Gear for the Garhwal 2010

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2009 Gear for The Garhwal Drive

Missoula gear drive to begin for mountain guides in India’s Garhwal

It’s time to pony up for Gear for the Garhwal.

The program benefits indigenous mountain guides in the Garhwal region of northern India.

The gear drive is run by Eric Legvold and a University of Montana affiliate program called the Nature-Link Institute, which offers study-abroad programs.

Legvold met the Mountain Shepherd guides when he studied abroad in the area surrounding Nanda Devi, one of the world’s highest peaks. The people in the Niti Valley live a subsistence lifestyle that is buttressed by eco-tourism in the Nandi Devi Biosphere Reserve.

Mountain Shepherds is a group of 44 young people who guide trips in the area. Although the guides are certified by the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, they don’t always have the proper equipment.

And that’s where Nature-Link comes in with its Gear for the Garhwal drive.

The guides are in particular need of three- and four-season tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and technical jackets and pants. They can also use hiking boots and socks, almost any sort of climbing gear, layered clothing like fleece or down and the sort of stuff you need around camp – headlamps, sleeping pads, camp chairs, stuff sacks.

Starting on Saturday and running until April 30, you can drop gear off at the Trailhead, Pipestone Mountaineering, the University of Montana Outdoor Program and Aerie Backcountry Medicine at 315 S. Fourth St. E.

Reporter Michael Moore can be reached at 523-5252 or at mmoore@missoulian.com.

– By MICHAEL MOORE of the Missoulian
Thursday, March 18, 2010