The Mount Rainier climbing rangers at both Camp Schurman and Camp Muir were honored to have a special guest volunteer with us over the past two weeks in Phu Nuru Sherpa. Not only is Phu Nuru a strong, talented climber with an extensive climbing resume, he's also a fun, light-hearted man who everyone enjoyed working with. Before arriving at Mount Rainier, Phu Nuru also volunteered with the Denali climbing rangers, patrolling North America's highest peak with one of our own rangers, David Weber. Phu Nuru is visiting the United States for a variety of rescue trainings on scholarship from the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (http://www.alexlowe.org/).
Phu Nuru, a resident of Phortse, Nepal, has an extensive climbing and guiding resume that includes four summits of Mt. Everest (29,028'), eleven summits of the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho Oyu (26,864'), and climbs of twelve different 6000 meter peaks in the Himalaya. He is also a senior instructor at the Khumbu Climbing School which is held every winter in Phortse to train local guides in technical mountaineering, rescue, wilderness medicine and English language skills.
While on patrol at Camp Muir with climbing ranger David Weber, Phu Nuru enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the summit of Mount Rainier via the Disappointment Cleaver route. A majority of his time on patrol was spent practicing technical rescue, avalanche rescue and wilderness medicine skills with Weber. During his stay at Camp Schurman, Phu Nuru not only climbed the Emmons-Winthrop route but he also participated in an impromptu day of mountaineering rescue training (see photo) taught by lead climbing ranger and veteran rope rescue instructor, David Gottlieb.
Phunuru will spend the month of August enrolled on a mountaineering course in the North Cascades of Washington State to compliment his mountain rescue apprenticeship. Upon his return to Nepal later this fall, Phunuru plans to continue collaborating with Weber, the ALCF and Dr. Luanne Freer (http://www.everester.org/) to develop a similar rescue program on Mount Everest to respond to accidents during the spring climbing season.
Mountaineering aside, the cultural and social exchange between the climbing rangers and Phu Nuru benefitted everyone involved and we hope to host many more Nepalese rescuers like him in the years to come!