Sunday, January 02, 2005

On top of the world

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the top of Mount Everest?

Follow the link below for an incredible 360 degree view.

If you fancy a chance of standing on top of Mt Blanc to compare the view and you are available between 24 July and 15 August 2004, why not take a look at our expedition details below.

French Alps (Au Pays des Geants) 2005

Expedition Leader: Clive Burgess

Mountaineering Leader: Mark Salmon

Approximate Dates: 24 JULY/ 15 AUGUST 2005

Objectives: Mountain bike to Chamonix; Learn about mountain environment; develop skills in alpinism; apply these skills on snow, ice and rock, climb a series of mountains.

Trip description
Mountaineering has its roots firmly established in the Alps. Many of the world's finest climbers 'cut their teeth' on the mountains of the Mt Blanc Massif before going on to the bigger ranges, such as the Himalaya.

The Alps provide every conceivable adventure for the expeditioner from the novice to the experienced. The thrill of standing on a glacier surrounded by huge peaks is awe inspiring, and continues to capture the imagination of every climber. This expedition led by Clive Burgess will be the 4th in this area. Unusually, the team will travel from Le Havre to Chamonix on mountain bikes. We plan to have a support vehicle that will carry all our mountaineering gear as well as spares. The vehicle will take the bikes and any unnecessary equipment back to the UK. The team will return by train and ferry.

Mountaineering requires teamwork, stamina and dedication. There are many techniques to learn, and the expedition will begin with extensive practice on the ice of the Mer de Glace before moving onto the Tour Glacier where further training will take place. From there we will start to acclimatise to altitude with climbs on the Domes de Miages. The group will then take Europe's highest cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi with its imposing view of Mt Blanc. From here we shall camp on the plateau before climbing Mt Blanc du Tacul.

An ascent of Mt Blanc itself may be considered; this, however, depends on the age and competence of the group and the conditions in the Alps at that time. Previous groups have indeed stood on the summit of Western Europe’s highest mountain but we are not going to the Alps with the intention of climbing Mt Blanc. In any event all mountaineering experiences we cover will be guided by a strict code of safety that will be at the heart of skill development. Learning the many aspects of mountaineering will require patience and a willingness to practice. Mountaineering is a risk activity and there is lot to learn from self-arrest techniques, roping up, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, how to use crampons plus a host of other things. Group members will not be able to progress onto the next stage until they have demonstrated proficiency in taught skills.

Group members will face a rigorous selection process to determine if they possess the right qualities for such an expedition. Some experience of climbing is an advantage, but is not a pre-requisite. We do not anticipate a Catherine Destivelle, or Reinhold Messner at this stage; rather we invite applications from young people who want a real challenge working in a team environment. Initial training will take place before we leave the UK.

The Leadership Team

Clive Burgess: 53, Head of Upper School in a large Weymouth Sports College. Co- Founder of the Dorset Expeditionary Society, he has 20 years experience of youth expeditions in the UK and overseas. He is a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. He has led expeditions to Canada, the USA, South America, Europe. Climbing experience covers Alaska, Colorado, the Alps, Andes, Canada. His most recent climb was on Mt McKinley (Denali), one of the world’s most demanding mountains.

Mark Salmon: 32, Head of PE and Outdoor Adventure at The Wey Valley School and Sports College. Mark has many years experience both in the UK and beyond. He is responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Expeditions include Nepal, Alaska, Europe and USA. Climbing experience is extensive from the Alps to the USA. He was part of the team to have recently climbed Denali. Mark will be leading the mountaineering section.

Rob Legrice 34, Head of Art in an Arts College in High Wycombe. Rob has much experience in leading youth expeditions, particularly in Canada and the USA. He led a mountain bike venture across the Rockie Mountains unsupported. He has climbed in the Alps.

Two other leaders will shortly be appointed.

Cost: To be confirmed but at this stage we estimate a figure of £750 to include: administration, selection, specialist equipment, insurance, transport (hire of vehicle, transport on the ground, return fare to UK), mountain bike spares, accommodation, mountain hut fees, cable car costs, food ( except meals group members wish to purchase beyond the expedition food ), and membership of The Dorset Expeditionary Society


Applications for these expeditions have always been oversubscribed and a selection procedure will decide the final team. As stated, previous expedition experience is not essential, but will be an advantage. All applicants, however, should be fit and healthy and have a genuine interest in the mountain environment. Selection will take place in November
Many potential applicants are deterred by the apparent difficulty of funding such a project. In reality, no candidate faces any difficulty unless, and until, they have successfully completed selection.

Applications are now invited from young people aged 16 - 19 ( applications from outside of these age groups will, however, be considered)

To Apply: Complete and return an application form together with 2 passport sized photographs and a non-returnable deposit of £50. Cheques should be made payable to "Au Pays des Geants Expedition ." Application forms can be obtained from this website (see link on left of page). Full details of the selection weekend will then follow.

Application forms should be returned to:
Clive Burgess2 Manor Place Fortuneswell Portland

Dorset DT5 1NL


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