The Exploration Society would like to offer those in the 6th Form the opportunity to join an Expedition to the fascinating Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh in July 2017. The Expedition is formed of two parts: a community service phase followed by a trekking phase. A film of our last trip to the area can be seen below (albeit with a different and higher peak of Stok Kangri). The Expedition will depart from London Heathrow in the afternoon of Monday 24th July and return on Thursday 10th August.
Ladakh Expedition 2017
- Day 1: Fly London to Delhi
- Day 2: Sightseeing in Delhi / Visit Akshardham Temple
- Day 3: Fly Delhi to Leh / Rest / Local Exploration
- Day 4: Sightseeing in Leh / Acclimatisation
- Day 5 – 10: Community Service Projects
- Day 11: Trek to the Lonely Mountain begins (5600m)
- Day 17: Return to Leh / Expedition Meal
- Day 18: Fly Leh to London
Community Service Project 1 : The Druk White Lotus School
This school has regularly hosted Exploration Society groups over the last 10 years. Based in the ancient capital of Shey, it has been designed by Arup to be a stunning example of what is possible by combining traditional styles and materials with cutting edge design and engineering.
The Druk White Lotus school was founded and inspired by the Gyalwang Drukpa, Ladakh’s spiritual leader, to help teach younger children from remote areas of Ladakh within a cultural framework. On previous visits our teams have built an adventure playground, helped with the landscaping of the site, and taught English, Art, and Drama in the classrooms. Accommodation is provided in a comfortable guest house in the small village next to the school.Druk School Website
Community Service Project 2 : SECMOL
The Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh is a college maintained and, to a great degree, run by the students themselves on a democratic basis. The campus is largely self-sufficient with gardens, livestock, and solar power. When we take groups to visit they are able to help with the day-to-day running of the school and join in conversation classes which is a huge benefit to the Ladakhi students. There are often whole school outings to harvest apricots or collect winter food for the cattle which usually turn into a dance party!
The number and interests of the group will determine which project we join. We can not guarantee that we will be able to do both at this stage.SECMOL website
Our trekking services are provided by Rimo Expeditions, a highly regarded and experienced company that we have used on 5 previous trips. Their guides are well trained and in fact our last one had climbed with Chris Bonnington! The cooks rustle up amazing dishes despite the conditions including pizza and birthday cakes. All our camping equipment and personal kit is carried by horses and the Sherpa team look after us brilliant, setting up tents before we arrive at camp and bringing a constant supply of tea.
The mountain we intend to climb is slightly lower than the one shown in the movie above which makes it more achievable but still challenging. We will still adhere to a strict acclimatisation schedule to ensure our group is safe while gaining altitude.
The terrain is absolutely stunning. There are green fields in the valleys irrigated by swift and cold mountain streams and multicoloured wild flowers higher up with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. We often see golden eagles circling overhead, marmots peeking out of their burrows, agile wild sheep leaping down sheer rock faces, and lumbering yaks moving between pastures. As the air is so dry, the views stretch for miles and the panaroma from the top of the Lonely Mountain is breathtaking. The predominant weather at this time of year is for clear warm days and chilly nights.Rimo Website
Medical Cover, Risk, Communications, and Insurance
The trip will be led by one of the Exploration Society Senior Leadership team who has international expedition experience and all the necessary training and qualifications. They will be able to treat a wide variety of ailments using a well-stocked medical kit including antibiotics, altitude sickness medicine, and wound management materials. The guides also carry oxygen and we are able to evacuate any casualties to the hospital in Leh by pony and car in a matter of hours from all parts of the trek. There will be at least one female member of staff on the trip.
The trip is run according to BS8848: the British Standard governing Overseas Expeditions. This ensures that our risk assessment, incident and emergency processes, and planning checks comply with best practice.
Participants will need to hold their own travel insurance for this trip and more information on this will be supplied to those who sign up. Expedition members will also need to apply for a visa from the Indian High Commission.
Ladakh has its own phone network and so personal phones will not work. During the expedition we will have Ladakhi phones with each group which work well in the valley and occasionally in the mountains. There are a number of land lines along our trekking route but currently Satphones are banned. Expeditions members are usually able to email and phone home from Leh.Parents' guide to BS8848
Relatively little specialist equipment is needed for this trip. For the community service project participants will require old clothes and work gloves. Normal hiking equipment will be used on the trek but it can get very cold at high altitude at night and so everyone will need plenty of warm clothes. A full kit list will be provided with advice on kit choice and discount codes in case anything extra needs to be purchased.
We will run a training camp for all the expedition members during the spring/summer with the exact date decided by the group. The purpose of the weekend will be to give the group a chance to get to know each other and their leaders, test out their kit, and go through some medical and safety training ahead of the expedition. The location will be confirmed nearer the time but will be fairly close to Cambridge and London to keep down costs and travel time.
The costs for this trip are as follows:
Exploration Society Fees:
Full Expedition – £1399 / person
This includes trip planning and leadership, full trekking services, internal transfers, accommodation and food and a 2-day training camp.
Flights: Approx £850 / person
This fee must be paid directly to our travel broker in order to comply with ATOL regulations. We will reserve the seats so that the group is able to travel together.
The fee is paid to the Indian High Commission
Vaccinations: Approx £80-£200 dependant on medical history
A number of vaccinations are required, some of which expedition members may have already had and some may not need any vaccinations at all. A list will be published to those who sign up and proof will be required that immunisation is up to date. Vaccinations generally last 3-10 years.
Personal Equipment suggested budgets
- Walking Boots: £60-£150
- Sleeping Bag: £80 – £150
- Insulated Jacket: £60 – £120
No specialist equipment is needed but the nights are cold at high altitude and it is important that everyone is able to keep themselves warm. ESOC will offer advice on kit choice and provide discounts for some retailers.
Paid directly to insurance providers. Those with existing family cover are able to buy a top up in order to ensure expedition members are covered for trekking at altitude (sub 6000m) and working on community projects.
Personal Money: £50-£100
All food and accommodation is provided but individuals will want a small amount of money for snacks, drinks, and souvenirs.
Fundraising Target: £50
The projects that we work on benefit hugely from a relatively small donation. Any fundraising money is used to buy materials for the projects we work on, or for resources such as books or even livestock.
- Initial Deposit – £100 – due on booking
- First Instalment = 50% of remaining balance – due by 1st March 2017
- Second Instalment – 50% of remaining balance – due by 1st May 2017
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