In August the school Expedition headed to Ladakh in northern India with a group of 11 students led by Mark Jenkins and Gemma Bukowska. Starting in the town of Leh at a height of 3,500m, a few days of gentle acclimatisation to altitude included an introduction to the principles of Buddhism and attending a speech by His Holiness The Dalai Lama who was visiting Tibetan refugees living in Ladakh.
The group crossed the Khardung La (the world’s highest motorable pass at 5,359m), descending into the Nubra Valley where they engaged with two schools, one run by the government and one by the local monastery.
The team then embarked on a 12-day trek of the Hundar valley. Ascending from the river bed they climbed to a basecamp at 4,500m for a few days of acclimatisation. From here the group climbed to High Camp at 5,000m and after a wild night on the mountain, the final ascent to Sumar Kangri began.
On a difficult, rocky ascent, many of the group felt the effects of altitude at this stage and had to descend, but a reduced group managed to summit at 5,850m.
They then had to descend down a steep glacier using their crampons and ice axes. Once back in the valley, they slowly ascended to the base of the Lasermo Pass over several days and those who had felt the effects of altitude earlier started to feel much better.
It was a good day for the climb up to the summit of the Pass at 5,400m and the team was on good form for their summit photo. There was then a steady descent to the final camp before trekking out to the road head at Phyang.
The group will be presenting their experiences to this term’s meeting of the Tom Avery Society on Thursday 22nd September at 7.30pm in the Academic Lecture Theatre. There will be a drinks reception beforehand from 7.00pm.
Tickets are free but can be booked at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/257771