Document Sample
THE TREK Powered By Docstoc


“The Team was
 marTyn Vaughan

“SuDDenly we CoulD
 See – liKe a gift from
 nature – the majeSty
 of evereSt itSelf!”
 Dania maiSter

to see more pictures, blogs and video visit
                              Cover image: Prayer flags flutter on a rope bridge highabove the Dud Khosi river – the river of milk

when gKn teamed up with the adventurer Bear grylls for a spectacular paraglider flight over mount

                                                                                                                                  meet the
everest, it was decided to give employees the chance to share the experience. a total of 20 places were
made available on a once-in-a-lifetime trek up to the gKn mission everest base camp – 4,252 metres

                                                                                                                                  gkn trek
up in the himalayas.

the lucky 20 came from all across the gKn group and from all round the world – and gained their

places in a variety of ways. Some won quizzes about the company; some were drawn from lotteries or
competitions – “I remember nearly falling off my seat when I found out I had won” recalls tim greenaway.
others were chosen by their colleagues: “I was nominated from the Bonn plant for my work on the
workers council,” says thomas jeworrek. Similarly, gKn Sinter metals selected jonathan Keiper because
of his community service record.                                                                                                                                      Dania Maister        Kyle Wagner                 Jonathan Keiper
                                                                                                                                                                      IS/IT manager        Continuous Improvement      Site Continuous
                                                                                                                                                                                           Specialist                  Improvement Leader
all shared the same excitement about the opportunity to see the world’s greatest mountains up close
and to play a part in a unique challenge.

 “I knew that this would be a life changing experience. I had heard and read
so many things about the Himalayas. And I wanted a chance to be a part of a world record attempt.”
Barry Skalrud

“It was a rare opportunity to visit a region with such a history of challenges, achievements and
courage – and to see the highest peak in the world, have my own challenges and new experiences
and to get to know a different culture. And it was an opportunity to form a team with colleagues from         Ruth Volgger                Declan Rodgers              Mohammed Akram       Kirk Jones                  Thomas Jeworrek
across GKN and with them attend the first flight over the top of the world with a powered paraglider!”        Support Account Gm Group    HR Services Administrator   Security Officer     Associate Design Engineer   Product and Process Engineer
Dania maister

“I really enjoy camping and hiking and thought it would be great to be able to do that in one of the most
beautiful places on Earth with a few strangers from all over the world. And I had seen quite a few episodes
of Bear’s Man vs Wild show and looked forward to the opportunity of meeting him.” Kirk jones

a few of the gKn trekkers were experienced climbers for whom the opportunity to visit the himalayas
was an unbeatable treat.

“I have some climbing experience and had talked frequently of trying to arrange a visit to the Himalayas.
So, the chance of a lifetime presented itself with the contest to win a position with the GKN Mission         Judith Felton               Martyn Vaughan              Günter Unterrainer   Gary Wilkinson              Thomas Pullen
Everest trekking team!” gary wilkinson                                                                        Deputy Secretary and Head   Group Director              SW Engineer          Customer Platform Manager   Sideshaft Engineering
                                                                                                              of Secretarial Department   Enterprise Excellence

“I live in the mountains and I love the mountains. It was the dream
of a lifetime to go to Nepal!” ruth volgger
and for all it was an opportunity to play a role in gKn’s own mission – to help children around the world.

“Helping children in Africa is something I strongly believe in –
I wanted to be part of the event in order to help raise $1 million
for their cause.” jonathan Keiper
                                                                                                              Sir Peter Williams          Hubert Oberleiter           Tim Greenaway        Heinold Goller              Thomas Oberparleiter
                                                                                                              Non Executive Director      Quality Inspector           Process Engineer     BAAN Specialist             IT Manager

                                                                                                              Barry Skalrud               Bear Grylls
                                                                                                              Stress Engineer

Hopes, Fears and eXcitement

having got over their initial excitement, the lucky 20 had a period of preparation
and looking ahead. for some this involved fears about the severity of the challenge
to come, but all shared the same spine-tingling sense of anticipation – anticipation
of the mountains, the scenery, the people and the physical challenge.

“What was I looking forward to? High mountains, lots of snow and ice, calmness and
long walks...” ruth volgger

“I was looking forward to getting to the higher elevations, where I would be pushed
more physically. I was also very excited about my first trip to the eastern part of the
world. I was very keen to see the culture of Nepal.” Kyle wagner

“The chance to meet Bear Grylls excited me – I’d seen
every episode of Man vs Wild and being able to provide support
inhis quest to fly a motor-powered paraglider higher than Everest was great.”
gary wilkinson

“I was looking forward to the scenery, actually seeing Everest, meeting Bear Grylls
and seeing the flight – but the trek itself is what it was about for me.” tim greenaway

there were, however, some slight worries about what they were letting themselves
in for…

“I was excited about the physical challenge and the teamwork, but I had one concern –
altitude sickness, everyone talks about it!” martyn vaughan

“I had some concerns about my physical reaction to the
high altitude and to the low temperatures – and I had a
fear of the rope suspension bridges!” Dania maister
getting ready for the trek involved organising kit and clothing able to withstand one
of the world’s most inhospitable regions and preparing physically for the challenge
of walking miles at high altitude and in energy sapping thin air.

“Apart from my regular exercise, I did additional cardiovascular training and spoke
to several people that I knew who had travelled to Nepal. Besides that, I just did a
lot of shopping to buy all the winter gear I could get my hands on!” Barry Skalrud

“I bought proper trekking boots and a sleeping bag, but borrowed everything else
I could. I went for a few short walks in the weeks leading up to the trek, to help break
in my boots. I planned to run four times a week to build up
my cardio strength… I think I ran twice between February
and May!” Kyle wagner
“I was already in training as I intend to climb the UK’s three highest peaks in 2007
and I also had the equipment, so very little preparation for the expedition was required.
But I did buy a new camera!” tim greenaway

“I didn’t really do any special preparations. I live in the mountains and spend nearly
every weekend hiking and climbing in summer and ski touring in winter. So, I thought
this would do as preparation.” ruth volgger

“I went jogging in my hiking boots twice a week!” thomas Pullen

“Actually, I did nothing more than organizing the necessary equipment, gathering
information (language, culture, maps) specific to Nepal – and asking our family and
friends whether they wanted an autograph from Bear Grylls.” gary wilkinson
First impressions

                    after their weeks of anticipation, and their varied preparations,      this is the main entrance point to the everest region and was
                    the trekkers touched down at Kathmandu tribhuvan airport on            where the group met their sherpas and support team – and
                     6 may – to begin their himalayan adventure.                           where the real adventure began.

                      “Our plane had to circle                                             “We took a 45 minute flight out to Lukla airport – it was beautiful.
                                                                                           The scenery was amazing – definitely way more beautiful than
                       around Kathmandu airport once.                                      you can ever capture on TV or in a picture.” Kirk jones
                        The views coming in were amazing,
                         but it was a little disconcerting                                 “Lukla airstrip was an experience – what
                          to have to manoeuvre between                                     a runway! I can imagine it takes the pilots
                           the mountains.” Kirk jones                                      a bit of practice to get that right.” tim greenaway
                             Day one provided an opportunity to explore
                              Kathmandu, the capital of nepal, to acclimatise
                                                                                           “I was so impressed by the high
                               and to get initial insights into nepalese life.             mountains. They really are amazing.
                                                                                           Complete mountain walls of snow and
                                “I was struck by the friendliness of the Nepalese          ice – I’d never seen anything like it. I could
                                 people and their simple lifestyle.” ruth volgger          have spent hours just looking at the mountains.” ruth volgger

                                   “The impressions in Kathmandu struck me                 “I couldn’t believe how massive the mountains were – pictures
                                    more deeply than first seeing the mountains.           and videos cannot do them justice!” jonathan Keiper
                                    It was the people there – and seeing the mass
                                     over-population and poverty – that really left        “There was an overload of the senses as I just tried to take
                                      an impression.” Kyle wagner                          everything in, the view, the sounds and the smells. I knew
                                                                                           straight away, that no matter how many cameras I had, or how
                                        “I had an incredible sensation of freedom          many times I described it, there was no way I was going to be
                                         and happiness. The nature, the air purity,        able to convey this feeling of amazement to anybody back
                                          the simplicity and pleasantness of the local     at home.” Barry Skalrud
                                           people all impressed me straight away.”
                                            Dania maister                                  “My first impression was: ‘Wow, it’s really big!’ Followed shortly
                                                                                           by: ‘Wow, it’s really hilly on this trail!’” gary wilkinson
                                             the next day it was up into the sky on
                                              a yeti airlines flight to lukla airstrip –
                                               2,800m up in the Solu Khumbu.
Hard work, Huge rewards

from lukla, the group began the climb up to the mission                    “I was surprised how ‘easy’ the trek was for me! No headaches,
everest base camp at Periche, at an altitude of 4,252 metres – a           no problems with altitude, no problems with my stomach.
trek that would involve walking 6-7 hours each day and that took           I just felt great and could really enjoy the whole trek.” ruth volgger
in namche Bazaar (3,450 metres) and tyangboche (3,867 metres)
along the way.                                                             and enjoyment was something that everyone experienced
                                                                           however they felt…
though the trek benefited from being in may – the prime
time for visiting the everest region – the conditions proved               “Just being there was amazing. It felt incredible to be in this
to be some challenge.                                                      beautiful place that had captured the imaginations of so many
                                                                           adventurers. No matter how many books I had read, or how
“It was considerably more physical than I expected! Our guides             many people I had talked to, there was no way I could expect
would provide a dinnertime briefing for the following day’s outing.        what I saw along the trek.” Barry Skalrud
It became something of a joke that they would indicate a short, quick,
or easy hike for the next day, but that the reality was something very     “We started in a green area (with trees and flowers),
different. Going up 700 metres in elevation meant something closer         followed by a grey area (like a desert of stones) and then,
to 1,300 metres up, with 600 metres down, for a net gain of 700.           finally, the white one (covered by snow and ice). When
Those hills sometimes seemed to never end – especially climbing up         we arrived at Tyangboche, it was cloudy and we couldn’t
into Namche Bazaar.” gary wilkinson                                        see clearly around us. Suddenly, late in

“Some days were worse than others. In general, it was much more
                                                                           the afternoon the weather became
difficult than any of us expected. The reduced oxygen levels as we         clear and we could see – like a gift
climbed just multiplied the difficulty level. At the highest elevations,   from nature – the majesty of Ama
I was walking at the pace of somebody four                                 Dablam, Lohtse, Everest itself and
times my age and I was breathing like                                      other giant white mountains. I will never forget
                                                                           that magic sunset!” Dania maister
I was sprinting. My oxygen saturation really dipped and I
couldn’t think clearly. It became a bit scary when I lost sight of the
others in the group and became slightly disoriented.” Kyle wagner

“Every morning I would wake up with the worst hangover of my life
from the altitude and dehydration.” Kirk jones

“I never expected the thin air to put so
much strain on my body.” thomas Pullen
for the more experienced climbers, however, the altitude
was less of an issue – enabling them to soak up the magic
of the surroundings…

“It was great being able to make some private excursions up
small peaks – lonely hikes on which I could take in the fantastic
panorama: the tremendous peaks, the sharp ridges of Nuptse,
Lhotse and Ama Dablam…” thomas oberparleiter
a real team eFFort

Despite coming from all around the world and being walked up steep           “The spirits were always high, even when people got ill
slope after steep slope, the group quickly bonded into a real team.          they still had a smile on their face – they were just glad to
                                                                             be there.” Barry Skalrud
“Teamwork was evident throughout the entire trip. It was a great team
and one of which I was proud to be a part! We came from all parts of the     “The spirit was fantastic – everyone got on and had
world – Brazil, Italy, Germany, England, USA – and we all left as friends.   something to contribute. I’m sure some good friendships
It was a very special group.” jonathan Keiper                                will prevail.” tim greenaway

“On the second day, Gary was ill with a stomach upset and was                this extraordinary team spirit soon came to play a
struggling to carry the load and himself. Initially, I took his bag with     central role in the mission everest flight itself – something
mine and then shortly after we split Gary’s equipment around the             that proved to be an unexpected bonus for the trekkers.
group to share the load.” tim greenaway                                      with a rare weather window appearing, Bear’s team was
                                                                             set to fly up into the history books – and the gKn trekkers
“There was more than one time that somebody carried the day pack             were fully involved in the successful flight early in the
of a tired trekker. The biggest teamwork came in the form of emotional       morning of 14 may.
support and encouragement. There were times when just walking
with somebody and talking to them was enough to keep them going.             “We had some of the guys fuel the parajets, fix the frozen
Many of us spent hours commiserating in pain while we trekked.” Kyle         generator, hold down the parachute and help support the parajet        “I was really surprised that we got
                                                                             during takeoff.” Kirk jones
“Teamwork was the basis for our good spirit, high motivation and
                                                                                                                                                    to take such a big role in the Everest
finally our success.” thomas Pullen                                          “Getting involved with the record attempt was really memorable.         attempt. I thought that we were just
                                                                             During the trek, most of us had the feeling that our involvement in     going to stand there and watch the
“We got along so well, helping each other when                               the actual attempt would be very limited. However, once we arrived      take off, but we actually got to help
                                                                             we were encouraged to get involved, which felt very special. I was
needed, caring for each other. I knew that there                             actually briefed by Bear Grylls himself about the job that he wanted
                                                                                                                                                      out quite a bit.” Kirk jones
would be someone there if I got in trouble.”                                 me to do on the morning of the attempt.” Barry Skalrud
ruth volgger

                                                                                                                                                                                                         goes up…
                                                                                                                                                                                                       after the excitement of helping to
                                                                                                                                                                                                       launch Bear into the record books,
                                                                                                                                                                                                      it was time to head down again –
                                                                                                                                                                                                     something that proved to be a lot
                                                                                                                                                                                                     harder than expected!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    “The last day really
                                                                                                                                                                                                   took it out of most of us –
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have never had to climb
                                                                                                                                                                                                  so much to come down a
                                                                                                                                                                                                  mountain!” tim greenawayim
                                                                                                                                                                                                 “Walking back down was the
                                                                                                                                                                                                toughest part. Our muscles had
                                                                                                                                                                                                become accustomed to climbing every
                                                                                                                                                                                               day, but descending used completely
                                                                                                                                                                                               different muscles!” Kyle wagner
                                                                                          “The team was fantastic.
                                                                                          Considering this was a random                                                                       “I thought the hardest part of the trek
                                                                                                                                                                                              was the very last day coming back. It was
                                                                                          selection of people from all over                                                                  supposedly downhill, but there was just
                                                                                          GKN, the spirit and teamwork                                                                       about as much uphill as downhill!” Kirk jones
                                                                                          were incredible.” martyn vaughan
truly inspirational

in spite of the aching muscles and blistered feet, the trek was an       “It’s really changed the way I look at my life.
experience none of the group will ever forget. not only did it give      I learned that material possessions don’t equate to happiness and
them the chance to see the mighty himalayas and witness a world          fulfilment. The people in Nepal have nothing by Western standards,
record, it also changed the way they view the world.                     yet they still had more smiles than most people at home – I’ll never
                                                                         forget that. I’ve genuinely been inspired to do more to help those
“This trip has inspired me to become a more adventurous person.          in need. I will certainly do more to use my skills and knowledge to
I learned that the impossible can be achieved when determined            make a difference in the lives of those around me outside of work.
people work together. Mostly I learned that there are people in this     I have also learned just how powerful the mind can be. The trek and
world who have a much harder life than people have back home, and        the flight were both accomplished through sheer determination.”
it only takes a small amount of generosity on our part to make a huge    Kyle wagner
difference in their lives. So, we should endeavour to do so whenever
we can.” Barry Skalrud                                                   “I learned how important a group can be and how challenging and
                                                                         cruel nature can be – Man is so powerless compared to the power
“From the human side, the close contact with the simple life in the      and majesty of nature.” ruth volgger
Himalayas made me learn a different way of life, that although not
comfortable, made me feel happy and in peace.” Dania maister             “Getting outside your ‘comfort zone’ is good for you. With good
                                                                         teamwork and leadership you can do anything.” martyn vaughan
“The whole experience was focused around adventure and I took
away how important adventure is in allowing us to feel purpose in
pursuing what we believe in, despite the risks that may try to prevent
us reaching our goals.” jonathan Keiper

Final thoughts
“An incredible experience, made even                                      “My family is extremely proud of me.
better by the people I shared it with and                                 My grandfather tells everyone about the trek –
the achievements we made.” Barry Skalrud                                  including people he meets in shopping malls,
                                                                                  banks, at the gas station… Kyle wagner
“It was a unique opportunity, an almost
imaginary scenario with a true team                                                  “It’s a cliché, but it was genuinely a
and a real adventure taking place!                                                  life changing experience and the most
Unforgettable!” Dania maister                                                       rewarding thing I have ever done.”
                                                                                  martyn vaughan
“Yaks have the right-of-way on bridges.
Otherwise, a ‘yak attack’ may occur, as                                           “The greatest experience of my life.”
Thomas realised!” gary wilkinson                                                 thomas jeworrek

“A fantastic experience in all senses.”                                          “It was an all-action adventure, a true
gunther unterrainer                                                              once in a lifetime experience!” thomas Pullen

Shared By: