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Prof advocates for mountain porters: who carries the adventure trekking industry?

Image: Ken MacDonald

 Geographer Ken MacDonald’s research in the Karakoram mountains led him to establish Khurpa Care, an international non-profit organization aimed at improving working conditions for porters in the mountaineering and adventure tourism industries. He will discuss Outdoor Sweatshops: The Untold Story of Porters in the Himalaya and Karakoram Mountains in a free public lecture on Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the William Doo Auditorium, New College, 45 Willcocks St.

“People go to Nepal for the trek of a lifetime and inevitably share their Himalayan trail with mountain porters,” MacDonald says. “What they don’t realize is that these porters often aren’t provided with even basic amenities by the trekking companies. They’re working in outdoor sweatshops.”

MacDonald’s study on the political economy of portering in the Karakoram mountains will help authorities and government manage the explosion of adventure tourism in the area. He will be joined in his talk by Ben Ayers, founder of sister organization Porters’ Progress, who will discuss similar work being done in the Himalayas.

Attendees who make a $5 donation will be entered in a raffle draw, with all proceeds directly benefiting Khurpa Care and Porters’ Progress. Please see for more information.


Professor Ken MacDonald, Department of Geography, 416-978-4803 or 416-466-2651; e-mail:

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