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An Account of the Nanda Devi Expedition

Andrew Hepworth
Andrew Hepworth (6 posts) Educational Trips Coordinator View Profile

The wind speed was in excess of 80Km/h and the temperature was below minus 15oC. The window to climb Nanda Devi was short due to the incoming monsoon season. The skies were clear, so the Grade 3 teachers made the decision that today would be the day for our climb!

  • Nanda Devi Expedition pick ice axe 3 masks hill carpark bus
  • grade 3 Expedition himalayas hiking student mug hot cocoa
  • grade 3 Expedition himalayas hiking andrew campus helmet JC
  • Nanda Devi Expedition pick ice axe grade3 masks campus leaves
  • grade 3 Expedition himalayas hiking student andrew campus
  • grade 3 Expedition himalayas hiking andrew campus

We headed out of our classrooms with our gear: homemade ice axes, harnesses made of cut-up fabric and cups for hot coco. While we had to leave in small groups to avoid crowds in COVID times, that did not deter us. We quickly reached base camp and made a plan to progress.

The snow was deep, which made for hard going; for hundreds of meters we had to lift our feet above our waists to get through the snow. We were all tied in into a long rope, of course, just in case one of us fell off the side of the mountain. We practiced an ice axe arrest, a manoeuvre that could save us if we slid on the ice (and if done correctly it would save others on our team).

Then, we climbed a staircase next to the gym, going one by one and learning about different climbing techniques. It was up on the eastern ridge at about 21,000 feet that one of our team started to show signs and symptoms of mild hyperthermia, but they pulled through. 

After a short delay, we summited about halfway through the double period. After the short celebration, we began our descent, set up rock anchors attached to the running track and rappelled off the main ridge into the carpark. This took forever and I thought we would never make it. We got lost on the Trishul glacier as we headed quickly back to base camp, but then we saw the tennis courts from the distance and knew that base camp was right next to them. It was that moment that we realized that we would make it in time for hot coco and period six.

A heroic thank you to all the grade 3 explorers that took part - it was a brave effort by the whole class!

Nanda Devi Expedition grade 3 himalayas hiking group andrew