We were quite lucky that despite being a summer TMC, we managed to avoid most of the bad weather, this gave our team lots of time to bond and enjoy the breathtaking scenery while we hiked our way up to the base of Baden Powell Scout Peak. The first few days trekking through the Langtang Valley was far from smooth, in addition to adjusting to daily routine of walking through the unforgiving terrain, food poisoning had come down hard on the team. Luckily, toilets were abundant in the beginning and the nights resting in the tea houses gave us time to recover and push on.
After a week, we reached the lower base camp of Scout Peak where we performed acclimatization hikes and learnt about setting up a camp. The next day was a short but challenging climb to higher base camp at around 5000m. This camp was the starting point for most of our technical training which included ice climbing, using crampons, roping up and self-arrest. The many nights the team spent together huddling inside the dinning tent was what stuck with me the most, here we talked about the days past, laughed at each others stories and bonded over hot tea.
The summit day itself could not have been smoother. Upon waking up at 3am, we slowly made our way up the 5,826m mountain. A gentle and plain slope eventually gave way to a large glacier with deep crevasses and precarious ice bridges. What fascination we had about the massive glacier turned into a scary, uneasy feeling as we were tasked with navigating our way through the icy formations, jumping over bottomless gaps in the ice and using our crampons and ice axe to climb up the steep blue walls. After successfully overcoming the glacier, the climb to the summit was a simple but gruelingly long trek. At this point, the sun was already in full force and despite being surrounded by snow and ice, the heat felt as if we were on some tropical island. By mid-day we had all made it to the summit, there was not a cloud in sight and the wind was mild at most. The views were breathtaking and spectacular, the surreal feeling made it impossible to fully grasp the awe of a 360-degree view of the Himalayas. Simply amazing.
We were extremely fortunate to be able reach back to civilization without a hiccup. Overall, no words can describe this fantastic experience. Besides the lasting memories of the formidable mountain landscape and overcoming the challenges during the climb, the most important take back was the bonds formed within the team which have gone on strong even till today!
President, MIR 16.
MIR 15 Summer TMC consists of: Shaun Whitmarsh, Tang Chee Hwa, Lionel Lim, Karen Lam, Gideon Lin, Nicholas Chua, Gerald Tan, Yin Aiwei, Lim Ja Hue (Exchange Student), Pang Hui En, Tan Yan Zhao, Ng Hui Juan. Su Fuming and Luong Ba Lihn, both NUS alumni.