Stonyhurst College students help plan Mount Everest expedition

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A VERY different kind of lesson took place at Stonyhurst College when mountaineer Squash Falconer dropped in to get some help in planning her latest and most challenging expedition to date.

At the end of March, Squash will travel to Nepal to co-lead an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest and then fly down from the summit by paraglider.

"In 2008, I climbed Cho Oyu, a mountain just 600m short of the height of Everest. That has given me the drive and belief I could go for the big one and the Everest plan started to develop," she said.

"I climbed Mont Blanc in 2009 and paragliding from the summit planted the seed that this was something I could include in the Everest adventure, and in turn become the first woman ever to paraglide solo from the top."

Friends Andy and Andrea Goodall are teachers at Stonyhurst and had the idea to let some of their students experience first hand what it is like to be involved in the planning of a mountaineering expedition.

Squash explained: "We plan to hold a couple of workshops at which the pupils are split into teams and each given a brief about the trip.

"Their first task will be to plan how to raise the necessary funds to make something like this possible and from there, we'll go on to the logistics and planning, right down to the technicalities of how we plan to blog from the mountain and the equipment we'll need for communication.

"They'll have to take everything into account, from food to survival skills."

A winning team will be chosen and given the opportunity to work with Squash on the project and she says she is very excited at the opportunity to inspire some young protegees.

She said: "I'm sure the students will have some unique and inspirational ideas and I'll be able to learn a lot from them, as well as giving them a unique insight into something they will be unlikely to be involved in at any other time in their lives.

"This trip will test my emotional, physical and mental agility, but from past experiences I know I'll be so proud when I finally achieve what will be my lifelong ambition and an amazing feat."