Callum Hawkins Scales The Himalayas

Callum Hawkins is a highly qualified lifesaver at Coogee Beach and lifeguard at Wileys Baths, but his most recent adventure had the 20-year-old swapping the sand for the snow.

With a team of 11 fellow Australians and one mountaineering legend, the World Expeditions Team set off to achieve what no other Australian has - reaching the summit of Peak Tang Kangpoche, Nepal.

"The journey was an incredible experience and attempting a world first ascent our expectations were greatly met," Callum said.

After taking two weeks to reach base camp the numbers dropped to nine, with three team members requiring a medicaid off of the expedition due to illness and injury.

Callum and the eight remaining climbers scaled a practice peak known as Khonde Lho (6086m) in preparation for Tang Kangpoche to acclimatise to the harsh conditions.

"Mountaineering doesn't just challenge the bodies physical abilities, but also its mentality to a greater level," he said.

With the peak sitting at 6500m, roughly three times the size of Mount Kosciuszko, it was a matter of reaching camp one at 5600m and camp two at 5900m before they could tackle the summit.

Despite best efforts their ascension to Peak Tang Kangpoche was interrupted by deteriorating weather conditions and the team managed to scale 6300m, just 200m short of the 6500m summit.

"We are very proud of our efforts and not at all disappointed without making the summit," he said.

"Being an exploratory expedition, the summit is only a key point during the trip."

The adventure already has Callum planning his next expedition, with the Coogee lifesaver planning to spend the summer on the beach before heading back to Nepal in February.

"This expedition pushed all my abilities immensely and I am looking forward to many more extreme adventures in the Himalayas - starting with a trek across Nepal in Feb 2016, finishing in July 2016."

Who

A team of 12 Australians from NSW, ACT, WA and SA, known as the World Expeditions Team. The team was lead by professional mountaineer and Himalayan legend Soren Kruse Ledet.

What

An expedition to become the first Australians to summit Peak Tang Kangpoche (6500m) from the south approach of the rarely visited Lumding Valley.

Where

The Solu Khumbu region of the Himalayas.

When

October 5th, 2015 - November 4th, 2015.

How

  • Two weeks of trekking to reach base camp in a cold de sac of the Lumding Valley.
  • From base camp, they climbed Khonde Lho (6086m) as an acclimatisation and practice peak.
  • 9 climbers made the peak with 3 being medicaid out due to prior illness and injury.
  • The scaling of Tang Kangpoche commenced to successfully reach Camp 1 (5600m).
  • On the second day the team reached Camp 2 (5900m).
  • During the summit push the team traversed the exposed south face of Tang Kangpoche to reach an ice gully, which would lead onto the east ridge so they could push onto the summit.
  • Deteriorating weather conditions turned the team back at a high point of 6300m, just 200m short of the peak.

Wed 16 Dec 2015