Drolambau Glacier April-spring 2011:
“... Three very young bearers in tears, immersed in a violent snowstorm at an altitude of 5400 meters” Frightened by the storm and harshness of the Himalayan wilderness, they refused to go beyond the Tashi Lapcha at 5800 m. Davide and his team went through a lot of troubles but finally managed to cross the pass and safely reach Namche Bazaar. After the journey was over and Davide was back in Kathmandu, he met the secretary of the Ministry of Tourism of Nepal and expressed his intentions to work for the people of Rolwaling area. It was right then, when he came in contact with Phurba Tenjing Sherpa, who was making attempts on his own to make Rolwaling less remote. Phurba wanted to do something for his homeland, and Davide was moved by the fate the inhabitants of Rolwaling were suffering because of geographical complications. Davide thought that he had found the perfect accomplice, someone who knew the mountains as and was willing to work for betterment of Rolwaling. It is when Davide came up with the Feratta project.
“The dream in 2017 was realized with the construction of the Via Ferrata on the rocks of the Icefall of Drolambau that will lead to the" Austrian Hut "Refuge being built. The high-altitude accommodation facility was designed by his friend Josef Einwaller, will give security to all the bearers and climbers who will face the area of the Drolambau glacier, the new frontier of Himalayan mountaineering.
“Thanks to the Sherpa of Rolwaling and in particular to the friend Phurba Tenjing Sherpa - Dreamers Destination for permits and technical-logistic support, to the company Fratelli Persia Costruzioni of Tottea for steel cables, materials and work equipment. The Explora Team is composed of Davide Peluzzi (expedition leader), Giorgio Marinelli (Deputy Head of Shipping), Phurba Tenjing Sherpa, Marco Di Marcello (Biologist), Paolo Cocco (Photographer), Giuseppe de Angelis (Logistics), Marco Sazzini (Molecular Laboratory UniBo) and Karma Sherpa and Patang Sherpa.
Despite holding potential as an attractive stop for several important trekking and expedition route, Rolwaling Valley had been shrouded in anonymity till now. Although home of many brave Sherpas who either assisted many record breaking personalities to the top of the Everest or hold records of their own, Rolwaling has always been a Cinderella of tourism destination. But, thanks to the effort of Phurba Tenjing Sherpa and his foreign associates, Rolwaling Valley may now get the attention that it deserves. Phurba was born and raised in the hills of Dolakha district. Shortly after his adolescent years, he was pushed towards the mountains by a compulsion to run his family. Having lost his elder brother to a blizzard in the higher mountains, he was hesitant at first. However, he heard a calling. He embraced the life of a Sherpa and began making connections outside the country.
Phurba was acquainted with Davide Peluzzi, an Italian Citizen with immense love for the mountains. Davide contacted his friends and associates back at Europe and managed to get some high standard steel cables. Those cables, once fixed, could last for many years and help nearby residents and tourists tread safely in perilous areas. Once they get fixed, they offered safer and more lasting alternatives to ordinary climbing ropes. Feratta Project has finished fixing steel cables in Tashi Lapcha Pass that acts as an alternative route to Namche Bazaar, the gate way to Everest. With assistance of Phurba and approval from the Government of Nepal, Davide hopes to continue this project in many other places. After Tashi Lapcha Pass, Tengi Ragi Tau – a mountain that separates Rolwaling Village and Khumbu Region – is on the line to be equipped with such steel cables. Since Tashi Lapcha is an alternative route to Namche Bazaar, commencement of project like Feratta will really help attract significant number of tourists, increasing economic activities in Rolwaling Valley and raising the life standard of its inhabitants.
The interview with Davide Peluzzi:
Oh! Why Rolwaling? Because the place I was born in Italy is similar to Rolwaling Valley. And when I first came here, it felt like my home. I found so many friends as well.
The project (Ferrata) was never done before in Nepal, what makes you believe that you could do it in Rolwaling?
We used to go to mountain when our beard was black. Now it’s a little white. And then with Phurba and his team’s help, we were able to fix steel cables on the very technical part. Also I would like to thank my great teammates Marco, Giorgio, Paolo, Marco Sazzini and Giuseppe De Angelis .I believe my team is the main inspiration to complete this project.
The project seems costly, how did you manage this all?
The materials were donated by the construction company based in Italy. I talked with that company, which belongs to my good friend and explained him about the project. Showing 100% support on us, he gave us good drill machines, cables, points and some other important materials. The members of our team even bought some of the materials at our own expense.
This Ferrata and Austrian Hut Project could be very helpful in other high pass or in Himalaya Region, do you have plan to build it in other parts of Nepal?
Yeah! We will certainly do it, if we have the possibility to do it. We need support and teammates like this. Then we will have to ask Phurba Tenjing to figure to the places in Himalayas which is in most need of our project. We will also need to have some permits from Government of Nepal and Valley so everything has to be done in a systematic way. And if all worked well we will of course continue our project. I am preparing the material for the next route on the mountain Tengi Ragi Tau that will connect the Rolwaling to the Kumbu, bringing the alpinists on the future Austria Hut.