The Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal
On December 11, 2016, the Honorable Rabindra Prasad Adhikari presented the eighth edition of the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal to Peruvian engineer César A. Portocarerro Rodríguez. The ceremony took place at the Hotel Tibet International in Bouddha, Kathmandu.
The luminaries assembled to honor the Mr. Portocarrero for his ground-breaking efforts to mitigate hazards from glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) included Mr. Toshio Yadomi, first secretary of the Japanese Embassy to Nepal; Dr. Dhananjay Regmi (Himalayan Research Expeditions and Toyota of Nepal), who implemented the recent hazard mitigation project at Imja Tsho in Khumbu; Dr. John Reynolds (Reynolds International), the world's leading specialist in geophysical hazard assessments and mitigation and the man credited with safely lowering the level of Tsho Rolpa in Rolwaling; and Dr. David Molden, Director General of the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the principal international agency dedicated to mountain research and development consultancy.
Also present were Ang Tsering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association; Maya Sherpa, president of Everest Summiteers Association; and Ang Rita Sherpa, winner of the 2011 Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal.
Numerous mountain stakeholders participated in the proceedings, including representatives of Friends Service Council Nepal; Handicap International; Himalayan Rescue Association; Hotel Associations of Nepal; Khumjung Youth Club; Khunde Community Club; Monyo Basic School, National Adaptation Plan - Ministry of Population and Environment; Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN);, Rotary Clup of New Road, Kathmandu; Sherwi Yondhen Tshokpa; Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal; and Yambu Thamichho Kydug.
Many educational institutions were represented, including Birendra Sainek Awasiya Mahavidyalaya; Everest College; Janapremi College; Newton International College; Sann International College; Texas International College; the Central Departments of Botany and Zoology at Tribhuwan University.
In addition, there were friends and associates of Mountain Legacy members, including Lhundrup Tsering Yutok (Seth's collaborator and Tibetan teacher, going back to 1974), Dil Krishna Malla and his daughters Sushma and Babeera, who ran a teahouse-lodge in Singate (directly in the path of any outburst flood from Tsho Rolpa) where several expeditions of Bridges-PRTD took lodging as early as 1999.
Mountain Legacy board member Mr. Debendra Karki (Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University) served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Dr. Seth Sicroff, speaking for Mountain Legacy president Dr. Kumar P. Mainali (University of Maryland), gave a synopsis of the history and significance of the Hillary Medal. Dr. John Reynolds, a longtime friend and collaborator of the honoree, spoke about the importance of Mr. Portocarrero's work in the context of geophysical contingencies. Dr. David Molden placed that importance in the context of global development and stewardship priorities. Debendra Karki presented César with a hand-carved wooden-framed brass certifcate, and Mr. Rabindra Adhikari presented him with the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal itself.
Following High Tea, Dr. Molden presided over a rooftop ceremony commemorating the reopening of nearby Boudhanath Stupa as emblematic of the resilience and heroism shown in Nepal's response to the earthquakes of 2015. The Heartbreakers, a local rock band, provided musical entertainment and dancing continued till late evening.
On December 12, Ing. Portocarrero presided over a Knowledge Forum at ICIMOD's new compound in Khumaltar, sharing lessons learned from GLOF mitigation efforts in Peru.
Above: Ing. César Portocarrero receives brass certificate of appreciation in traditional hand-carved window-style frame.
From left: Debendra Karki (SEHMLM presentation event organizer), John Reynolds (Reynolds International), Dr. David Molden (ICIMOD), César Portocarrero, Rabindra Adhikari (Development Committee), Toshio Yadomi (Japanese Embassy), Dr. Dhananjay Regmi (Himalayan Research Expeditions).
Dr. David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, delivered keynote remarks at the presentation and presided over a rooftop ceremony overlooking the newly reopened Boudhanath Stupa.
César Portocarrero with Tenzin Nurbu, designer of the Hillary Medal, and geophysicist Dr. John Reynolds
Ms Jyoti Mainali (left) and Ms Joni Mainali (right) are members of the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal Selection Committee and served as event organizers. At center, Ing. César Portocarrero and Dr. Seth Sicroff, director of the SEHMLM project. At rear, The Heartbreakers.
Above, left: Dr. Sicroff's entire slide show can be viewed here. Above, right: text of inscription on plaque presented to César Portocarrero.
Entertainment was provided by The Heartbreakers
Newly restored Boudhanath stupa, from the rooftop terrace of Hotel Tibet International