On the Sunday, November 30, a group of Zimbabwean high school students departed on the journey of a lifetime. Their destination, and end goal over the course of two weeks? Everest Base Camp!
Peterhouse Boys School and Peterhouse Girls School are a set of high schools based in Marondera, a town slightly east of Harare, Zimbabwe. Peterhouse Boys was founded in 1955, and caters for boys from the age of 13 – 18. Peterhouse Girls, founded in 1987, caters for 430 girls of the same age. Both schools are understood by many to be Zimbabwe’s top independent boarding schools.
Under the sponsorship of Ilala Lodge, a select group of male students, female students and staff members from Peterhouse were able to embark upon this incredible expedition, putting their physical and mental strength to the test.
A week following their departure, friends and family back home were treated to the news that all 23 members of the climbing party had made it to Everest Base Camp. At 5384m above sea level, the feat was incredible, made even more so by the fact that everyone was unscathed and in good health. The team even managed to have the area to themselves, something which is virtually unheard of.
Following the achievement of their goal, the group moved on to summit Kalla Pattah (5600m), a chunk of black rock towering over the Khumbu Glacier in northeastern Nepal. From here they were treated to an extraordinary, unspoilt view of Mount Everest. “We watched the sun set on Everest, which gave her an unrealistic orange glow – a most stunning and unforgettable picture for all of us,” noted Sarah Shoesmith, Team Leader for the Peterhouse Exploration Club.
After the excitement of the summits, the group slowly made their descent, stopping along the way to rest and recuperate. Experiencing fairytale snowy conditions, the trip down was often interrupted by snow ball fights and making snow angels.
On Saturday, December 20, the weary, and yet bright-eyed group of explorers arrived back home in Harare, bringing with them the achievement of an incredible goal and stories to last a lifetime.
In a letter to the owners of Ilala Lodge, Shoesmith thanked them for enabling this incredible experience:
“We are very grateful to you for all the support you gave us in getting these young adults up to Everest Base Camp. After having encountered a very tough physical and mental challenge such as this, it is our hope that they will now be willing to take on any challenge, in whatever sphere of their life and work their way to completing it – just like we did on this journey.
She went on, “Many of us realised our strengths and weaknesses along the way – which is exactly what any mountain does to you when you start walking up to get to the top of it!”
The money donated to the exploration club for the trip mostly went into organising kit bags and appropriate clothing, which allowed the group to arrive home safe and sound, and gave them the freedom to experience the summit in relative comfort.
All of us at Ilala Lodge are so happy to have been able to assist in the funding of such an incredible journey. We are so proud of all the children and staff who took part! Well done.