Tag Archives: #CelebrateAdventure

Go Ape Explore Switzerland!

Swiss Expedition
This week and next we have two guest posts from Jo Mclaren who works in operations and recently tackled the Swiss Alps with member of Go Ape from up and down the country, heres their adventure in their words:

“After several months of built up anticipation, it was time to embark on Go Apes first expedition to the Swiss Alps.

The team was made up of 10 staff; Jo Mclaren (Operations), Dan James (Thetford), Tom Matthews (Forest of Dean), Martha Cross (Trent park), Matt Debenham (Alice Holt), Phil Mcfarlane (Cannock), Chris Bills (Sherwood), Natasha Wolley (Whinlatter), Rebecca Devlin (Crawley) and Nick Mallett

(Dalby).

The plan of the expedition was to bring staff working from all over the country together. To unite as one team, and fit as many challenges and experiences that were possible into 6 days.

Day 1

After arriving in Geneva airport, we hired 2 cars, loaded up the expedition bags and drove 3 hours winding our way up the valley to our basecamp in Kandersteg.  We pitched the tents and cooked some wholesome food in preparation for the following days activities.

Day 2 – Gemmi Pass Trek, 2346m

After breakfast, we walked to the bottom of the Sunnelbul cable car station. The first day involved an acclimatisation trek up the Gemmi pass, we ascended around 700m and walked around 13.5 miles. The scenery was awe inspiring and breath taking, the winding trail went through the alpine meadows, past the Spittelmatte plateau working its way past the Daubensee lake to the Gemmi pass. Halfway up the pass we encountered our first patch of snow. This was swiftly followed with people diving in the snow, bare chested for some!), creating snow angels and bum sliding down the slope! Once we reached the top of the pass, the team were all blown away with the views of the Matterhorn in the distance and it made way for a picture postcard picnic stop – wraps and tuna were to become one of our steady diets for lunch each day! Once we descended back down the valley we arrived back at camp around the sociable time of 5.30pm. We then split into smaller groups, to decide who was buying some food in town, preparing food, cooking and washing up. After a great first day, we all enjoyed a tasty curry and went through preparations for the next challenges ahead the following day.

Swiss Expedition 2

Day 3 – Allenalp Via Ferrata and Bunderspitz Summit, 2,546m

After a hearty breakfast, we set off for an early start. We left the campsite at 7.30am and arrived at the bottom of the Allenalp cable car station before walking up past the bottom of an amazing waterfall. The temperature was increasing and the towering rock face above was in the sun. An early start was needed on the Via Ferrata before it became too hot. We had all doused ourselves in sun tan cream, however, as we climbed the imposing walls the sweat from the temperatures meant the cream was dripping into our eyes – which certainly added to the experience! The next 3 hours were spent climbing 500m up an exposed rock face next to a waterfall.

After topping out, we enjoyed some lunch in the shade. Once everyone had refueled, I pointed to the top of the Bunderspitz behind us, we had around 1000m ascent. The sun continued to shine so we walked slowly, slowly up through the alpine meadows which then increased in gradient and steepness. To gain the ridge we used a chain around a rocky slope, past a snow patch to lead up to the summit. The vista at the top of the mountain was amazing, we could even see the mountain hut we would be sleeping in on the following night, looking like it was ‘on a knife edge ridge just above a glacier’. We returned down the valley in time to make the last cable car down. After such a successful day and arriving back to camp around 6.30pm, we had a lovely meal, followed by an early night in preparation for an ascent up to the mountain hut the next day.

Day 4 – 2-day trek, Oeschinensee lake and Blumlisalpe hut, 2,840m

An early morning breakfast was enjoyed by all, followed by taking a local bus to the middle of town. We walked up to the bottom of the cable car and ascended a less steep valley. The walk contained some of the richest of scenery so far, a beautiful climb past a gorgeous green lake with cows pasturing in the meadows below. We snaked up and under the cliffs, traversing on a near-knife edge whilst, scrambling to follow a narrow path. The mountain hut was a beautiful yet quite surreal site. We ate a meal in the hut, watched the sunset over the mountains and neighboring glaciers then settled down for the night in a large team bunk bed – very cozy!

Day 5 – Glacial journey

After a hearty breakfast – (we certainly didn’t starve on this trip), an early start was had. We met up with Manfred, our mountain guide and kitted up with harness, helmet, crampons and ice axes. We walked down to the glacier edge and then roped up. It didn’t take too long before we found out why it was important to be roped up, Natasha’s left leg went down a hole first, followed by birthday girl – Martha, she went down a bigger crevasse, down to her shoulders. It took a team effort to drag her out, however we all felt in safe hands with Manfred. Once we arrived at some more solid ice, Manfred asked for 2 volunteers – Tom and Dan. With the help of some ice screws he showed us how to set up to do a crevasse rescue with Tom dangling on the end of the rope, the rest of the team helped to drag him back up to the belay. We continued to traverse uphill from one glacier dropping back down to another glacier, this allowed us to get real close to looking down some big crevasses that disappeared into the abyss.

In the early afternoon, we made our way back to the hut, a couple of the team members borrowed some kit and climbed a few routes on a crag next door to the glacier. We finished off with a late lunch of tuna wraps for a change and said our goodbyes to ManFred. We headed back down the valley, to try and fit a swim in the lake before the last lift down. Time was a little

short so a couple of the team – Dan, Tom and Matt managed to take a quick dip, we carried on and they sprinted to make the last lift down. A few of the team prepared and cooked an amazing evening meal back at the campsite and we shared all our new experiences over a campfire.

Picture1

Day 6 – Interlaken, White water rafting on the Lutschine river/ropes course

After conquering many fears in the mountains, we got up at 6am, de-camped and had breakfast. We left the kandersteg valley for the last time and drove for an hour over to Interlaken. Now was time for a taste of some white-water fun – we were kitted out in rafting kit then headed up the valley with an arranged mix of nationalities. After some safety training, we entered the glaciated melt water with the Eiger towering in the background. We went straight into the big white water – there was no warm up. We were split over two boats, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and during the grade 1 sections, we could get out the boat and just float down the river.

Once all the adrenalin came to an end we popped out into a large lake, the temperature went from icy water to warm turquoise water, this was a very tranquil way to finish. Once back in Interlaken we popped to the shops to grab some food, then we jumped in the cars and drove to the local ropes course – we had a lovely picnic together in the sunshine, which didn’t involve tuna wraps! Then we spent the next 3 hours in familiar surroundings, using the magnetic clip it system. Although in the trees, it was still hot and the harder routes were quite exhausting and hard which provided many laughs amongst the team.

After another superb day, we headed into Interlaken to the hostel we were booked into for the last night. We walked around the town for a little while then settled on eating food in the bar underneath our hostel. We enjoyed a lovely evening meal, followed by great company for our last evening meal together.

Picture4

Day 7 – Flew back to blighty!”

 

So there you have it, what an amazing feat by all involved – we salute you!

What would your UK outdoor #DreamAdventure be?

Dream Adventure

Here at Banana HQ, we’ve been having a conflab, and if we could enter our #DreamAdventure competition (which we can’t – boo) this is what we’d ask for…

Adventurous marketing exec Jaz would climb Mount Snowdon with her boyfriend. PR gal Poppy would take on a wingwalk (rather her than us!), and our social media man’s dreaming of kitesurfing in Pembrokeshire – go Dan.

Scotland proved to be a popular destination. Boss Anna would paraglide over the Highlands, while copywriter Sarah wishes she could search for whales off the coast of Mull. Work experience guy Josh would also head north of the border, to cycle the outdoor velodrome in Edinburgh (we didn’t even know that was a thing).

All good choices. But unfortunately, as we can’t enter, a total an utter waste. You can enter, though – you lucky thing, you. What would your UK, outdoor #DreamAdventure be?

Head to our website and tell us! There are only six more chances to win!

We’ve got our fingers crossed for you,
The Go Ape Tribe

The Adventure Fund In action: Enduro World Series

Beck Jordan Blog
Our Instructors are an adventurous bunch which is why we offer an adventure fund for our staff that are looking to live life more adventurously. This year, one of our instructors at Go Ape Bedgebury, Becky Jordan, decided to take on the Enduro World Series. 
Here’s what she had to say …

“Following previous funding from the Adventure Fund last year for my Mountain Bike Racing I decided to go all out this year and enter a qualifying round for the Enduro World Series that was being held at Dyfi Forest in Wales on the 20th-21st May.

The Adventure Fund gave me the funds that I needed in order to enter the race and to register with the EWS for the points that I would need to be eligible for the 2018 Enduro World series next year which was the most amazing opportunity.

It is safe to say that it is the hardest event I have ever done in my life. The race route was 52km long with 1800m worth of climbing. Including 5 stages of fast and technical downhill that tested my skills on a bike to the absolute max! With several crashes during practice day on Saturday I was very close to giving up on it all.

I knew how disappointed in myself I would be if I did that. So I got up on the Sunday morning for race day and was at the top of the hill for 09:30am, ready for the race start at 10:00am.

Exactly 5 hours and 7minutes later with 5 clean stage runs under my belt I crossed the finish line in second place in the Senior Women’s category. I cannot tell you how happy and shocked I was all at the same time! Not only did this mean that I had come second place in the Enduro Welsh Open, but I had also qualified for the points that I needed to have the opportunity to enter the Enduro World Series in 2018!

This opportunity would not have been possible without the support of the Adventure Fund to get me to this event and I am extremely grateful to you!  Who knows what the next few months will hold but I am well on my way to living the dream!”

Well done Becky an amazing achievement! 

Did you get involved in The Big Canopy Campout?

The Big Canopy Campout
Last weekend, thousands of revellers descended on Somerset to attend one of the world’€™s biggest and best festivals: Glastonbury. At the same time, thousands of others were pitching their tents for an entirely different reason: to save the rainforest!

On the 24th of June, The Big Canopy Campout (TBCC) saw canopy and climbing communities from across the world unite to spend the night in the treetops and under the stars. The event aimed to raise funds to help the World Land Trust purchase and protect critically threatened rainforest in Borneo.

That night, Twitter went wild with people sharing pictures and videos of the campouts using #TheBigCanopyCampout hashtag. Some set up in the canopy (mainly the pros), while others chose to camp on the ground surrounded by wonderful woodland.

Our fave story came from none other than the Planet Earth filmmakers, who spent the night in tents suspended from the roof of the Eden Project in Cornwall!

The crew’€™s illuminated tents were suspended over the tropical canopy, with rope access professionals joining them for the night. Before dusk set in, the team spent some time chatting with visitors about their work, helping to spread awareness of TBCC.

Speaking of the Eden campout, TBCC founder John Pike said: Having spent years climbing in the world’€™s rainforests we’€™re all very excited to have the incredible opportunity to sleep high above the canopy of the world’€™s largest enclosed rainforest at Eden.

The Big Canopy Campout is about exciting, educating and inspiring people about rainforests so we thought Eden was the perfect place to coordinate this global event,€ he added.

The funds raised from the event will help to safeguard Borneo’s precious rainforests through the Saving Kinabatangan appeal. This initiative aims to purchase and protect a key stretch of rainforest adjacent to the Pangi Virgin Jungle Reserve. These areas offer vital connectivity to the Kinabatangan River for highly threatened species such as the Bornean orangutan, pygmy elephant, proboscis monkey, helmeted hornbill and Sunda pangolin.

John finished by saying: €œRainforests are under threat, partly because people aren’t able to experience them for themselves. The canopy environment is an amazing place and climbing in the canopy can change people’€™s lives, giving them a completely different view of what rainforests are and why they’€™re important.

We’€™re glad to hear that the event was a resounding success, and if you have any pics or vids of your weekend campout, then please share them with us (and don’€™t forget to use #TheBigCanopyCampout hashtag!).

Here are some photos from our sites!

See what else we are getting up to this summer here.
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