World Challenge Update – Number 7 (Mt Fansipan, the students’ view)

Bright and early at six AM, the team woke up and got ready for a long day ahead. After a breakfast of omelettes and yawns we all packed our bags and hopped on buses that took us to the starting line. Icy winds a’blowing, we huddled for a team photo with our guides, Tony and Nam.

We set off through the slippery foothills of Mount Fansipan crossing paths with other hikers frequently, as the annual Fansipan race was underway. According to our guide Tony, the record time was one hour and thirty eight minutes up to the summit and thirty minutes back to the starting line. It’s safe to say we weren’t quite as fast with our total time of sixteen hours spent hiking. The trek was challenging but worth it as we were rewarded with amazing views at the summit. We stayed on the mountain for only one night but managed to eat plenty of delicious local cuisine which consisted of rice with side dishes of meat, tofu and vegetables. We ended up sleeping in a tin shack with more holes than people in it. Nineteen of us, packed in like sardines were joined by three other travellers and their guide.  Throughout the night the wind was howling and our approximation of a door (which was only half a sheet of tin) constantly blew open.  The male counterparts of the team attempted to (failed at) repairing the door as their handiwork consisted of gaffer taping plastic to the door. Morning came and the air was icy as we were up at six. We ate a delicious bowl of pho and some fruit which was a great start to the day as we walked for nine hours up to the summit from base camp two and then all the way down to the finish line.  Exhausted but ecstatic with our efforts, we took a group photo or five and waited for our busses. The Fansipan trek was a learning experience to remember and totally worth the muscle pain and exhaustion.

Flynn & Grace


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