I am sitting here typing with my arms stiff after my final vaccination and my legs sore from training. So I am currently moving with the same level of grace as a scarecrow. However with my expedition gear arriving, first aid kits, solar panels and camera equipment it is certainly sinking in that in 10 days I will be leaving for my second expedition of the year. Having been to Antarctica in February with Robert Swan and 2041, I was lucky enough to visit the first e-base. So when I was offered the chance to help set-up and see the opening of an e-base in India, I jumped at the opportunity!
We’ve been suggested to run 3 miles a day in preparation and I have been cycling to college and work since I returned from Antarctica anyway so hopefully It will pay off when I can run in front of the team to get pictures!
There is nothing about this trip that I am not excited about. New people, cultures, mountains and of course the construction of the 3rd e-base. It is an incredible part of the world and an incredible project, from the mind of Paras Loomba. Loomba, a member of the IAE 2012, just a year after his experience in the Antarctic, has organised and found funding to create the worlds 3rd e-base in Ladakh, India.
This region is nicknamed the worlds ’3rd Pole’ because the Himalayan region contains the largest amount of water in snow and ice than anywhere else in the world outside of the polar regions. The mountains themselves are the basis for the livelihoods of 210 million people and one fifth of the worlds population lives are sustained by the rivers and streams from the mountains. That is over 1.3 billion people! Water is a huge focus for 2041, as the climate changes so does availability of water. With so many lives dependent on naturally occurring water it is vital that it becomes a focus.
By building an e-base in the Ladakh region, we will be providing children of the area with internet for the first time. Creating a whole new level of education possibilities. Not just for them to learn from us, but for us to learn from them as well. When looking through my Antarctica notebook I can find the quote ‘When you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach the man to fish and you will feed him for a life time.’ The e-base will be a functioning monument to people coming together to help each other go further and I cannot believe I get to be a part of it.
I can only hope my photography and stories will do this expedition justice.
Oli Wheeldon, 2041 GHE Field Reporter and Photographer
Test shots with the new camera Oli will use on the expedition.