YOT Green Adventure 2012 - Heidi Au Yeung Yat-ning

Heidi Au Yeung Yat-ning
Heidi Au Yeung Yat-ning |

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Heidi (on the right) with her fellow adventurers
20 secondary and four university students have gone on an expedition to Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain located in Mahalangur Himalayas with a peak at 8,848 metres above sea level. The trip which began on July 28 for 17 days is sponsored by local charity Yan Oi Tong.

Four secondary students who went on the trip will be sharing their experiences while on the road.

As I walked along the streets of Tibet, I wondered what life would be like for a teenager like me. As it turns out, a teenager here could be a high school student or a monk. And for a graduate who is physically fit, they can become a mountaineering guide.

The mountaineering guide school of Tibet equips teenagers with linguistic and technical skills, which are required as a mountaineering guide. This is one of the most valuable jobs that help families escape poverty. There is no school fee and on top of that, the school will provide students with living money, equipment, food and housing. After considerable training, a professional guide will take people from all over the world to climb mountains like Mt. Everest.

Whilst Everest seems to be a legendary place for many of us, it almost seem like any other mountain for these guides. Their perception of a mountain is quite different from ours - the tallest mountain in Hong Kong is only 957m high but here, nothing below 6000m is considered as a mountain to them. Nevertheless, climbing Everest is still a challenge. According to one of our guides, the largest obstacle is the weather followed by high altitude sickness, both of which is beyond anyone's control.

These two problems were also the largest challenges in our hike up to 5200m on Mt. Everest. "Putting others in front of ourselves" is the attitude embraced by our guides and what we've learned to do during the expedition. The guides' greatest concern is the safety of others rather than their own lives. This selflessness act was exemplified when we were met by a river rushing with ice cold water during our hike. Without a second thought, our guides shed their shoes and socks, walked into the river and piled rocks for us to cross.

Unlike any other education system, mountaineering guide school not only prepares a student to become economically independent, it also teaches them how to overcome physical and emotional challenges.

Some of the local guides leading the group to Everest.

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