India Local Leader - Skalzang Rigzin
29 years old and born in Ladakh, Rigzin now spends his summers in Ladakh and his winters in Delhi. Rigzin joined Rimo as a trekking help in 1999. Born in the village of Tingmosgang in Ladakh Rigzin with his strong determination and hard work rose quickly to become a trekking guide. He underwent English speaking lessons in Delhi and completed his basic and advance mountaineering courses. Rigzin has also participated in several mountaineering expeditions in the eastern Karakorams Arganglas with Sir Chris Bonington, Rimo IV, Padmanabh including Siachen Glacier and has proved himself to becoming a great mountaineer. Rigzin spent 2 years at the prestigious Bryanston School in England as an outward bound instructor where he has given training and instructions on outdoor related activities to the students. Fun loving and very straight forward Rigzin has great leadership qualities. With his vast experience in such a short time Rigzin continues to be a very popular guide. A keen rock-climber, he recently attended a KE Leaders Meet at the KE office in Keswick.
We interviewed each of our leaders and here is what Rigzin had to say...
How old are you?
Where were you born?
Where do you live now?
Winter in Delhi, summer in Ladakh
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Two sisters and one brother
Can you give a brief outline of your education?
Upto Middle school in ladakh. Later studied Outdoor adventure Management from Bournemouth University - 2008-2009 while working at Bryanston School.
Are you married and do you have any children?
How did you come to be working in the tourism industry?
I liked being out in the nature and experiencing new cultures. I love mountaineering and rock climbing. Adventure Travel has all of it and hence it was the most natural thing to do for me. Working with Rimo Expeditions since 2000 starting off as a helper, then a Sherpa and guide.
Have you had any training specific to working with foreign tourists?
Technical Skills and Safety in the mountains: Basic Course in Mountaineering from HMI-Darjeeling in March 2002; Advance Mountaineering Course from NIM - Uttarkashi in April/May 2003; Search and Rescue from NIM-Uttarkashi in March 2012. Summer Mountain Leader course in UK From Plas'y'Brenin North Wales in 2004 and assessment from Plas'y'Brenin in 2010; Qualified to run the Bryanston School Climbing tower; Worked for Bryanston School (UK) as an Outdoor Education Assistant for 4 years. 2* Awards in kayaking and Canoeing from Kingston Maurward College. (UK) Mountain Leader Basic UIAA standards training in Ladakh September 2010
What is your first language?
What languages do you speak?
Ladakhi, Hindi, Nepali, English and a bit of German
How did you learn to speak English?
A little in School and did an English Language courses in Delhi during the winters. Also on the job while talking to clients. My language improved a lot when I was working at Bryanston School in UK.
Which KE holiday do you most like to lead?
I enjoy leading all but especially enjoy trips which involve climbing.
What has been the most amusing moment you have experienced on a KE holiday?
Every trip brings its own amusing moments. I cannot recall anything in particular.
What has been the most challenging incident you have faced on a KE holiday?
Fortunately, so far I have not faced anything very serious. Just some mild AMS situations where I had to send the clients to lower altitudes.
Do you think that foreign tourism is a good thing for your country?
Yes. But there are two aspects, both positive and Negative. Mostly positive.
What do you think is the future of foreign tourism in your country?
Will be good, because Ladakh is becoming very popular tourist destination
What do you do with your free time?
Courses related to leadership skills and mountaineering safety
What is your favourite sport?
Mountaineering, Rock climbing, Football and cricket
When travelling with a group, what do the local people say about your clients?
They generally ask me where they are come from and why they like walking around so much. Some local people talk to them.
Have you travelled abroad, and if so where?
Yes. Nepal, Bhutan, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Ireland
Which countries would you like to visit?
Tibet and USA. Also mountains in other parts of the World.
What music do you listen to - who is your favourite performer?
Hindi, Nepali, Ladakhi, English. No particular favourites.
Which person do you most admire in the world?
The Dalai Lama
What you have to say about Rigzin...
"Rigzin was an excellent leader - good decision making and calm in a crisis - I got acute mountain sickness. Sense of humour as well". S. Addison
"Rigzin was a superb leader, taking care of all our needs, responsive to our feelings, informative about the local environment and culture, giving us opportunities to meet local farmers and villagers, and allowing us to share his love of the mountains. A wonderful experience!" S. Whyte
"Our trip leader was extremely conscientious and caring. We felt very well looked after and given a great deal of information." C. Sharpe
"An excellent leader in all ways. Could not be bettered." M. Hargreave