Last night the intrepid Cranleigh expeditioners from this summer’s trip to India told the tale of their Himalayan odyssey.
After a brief introduction by Dr Simon Young, the team took it in turns to set the scene and gave some background information on the trip including discussing preparations, training and the journey out to Ladakh. The gradual acclimatisation, both physically and culturally, in Leh was described together with the preparation for the main focus of the expedition: the two week trek.
This journey took the team, with their ponies, porters and Sherpa guides, along the Markha Valley, over high passes, past wonderful scenery, wildlife, monasteries and rocks to the base camp of the objective mountain. We heard of various “side-adventures” encountered en route, including a day spent helping in a village school, carrying a small forest of tree trunks up a hill to help build a retirement wing for elderly monks, and the assistance in the rescue of a Czech fellow trekker.
Eventually the story arrived at Kang Yatse base camp and the audience heard about the gruelling ascent through the night, the group high point at 5700m (where some members had to turn back due to the effects of altitude), the tribulations of glacial travel with ropes, axes and crampons, and the eventual arrival, at dawn, at the target – the shoulder on KYII – at 6100m.
After this the return to Leh seemed a little anticlimactic, but a few more photos of rocks and a description of a day rafting on the Indus River gave a very positive hint of time well spent and a massive personal growth in all the team members. The evening concluded with questions, the answers to which further showed how much the group had benefited from their experiences whilst in India.