Ahead for Heights

On Wednesday, the Senior School welcomed mountaineer, film-maker and author, Matt Dickinson, to the weekly assembly.  Matt is a also a Year 10 parent.

Matt has had a life-long interest in mountain climbing, first inspired by a book he happened to pick one day from his school library.  He said the book changed his life and led him on a journey to discover not only his true self, but the highest mountains in the world and also the joy of story-telling. He has filmed over 40 expeditions, including Everest and K2, for TV channels.  Along the way he found he had so much to tell about his adventures, the lives of those who are involved in the climbs, the environment and attitudes of other climbers, that he now works as a full-time author.  He said “To be able to tell a special story defines you as an individual”.

The Senior students were captivated by his talk and photographs, learning about so many aspects of mountaineering.   From coping with danger and the risk of mortality to practical matters such as breathing, cooking, keeping warm (see purple suit in photo), frost bite and exploding chocolate bars, Matt kept everyone’s attention with facts and photos.   He talked about the integral role of the porters, called Sherpa’s, who carry 80 to 100 kilos on their backs and, in fact, a Sherpa is a central character in his book ‘The Everest Files’.

Matt also talked about the psychological aspects of mountain climbing and said “Mountaineering is a game of the mind”.  He stressed that the summit is only the half-way point, be it on a mountain or your end goals in life and concluded his talk by giving our Seniors a challenge – ‘What’s your Everest?’, inviting students to share their writings with him.

David, Year 9, said he thought the talk was very inspiring and is hoping to try more challenging climbs when he is next on his mountain holidays.  Michaela, also Year 9,  said “It was an amazing talk.  It has really encouraged me to create more goals and be determined to achieve them.  If you want to do something, you should do it!”

For more information on Matt’s books follow this link www.everestfiles.com.

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