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Global Expedition Student Reflections

Student reflections on NAE Alpine Mountaineering Expedition 3rd July to 10th July 2015

  • Alps Expedition - James
  • Alps Expedition Student - Joeren
  • The Summit!
  • Are we there yet?
  • Alps Scenery
  • Alps Image Scaling the Mountain
  • Ice wall
  • Alps Image 2
  • Lonely Trek

'The Nord Anglia Glacier Expedition in Switzerland was simply amazing. I have not only faced but also conquered many challenges, both mentally and physically. The physical challenge was mostly walking on crampons for such long distances and it really required a lot of stamina and endurance. The mental challenge was that there were so many great risks involved and mistakes could have great impact on your body.

Both the teachers and guides helped me achieve this and I can say without a doubt that they have made this trip so interesting. The group of students was a perfect balance of all sorts of personalities but I will always remember them. I can recommend this trip to anyone willing to have a fun, adventurous, and exciting holiday!' Jeroen (Y11)

'This seemingly harmless expedition turned out to be one of the toughest most will-exerting experiences of my life!  Having previously climbed a mountain around a year ago, I approached this new venture as a small obstacle and, of course, was completely shrouded in a veil of ‘cockiness’ as I considered myself an expert after climbing a single mountain… Fergus, I am sure, also felt this way; this is because at the end of our physical training sessions we often took-up-arms against each other; fought with terrible swordsmanship and hit each other with large woodened training poles: as any sane man would do if he is given a slightly weapon shaped thing and given a break from running.

Anyway, moving on. The 3 months of rigorous training proved to be excellent practice for the expedition, as I don’t believe that I could have made it otherwise. To be clear we climbed around three peaks of the Alpine mountain range, they were all in French so no chance of me remembering any of them… For now lets call them: Mt Plur, Mt Blur and Mt. Deur.

I know this is a mockery of the French language, but please bear with me as I struggle to remember people’s names in English.

Climbing these gigantic snow cones started with a fresh batch of tea at 4:00 am (snow in the Alps would become slush during the hotter hours of the day, making it a safer bet to begin when it is still frozen solid… and less likely to collapse under Mr. Lim’s feet), after the tea I began preparations with buttered toast, boots, layers of clothes and more tea.

After being shaken from my zombie-morning state, we were kicked out of the cosy hillside hut and marched up the icy hill and sheer rock walls by our ever-enthusiastic mountain guide and ex-geography teacher: Mark!

He was as ruthless as he was cheerful, shouting phrases like “let’s roll on” or “come on Heroes”, best motivation ever. Just don’t ever mention the word ‘break’ to him; he just will turn his head, and slowly to look at you with dark piercing eyes that seem to make you shiver and make the very air around you colder and tremble with a darker and more ominous echo that makes you quicken your pace, no matter how exhausted you are: then he would reply

“Just a bit more guys!” cheerfully smiling at you, as you proceed to sprint up the mountain with a new incentive.

In all, the trip was a life changing experience and made me realised just how much can be done if you’re willing to reach for it. At the beginning of the climb you will be doubtful, halfway up you will take an oath never to climb again as you push upwards completely depleted with an entirety left to go…but at the top…

When you are utterly devoid of energy and feel like a lifetime has passed since the first step that took you on this relentless journey.

 There is no greater feeling of success and accomplishment; than finishing something you never thought you could start.' James (Y11) A Reluctant, but successful, Mountaineer.

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nord Anglia Education for organising the first ever alpine mountain expedition and Mr Lim from Dover Court International School, Singapore for having the faith in me and my fellow peers to make the school proud.

It was a fantastic week of climbing. It was definitely an up hill task which was highly challenging for some of us; where we had to overcome rocky paths, icy grounds, and surprising holes beneath our feet going up the mountains with many hard obstacles along the way; reaching the top was a tremendous feeling of achievement for each one of us.

I personally enjoyed the trip from start to finish and hope the in the near future others from all the different Nord Anglia schools worldwide would also  have the chance to embrace such an opportunity of climbing alpine mountains. Not only did this helped us with our physical and mental development, but it also gave us the chance to mix and create community cohesion with a bunch of lovely people from Bratislava who made this trip even more memorable.

Lastly, I would also like to thank Mr David Wall and the mountain guides (Mark/Phil/Jamie) for helping us all the way; as we have all learned so much from this experience and we will never forget this once in a life time opportunity.'Jasbeer (Y10)

'The Nord Anglia trip to Switzerland was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. While I had climbed mountains before, I had never done anything like this.  The training was tough, but definitely worth it and the feeling at the summit of the Pigne D’Arolla was unreal. This trip has inspired me to work harder to better myself and is something I will never forget.' Fergus (Y11)