The social, cultural and technical approach of the Mountain Cultural Centre in Arequipa
THE SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND TECHNICAL APPROACH OF THE MOUNTAIN CULTURAL CENTRE IN AREQUIPA.
Project Status: Since 2013
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The Centro Cultural de Montaña or “Mountain Cultural Centre’s mission is to promote a holistic cultural, social and sporting development of our mountain communities going far beyond the development and delivery of modules for diverse training courses centred on outdoor sports such as rock climbing, trekking, mountaineering, technical roped access.
One of our goals is to integrate the different regions of our country, creating a network through which we can enrich ourselves and get to know other mountain communities and each other. We have already achieved these goals by taking part in events for the benefit of the sorts of mountain communities we work with and support, the most recent example is our involvement with the international climbing meet organised by the project Mujer Montaña, held in Peru this past June and July in Cusco. Other examples also include our involvement in different training and capacity building initiatives such as of Escalo Terapia (“climbing therapy”) and, Rock’s Trip, held in different regions of Peru and in neighbouring countries such as Chile and Bolivia.
Our objectives in contributing to environmental protection are:
- Foster awareness and active participation in the conservation of cultural heritage in mountain regions of Peru.
- To promote the study, research and dissemination of knowledge and disciplines related to mountain culture.
- To promote cultural consciousness for environmental conservation.
- Encourage a spirit of responsible adventure.
- Create links between different generations of climbers.
- To contribute to a holistic formation of the mountaineer, from the technical to the ethical.
- To promote the cultural, social and economic development of mountain communities.
HOW DOES IT CONTRIBUTE TO MOUNTAIN PROTECTION
CCM’s main contribution to the promotion of environmental protection is through culture and education, by sensitising those who participate in our training courses and outdoor activities to the need for environmental consideration and consciousness. First, we convey respect for the environment in all our activities, for instance by incorporating material related to the campaign “Leave No Trace”, which encourages respect for the place where participants enter, trying to make the least possible impact.
Second, we encourage the recovery of different waste material found in the places where we conduct our activities, even if this waste does not belong to our group. Our waste disposal logo/banner “La basura no vuelve sola” (which translates to “the rubbish does not dispose itself”) is part of CCM’s communication policy. Third, we believe that the culture of a good mountaineer is achieved through educating participants by leading by example, doing what is right by the environment especially working with and in the presence of children, who are the future of this world thereby creating awareness inside and outside these sporting group and in daily life.
COLLABORATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND AUTHORITIES
We have numerous interactions with the local communities with whom we work closely with in carrying out our outdoor activities and courses (CCM was co-organiser of the Eco Fest festival of adventure sports and opening of the new sector for climbing “The Palomar” in November 2013). On the other hand, CCM helps local communities with a special program for disabled persons, the “Climbing Therapy” (Escalo Terapia) with special attention to respect for nature and the environment. Finally, several initiatives were implemented with the support of the authorities: the most significant relates to the initiative “Mother Earth Cleanup Festival” (Pachamama Limpia Fest”), with the support of the municipalities of Arequipa, Jacobo Hunter, Alto Selva Alegre, Islay and the Regional Government of Arequipa, which focuses on the ecological conservation and clean up/waste management and collection of waste at rivers and valleys where outdoor activities are conducted.
GOING FURTHER THAN “BUSINESS AS USUAL”
A challenge we face is that the protection of climbing areas is threatened by privatization in and around Arequipa. 2500 square meters where we have developed sport climbing routes for the benefit of the population since already 20 years ago, are now in danger of being privatised for private urban development ends. We nevertheless continue with our training courses in sport climbing for children in Arequipa and try to acquire new land which will help to develop our activities: the revival of artificial climbing walls for the training therapies and access and reach for climbing activities; and the initiative for social approach called “Andean Climber”, promoting the development of sports for teenagers and young adults.
At the time the climbing areas in Arequipa are being privatized for urban purposes and in an uncontrolled manner so that it has affected the development of new sectors and the dissemination of outdoor sports activities. CCM intends to buy property in the sector of the Chilina valley where the Sillarcito sector is located, a natural rock climbing wall close to the urban sector of the city, which is in danger of being privatized and shut out to climbers. Our project and the further development of the CCM are therefore fundamental in the protection and stewardship of our local mountain and climbing areas for the benefit of continued training, environmental education and awareness and capacity building of mountain communities and in developing a climbing community that is both technically and ethically able.