Respecting the principles of the Pangaea project, Mike Horn has led a team of 8 young people from all over the world through an amazing adventure. The objective always remained the same:
Explore, Learn and Act.
The young explorers were away from May 31st to June 26th and hiked in the heart of the highest mountains in the world, climbing the Baltoro glacier in Pakistan.
For them it was an opportunity:
- to better understand environmental issues linked to tourism,
- to think about customized solutions,
- to understand the limits of the atmospheric layer by ascending a virgin summit of 6000 meters.
Erwan Le Lann, Grassroots Community Manager at Petzl’s and mountain guide, tells us about the expedition.
Concretely, which actions did you implement and what was the objective?
First of all, to better understand the melting of the glaciers, we started with a long trek doing topographic surveys (photos and GPS points). This data will enable the University of Munich to complement its study on the melting of glaciers.
Then to understand that the atmospheric layer is thin, limited and so must be protected, we experienced the physical human limits at an altitude of 6000 meters. The young people have called this summit the Pangaea Peak, symbolizing the cooperation of different nationalities for the protection of the environment. It is indeed the first time that a summit of over 6000 meters has been reached by so many young people from different countries.
We also tried to limit human impact in the valley. The 90-kilometer trek to climb the Baltoro glacier implies tremendous organization: thousands of porters and tourists stop at the same camps, and the human waste left behind pollutes the rivers. After this experience, with the help of a local organization the young people are therefore going to implement actions such as manufacturing toilets, collecting waste, dealing with the waste in a processing area.
Why is this expedition different from the others?
Each expedition is unique. This one was the first one without Mike Horn’s boat which is used as base camp for most of the Pangaea project expeditions. Considering the approach necessary to gain access to these mountains, we had to leave for a longer time: over 3 weeks. From a physical point of view, it was the most demanding expedition: 7 to 8 hours of walking every day! From a cultural point of view, Pakistan is very different, with a very strong local identity which we were able to discover thanks to the porters.
Can you tell us more about Petzl’s involvement in this adventure?
Since the beginning of the Pangaea project, Petzl has been involved by providing all the technical equipment necessary for safe progress during the expeditions.
Moreover, as mountain guide, and thanks to Petzl, I take part in the expeditions to ensure the safety of the group, exchange with the young people about my knowledge of the mountain environment and make them responsible towards nature. I also help choose the itineraries and organize the projects, for example caving in Borneo, mountaineering in Pakistan, the activities of the selection camps, etc.
How did the young people experience this adventure in Pakistan?
Each day, the young explorers wrote about their feelings and reactions on their blog, reflecting very well their daily life during this expedition.
What is the next expedition?
The Gobi desert in Mongolia, end of August. By the way we have just finished the selection for this new expedition. The 8 young people who are going to leave for Mongolia are:
- Lucas Lovell, 18, Australia
- Constantin Vogt, 19, Germany
- Magdalena Gründl, 18, Germany
- Tirza Niklaus, 18, Switzerland
- Nicolette Meyer, 17, Singapore
- Martin Añon, 20, Argentina
- Akira Biondo, 19, China
- Inge Pieterson, 20, South Africa
Watch a video with Erwan and the whole crew :