News 2013

Title: BMC 2013 Expedition Planning Seminar
System Date: 20/01/2013
BMC 2013 Expedition Planning Seminar

20 January 2013
While wintering in Wales, Greg May took a chance to attend the BMC 2013 Expedition Planning Seminar held in Plas-Y-Brenin (PYB) on the 12th of January. This day long event was hosted for the first time since 2009 and aimed to give people the skills and information they needed about planning expeditions to the greater ranges.

Twelve hours sitting down...what the hell am I getting myself into I thought. The day was to be split into a mixture of interactive workshops, trip presentations, coffee and a 'Summits of my life' lecture given by the Duracell bunny that was given too much sugar, Nick Bullock. At least there would be coffee to pass the time.

How wrong was I.

Starting with an excellent technology lecture for expeditions, George Cave gave a presentation on how to use software and hardware to aid in planning and promoting expeditions. From the use of Google Earth, Spot Trackers and sat phones and Kindles for contact in remote areas; everything was covered. Following on from George, Adele Pennington, an experienced guide and multiple 8,000m peak bagger, gave a presentation on the reality of expedition life and the physiological and psychological impact of working and climbing at altitude. This included some frank discussion about the simple ego trip that is not believing you have AMS, as well as a personal example from a near death experience on Mansalu. As a direct complement to this lecture, Rob Spenser from PYB touched on some high altitude medical information including the reality of acclimation and the substances most often used in treating AMS, HAPE and HACE. In short – when in doubt give all three and go down fast.

A short break before ex-fell runner and weight weeny Rob Greenwood of DMM gave a talk about going lighter, higher and faster. The emphasis on light was not lost on a few when the simple 'a few pounds off the climber is easier than the rack...and cheaper' comment was thrown in at the end. Physical fitness and training sadly being outside the scope of a one day seminar. Spike Green from PYB gave an excellent interactive workshop where the trials and tribulations of designing an expedition were shredded by the group including open discussion about travelling to specific areas and the challenges that come with them; political, economical, local guides and porter costs etc.

The second half of the day was a bit more relaxed as presentations were given showing the stunning variety and availability of unclimbed 5,000m and 6,000m peaks in the Karakorum, Himalayas, as well as big wall routes in Greenland and Alaska. Big walling in Venezuela, expeditions to Rimo III, Denali Alpine style. All were covered, all provided information and inspiration. A day that I thought may drag on left me tired mentally after being barraged for 12 hours with ideas and enthusiasm. An excellent day and one that I am fortunate to have attended.

Our thanks must of course be extended to the BMC, Plas-Y-Brenin and all the speakers for hosting this wonderful event. Now,where did I put that map of Greenland..... roll on 2015.