Melissa Arnot and David Morton both have close professional and personal relationships with the Nepal Himalaya and the Everest area in particular. Their experience in this region goes back many years.
Beginning in 2000 David began working in Nepal as a guide for Alpine Ascents International. He visits often for both personal and professional climbing and trekking adventures during pre-monsoon, post-monsoon and winter seasons. In 2006 a serac collapse in the Khumbu ice fall killed three Sherpas working for commercial Everest expeditions. One of those Sherpas was married to a woman who had worked numerous times for David on treks.
She was 6 months pregnant. David and his wife volunteered to support that unborn child’s education.
In 2008 David and Melissa guided a client and friend on a Mt. Everest expedition. It was their first experience together in Khumbu and on Everest. It cemented a passion for the people and the region.
In 2010 Melissa was on an expedition with Chhewang Nima Sherpa, a legendary climbing Sherpa and friend, when he was killed after a cornice collapsed on the summit ridge of Baruntse. Melissa committed to helping his family with the resources she could provide.
From these personal experiences the idea of the Juniper Fund was born, formalizing a commitment to understand and improve the aftermath of tragedies in the Himalayan expedition industry, or “mountain based adventure tourism”.
The Juniper Fund was incorporated at the end of 2012 in Washington State and received federal tax exempt 501(c)3 status at the end of 2013.