Khawakarpo, 6,740 meters in height, is one of Tibet’s most sacred mountains. Each year, but particularly during the Year of the Sheep, tens of thousands of pilgrims travel great distances from all over the plateau to reach the holy mountain and perform a two-week circumambulation. Few services are available locally to assist the stream of pilgrims, many of whom are young or elderly, and thousands suffer from various ailments as a result of the long journey or extreme altitude.

CERS restored the hazardous suspension bridge crossing the upper Mekong at the starting point of the route circling the mountain. We constructed two buildings on site, one a clinic with western medicine to serve the pilgrims, the other a tea house where we can serve tea while researchers conduct surveys about the entire plateau, interviewing pilgrims from throughout the region. We also disseminate conservation messages among the pilgrims that they in turn will take home with them, including distribution of a set of playing cards featuring endangered animals of the plateau. The site has also become an educational facility used to train young researchers.