Montana State University

Architecture students set April 14 Khumbu Climbing School talk

March 26, 2010

The villagers of Phortse, Nepal look over the model of the Khumbu Climbing School designed by the MSU School of Architecture. Building began this fall on the school and community center, where members of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation will teach Sherpas technical climbing skills that will help avoid critical injuries while portering on expeditions to Mount Everest. Photo courtesy of Michael Everts.    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana State University architecture students and their professor, Michael Everts, who have designed and help build a school in the Khumbu region of Nepal, will talk about their adventure in a presentation set at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, in MSU's SUB Ballroom A.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Everts and groups of students from the MSU School of Architecture have traveled several times over the past two years to Phortse, a small village 13,000 ft. in elevation, close to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal. There they assisted the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation by designing and helping to build the Khumbu Climbing School and community center. The school will be used to teach climbing skills to the native Sherpas of the area, who serve as porters on Himalayan climbing expeditions. While the Sherpas have great physical skills, they have not been trained in climbing so they often fall prey to dangerous or fatal injury.

This fall, ground was broken and construction began on the 100 percent passively heated, seismically safe and culturally sensitive, climbing school and community center. The students' blog about their design and their experiences in Nepal can be found at:

The Khumbu Climbing School is an effort spearheaded by Jennifer Lowe-Anker, an MSU graduate, and Conrad Anker, her husband. Lowe-Anker is the widow of Alex Lowe, who was considered the world's best climber when he was killed in an avalanche in 1999. The MSU College of Engineering also coordinated several courses to collaborate with the structural design. Local businesses that have helped with the Khumbu Climbing School design/build project include Nishkian Monks Engineering, Ryder Construction and Martel Construction.

For more information about the presentation, contact Andrea Newman in the MSU School of Architecture at 994-2863, or e-mail her at

Michael Everts, or Andrea Newman, 994-2863,