snowfall in the winters. Most have approximately 1 trained birth attendant per 300 households. Due to this gap in provision a large amount of births are either unattended or supervised by untrained members of the community. Support in case of complications is limited resulting in high maternal and child mortality rates in these villages. In order to address this gap more trained personnel are needed per village to assure better maternal and child health.
HASP partnered with Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan as implementing partners for providing Traditional Birth
Attendant (TBA)/ traditional midwife training in these villages. Nominees (up to 2 per village) were identified through existing women’s organizations in each village. In order to train the nominees a 3 month program is currently under way with participants being housed in Skardu city. This includes 2 months of classroom training and 1 month of practical training.
HASP is currently supporting 5 villages in Baltistan which produce the largest population of high altitude support staff (porters, cooks and assistants). The villages include:
Hushey, Khaplu, Ghanche
Kanday, Khaplu, Ghanche
Machulo, Khaplu, Skardu
Tissar, Shigar, Skardu
Sadpara, Haiderabad, Skardu
It is hoped that through this project more support will be available within the villages as travelling to urban centers over these distances and rough roads is not a practical option.
For the "Maternal Health care in Climbing Villages" project report please click here.
 The villages were identified in the First Porter Stakeholder Meeting held in Skardu on 1st October 2015 by HAS and local partners Khurpa Care Pakistan (KCP).
Girls from Hushey Village gather food for livestock before school - Photograph HASP October 2015