Our Y4 boys swapped their usual Tutor Time for an adventure to the top of the world on Thursday 4 February.

Mr Dey, who many boys recognised as Arjun’s dad, is one of just 266 British people to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. During his brilliant talk, through film, photos, and vivid descriptions, Mr Dey painted a picture of the journey to this extraordinary and dangerous place, while answering many of the boys’ thoughtful questions.

Inspired by adventure, “the challenge, the thrill, and the excitement of the climb”, Mr Dey set his sights on reaching the top of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at 8,850 metres. As with most things in life, he told the boys, “every challenge starts with a first step”, and to climb Mount Everest you need to be very fit and healthy. So Mr Dey trained and took part in an Iron Man Triathlon (swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running 26 miles) to improve his fitness. He also knew that you needed to be good at climbing especially at high altitude so, in preparation for Everest, he travelled all over Europe climbing mountains, before heading to the Himalayas.

In 2011, he was ready and set off with four teammates and 26 Sherpas to climb the most dangerous peak in the world. The boys discovered that you have to carry everything you need with you (there are no supermarkets on Mount Everest) as well as the importance of remembering to get out of the right side of the tent when pitched of a mountainside with a steep drop! They also learned about the effects of altitude—how your lungs feel like they are burning, how your legs feel heavy, how your heart pounds and how it makes you incredibly tired, and why climbers have to acclimatise to the altitude and regain their strength. And, importantly, why you have to wait for just the right moment to make your ascent.

Everest can be incredibly windy, and holding on to your tent to stop it flying away is something that regularly happens! However, when the two jet streams meet at the mountain, they cancel each other out, creating an incredible stillness. This meeting of the jet streams only happens a few times a year, so when they do…you climb.  

To reach the summit, you have to use ladders strapped together to cross wide and deep crevasses (scary places to traverse!) and brave temperatures of minus 45 degrees. However, as Mr Dey explained, when you are the highest person in the world, it is a “tremendous experience!” Surrounded by prayer flags left by the Sherpas, you can see the curvature of the earth. Simply incredible!

The boys were enthralled by the tale of Mr Dey’s adventure, as were their teachers, who told us afterwards that Mr Dey’s talk was “an incredibly special presentation” and was “without doubt the highlight of this term’s topic: Mountain High, Valley Low.”

“Mr Dey’s talk was a brilliant way to bring the boys’ topic to life. It is also a good reminder of what human beings can achieve with vast resilience and a positive attitude, attributes that are needed now, as lockdown lingers on. I was really impressed with the boys’ very intelligent questions, too.”

Ian Silk, Headmaster
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