They came, they saw, they conquered.

Having tasked themselves with scaling untouched peaks in the remote Djenghi-Djer mountain range of south-eastern Kyrgyzstan, we’re delighted to announce that the Horsepower 2016 expedition crew have successfully conquered a summit some 4,436m high. The only watch company with two mountains named after us, Christopher Ward is delighted to name this peak ‘Mount Trident’ – although Struan Chisholm and the team who climbed it joke it could be called something else…

Hi Struan, you recently completed your expedition. Tell us about Mount Trident.

We identified Mount Trident from our second base camp – we were at 3,500m in a fertile tributary valley in the north of the range. The summit was on the ridge above the glacier. Whilst climbing another peak nearby, we scouted out a likely route up to the snow line of Mount Trident – a long slog up a scree gulley, then upwards at the snow line until we reached the ridge, and along the ridge to the summit. We woke up at 2am one night, but low cloud scared us back into the tent. The next night was clearer, and we set off in darkness.

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It felt steep, but I only realised how steep during the descent in daylight. It was starting to get lighter at around 5am when we reached the hard snow scattered all the way up to the ridge. There was one very long, incredibly steep stretch of gravelly loose scree after that – we laboured up, panting as each footstep upwards slid back down. This unrelenting section was why Mark suggested an alternative name for the peak – ‘The Punisher’!

Then all of a sudden we were on the ridge, with the most insane views of the dazzling yellow sun rising behind giant lumps of rock and ice, further south into the range.  The ridge was rock, with snow on both sides. We walked along it until Sam found the real summit– it was a challenging scramble up, but we had reached its 4,436m peak!

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How did your C60 Trident 300s hold up in the conditions? Did you find that quartz was well suited to the expedition?

The C60s were brilliant. There was a real mix of intense sun and heavy rain, hail and snow to put the watches to the ‘real outdoors’ test. The timekeeping accuracy didn’t waver, the watch hands seemed to be the most vibrantly luminous of all the watches I’ve seen (we needed that for early morning alpine starts!) and the leather straps also held up perfectly.

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Considering the title of the trek – horsepower – was there anything unexpected that you had to deal with?

None of us had had much experience with horses before the trip, but numerous long days in the saddle covering c.50km per day (our base camps were c.80km as the crow flies from the nearest road) helped us to understand how to manage them. We took a few tumbles during the trip: Calum was kicked and could barely move his leg for a week; I was thrown off, and down a scree slope; and Neil was dragged along at galloping speed with one foot still in a stirrup.

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The varying styles and temperaments of the horses was surprising. For example, whenever mine heard another approaching behind him at a modest pace, he would bolt and gallop, forcing me to hang on for dear life for at least a kilometre! He also had no political savvy – his galloping straight at a heavily-armed military checkpoint wasn’t appreciated. Mark’s horse, on the other hand, had to be towed as it was so slow.

I’m very glad we went on horseback, as no other mode of transport would have been as effective. The horses were able to ford huge rivers, as well as being able to traverse almost any terrain that even the most robust 4×4 vehicle couldn’t manage.  We certainly learned the hard way, but by the end we were cantering no-handed, while transferring biscuits between the team. We all felt much more confident and would love to do more expeditions on horseback – there’s a lovely unexplored bit of northern Afghanistan that’s full of enormous mountains and treacherous rivers – maybe in a couple of years…

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Did you meet anybody on your travels?

In our last few days on horseback we passed some yurts, with fires in the hearths and families living in them. These pork-pie shaped thick hide tents are the traditional Kyrgyz nomadic dwelling. They were located incredibly remotely and had very few amenities or additional features apart from the fenced area to keep sheep or goats.  We stopped at one and drank some ‘kumis’ – fermented horse milk!

Kyrgyz nomads aside, one afternoon we met a pack of wolves – wiry and beige. They howled, but skirted away from us downhill.

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Finally: what’s next?

We’re all going to enjoy long lie-ins and good eating – to regain the weight we lost, we’ll be enjoying copious bacon and egg rolls for the next month or two! After that, we’ve got a few ideas floating around – Calum keeps talking about a place in Canada so inhospitable that both NASA and the Inuits abandoned it…

The C60 Trident 300 is available to view here.

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There’s a rather important sports competition happening in Brazil over the next fortnight, and two Christopher Ward Challengers – Amber Hill (skeet shooting) and Will Satch (rowing) are taking part. Obviously, we’d like to write about how they’re going to come back with lots of lovely medals*.

However, thanks to the IOC’s Rule 40, which bans non-official sponsors from mentioning The Sports Competition That’s Happening In Brazil This Fortnight (And Which Also Took Place In London Four Years Ago – hereafter known as ‘TSCTHIBTFAWATPILFYA’), we’re having to be a bit careful.

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So, while we obviously wish Will and Amber the best of luck – not that they’ll need it, they’re brilliant – we’ll be using alternative terms in all our communications around TSCTHIBTFAWATPILFYA.

Now, go get ’em!

*Hereafter known as ‘baubles of being quite good at something’