In April I will be one of the leaders for the next True Patriot Love expedition. This expedition serves many different purposes including media exposure, fun-raising, showing our appreciation to our wounded soldiers, and as part of a therapeutic healing process.
In April we have a team of 8 ill and injured Canadian soldiers and 11 civilians embarking on an expedition that will challenge them and provide great learning experiences for all. Included in the program are several training and team building sessions before the departure date, a mentoring and coaching program, personal development assessments and coaching and post-expedition support.
All the participants are reading my book, Learning In Thin Air, to support their experience. In my book detail the trek to Everest base camp so the participants will know what to expect, but more importantly, I discuss how to build high performance personally and in teams and this will be critical for our success in Nepal.
True patriot Love has been running these programs since 2013 with the first trip to Nepal. Since then millions of dollars have been raised and many lives have been influenced in a positive way.
On April 1 we will begin a trek to Everest base camp. This trek will provide acclimatization for our ultimate climbing objective of Lobuche East peak at 6172m. Over the course of the three-week expedition, all participants will be challenged physically, mentally and emotionally and from this, they will have great personal development opportunities.
As part of the preparation for this expedition, I ran a team-building and training session this past weekend. Several of the team joined me at Georgian Peaks Ski Club in Collingwood. We spent a few hours hiking up the steep trails beside the ski hill. This is great for physical training and also for getting accustomed to the snow and ice conditions we will encounter on Lobuche.
After the hiking training, we went back to my place where I had strung 100m of rope between the trees in my backyard. This was to be used for the technical training part of the training day. As the temperatures were around -15c and there were a light wind and snow it simulated the mountain conditions quite well.
While climbing Lobuche we will be using fixed rope anchors, a harness, and a safety tether system and the team members need to be able to perform the appropriate tasks with their heavy mountaineering gloves on in the cold and windy condition.
People quickly found out how difficult simple tasks became when you had on these large, but warm gloves. Dexterity is greatly reduced and every task takes longer. We will have dozens of transition points on the climb and lost time will add up quickly and could put us in a dangerous position. This is why we need to practice this over and over until it becomes more natural.
A fun team-building dinner concluded our great training day.
Everyone is excited about the expedition and working hard to be ready. I will continue to post updates as the departure date gets closer and throughout the expedition.
Climb safe, Scott.