News From Everest

Another update from our ex cadet on Everest.

At 0939hrs GMT on 20th May, myself and five other members of the expedition, together with Sangi Sherpa, succesfully reached the North Col of Everest – 7050m/23,000ft!!!!!!

It was an amazing experience to be climbing on the world’s highest mountain and to be alongside climbers heading for the summit! It was also an incredibly tough day with the weather being the worst on the mountain so far this season (typical!) and the decent was somewhat of an epic – but we all made it back ok!

We were joined on the last section by a Chinese climber who seemed as happy to reach the North Col as we were and called over his comrades to assist with the team photos! From what we’ve heard, the Chinese Expedition later went on to put about 20 climbers on the summit and it would be very interesting to know if he was one of them!!

Sadly, we also learned that one of the Seven Summits Team died whilst decending from the summit – his body was found by the Chinese.

Quite a few of the teams have taken advantage of the brief weather window from 20th-23rd May but most of the big teams, such as Jagged Globe, are waiting until the end of May/beginning of June when much calmer weather is expected. A small number of climbers ventured above the North Col early on but got quite a beating – we saw some very sorry looking people indeed!!

We were also priviledged to be able to spend a great deal of time with the Jagged Globe North Ridge summit team – they are a great bunch and some of the things written by the very silly Times journalist, Stephanie Marsh, may well be inaccurate, so do bear that in mind should you happen to read them. I wish them all the very best of luck in their summit quest – but especially Sibusiso Vilane. He is a wonderful man (an African Game Ranger) and is aiming to be the first black person to climb Everest from both the North and South sides. He previously summited Everest in 2003. I have given Sibusiso several Tibetan prayer flags that I bought in Lhasa – should he again be successful, Sibusiso has agreed to do me the most profound honour and place those prayer flags on the summit for all my friends and family. A quite remarkable act of generosity.

Well, I shall sign off for now. I hope you are all well and I look forward to catching up with you all again soon!!!!

L98 Shooting

Cadets attended Henly Park Range in Surrey on Sunday 22 May to fire the L98 5.56mm Rifle. Fortunately the rain kept off and a good day was had, with a tremendous ammount of ammunition fired by the Cadets at various targets and distances, inlcuding falling plate, where armoured plates which fall when hit by a bullet, are fired at.

More BTEC Success

As part of the Sqns continuing efforts to gain the Cadets outside recognition for their many achievements five cadets and one ex Cadet have been awarded a 1st Diploma in Public Services BTEC, which is the equivalent of 4 GCSE at A*-C grades. We now have a total of eight cadets who have this prestidgious and valuable award. The certificates were awarded by Sqn Ldr Julian Loxton, London Wing Training Officer.

Congratulations to:

CWO Holly Brogden Knight – Distinction
FS Michelle Cheah – Merit
FS Charles Barnes – Merit
Sgt Matt Guilford – Merit
Cdt Sam O’Brien – Distinction

and

Ex Sgt Katy Kennedy – Merit

L81 Shooting

The Squadron Shooting Team attended Stoney Castle Ranges on Sunday 15 May to fire the last element of the Pre Bisley Competition. In glourious weather the cadets used the L81 rifle at distances up to 500 yards. The Highest scores were:

Bustamante – 64.2/70
West 60.3/70
Davies B 54.2 70

We now await the allocation of Teams in the ATC for Bisley in July!

More News from Everest

Below is the latest email from ex Cadet Ian rogers on his trip to the Himalayas:

Hi all,

Geetings from Lhasa!

Well, life here at 3,600m/12,000ft was pretty bleak for the first night and day. The big gain in altitude really took it’s toll on me in particular, but today (5th May) I have felt much better. On the whole I seem to have been suffering all round early on – I’ve had a stinking cough and cold and I somehow managed to bruise a couple of my ribs when I slipped and bashed my chest on the armrest to my seat during the flight to Kathmandu! It’s been pretty painful but hopefully I should be ok by the time we reach Base Camp.

Lhasa is very much a city of contrasts – the new of the Chinese and the old of Tibet. To be fair the Chinese have done a good job of developing the city and it’s a very relaxed and pleasant place to be. I think we all expected there to be a much more visible Chinese military presence but the People’s Liberation Army is all but absent and the Police are few and far between. Mind you, that’s not to say they’re not around. The city is ringed with army outposts and there is a barracks across the road from where songs of the Revolution are sung with gusto every morning by the soldiers! The city is now unmistakenly Chinese yet the Tibetan influence is very strong and it still the Tibetan culture that leaves it’s mark indelibly on the mind. The Potala Palace, home to the Dalai Lama through the centuries, is a powerful and magnificent reminder of Tibet’s heritage – it is truly one of the wonders of the world. I think all of our group were affected in some way having been inside the Potala. It is also an incredibly humbling experience to join the hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims on the Barkhor circuit of the Jokhang Temple, the holiest site in Tibet. It is a very intense and emotional place to be.

Kathmandu, on the other hand, was a world away and an entirely different type of culture. However, it was no less humbling! The poverty is almost indescribable, yet everyone seems happy and friendly despite their circumstances. It is a smog-bound, sprawling shambols of a city yet an exciting, intoxiting place to find yourself. It’s a mad mad world and my rickshaw journey through the backstreets of Kathmandu is something I will never forget!

The group is really gelling well – It’s a great mix (there’s 13 of us altogether) and we’re all looking forweard to the next stage of the journey. Tomorrow we head off onto the Tibetan plateau in a convoy of Toyota Lancruiser 4x4s and an 8-hour journey to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city. This is were the going starts to get tough!

The news from Everest is that heavy snow has pretty much left everybody hunkered down at Base Camp. On the southern side a massive avalanche wiped out Camp 1 in the Western Cwm and totally buried about 60 tents! Thankfully there were few climbers about at the time and nobody was killed, although several were injured.

Well, I had better go. I will try and update you as soon as circumstances permit, but communications here on in aren’t the best in the world!!

Take care, hope you’re all well,

Ian

A Succesful Weekend

The Sqn attended the annual London Wing Athletics Competition at Mile End Stadium on Sunday 08 May. The Sqn team did well with the 3 male teams comming second in their age groups, and the 2 female teams comming first in their age groups. The Sqn won the overall Male and Female Trophies and the Overall Winners, and excellent result. Winners of Individual Competitions will go onto represent the Wing at the Regional Athletics in June.

Medal Winners were:
A Boys
1500m Lawrence

B Youths
1500m Rice

C Juniors
200m Guilford

Discus Preston

D Girls
800m Khambati

1500m Henry R
Relay Price, Henry, Kays, Nicklen

E Senior Girls
400m Mardon

800m Foley
1500m Watts

Relay Pisano, Watts, Foley, Dent

On Saturday members of 3 and 4 Flights visited Alton Towers and inspite of the huge queues a good time was had by all.

On Sunday 4 Cadets also attended 614 Volunteer Gliding School at Weathersfield to complelte their Gliding Induction Course. However the fates interviened, in the form of a broken winch and not all of the cadets were able to complete the course. They will be reattending in the next few months to complete.

Shooting Team win the LMRA Competition

On Sunday 01 May the Sqn shooting Team participated in the annual Cadet Unit shoot at Bisley, organised by the London and Middlesex Rifle Association. Fired at distances of 300 and 500 yards the Sqn entered 4 Teams.

For the first time ever the Sqn won the overall Trophy for the winning team, the Best Shot, and came 3rd in the Individual Competition.

The Team was:
Sgt Pisano
Cpl Zealander
Cdt Bustamante
Cdt Filer

Coach CI Grant

Cdt Ben Filer also was the Best Shot, and FS Charles Barnes came 3rd in the individual competition.

This is an excellent result, having knocked the team from Glouscester Army Cadets from their 4 year run of winning the trophy.

Good scores were also recorded by members of the three other Teams, with Cadet Sezer scoring 60.2 out of 70 on only his third shoot with the L81.

Next stop Bisley in July for the International Cadet Rifle Competitions!

Exam Success

Corporal Andy Webb and Cadet Richard Hall have passed their Staff 2 Exam under the beady eye of Sqn Ldr Hale from London Wing HQ, and are now fully fledged Staff Cadets. They able to instruct and train other cadets on a wide variety of topics and to assist the staff in the running of the unit.

The Sqn gains an Air Rifle Range

The Squadron now has a fully operational Air Rifle Range in the main hall. The 4 Lane range and firing plinths were built by staff and cadets, and has now been approved by Headquarters Air Cadets. Training for the Cadets to operate Air Rifles will commence shortly, and this will undoubtedly become an asset for Shooting on the Sqn.