King’s Ely students enjoy mountaineering in the Pyrenees

King's Ely team in training on the side of a mountain

King's Ely team in training on the side of a mountain - Credit: Archant

A team of young mountaineers have returned from an expedition to the Pyrenees.

King's Ely team on mount summit

King's Ely team on mount summit - Credit: Archant

Seven pupils from King’s Ely ventured to the mountain range, which divides France and Spain, to practice essential outdoor adventure skills like ice axe arresting, walking in crampons and expedition skills.

The team managed to train below the Refuge de Saradets on the French side. They then enjoyed a three day trek from the base in the Cirque de Gavarnie in France to Spain, crossing through the iconic Breche de Roland and sheltering below the summit of Monte Perdido.

After a successful summit, the team descended through the picturesque Ordesa Canyon.

Sophie Cheng, Director of Outdoor Education at the school, said: “As all of our expeditions and trips are facilitated in-house, we can provide consistent, long-term training and development for our pupils, as our team of staff and instructors know each member’s strengths and abilities prior to undertaking any of our expeditions.”


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The team prepared for the second expedition to attempt the summit of Aneto – the highest peak in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Warm weather meant the pupils were in 40 degree heat as they ascended to the camp site.

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Concerns about the snow conditions in the heat meant they started the trip at 3am to ensure they were ready to ascend by 9am.

The inspirational start to the new academic year was facilitated by the school’s Ely Scheme – a programme that aims to build important life skills that cannot always be taught in the classroom.

The scheme is central to the King’s Ely experience, as young people are given opportunities to push themselves to achieve beyond anything they thought possible.

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