Telluride Mushroom Festival: NGO Leader Rick Silber On Nepal & Fungi!
The Telluride Mushroom Festival is back for the 42nd year in a row. In only a few weeks from now, the Town of Telluride will be taken over by amanita hat-wearing, mold- and spore-worshipping mycelium fanatics.
For more information on the keynote presentations or to learn more about this year’s lectures, workshops and forays, visit the Telluride Mushroom Festival’s online schedule here.
To buy your four-day festival pass, visit here. Single-day passes will be available for purchase at the Festival registration desk in Elk’s Park from August 18–21.
Rick Silber is among the newbie presenters at the Mushroom Festival. Scroll down to learn more about his life and work.
Book a mushroom trip to Nepal here.
Telluride Colorado is the epicenter of the largest wild mushroom happening in North America: the Telluride Mushroom Festival. The annual gathering conducts serious science during the world’s biggest mushroom party, customized for every budget and schedule.
But the fun does not have to end with the weekend. One of the best things about mushrooms is the fact they occur naturally all over the world.
Including in Nepal.
Former personal injury lawyer turned NGO leader, Rick Silber, helms International Mountain Trekking or IMT. And, at Mushroom Fest, he is making a full-throated appeal to join him on the company’s next Eco/Mushroom tour of the Khumbu region in the Himalayas. His brand new project is all about documenting the mushrooms of Nepal and Mount Everest – and making a difference to the country’s indigenous population, devastated by the onset of the Age of Corona – plus major floods – and the impact on adventure tourism.
According to IMT’s website:
“Join IMT during peak mushroom season to explore the grandeur of the Khumbu region and Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal on a unique scientifically guided mushroom and ecological trek to Everest Base Camp. The Khumbu region in Nepal is home to rugged forested terrain, deep river-carved gorges and multiple climate zones which support exceedingly rare and interesting mushrooms, plants and medicinal herbs. Shiva Devkota, Ph.D, Nepal’s foremost mycologist and conservation biologist, will provide IMT with his decades long experience into the mycology and biodiversity of the region…
“IMT’s itinerary includes the unusual experience of entering the Everest region by the traditional overland route via private Toyota Land Cruisers and returning to Kathmandu by helicopter from the beautiful Sherpa village of Phortse. We have designed the trek to begin at lower elevations, which provide the best opportunity to discover more mushrooms and to see parts of Nepal that are not often experienced in a traditional trekking itinerary to Everest Base Camp. As we trek through the region and visit Sherpa villages along the way, we will also explore the ethnomycological relationships between the fungi of the region and the people of the Khumbu….”
Ask Festival director Dr. Britt Bunyard all about adventuring with Silber, a man who does it the old-fashioned way: show, not just tell. The two men met on one of IMT’s expeditions and bonded, hence the invitation to town to speak at the fungiphile happening on Saturday, August 20, 11:30 a.m. at the Sheridan Opera House. Silber’s talk is aptly titled “A First Ever Mushroom Foray in the Himalayas (Would YOU Like to Be Part of the Second)?”
At first blush, personal injury law and mushroom forays in the Himalayas have little in common. Yet Silber lives at the nexus of the two, a space all about righting wrongs and making a difference in the world.
A former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Silber started his own firm in 1992. But outside of that practice, he has always had a passion for recreating in the outdoors.
Silber started climbing and backpacking during college, mostly in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. With NOLs, he had the opportunity to journey into Yellowstone National Park during a winter expedition,. He then honed his backcountry and climbing skills in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana in New Hampshire.
Silber has climbed Mt. Washington and Mt. Adams many times, mostly in the winter. He has trekked up Mt. Whitney in California, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Breithorn, the Munch and Pollux in the Alps. He has also climbed in Alaska and, most recently, in Nepal on Lobuche Peak and Mera Peak.
Today, Silber’s focus is IMT, although he just stepped down as a member of the Board of the Directors of the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. where he served for several years. He is also executive director and co-founder of the Himalayan Climate & Science Institute or HCSI, which trains Sherpas to monitor high-altitude weather stations below Mt. Everest to predict climate disasters, including melting glaciers, receding snow lines, changes in vegetation, and record temperature and precipitation among the world’s highest mountains.
(Go here to read the OpEd piece, Silber co-wrote for the New York Times with Liam Tory, HCSI’s senior program director.)
Silber is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire Law School and Beloit College where he majored in Biology. He lives in Washington, DC.
For much more about Rick Silber’s life and work, listen to his conversation with Telluride Inside… and Out.
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