A schoolgirl has completed a charity trek to Nepal.
Anna Holden, 15, a year 10 pupil at Abbey Gate College, Chester, has returned from the expedition with her parents and a group of her father’s work colleagues who are all pilots from Thomson Airways.
The trip was organised and led by one of the pilots, Nepalese Ang Zangbu Sherpa, who was born and brought up in the mountains around Everest and educated in schools set up by Sir Edmund Hilary and the Himalayan Trust. Ang organised the trip to raise money for the Trust.
“It was an amazing visit and I definitely plan to go back to Nepal in the future,” said Anna.
“The trekking and living conditions were very hard but, at the same time, I enjoyed every minute. It was like flying through the pages of a National Geographic magazine.
“I have gained immensely in self confidence as a result of the trip and the follow up assembly to the whole school, and thank the college for allowing me the time off to have this wonderful experience”.
The group of 20 flew out to Kathmandu where they stayed for two days sorting out the equipment and trekking licences needed, and then took a light aircraft up to the little mountain airstrip at Lukla.
The trek took eight days to get up to Everest’s base camp, which included two days of acclimatising to avoid altitude sickness.
A school spokesman said: “Everyone carried their own day-pack with drinking water, snacks and extra clothing, and the duffel bags containing sleeping bags, spare clothing and other belongings were carried on the backs of Skopjos, or Joes, a cross between a cow and a yak.
“The group had six Sherpa guides who looked after them and with such a large group, people walked at their own pace as walking at high altitudes can be very tiring, but Anna was always the first to set off, snapping at the heels of the lead Sherpa as soon as the ‘Jam-Jam’ (let’s go) call went up, and she stayed at the front right up until the end.
“The trip’s mantra of ‘slowly-slowly’ was heeded by many, with the older ones (the oldest was 65) walking at a leisurely pace and enjoying the very clean air and ever-changing breath-taking views; but it did not seem to apply to Anna.”
Of the 14 people that were aiming to reach Everest base camp and Kala Patthar, a peak of 5, 645metre near base camp, only eight managed to complete the challenge, with the others succumbing to digestive disorders and/or altitude problems.
The spokesman added: “Anna did very well, not just to complete the challenge but to do it with so much energy and enthusiasm, never once complaining about the cold, the harsh conditions or the lack of oxygen.
“In fact she made such an impression on the Nepalese organiser that she now has two job offers working with charities in that area for her gap year, should she choose to return.
“Anna followed her trek by giving an excellent assembly to the whole of the senior school about her experiences in Nepal and we wish her all the best for her future fundraising adventures.”