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Matt Dickinson's Amazing Visit

Filmmaker. Writer. Climber. Survivor. These are all words that describe the one and only Matt Dickinson, the person we had the honour to meet on Thursday 25th of January.

Matt Dickinson is the fifth British person to climb the North Face Side of Everest. He came to FIS to talk to the Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students. He talked about the expeditions he has filmed and the books he has written. One is about his own perilous ascent of Everest during a blizzard that killed many climbers and the other books are fiction but most are set in the Himalayas.

We heard amusing anecdotes on a normally serious topic such as frostbite and the rough conditions at base camp through Matt’s personal experiences of his journeys. His presentation included many images and videos of the trip, which made our experience very vivid and immersed us into Matt’s world.

Here are some of the interesting facts we discovered:

  • Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world (from sea level), with a height of 8848 metres. 
  • Most climbers die in an area called the “Death Zone”, which is a very dangerous zone due to its high elevation and therefore lack of oxygen, its extreme temperatures and weather as well as dangerous icefalls. 
  • We also learned some of the main causes of death on Mount Everest, including:
  1. Altitude-related illnesses, such as high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE). 
  2. Dying from the effects of exhaustion and injuries.
  3. Being killed or injured by natural hazards, for example avalanches and storms.

Mr Dickinson talked about the mortality rate on Everest (around 4% of people who summit) compared to the Pakistan mountain, K2 (around 29%) and asked us some interesting questions about what we consider risk. He gave us examples and asked us what we would do in some situations.

Afterwards I asked my friends for their opinion.

Ashley from Y7 said “What he did was really cool, I almost wanted to go to Mt Everest until he told us about the risks and about his friend nearly dying”.

Nandini, also from Year 7 said “I thought it was pretty cool that he was brave enough to go up and take that risk but it was a measured risk and he was smart about it.”           

Personally I think it is also very interesting to see how he has managed to switch careers so many times but always does what he is really passionate about.

            Blanche in Y9 adds “Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Dickinson’s talk and presentation. It made me want to learn more about Mount Everest, and perhaps even climb mountains when I am older and prepared. However, it also made me realise how dangerous mountains in high altitudes can be, and therefore I do not think that I will climb mountains as risky and high up as Everest as the risk of death is pretty high”.

We, students and teachers, all really enjoyed his visit and will definitely be going to the library to read his books and learn more about his story.

By Arielle R., Y8 and Blanche L., Y9