"Little Tibet", is a wildly beautiful mountain high altitude desert region in the Western Himalayas of India. With altitudes reaching over 7500m, this is a landscape of extremes, nestled between the world’s mightiest mountain ranges with the Great Himalaya to the South and the Karakoram to the North. This is a truly spectacular place. You will experience summer temperatures of around 25°C, whilst the altitude and wind chill mean that colder extremes will also be felt. Rainfall is uncommon and the areas main water source is the snow and glacial melt from high in the mountains. This unique climate supports some rare wildlife including snow leopards, Chiru, Yaks and migratory Himalayan bird species. This remote region has a rich cultural heritage; Buddhists and Muslims live side by side speaking a local Ladakhi language. As we travel through the region we shall hear the sounds of chanting from hillside monasteries and bartering in village markets but much of our time on expedition will be filled by a sense of isolation and remote silence which has been a constant since the days when adventurous traders travelled through these parts on the ancient silk routes for trade.
The expedition will fly from London to Delhi, India and then on to Leh. We will spend time in and around Leh acclimatising and preparing. This will involve training in necessary skills, including using local stoves and ingredients and preparing for the science and adventure phase of the expedition. We will then move to base camp which will be established in the area between the Lachlung La and Taglang La, about half a day's travel south of Leh.
We will be working in groups known as ‘fires’ (a Fire is a traditional term for a small group of around 10-12 people, originating from a group sat around a camp fire). Each fire will be responsible for planning their own menus, managing their own cooking and demonstrating safe, sustainable and proficient camp craft skills throughout the expedition. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and this will be a theme that runs through our discussions.
Once training and acclimatization is complete each fire group will disperse into different areas to complete a trekking phase, a scientific phase and a mountaineering phase, routing back through base camp to resupply when necessary. At the end of the expedition all fires will meet back in base camp to pack away and begin the journey back to the UK together. We will travel through Leh again on to Delhi for the flight home.
Andy Rockall will be our Chief Leader for the expedition with Professor Tim Stott as the Chief Scientist.
In geological terms, Ladakh is a youngster, formed just a few million years ago. Its basic contours, uplifted by tectonic movements, have altered over the millennia by the process of erosion due to wind and water, sculpted into the form that we see today. Our scientific work will be based on trying to better understand this unique environment.
Professor Tim Stott’s particular focus is on fluvial geomorphology, however, each fire will have a different scientific objective which may include glaciology, meteorology and ecology. Specific projects will be explained fully at the spring Briefing Weekend. Explorers will have a chance to express their preferences, and we will aim to allocate our Explorers’ preferred projects where possible .There is also scope for explorers to develop their own projects in conjunction with their fire leaders who will be able to support them through the planning and fieldwork process.
There will also be opportunities to take part in a retake photography project which has been a great success on recent British Exploring expeditions. This aims to locate exact positions where existing old photographs were taken and retake another image to allow changes in the landscape to be studied and recorded.
There is a wealth of trekking opportunities and this terrain and altitude will provide a unique challenge. Our focus will be on encouraging each fire to develop their own trekking objectives and allowing the young explorers the chance to plan their own adventures with the help and guidance of experienced and qualified mountaineers. With this in mind each fire’s experiences will be different and suited to their own ambitions and capabilities yet every team will share the spectacular scenery, physical challenges and the awe-inspiring experience of learning to live in and journey through the Himalayas as part of a self-sufficient team.
This expedition into a remote wilderness will bring you far away from the comforts of home, but you will develop a keen sense of self reliance. British Exploring’s primary objective is personal development, and you will be encouraged to consider your learning throughout the expedition, especially in your communication, team skills and leadership skills, and the development of your confidence and personal values / virtues.
Health and Fitness
The terrain can be challenging. Explorers do need to be healthy, fit, and sufficiently robust to be able to play their full part in long trek days and load carrying (within their capabilities). Some vaccinations are required for travel to India and a full list of these will be provided to each expedition member.
Fundraising & Bursaries
We strongly feel that lack of funds should not deter enthusiastic people from applying to join us on Expedition, and we are committed to offer fundraising and bursary support wherever we can.
We recognise fundraising as a fantastic opportunity for the development of our Explorers and will offer you guidance, tips and ideas. Your fundraising experiences may include:
-Trust & Charity Applications
-Publicity / Media Contact
Please see our Fundraising page for more tips with your fundraising.
There will be an opportunity for those who are struggling to raise the funds for expedition to apply for a number of bursaries in the Spring before your expedition departs.
Bursary applications are now open until the MIDDAY 30th April 2013. For more information please see our bursary page.
After your Expedition
Your expedition team will be reunited again once you return!
In the following October after your expedition, British Exploring organises a ‘Next Steps’ weekend to help you digest exactly what you achieved on your expedition. You will then meet again in January 2014 for the British Exploring Annual Gathering and presentations of the 2013 Expeditions which is followed by the Explorers Ball. After that it is hoped that you will stay involved as members of the Society and we are sure you will plan many reunions yourselves in the months and years ahead!
Information and Applications
We will try to update the expedition information as more details are confirmed, please bear in mind that as with any expedition, details may change for the 2013 expedition as expedition planning progresses.
Applications have now opened for this expedition.