Since Black Ice Himalaya launched in 2011, our goal has been to include local communities in our research expeditions, in the form of a Sherpa-Scientist Initiative (SSI). This goes beyond simply helping with gear carries to research sites. It involves the Sherpa people in the data set-up, collection and analysis processes. This has included learning and assisting with installation of time-lapse cameras and weather stations, downloading data from the instruments, collecting and analyzing data from a field spectrometer (which reveals information about how reflective the snow and ice is), and collecting/filtering snow samples to look for contaminants (pollutants) that can be affecting snow melt in glacier accumulation zones
Every year, tens of thousands of trekkers and climbers pass through the Khumbu and Annapurna regions of the Himalaya, often times with expert local guides who know the terrain well. Thus, Black Ice Himalaya sees great opportunity to educate the masses on environmental issues surrounding the Himalaya as well as give them an opportunity to assist in data collection. We have started this citizen science campaign through guide trainings on scientific procedures (e.g., snow sampling), creation of a field manual on glacial trekking hazards, and dissemination of our research findings to ICIMOD and Sagarmatha National Park.
In light of the recent devastation across Nepal from the earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches, we aim to guide disaster relief and citizen science treks, in association with a Kathmandu-based company, Epic Himalaya, starting in the fall 2015.
Sherpa-Scientists: Mr. Ang Phula Sherpa, Mr. Mingmar Dorji Sherpa, Ms. Pema Diki Sherpa, Mr. Ngima Dorjee Sherpa, Mr. Kami Sherpa, Mr. Passang Nuru Sherpa, Mr. Ang Tendi Sherpa, Mr. Nima Sherpa, Mr. Chhewang Sherpa.
Special thanks to the following companies for their logistical support over the years: Peak Promotion (2011/12); Mega Adventures International (2012-2014); Himalayan Ecstasy (Spring 2014); Thamserku (Summer 2014) and Epic Himalaya (Fall 2014 – present).