Mountaineering experience is not necessary, but an enthusiasm for the outdoors and a passion for exploration are key, as participants will be camping and trekking in one of the world’s greatest mountainous regions whilst undertaking worthwhile science research into human physiology at altitude, surveying the region using GIS technology, and studying flora and fauna for WWF India.
BSES Expeditions is a national youth development charity with over 75 years’ experience and a credible history in taking young explorers to remote wilderness regions.
Young explorers will experience high altitudes of around 6,000 metres and at least one peak is hoped to be a first ascent – great for the CV of any budding climber. As an active member of a research team based in the Nubra Valley, the young people will learn the art of surviving in such a remote and demanding environment.
Lt Gen Peter Pearson, Executive Director of BSES Expeditions, said, “Ladakh is an incredible destination for a mountaineering expedition. BSES encourages young people to engage with and explore remote environments for themselves. This challenging environment will provide the perfect arena for young people to learn about key issues which are affecting the world around us today though hands-on experience. This Himalayan expedition is an ideal way to make the most of the summer holidays; developing skills whilst exploring a unique and inspiring area of the world and returning in time for the school term.”
The once in a lifetime journey begins after a brief stop over in Delhi, before flying over the Greater Himalayan ranges to the capital of Ladakh, Leh. This is one of the highest cities in the world and the team will spend three days acclimatising to the altitude of 3,500 metres and exploring the culture. This period is key, as it allows the body to adjust to the oxygen levels in preparation for the climbing and higher altitudes that will be experienced. From here, they will travel to Hundar Dok to spend three days trekking through the dramatic landscape to set up a base camp, for further acclimatisation and training before setting off in groups to begin research and adventure projects.
Kiri Gascoyne, who took part in a previous BSES Himalayas expedition said, “Going to Ladakh was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I had a brilliant time even though we were there to work. Summiting a 6,000 metre peak was also a special moment for me, as it was something that I never thought I would have been able to do. The struggle on the way up was well worth the feeling of achievement I had when I reached the top. This really was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Human interaction and impact on the environment is the main theme of the fieldwork. Split into two parts, the first will study high altitude physiology and the effects of altitude on the human body. The environmental science will investigate the human impact on the mountain eco-system, determined by conducting census and survey work.
Surveying will also be undertaken in the Nubra Valley, which is generally unknown and poorly mapped. The team will be exploring, surveying and mapping the expedition area to contribute to a greater understanding of the region. Further, the young explorers will be also gathering data for WWF India on the flora and fauna distribution of the area.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
BSES Expeditions is pleased to operate as an Approved Activity Provider for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Summer expeditions can count towards achievement of the Gold Award Expedition and Residential sections.
The cost of the expedition is £3,200 plus flight costs. BSES Expeditions offers each volunteer fundraising support from the very beginning.
“We realise that the expedition represents a significant investment, but BSES is offering fundraising help every step of the way, plus the opportunity of a personal mentor and bursary funding. Without question, this level of support opens up the chance of a lifetime and we hope that young people from all walks of life will be inspired to join this expedition,” Lt Gen Pearson said.
BSES Expeditions welcomes applications from individual young people. All prospective young explorers need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.bses.org.uk.
The closing date for this summer is 6th April 2010, and applications from girls are particularly encouraged.
Because of the age range for this particular expedition, this unique opportunity is ideal for students just finishing their GCSEs, AS or A2 exams, people who want to develop mountaineering skills and scientific research techniques, or whose dream is to visit one of the most remote parts of the world. It is also a fantastic way to start a gap year.
Professor David Bellamy praises BSES Expeditions as they are a way to “discover yourself and help save the world’s most important places”.