Few landscapes in Africa offer a charm comparable to the labyrinthine mountain system of Tigray. A fairy-tale charm that stems not only from the forest of rocky peaks that draw the horizons, but also by the large number of chapels, semi-caved churches, caves and caverns made sacred by hermits, hidden in the folds of the mountains.
Tigray, located in the Northern part of Ethiopia 783 km from Addis Ababa the capital city of Ethiopia is a region where over 120 Rock-Hewn Churches are found. The Tigray Rock Churches are considered to be dating from the 5/6th century. Most of them not visited by tourists because of their location on the top of cliffs for security reasons.
At the suggestion of the Italian Institute of Culture in Addis Ababa and with funding from the Italian Development Cooperation, the Mountain Wilderness Italy association is planning to organize, during the months of February/March, an introductory course on trekking management in the Gheralta Mountains of Tigray.
This course will be reserved to local youth of both sexes interested in acquiring the basic technical skills needed to be presented to foreign visitors as reliable naturalist, sports and historical/archaeological excursions guides. These adventurous “outdoors” activities may also include easy rock climbing using ropes and pitons
Mountain Wilderness has a solid and proven experience in mountaineering/hiking training, with a focus on Eco-friendly activities fully respecting the nature values, as well as the aesthetic and cultural aspects of the mountain environment. At an international level, Mountain Wilderness has managed with great success “Environment Friendly Mountaineering” courses in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
For the first time it is bringing its experience to a project in Africa.
The course will benefits from a valuable collaboration with Gheralta Lodge, SCARPA boots, FERRINO tents and slipping bags, Climbing Technology (climbing equipments), and of the ropes grant from our of “Rock and Wall’s” climbing friends.
16 trainees (14 boys and 2 girls) will participate to the course, they have been selected among the youth of the region. 3 Italians instructors will be led by Carlo Alberto Pinelli, president of Mountain Wilderness Italy.
The course includes lectures in English, and practical exercises with nights in tents along routes of varying difficulty and features.
Theoretical and practical lessons will focus on ecological/environmental topics, on organizing trekking, with particular attention to hygiene and nutrition, on first aid and rescue operations, on rock progression techniques and safety on difficult or dangerous routes, on the appropriate use of fixed ropes and artificial anchors, on map and kompass reading on correct and respectful relationships with local people and the rock-hewn churches clergy.
This site will provide status information as the project progress
Some interesting photos can be found here