Mountains Matter

They say that no mountain is ever the same, whether it is the geology makeup, the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, the physical and mental challenge of  a steep climb at altitude or even the season you choose to climb.  Either way you are bound to come away having achieved a life changing experience from your journey on a mountain.

You don’t have to climb the highest mountain in the world to reap the benefits. It is those journeys that give you a sense of perspective and awareness of you as a person, the nature and communities around you that will build character and stay etched in your memory.

That mountain feeling

What is that mountain feeling?  We spoke to some of the team, that are passionate about mountains to tell us more…

We asked our Technical Director, Sharon, what was it about mountains that got her falling in love with them ever since she started climbing in 2002.  Was it the intake of breath when seeing the rugged nature of the landscape or was it just the goal to get to the summit?  Both was her reply!

Sharon has climbed and hiked across many mountains locally in the United Kingdom and numerous places around the world, but it was the magic of Cader Idris, a mountain in the historic county of Meirionnydd, Wales that made her fall in love with climbing.  Getting to the summit was not only exhilarating, but it ticked off a physical challenge and enhanced the appreciation of the wonderful effects of nature.

Along with setting her own personal challenges, Sharon has also been on numerous expeditions with students. Instilling her positivity and passion for the outdoor world and highlighting that with the right mind set nothing is impossible.

Andrea is another mountaineer that has led many trekking expeditions in Ecuador for Camps International, as well as climbing some spectacular mountains for the pure enjoyment.  To Andrea, mountains are happiness and freedom.  We can definitely see this portrayed in the image below – Andrea on Cotopaxi, which is the second highest mountain in Ecuador (5,897 m).

It is not only good for your body but also your mind. It is a complete exercise that helps you overcome your fears.

Andrea – Ecuador

Why do mountains matter?

The physical and mental challenge of getting to the summit is not what the climb or trek is all about each day. As you spend time on the mountain so does your confidence increase to push those natural boundaries.  But while we embark on these expeditions to improve and push ourselves, we must remember the true importance of our mountains – they are special places and command respect.

mountain-infographic

5 Top Tips to consider before climbing

  1. Comfortable Clothing – Make sure you have the right clothing, something waterproof and warm.
  2. Break in that Footwear. A super important piece of kit –  so make sure you get fitted correctly and break them in by going on walks before your trek or climb.
  3. Ensure you are fit for at least 4-6 hours of sustained hours of walking. You can do this by adding more walking or cardio activity into your daily routine.
  4. Be prepared. Read up about the mountain and route you are going to be climbing.
  5. Use a local guide. This not only allows you to give back to the mountain and the local economy in the right way, but you will benefit from their experience and knowledge of the mountain.
    Camps International will always use professional local guides to accompany expedition teams on their mountain trek – they are experts on our selected mountain routes and will support the expedition team every step of the way.

Local guides will teach you so much about their culture and introduce you to unknown views and special places.

Sharon, Technical Director

Trekking and climbing on a school expedition

The benefits of learning outside the classroom are endless but what makes trekking an ideal school excursion? Sharon and Andrea give their top seven benefits.

  • Builds camaraderie between students. If you are hiking for 8 hours, there is bound to be endless conversation in a relaxed environment, allowing students to just be themselves.
  • Focused concentration. Being in a remote setting means more time to focus on the task at hand.
  • Character Building. Teaches life skills such as resilience, perseverance, motivation, team work and organisation.
  • Enjoying the simple pleasures. It creates the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures, stretching those limbs, enjoying times to rest and perhaps allow for mindful eating of a sandwich while breathing in the fresh air.
  • Self-awareness. The chance to understand your body and be aware of how you are breathing or how your body temperature changes.
  • Curriculum Links. There is no part of the curriculum (geography, sociology, biology, psychology, physics, history, art, religious studies and maths) that can’t be linked to experiences and activities on and around the mountain.  Example: Learn about the geology of rocks and how the mountain you are climbing has been formed.
  • Global Citizen. Creates an awareness of the culture of the communities that are part of the mountain, how to respect them and the mountain they rely on.

You gain real camaraderie from climbing with a group of people. You can start off at basecamp hardly knowing a person and land up being lifelong friends.

Sharon – Technical Director

Camps International have a portfolio of expeditions that include mountain trekking, each one of them providing a unique and challenging experience, with of course fantastic views.  Why not explore them further…

• Kilimanjaro (Kenya and Tanzania Kilimanjaro Trek Expedition)
• Meru (Tanzania Trek Expedition)
• Mount Kenya ( Kenya Trek Expedition)
• Elgon (Uganda Trek Expedition)
• 3 peaks surrounding Lake Mojanda, Andes Mountain range (Ecuador Trek Expedition)
• Salkantay route to Machu Picchu ( Peru Trek Expedition)

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