Major Breakthroughs for Mountaineering Cadets

By 25752 OCdt (III) Christopher Lane

In September, the RMCC Expedition Club officially established its club mandate to organize and conduct an annual expedition to the far reaches of the globe, in addition to local leisure-driven activities. Not even a month has passed, and the Club has already taken significant strides towards reaching that goal through the annual expedition’s recent approval by Director of Cadets, LCol Wigg, pending the fulfillment of administrative requirements. Furthermore, on this basis, the 2011/12 Kilimanjaro Expedition has been approved a $34,000 grant from the RMC Unit Fund!

Although this is a major breakthrough for the Club and its members, it is just one of many challenges that have, and still must be met for the Club to successfully accomplish their goals of reaching the top of Africa.

The following article is the first in a series which will update the RMC community on the progress of the Expedition Club towards their goal of summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro this Christmas.

A 10-person team from the RMC Expedition Club aims to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro this Christmas!

First thing’s first: the beast to be conquered.  Mount Kilimanjaro is the fourth tallest of the Seven Summits, standing atop Africa at 5,895 metres (19,341 feet).  It is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, towering over the gorgeous flats of northeast Tanzania. Although Kilimanjaro is considered to be one of the least difficult of the Seven Summits to climb, it is not a test to be taken easily. Kilimanjaro has one of the Summits’ highest failure rates, a result of tourists underestimating the inherent difficulty of high-altitude climbs.

The RMC Expedition Club is certainly not underestimating this peak, even while taking up the challenge of completing the climb via its hardest route in the shortest time possible without any reliance on porters of man-made infrastructure. As such,  a rigorous selection process is now underway, testing each applicant’s physical and mental capacities. This thorough evaluation includes high-intensity training sessions culminating in a physical evaluation, an academic screening process, and an interview session inspired by the Club’s strategic advisor, RMC grad Major Meagan McGrath (picture left).

Major McGrath is an icon of the Canadian Forces, being the first CF member and the only Canadian female to successfully complete both versions of the Seven Summits. She is providing invaluable advice and mission-safety briefings to the Expedition Club as they prepare for the complex task of planning the climb.

Once the selections are complete, the ten cadets chosen will begin a rigid physical training program built to get the expedition group in pinnacle shape to reach the summit. Cadets will also be attending mission-specific briefings to further prepare themselves mentally for the challenges of the climb.

In tandem with this adventure, the RMC Expedition Club is committed to its mandate of assisting the communities that help host some of its more complex expeditions, and will be supporting a charity in the Kilimanjaro region with independently-raised funds.

Successful expeditions of the past (left to right): 2010/11 Aconcagua Expedition and 2011 Es Pontas Expedition

For further information on the expedition, please visit the Club’s website at: http://rmcexpeditionclub.com.

Keep an eye out for updates on the climb, and feel free to contact the Expedition Club at any time with questions and comments by email: expeditionclub@rmc.ca.

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