Trans Andes 2019

In July our group will fly from London to Quito, which at 11000ft is the second highest capital city in the world. Here in the most attractive colonial city on the continent, we will start an intensive period of acclimatisation.

Approximate Dates: 14th July – 14th August 2019

Working on the equator, at such altitudes, presents unique difficulties to the human body. Training will become increasingly challenging, as our group will attempt several High Andean peaks over 16,000ft.

Whilst still at altitude, our group will undertake six days of mountain biking. The mountains and valleys surrounding our base provide practically endless opportunities for outstanding rides of world class. This is a unique way to see the countryside and meet the local people in their villages.

From the High Andes we will descend into the Oriente, the Ecuadorian Amazon. Using motorised dugouts we will navigate the upper reaches of this mighty river. The primary jungle is home to jaguars, pythons, tapirs and monkeys whilst the river presents its own challenge in the form of piranha, leeches, alligators and river blindness.

From the jungle, our group will move to the warm spas of Ambato for a period of rest and relaxation. We shall then cross both chains of the Andes to the Pacific Coast. Here, just south of the Colombian border, we will have the opportunity to relax by the ocean and observe life on the coast.

Such an ambitious venture requires a high degree of individual specialisation. To this end, each member of the group will take responsibility for one crucial element of the expedition. Areas of responsibility will include Climbing, Medicine, Transport, Finance, Logistics, Planning, Security, Stores, Accommodation and Communications.

The fact that this is our nineteenth venture to Ecuador speaks volumes for the quality of this expedition. Our experience on the ground is second to none and our local contacts and climbing guides provide us with the very best opportunity for a successful expedition. Our previous ventures to the Andes have received both the Karrimor and Sir Vivian Fuchs Awards.


  • To mountain bike a series of high mountain trails
  • To climb several High Andean Peaks
  • To canoe the upper reaches of the Amazon
  • To live on the beaches of the Pacific Coast
  • To cross the Valley of the Volcanoes

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 “DES”.
  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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