Thursday, April 05, 2007

Medicine Outdoors With Himalayan Health Exchange

Since a very young age I have had two passions in life, the outdoors and medicine. Now I feel like the luckiest person in the world being able to combine the two in an amazing trip to North India and Nepal this coming summer. As a RN and medical student, I wanted to help people who otherwise would have no healthcare. Through the Himalayan Health Exchange, I found my chance. This program has a summit involving a few doctors, nurses and medical students from around the world to villages in Nepal, which we will set up a mobile clinic for those in need of medical attention.

I leave June 29th to fly into New Delhi where I will then head to North India to begin the trek. After a night in Shimla, we then venture into the Himalayans to go to Dodra. We will hike for three days before we set up a clinic for several days to treat the locals. We then will continue to the village of Kwar. Here again we will set up a clinic for several days before moving on. The final place we will set up camp is along the Rupin River. Although this area has a lot of residents, they are not localized in a town so much as around their only water source. We will be able to treat a wide spectrum of illness from mild infections that frequently result in death there to crazy diseases like Japanese Encephalitis. The area we are going into is inaccessible by both air and road, and the passes are not impassible for 8 months of the year due to snow. The entire adventure last about 3 weeks, which works out well being that I only have a 5 week break from school.

Thinking about the trek I realized that I am already behind on my training. Being stuck inside studying 14 hours a day for med. school does not help at all. I have been managing to workout 1.5 hours a day both cardio and weights. Collecting all the gear has been a blast. Thanks to, I only had to go to one place. Now that I have all the gear I will be taking and know what kind of weight I will be carrying, I plan to train to carry at least two times as much to account for the high altitude. Definitely not there yet though.

Most of the gear I already had experience with and know what I liked and didn’t like (like my Big Agnes sleeping bag that I will never give up despite being a few ounces heavier than others), but searching for a good 2000-3000 cubic inch pack proved to be hard. When looking for a good pack, I found it difficult to weigh through all the different options. Arc'teryx packs have always been a safe bet in the past, plus the M40 is a good size for day treks and is waterproof so no fumbling with a rain cover. Although a little more technical than what I am used to, it was the only pack of this size that was waterproof. So with my new pack, I am training with extra weight in it to break in both the bag and me.

As you can tell I am stoked about the whole adventure! I’ll update you all about training and trip details. I'm also thinking about where I am going to put my goat sticker to add it to the collection on backcountry’s website.
-- Jennifer

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Blogger Greg said...

Wow, it's pretty rare to find someone who's been to Kwar! I was there in 2004 -- see my photographs at
and this extra-special snap at

I'd love to hear how this adventure went... personally, this was the trek of a lifetime for me.
Greg (gsearle at gmail dot com)

8/08/2007 7:40 AM

Blogger jguthrie said...

I agree, it is the trek of a lifetime. It was amazing to go somewhere that so few people go. Getting to Dodra was hard because we ended up having bad weather with the monsoon season. We ended up having to take a route that was much steeper. Made it very interesting. The people followed us all around constantly. It was such a great experience. Medically, I feel like I helped lots of people. Let me know what your experience was like!

8/09/2007 9:45 PM


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