Geography - Adventure starts now

14th December 2012 at 00:00

What it's all about

When I was about 14, I was inspired by a photograph of Mount Everest in one of Sir Chris Bonington's books. Ten years later, I became a professional mountain guide, writes Kenton Cool.

Now, 25 years after that first inspiration, I have 10 Everest summits under my belt, have led Sir Ranulph Fiennes on successful climbs of the Eiger and Everest, and am planning another expedition to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest next year.

My Everest expedition this year was followed by tens of thousands of people worldwide, including many schoolchildren. Using satellite technology, we were able to tweet, blog, use Facebook and send videos so that children could follow the expedition all the way.

Schools used it to enable learning about mountains, rocks, glaciers, rivers and indigenous people. Though many of the skills are geography-based, others such as leadership and team building can be nurtured to give pupils a headstart when they arrive in the workplace.

In my role as patron of the British Schools Exploring Society, I visit schools where I am amazed by the knowledge young people already have about our world, and try to enthuse them about the wilderness and how to tackle challenges.

After my Everest expedition next year, I plan to climb the world's 11th and 13th-highest mountains (in Pakistan) in a single push, and to base an education pack around it. The lessons from expeditions are cross-curricular - and they make learning fun. Learning is much easier if, like me all those years ago, children feel inspired.

What else?

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