SA Quake Update: Australia FTA - 4000 tents, ADEPT - "Were more than fifty men-strong now!"

Posted: Nov 28, 2005 09:48 pm EST

( Recruits are pouring in, reports ADEPT project director Dr. Gautham - his email inbox clogged with new messages daily. The Team list has grown at an incredible pace in the last few weeks. We now have over 50 volunteers from Iran, Europe, USA, and Canada. Assistance has also been offered from mountaineering clubs in Iran and Catalonia. We are expecting further aid from the Mountaineering Division of Jammu & Kashmir's Department of Tourism.

This international group of mountain-men is larger than any Everest expedition ever assembled. More importantly, it displays the kind of solidarity that surpasses all borders, races and religions.

Over in Australia, Field Touring Alpine report the only drawback: "It really does seem mainstream media has chosen to drop the story," writes Dave Hancock. A good thing then the ball seems to be rolling on its own: FTA are closing in on their targeted 4000 (!) tents and they were also surprised to see a near new 8000m down suit! "The generosity of western Australia's outdoors people has been remarkable and will not be forgotten quickly, nor that of the Fire Service in Victoria, who have made available over 600 units of tents and sleeping bags and warm winter jackets," writes the Aussie Karakorum outfitter.

Introducing the team:

Dr. Gautham, director of the ADEPT project, has already assigned primary responsibilities to the first climbers who volunteered. Developing an administrative framework will be key to making the plan work effectively.

"For instance, Douglas Briton is our coordinator for Eurasia, public relations and ALERT forum manager, while Don Bowie (Broad Peak attempt this summer) is coordinating the US response.

Tim Walker is in charge of logistics and operational planning.

Kenny Gray has agreed to handle administration, which is also proving to be a tough job: There are a lot of us, Dr. Gautham said. Each of us has different skills. Each of us has different schedules, which should work out well since the needs in Kashmir will vary over time.

"Once we are permitted access to the area, we will have to match the availability and skills of each individual volunteer with the demands in Kashmir. Kenny Gray has volunteered to help with this huge task.

Also involved in the project are USAs Tim Matsui and Briton Craig Douglas.

Help from the other side

ADEPT project also has a man on the other side of the fence: Mohammed Ashraf,skiing and mountaineering instructor for the Dept. of Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir, will be coordinating the team once they arrive in Kashmir. He will also provide ground support personnel including Indian skiers and climbers.

Ashraf is currently arranging permission for foreign volunteers to access restricted areas in Kashmir. He has already succeeded in getting permission for two foreign nationals who visited the area yesterday - the first to do so after the quake!

Preparing for Kashmir the Winter Academy

While the volunteering climbers are well-skilled in winter climbing techniques, they will need a hand from locals to assist them in their aid efforts. For those people, ADEPT plans to provide intensive training that will prove essential in Kashmiri terrain.

We are now actively exploring the idea of setting up a winter academy, Gautham said. This would give the necessary skills needed by other volunteers who will accompany us. It may also prove valuable for local volunteers in case foreign nationals are not allowed access to some of the villages. A winter academy will complement our teams and provide a skills base for years to come.

Several climbers such as Steve Swenson in Seattle, US and Valenti Giro (the Magic Line team) in Catalonia, Spain are organizing slideshows to raise attention and donations from their local climbing communities. Day by day, climbers worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the tragedy and help needed thanks to Steve and Valenti's efforts.

Media attracts trademarks

As the ADEPT project grows attracts more media attention, outdoor companies are beginning to pay attention. AMG Outdoors (Vango and Force Ten are among their brands) is offering some gear free of charge and some at reduced prices. Although they don't produce gear, WL Gore's staff is also using this network of contacts to ADEPTS advantage. Meanwhile, Pakistan Airlines continues to offer free cargo shipping for all donated clothing.

Tomorrow at eight at the climbing-wall bar!

Each member of the aid team is attempting to spread the news and get support locally. Scottish member Douglas Britton for instance, hopes to meet some new friends at the climbing-wall bar in town, tomorrow at eight.

On Tuesday evening: At 8 pm in the upstairs restaurant/bar at the Ratho climbing wall, there is a gathering to talk about the ADEPT project in Kashmir, he reported. Please come if you are able. Come equipped with suggestions and questions. Bring along anyone not on this list who is interested.

Australia's outdoor enthusiasts join in the team effort

FTA (Field Touring Alpine) and outdoor enthusiasts from across Australia have joined in the aid relief for the Pakistan quake victims. Dave Hancock from FTA tells Explorersweb about the latest efforts from 'Down Under':

"We are pleased to be able to say that we have had a reasonably successful response to our tent and cold weather gear drive across Australia. Much of this was off the back of just a few emails that were sent out and then forwarded multiple times. In the past two weeks we have had over 50,000 hits each week to the site, so people are definitely getting the message and getting gear into the drop off points.

"The generosity of western Australia's outdoors people has been remarkable"

Of particular assistance has been the effort made on the part of other groups and organizations, especially Rotary Clubs, Fire and emergency departments in capital cities, and many state operated Universities and colleges, who are donating extremely large amounts of used tents that are still in great condition and perfect for the rigors of a Himalayan Winter.

Amongst the goods we saw today many new Gore-Tex jackets, poly-prop gloves and beanies, and thick wool socks and hardly used good quality sleeping bags. We were also surprised to see a near new 8000m down suit! The generosity of western Australia's outdoors people has been remarkable and will not be forgotten quickly, nor that of the Fire Service in Victoria, who have made available over 600 units of tents and sleeping bags and warm winter jackets. A fantastic effort.

Mainstream media has chosen to drop the story

The only disappointment so far has been the lack of effort made by major newspapers and media down here to publicize our aid drive, it really does seem mainstream media has chosen to drop the story some time ago, but in fairness to our Government, we were pleased to see them commit an extra AUD$2.5M to relief in Pakistan last week.

We expect our first consignment of goods to get to the mountains within 3 weeks - just in time for the first expected bad weather to hit the areas. Fortunately so far, from what we can make out, heavy snows have not yet reached the ground above 2000m, so we have a little bit of breathing space, but every day that goes by means exponentially more difficult logistics in getting the gear to high ground. We are all hoping that no series of severe storms go through the ranges in the next 3 weeks.

Our effort isn't finished yet, we still have 2 weeks, and while we want to count the exact number of tents going over, we are hoping to reach the 4000 mark with perhaps 1500 - 2000 items of warm gear as well. We think we are about half-way there now. Thank-you so much to everybody who has lent a hand to help the quake victims."

How to help?


Climbers, trekkers and volunteers ready to help in Indian Kashmir or seeking further information, please contact ADEPT crew at:

Academy for Disaster Management Education Planning & Training
#403, 4th Floor, 'B' Block, Prince Gardens
40 Thambusamy Road, Kilpauk
Chennai 600010 - India
Tel: 52602403(D), 52602407
Fax: 52602404

Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute:

Contact Central Asia Institute at:
PO Box 7209
Bozeman, MT 59771
Phone 406 585 7841
Fax 406 585 5302

Alpinclub Sachsen team:

Mail if you want to help. Find also a bank account set up for donations to the project at

Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Donation account Pakistan
Account Holder: Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Account Number: 030 866 28 02
BLZ 850 800 00
Dresdner Bank AG IBAN DE39 850 800 00

Field Touring Alpine:

Send your donated gear via:

Post (within Australia):

Drop gear off at any Mountain Designs Store in WA or to any Mountain Designs stores located in the capital cities of:
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. For a full list of recipient stores please, check FTA's website (check first link in links section).

Post (in the US - before November 18th):
The American Alpine Club
Pakistan Relief Fund
710 Tenth Street, Suite #100
Golden, CO 80401

Further information in the UK:
Contact Roland Hunter
Ph: 0207 498 0953
A drop off network is currently being finalized For UK donors.


Donate gear to Globalgiving via TheNorth Face

Ship your donations to:
Kashmir Earthtquake Relief
1835 Apex Avenue Los Angeles, CA.
90026 USA

For monetary donations, contact GlobalgIVING AT:

Alpine Club of Pakistan:

Contact ACP for further information, or donate via the following back account:

Lt Col (Retd) Manzoor Hussain,
Alpine Club of Pakistan
National Bank of Pakistan Cantonment Branch,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

#Mountaineering #Mountaineering

Don Bowie has been fighting a lonely battle on Anna thus far. File image of Don on K2 in 2005.
FTA's Dave Hancock (to attempt K2 in 2006) and Stefan Fabien with the first trailer load of goods from the Perth Mountain Designs store. Outdoor enthusiasts across Australia are dropping their gear into pick up points to help Pakistan's quake victims. (Image: Tim Caporn/Deen Hotel, click to enlarge)

Visit our new website