A KENDAL-based photographer and mountain guide is heading for Nepal to become a porter on the world’s most iconic trek.
For 17 days this April, Rob Fraser will be making the journey up to Everest Base Camp, carrying a load of 40kg.
He will join a team of porters to sleep in porter shelters, eat dhal bhat (steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup), and find out what it is like to carry a heavy load, day after day, up to altitudes of over 5,000 metr-es.
Rob said he planned the adventure, which he has called i-porter, firstly to raise awareness of the tough working lives of porters.
“I’ve often been amazed by the loads that the guys haul, humb-led by them in fact.
“They turn up at the camp site every morning, struggle up from the ground with the bags strapped to their backs and then just get on with it – no fuss, no complaints.”
i-porter is being used by the charity Porters’ Progress UK to help raise awareness of its work to educate and ensure the safe treatment of porters in Nepal and acr oss the Himalayas.
Secondly, Rob is curious to find out whether he, as a relatively fit 51-year-old, is up to the task.
“Two years ago I was leading a trek in a remote part of Western Nepal. The trip had gone well and I was on the way down.
“A combination of relief, too much oxygen, and the first coffee for weeks kept me up all night, and my mind was buzzing.
“I was struck by the idea of becoming a porter on a trek, and have developed the project from there.”
Rob has worked as a guide for KE Adventure for the past decade, and has led more than 70 treks all over the world, including 17 in the Everest reg-ion.
To chart this ambitious project, he will be making a video, which will be shown at the Kendal Mountain Festival later this year.
He will also be producing an exhibition of portraits of the porters, taken on a large format film camera, to show at The Royal Geographical Society, in London.
Rob said: “The video will really bring this story to life, revealing the porters’ experiences and my own ups and downs in what I think might be the biggest adventure of my life.”
To cover the expenses for the trip, the video and the exhib-ition, Rob is using the crowd-funding site kickstarter.com
For more information, contact info@robfraser-photographer. co.uk