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# 41 Cadet Corps




Nov 21, 2010 - 04:30 AM

Chris Hall

SCUGOG -- It turns out that scaling some of the globe's highest peaks isn't that tough at all.

Not for Tim Doering, anyway. A master warrant officer with the #41 Port Perry Army Cadet Corps, Mr. Doering recently returned home from a whirlwind cadet expedition that saw him top off a visit to the Nepal region with a trek to the base camp on Mount Everest.

"It was fun, interesting for sure," said Mr. Doering recently, sitting at the kitchen table in his family's home just north of Sunderland.

The 18-year-old adrenaline-junkie, a student at Brock High School, was one of 14 cadets from Canada chosen to take part in the expedition that lasted nearly a month and took the Port Perry cadet nearly around the globe. After passing a physical and other tests, Mr. Doering's adventure began on Oct. 9 when he departed for the Nepal capital of Kathmandu and spent his first full day biking nearly 50 kilometres around the urban core of the Kathmandu Valley in the Himalayas.

"The traffic there is really terrible," offered the soft-spoken Mr. Doering, recalling a tale of horns blaring amongst a sea of vehicles on congested roadways. "There was a lot of squeezing in and out of traffic. It was pretty dangerous because we were on bikes -- a lot of the time we thought they were going to hit somebody."

From there, the group caught a flight to Lukla, in the Himalayan Mountains, and began a trek that saw the group manoeuvre through tough terrain, making way for passing yak trains. The highlight of the trekking, noted Mr. Doering, was the accompanying sherpas who carted along the group's food and personal belongings.

"It was nice, but unexpected," said Mr. Doering.

As the group passed through villages en route to Mount Everest, the cadets were slowly introduced to higher altitudes and the struggles it brings.

"We were just walking along and a lot of people felt it," he said, noting some of his comrades suffered from headaches and swollen fingers.

"In some places, you could run just 15 feet and you were out of breath," recalled Mr. Doering.

The Port Perry cadet, however, seemed to hold up well. After months and months of training at home to keep in top physical shape, Mr. Doering returned home with only one ailment.

"I got a sunburn on my nose," he said with a laugh.

In the shadow of Mount Everest, the cadets made their way to the mountain Kala Pattar -- a relative rock compared to Mount Everest, with a height of just over 18,000 feet, but seemingly larger than the world's highest peak depending on how you approach it, said Mr. Doering.

All of the surrounding mountains wore snow caps, however the cadets couldn't get a clear view of the top of Mount Everest due to its height and swirling winds, said Mr. Doering. The first major challenge of the trip was to summit Kala Pattar, which offers an incredible view of the south face of Mount Everest that stretches into the clouds at nearly 30,000 feet high.

"At the very top was the scariest part for me, sitting on the edge and taking pictures," said Mr. Doering, describing the scene from the summit as "a blanket of white clouds, with some peaks coming up."

From there, the group pushed onward to its goal -- the base camp at Mount Everest. There, the cadets found plenty of rocks and gravel, little snow and a myriad of prayer flags. Instead of taking a souvenir from Mount Everest, Mr. Doering left a calling card of his own: A Scugog Township flag intertwined amongst an inukshuk the cadets constructed.

Throughout the nearly 24 hours the cadets were at the base camp, at an elevation of just over 17,000 feet, officials were sure to test their oxygen levels and heart rate as the youths carried out glacier training exercises at an altitude that offers only about half the oxygen content of the air at lower altitudes. The Mount Everest experience seemed to underwhelm Mr. Doering.

"It was quiet all the time, except you could hear avalanches and ice breaking. Not much happened -- it's kind of just a giant piece of ice," he said.

On the return trek, the group scaled yet another impressive-sized glacier before arriving in Lukla and catching a flight back to Kathmandu.

"I thought it would be harder," said Mr. Doering of climbing in the Himalayas. "I thought it would be tougher because you're higher up and it's colder ... but I didn't find it that hard.

"It was kind of like hiking, but only

(Durham Region)