Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Peer Led Expeditions

Two of our members, John Bainbridge and Faye Midmore have just returned from a tough trip to France where they trekked 160 kms of the GR 5 in 10 days. This trail between Lake Geneva and Nice is regarded as being one of the most demanding long distance treks in the world. The trail rises to 3000m as it nears the Mt Blanc Massif. Conditions even this time of the year were very demanding with the trail winding up through snow bowls. Both John and Faye thoroughly recommend this route for a peer led expedition.

With Faye having to return to the UK because of work commitments, John teamed up with Chris Lyness for a few days climbing and ice skills on the Mer de Glace before being joined by Melissa Power.

As a warm up to an ascent of Mt Blanc, the two climbed the Petite Aiguille Verte, a lovely mixed route before moving on to Mt Blanc du Tacul. Conditions, once again, have been difficult in the Mt Blanc Massif made worse by the closure of the Aiguille du Midi cable car. When it re-opened there was the inevitable rush to get on the mountain leading, once again to tragedy. John
informs us that a guide and his client died in an avalanche on the Tacul.

Listening to John’s account of the climb, there is no doubt that he has put the skills he learnt on Mt Rainier last year to excellent effect. Crossing the bergschrund on Tacul is always an interesting affair but we understand that this year it is a yawning chasm. It is a testament to their skills that John and Mel negociated the bergschrund and the other crevasses, summitted and returned safely.

Peer led expeditions are an exciting way to develop leadership and travel with like-minded people. John, Faye and Mel are typical of our members who have been on expedition but now want to do more. Advice, mentoring and financial support through gift aid is available from the DES.

We now have a discussion forum where you can get in touch with other young (and young at heart) explorers. Just follow the URL: Leading Edge Expeditions Forum

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