Everyone at Christopher Ward is extraordinarily proud as we announce our sponsorship of a remarkable team of British mountaineers who are setting out on a journey to tackle a number of unascended peaks in Tajikistan this summer. Should the highly challenging Tajikistan Expedition 2013 be successful, the newly conquered peak will be formally named ‘Mount Christopher Ward’!
Struan Chisholm, a 20-year old student of Management at Cambridge University, and his team of 4 experienced climbing partners will set off in early July on a 7,600 miles road trip to reach the remote Rog Valley of central Tajikistan – a range that has probably seen less human presence than the moon. The first and only recorded expedition to the area was made by a Polish expedition team in 2011 and a number of the area’s mountains still remain unclimbed.
Left: Adventurers Struan Chisholm, Max Jamilly, Calum Nicoll and Leo Horstmeyer on a recent training trip to Scotland. Right: Theo Scott, the fifth member of the team.
With plans to attempt multi-day ascents of a number of significant unclimbed peaks (around 5,000 metres) the expedition schedule anticipates that, subject to weather conditions on the mountains, the main climbing phase will be from around the 19th of July and the base camp will be dismantled by the end of the first week of August.
Mike is delighted that our first major sponsorship project is such an exciting adventure: “The moment we heard about this expedition we loved it’s ‘Boy’s Own’ spirit of independent British adventurers on a shoestring budget seeking a fantastic challenge and we were determined to support it.
Even with their extensive mountaineering experience and careful preparation these five remarkable young men are setting themselves an incredible and serious challenge. I like to think that a spirit of adventure has always been a characteristic of the Christopher Ward story – from our business model to our designs, we’ve always strived against the odds and have always been determined to reach higher and higher – and now we’re aiming for an extraordinary new peak!
We feel truly privileged to play our supporting role as the lead sponsor of the expedition and we will follow their progress eagerly as we wish them a safe, exciting and successful journey.”
Struan and the team are similarly delighted that their expedition has been boosted by Christopher Ward’s sponsorship and he gave us a quick update on their preparations: “We are delighted to partner with Christopher Ward, a pioneering watchmaker for a pioneering expedition! Planning is going well – we are currently sourcing everything from jerry cans to dust goggles, and finalising our overland route to Tajikistan. We are planning an Alpine training trip next month for a reminder of what altitude is like!”
All five climbers will be wearing a CW watch on their journey including, of course, the main ascents. Meanwhile, back at Maidenhead base camp, Chris is also eager to reach new highs in design as he works on a special edition C11 Makaira Pro 500 watch to give to the team to mark the expedition. The Makaira Pro was selected specifically for use in Tajikistan’s harsh and varied environment; it needs to be waterproof, pressure-proof, easy-to-read, accurate and reliable. Chris will be using the expedition as a unique opportunity to carry out a series of extreme tests as the team takes our watches where no man, or watch, has ever been before! Chris says: “We know from the quality of our watches and the testing procedures they go through that our watches can cope with some amazing extremes of climatic conditions but the expedition is a fantastic opportunity for us to really put them through their paces in a very hostile environment.”
Left: Pik Rog (5430m), Tajikistan. Right: C11 Makaira Pro 500.
As lead sponsor, Christopher Ward will of course be with Struan and the team every step of the way. Firstly, we will monitor the expedition’s progress through mobile updates and we’ll post details here on the CW website and also through our own social media channels; whenever possible we’ll include images from each of the expedition stages.
Right now the squad is deeply embedded in planning, preparation and training and these preparations and logistical aspects cover a myriad of vital issues, every one of which is vital to the expedition’s progress and safety. From vehicle and equipment preparation and confirming their climbing permits and visas to ensuring full health and safety provision, they have an incredibly long checklist to complete before setting off. Just as with a quality precision timepiece, they know that every element has to be right for everything to run precisely to plan!
From reading their meticulously detailed Logistics Plan, for example, we especially appreciated that the endurance element doesn’t apply only to physical conditions in the harsh mountain environment. In reference to the gourmet meals planned, it states: ‘Food will be chosen to minimise cooking time and weight; for example oats can be eaten with cold water, and couscous will rehydrate in lukewarm water’. Cold oats aside, the reality of needing to carry everything that is needed – from climbing equipment and food to first aid and communication – makes this a highly complex and challenging adventure.
Departing from their base in Inverness, the team’s journey will take them through at least eight countries, but their first destination is actually much closer to home – No. 1 Park Street! We look forward to waving them off for a safe and successful expedition and we will, of course, share that occasion right here on the website. After a final training session in the Alps next month the team will begin loading up their Mitsubishi Shogun for what we hope will be a long and safe journey to somewhere that doesn’t (yet) exist – Mount Christopher Ward!
We’ll be following the Tajikistan expedition every step of the way and hope that you will share their amazing journey too:
To visit the expedition website: tajik2013.com
To follow Struan and the team on Facebook: facebook.com/Tajik2013