This year the RAF is celebrating its 100th anniversary; however, it is also a significant year for RAF Mountaineering. 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the RAF Mountaineering Association (RAFMA) and the 75th anniversary of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service (RAFMRS).
To celebrate this, RAFMA led an exploratory and pioneering expedition to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in September 2018. The expedition is called Himalayan Venture 18 (HV18).
HV18 is unique because it brought together, for the first time, Air Cadets, University Air Squadrons, regular and reserve personnel, and veterans; representing the Service’s past, present and future. It introduced novice mountaineers to the challenges and wonders of being at high altitude and develop the skills of those who already have mountaineering experience.
The Himalayan Venture 18 journey began in summer 2016 with initial planning work and the expedition was opened for applicants in Dec 2016.
There were 250 initial applicants for 80 expedition places. Since then, applicants have been part of an 18 month journey that has seen them gain summer and winter mountaineering qualifications and undertake training in Wales, the Lake District and the Cairngorms.
This training has culminated with the selection of an expedition team of 75 people who travelled to the Rolwaling and Khumbu regions of the Nepalese Himalayan range for a three week expedition in one of the most beautiful, yet challenging environments in the world. Teams have been separated into two groups; trekking and alpine. Trekking teams all achieved the crossing of the Tesi Lapcha pass at 5775m; whilst the alpine team made a successful attepmt at a first British ascent, summiting Mount Langdung (6357m).