Moonlands 2018

In July our group will depart from London to fly into New Delhi and then onwards across the Himalayas to Leh, the highest airfield in the world and the capital of Ladakh. This is a unique land, long isolated as a kingdom by the high peaks, which still forbid land access for eight months of every year.

Approximate Dates: 10th July – 8th August 2016

It is the coldest and highest inhabited place on earth. Populated by nomadic herdsmen who are Buddhist, the region is in reality the last unspoilt area of Tibet, just miles from the Chinese border.

Already at 12,000ft in a region known as ‘Moonlands’ we will start high altitude training. Our first objective lies in a white water rafting descent of the Upper Indus. The melt waters of high glaciers provide exciting rapids whilst our group paddles through desert and canyons. This is an ideal way to travel through some of the most unusual scenery on the planet.

From the waters of the Indus River our group will trek across the spectacular passes of the Karakoram region. Supported by Sherpa’s, the group will be in the mountains for a week, giving them a chance to meet the locals and experience high altitude living. Moonlands trekking is of world class standard and will provide a strenuous challenge for the group. Subject to approval, participants who wish may use part of this venture for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

Our group will then undertake one of the most arduous of road journeys across two chains of the Himalayas. This involves a three-day drive to Manali in Himachal Pradesh and on to New Delhi. Here we will have some days to rest, recover and explore the capital of the Raj. The team will have a unique advantage gained from nine previous ventures into Ladakh. Our experience on the ground, local contacts and guides provide us with the very best opportunity for a successful expedition.


  • To raft the headwaters of the Indus River
  • To trek across the Moonlands of the Karakoram Range on the Tibetan Plateau
  • To mountain bike several high altitude routes to the Chinese border
  • To complete a crossing of the Greater Himalaya
  • To complete a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition (optional)

The Application

A realistic appreciation of the difficulties and dangers inherent in such a venture is essential before any application is made. Any programme can only be provisional and can so easily be subject to change.
Being safe and caring for the welfare of every individual is essential on any expedition. This has always been a priority for us, and will continue to be so. High media attention on recent incidents has brought safety to the point where even measured, responsible risk taking is somehow expected to be taken out the expedition equation. This sterile attitude only serves to hold back a young person’s personal growth. Life is about taking risks especially for the development of future leaders. An expedition is obviously a ‘risk’ activity but the skill of the leadership team will balance safety and challenging experience for the young expeditioner.

Applications always outnumber places and a selection procedure will decide the final team.Previous expedition experience is not necessary but applicants must be fit and healthy. Some potential applicants are deterred by the apparent difficulty of gaining experience or funding such a project. In reality, no candidate faces any difficulty, unless and until they have successfully completed selection.

  1. Anyone between 15 and 20 may apply by returning the completed application forms together with eight passport size photographs and a non-returnable deposit of £50. Cheques made payable to The Trans Andes Expedition.
  2. If you have any questions please do give the Leader a call.
  3. Applicants will be invited to attend one of our Selection Courses, which run during the autumn term, usually in early October and December.
  4. Those who pass selection will be offered a place on this expedition.
  5. All those committed to the venture will be asked to confirm their place. Successful candidates automatically become members of the Dorset Expeditionary Society.
  6. Selected members are invited to attend a Training Day in December. Selection and Training will not interfere with examination work

Completed Forms Should Be Sent Directly To The Leader (See Below).

About The Leader

John Hegarty MBE

Led over fifty expeditions including ventures to Bolivia, Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Iceland, India, Peru, Thailand and the United States. His previous ventures have received both the Karrimor and Sir Vivian Fuchs Awards. He is a Churchill Fellow, a Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold Assessor, has been elected as a fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Geographical Society, has served as member of the National Council of the Young Explorers Trust, is a Vice Principal of Budmouth College and holds a commission in the Territorial Army. John is a Plato Award holder and helped establish the Dorset Expeditionary Society.

Address: John Hegarty, 16 Weare Close, Fortuneswell, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1JP

Telephone: 01305 820088 (Home) 01305 830500 (College)
Mobile: 07770752008


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