Students participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Snowy Mountains Grammar School embarked upon their first Adventurous Journey for 2022 from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 April. The expedition party comprised fifty-five students from across the Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels of the Award, with eight accompanying staff members. The goal for this Adventurous Journey was to summit the ten highest mountains in Australia over four consecutive days. These peaks ranged from Mount Kosciuszko at 2228 metres above sea level to Muellers Peak at 2129 metres. Eight of the mountain peaks were completely off track and required students to work collaboratively in small hiking groups to navigate with compasses and topographic maps through dense fog, creeks, swamps, rocky outcrops and shrubbery to find their way to each summit. The extreme weather conditions on the first two days led to students returning to school to camp in classrooms to dry out their clothing and equipment. The expedition party was then rewarded with blue skies, sunshine and spectacular scenery for the final two days.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is an internationally recognised youth development program that focuses on fostering the lifelong skills of perseverance, resilience, teamwork and optimism. The Ten Peaks Adventurous Journey certainly provided the platform for developing these skills, with the challenging weather conditions, rugged terrain, navigational complications and fatigue. The students epitomised the school motto of ‘Challenge, Belong, Explore’ in challenging themselves well beyond their perceived physical and emotional limits, in working as teams to support and encourage one another and in exploring the magnificent mountain ranges in the Snowy Mountains. The accompanying staff were indeed proud of the incredible achievements of all students and are looking forward to the next Adventurous Journey.

Sincere thanks to Cath Batson, Melissa Bell, Tim Bland, Jonathan Brown, Mariah Dhar, Dani Fox, Scott Frize, Matt Pearce and Madonna Siegenthaler for accompanying the students on their adventures in the wilderness and to Morgan Bell from Alpine Charters for his flexibility and support in providing the transportation.