Head Girl climbs to Everest Base Camp
Head Girl at Base Camp days before earthquake....
Jo Hitchcock, outgoing Head Girl of 2014/5, spent 3 weeks of her Easter holidays with a team of 27 climbing to Everest base camp, just days before the devastating earthquake in Nepal. She had an incredible experience, much heightened by what occurred shortly afterwards. Her mountain leaders, Rolf and Jo from 360 Expeditions, stayed on the mountain to climb Everest after Jo left, and were there when the earthquake hit. Fortunately they were rescued and were airlifted off the mountain, although Jo is unsure as to whether the Sherpas all survived.
Jo is a keen mountain climber, and loves DofE. As part of her DofE Gold residential, she heard about the opportunity to take part in the Everest climb, and applied for one of the 6 places for DofE candidates on the expedition. To get a place she had to write a letter, show previous experience and be interviewed on the phone. She was successful, and the youngest of 3 boys and 3 girls chosen. She had to raise £1600 for the place, £400 of which went to the charity ' Place to Be'.
She flew from Heathrow to Kathmandu via Delhi and then by a bumpy plane ride to Lukla. From here she climbed 5,300m to the base camp along the Khumbu Valley. The group of 27 had 6 Sherpas with them, and they walked and rested their way up to base camp for the next 2 weeks as they acclimatised to the altitude and the, literally, blistering sun.
When the group of 27 reached base camp, the DofE group of 6 said their goodbyes to the everyone, and set off with just Jo and Rolf from 360 Expeditions for another individual climb and challenge. They climbed Lobuche, a high camp climb of seven hours up and five hours down which started at 3am in the morning! They walked in snow in full kit, and needed to abseil, use ropes and ice picks.
Jo said that although it was the hardest thing she has ever done, it is also the best thing she has ever done-and this is despite the fact that she didn't shower for 2 weeks! She has made new friends and learnt much about herself. She now believes that there is nothing that she cannot do, and wants to travel even more: 'It's a big world out there, and I am going to go and see it' said Jo.
Many congratulations to Jo who is a great role model to the girls and has shown the true potential of DofE!
See the gallery for more incredible photos.