Area of responsibility:
Having been carried and dragged up hills from a young age, I eventually learned to like it, first through Scouts and then with the Cambridge University Hillwalking Club, which I joined in 2003. Since then, I've been Meets Secretary and President and been on more trips with them than I care to count, mostly to mountainous areas of the UK, but also abroad to the Pyrenees and the Alps on several occasions. I spent 10 weeks in Chile in 2005 doing various bits of building and adventuring with Raleigh International and have more recently taken up climbing in the Peaks with friends, including most of the rest of this expedition team! Work currently involves designing low level processing units for anything which contains a radio, and generally cramming as much power as I can into tiny computers. Outside of work and inside of hills, I can generally be found exploring Cambridgeshire on my bike or messing around with slightly dodgy-looking home-made electronic gizmos.
Being the first explorers in a new area was an amazing feeling, especially knowing we had got ourselves there entirely through our own efforts (special thanks to Dave here!). Top moments were getting to a 4100m ridge at 6am, just as the sun was rising, and seeing mountains and valleys spread into the distance; also, sitting on a rocky peak for an hour or so while the other three went on to the next summit, just taking in the scene, appreciating being there, and spotting all our boot-prints on the mountains around. At the other end of the scale, I had to rescue my wayward ice axe from a very steep snow-slope, and I learned just how unpleasant it is to be seriously dehydrated!
All told though, both the expedition and the travelling within Kyrgyzstan afterwards were a brilliant experience, which I would recommend to anyone considering something of the sort.