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Climbing Mountains in Our Learning

The children from year 2-5 were so privileged to have had the opportunity to meet an extraordinary mountaineer named Nigel Vardy today. He gave us first hand experience of his journey to Mount McKinley almost 25 years ago, one of the toughest climbs in the world. We were shocked and inspired by his life-changing journey. A journey that resulted in him almost losing his life and leaving him with life-altering frostbite injuries.


He taught us the importance of researching several sources when learning new information. We learnt that time was essential when exploring the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. We wondered what food we could eat on the mountains, chocolate would be good but it could break our teeth in –30 degrees. When mountaineering you are ‘absolutely reliant on each other.’ Nigel and his team decided to choose a remote path. He taught us how important it is to make our own decisions and that mistakes need to happen for us to learn.


Nigel showed us his expedition diary that he wrote in every day and still does to this day. Nigel has written a diary for everyday.

‘Don’t get left out in the cold. Be the person who wants to know more. Be the person to ask questions.’

He showed us the devastating injuries that he encountered. We were aghast to learn that even in his hospital bed he was working whilst learning to walk again.

He said to himself ‘ I will climb again.’ He turned his ideas into reality. He will return to Alaska this year to document his expedition and more importantly to thank all of the people who helped him recover.

His final message was ‘Be the best that you can be.’ A message that we share as part of our school ethos and will continue to help us thrive in our new learning.