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Zack Martin Grant Winner Headed to India

Posted on: May 26th, 2010 by admin

The village of Kumik, India, with Sultan Lango in the background. Courtesy of Jonathan Mingle

The Zack Martin Breaking Barriers grant committee has announced the 2010 recipient of this major AAC grant: Jonathan Mingle from Vermont will travel to Zanskar, India, next winter with dual humanitarian and ski mountaineering objectives.

Mingle and his partners will trek into the mountains on the frozen Zanskar River and then attempt the first known ski descent of 19,117-foot Sultan Lango. Afterward, Mingle will work with the villagers of Kumik, a town facing a severe water shortage because of glacial recession, to build a demonstration home with passive-solar heating and cooking. Kumik is being forced to relocate 40 homes closer to water sources, and Mingle’s idea is to use this opportunity to promote “greener” homes in the new village. The use of solar heating should help reduce lung disease among the villagers and free up more time for the local women, who no longer will have to gather and dry manure for fuel.

Mingle did graduate field research in the Zanskar and Kargil areas of Jammu and Kashmir, focused on household energy technology and changes in building methods. “In the course of my research, a villager from Kumik sought me out for advice on his own simple passive solar designs for his new house,” Mingle said. “I then went to Kumik, met a lot of the villagers over repeated visits, and learned their story.” Mingle plans to work on a prototype home next winter and then hopes to return in the late spring to work with local masons on home construction.

You can read more about Kumik’s plight and the potential solutions in this story that Mingle wrote for the Boston Herald.

Mingle works for Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vermont, where he’s developing a semester program in sustainable design/build for college students. He also has been involved with the unique Zanskar Ski School since 2003.

The Zack Martin Breaking Barriers grant is awarded each year to a party whose primary objective is humanitarian and secondary objective is climbing, alpinism and/or exploration in the natural environment. Learn more or download an application here.

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