This is the 2nd Leading Edge Expedition to the Cascade Mountains, USA and the first to include canoeing in British Columbia, Canada.
Mountaineering expeditions attract many applications from young people keen to develop new and exciting skills and to embrace challenging environments. Previous USA expeditions of this nature have been to Colorado and Alaska. The Cascade Mountains provide adventure for the novice to the experienced. The thrill of standing on a glacier surrounded by huge peaks is awe inspiring and captures the imagination of every climber.
The expedition chooses to go into the American backyard because the mountains represent not only a real challenge, but afford the opportunity to witness good practice From experience, and it may seem a paradox, but group members will learn much from the American attitudes to low impact climbing and trekking. The expedition will be restricted to 12 members.
Mountaineering requires high levels of teamwork, stamina and dedication. There are many techniques to learn and expedition members will receive extensive training on snow and ice. This expedition will be an excellent introduction to mountaineering and will cover the essentials of mountaineering including glacier travel, self-arrest techniques, crevasse rescue, cramponing, rope / belay techniques, etc. If the leaders are satisfied that team members have gained the skills and are sufficiently fit, then weather and conditions permitting, an ascent of Mt Rainier is planned. In 2003 both the Camp Muir and Schurman routes were climbed which is a testament to the competence of the youngsters
Mountaineering is obviously a ‘risk’ activity. Rainier at 14,411ft, is a challenging mountain. The weather and conditions can change rapidly. The leadership team will determine if the conditions on the mountain and are right. Safety is our prime consideration and the leaders do reserve the right to postpone or even cancel the climbs if, in their opinion the risks are too great.
Trekking: The Wonderland Trail
To achieve high mountain fitness prior to an ascent of Mt Rainier, the group will trek, unsupported, the aptly named, Wonderland Trail. This wilderness trail, one of the world’s finest and most challenging, goes around the massive Mt Rainier. It will take 8 / 9 days to complete The expedition will operate as an independent group in the wilderness carrying all essential equipment. This trail could quite easily be an expedition in its own right.
Mountaineering: Climbing Mt. Rainier
The group will spend time training on the lower slopes of Mt Rainier before establishing a advanced base camp at Camp Schurman. Camp Schurman will be used as a staging post for our summit attempt. Leaving at 1am up to three rope teams will ascend the Emmons Winthrop Glacier to the Columbia crest. From the crest the group will traverse around the crater rim to reach the summit. The teams will aim to get to the summit around 8am allowing for a decent back to Camp Shurman for midday.
Canoeing: The Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit
The leaders all have previous experience of the Bowron Lakes. Set in the Bowron National Park, the circuit is a series of lakes and rivers surrounded by huge mountains It is a truly awe inspiring wilderness experience which the expeditioners will never forget. It is expected to take about 7 days to complete the circuit. During that time the team should see plenty of wildlife from black bears to moose. This objective is a tough but exciting and highly rewarding part of the expedition.
The expedition will be seeking the approval of The Dorset Expeditionary Society, The Young Explorers’ Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.