A group of 18 Etonians travelled to the Cordillera Real in Bolivia to climb the remote and infrequently climbed Chachacomani Peak (6074m), during one of the longest and most challenging expeditions for the College’s Mountaineering Club.
The team, led by masters Ed Russell and Nick Leathers, completed a nine day trek into base camp before ascending to high camp and the summit attempt.The trek was particularly challenging because most days involved crossing at least one high pass – often over 5000m – and the team experienced the worst snow storm of the year.
The unusually high volume of snow meant the physical demands of the summit day climb were considerable, with the day starting at 2am.
“The long, steady ascent up the glacier was going well until the group realised, as the sun came up, that we had taken a wrong turn and were in the midst of maze of crevasses,” said team leader Ed Russell. “The decision was made to climb a steep headwall which we had to pitch. Fortunately, we had included some ice-climbing in our glacier training session earlier in the expedition and the boys rose to the challenge. From here it was a steady hike to the peak.”
Despite the gruelling 16 hour-day climbing to the peak and descending again, 15 out of the 18 boys summited, including an E Blocker. As it was a large group a mentoring system was introduced, whereby more experienced pupils helped others – which helped the team as a whole.
The expedition also raised almost £4,000 for The Brain Tumour Trust and Meningitis Research Foundation and more donations can be received at their Just Giving page.