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Teens join Everest expedition

Students from the Army Training College are set to follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary on an expedition to the Himalayas.

A group of eight 16-year-olds will join an Army expedition to Everest, which aims to be the first British team to climb the treacherous, exposed West Ridge route to the 8,828-metre summit. The students will not be going as far as the summit, however, as only two of the 21-strong expedition are expected to make it to the highest peak, supported by their team-mates.

Instead, the teenagers will climb the 6,200-metre Island Peak, where Hillary and Tenzing Norgay acclimatised before their ascent.

Warrant Officer Dave Bunting runs the gym at the Harrogate college and is leading the main expedition. He said: "The main team is made up of the best climbers in the Army. The junior team is made up of novices. They are climbing their own Everest. They will gain a huge amount of experience, mentally, physically and in the cultural aspects.

"They are 16-year-olds who will have done nothing at all. There will be people who have never flown before. None of them will have been to a third world country before. The whole expedition is going to be amazing."

The junior team, who will be selected from this September's intake, will depart on April 1.

The college offers a mix of military training and education to young people considering a career in the Army.

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