When you are planning an international event to one of the most remote places on earth, it is not only the cars and crews that have to be meticulously prepared as the Rally Round team supporting the Trans-Himalayan Adventure discovered.
In early February the team trekked to the wilds of deepest Suffolk for two days of intense first aid training including skills specifically for outdoor pursuits with expert instructor Simon Clooney– who will also be part of the Trans-Himalayan Adventure team and has journeyed with Rally Round previously.
Simon is a Freelance Outdoor Educator living in the English Lake District, teaching mountain and water sports, expedition skills and gets paid to climb trees (roped access work). He also provides first aid training and is a volunteer First Responder with his local Ambulance Service.
Having travelled, dived and trekked extensively in Europe, South America and South East Asia, Simon has led groups to the base camps of both Annapurna and Mount Everest as well as the Ladakh region of Northern India and the Bolivian Andes.
Back in the olden days Simon was an engine builder and race mechanic in Touring car racing (Mitsubishi, Rover, Ford) and built F1 engines at the end of those classic V8 days so will also be helping our mechanics if an extra set of hands are needed.
Like all training courses, the team started off in the class room refreshing all the basics that Rally Round insists it support crews have before heading outside to put their lessons into practice on each other. The recovery position never looked so comfy.
Then it was time to get serious given that a common issue when travelling to the Himalayas is the altitude, especially as those taking part will reach as high as 5,800 metres above sea level, so how to combat altitude sickness is a necessity.
The team also shared its own concerns at the potential situations they could find themselves dealing with. On hand was new team member Mac Mackenny, who has planned and led many expeditions to the area previously, to pass on his wisdom.
From the freezing wastes of the high Arctic and thin air of the Himalayas, to the world’s most stifling Jungles and inhospitable deserts, Mac has set world records, operated in the most challenging environments on the planet, from -60°C to +50°C, and has a large amount of experience high in the Himalayas.
From tackling the simplest of common occurrences to running through the woods to find ‘numerous casualties’ with a whole mix of ailments, the team threw themselves into making sure by the end of day two, everyone felt confident in their skills and gained their certificate in outdoor first aid.
Plus, the Rally Round team will also include Chief Rally Doctor – Doctor John Llewellyn– and Dr Richard Wain-Robson. Dr John is vastly experienced in both giving medical car in remote places and has also travelled extensively through the Himalayas and in Tibet.