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Joel's story

**This page is a historic page frozen in time - see Our treks for the current website**

One of the many things that I admire about Joel is he quit teaching to come to the Himalaya not really caring how/if it could work out - similar to me. Luckily we ran into each other. Welcome to the Himalayan branch of Trekkers Anonymous...

July 1966

Me, Jeff, Jamie (Joel's brother), Jason, camp out at the highest point in Sussex, Chanctonbury Ring...

[and yes, ALL the family names begin with J...]

25 December 1969

Jamie gets a copy of 'Tin Tin in Tibet' for Christmas and I manage to get first read after him on Boxing day. Inspired.

July 1970

My Duke of Edinburgh gold award expedition, Wales. We have fog for 4 days, saw no mountains, only sheep. I did the cooking.


Appointed staff cadet at London South-East region air cadets adventure training centre, spent weekends at the centre in Ashdown forest and summers, teaching cadets from all over south-east London in compass work, tent craft, expedition planning, and came up against aggressive 14 years olds twice my size and had to control them. Got my first shag in a tent. [And that probably explains the addiction to buying tents, and having a single tent while trekking...]


Farming in Norway, travel in Scandinavia. Discover dope.


Travel and work in Spain, discover red wine.


Degree in Education at North London poly, including mlc.

July 1983

A summer in Kashmir, a trek around Gulmarg, dysentery, and back to school in September.

September 1987 

Quit job, across Russia by trans Siberian, then to Tibet by pushbike... caught up in fighting in Lhasa, by bike to Turfan then Kashgar, including a quick jaunt up to heavenly lake in the Tien Shan. Then out to Pakistan on the KKH and a swift trip, My first true Himalayan trek, around the Passu glacier.

Hooked on the Himalaya!

Work as cycle courier and teaching.

October 1988

From Jammu to Srinagar, then on to Zoji pass, got as far as Dras before the first snow hit. Back to Srinagar, stoned on a houseboat, then along the Kangra valley to Dharamsala, and a great ride up to Manali, then over the Rohtang pass with Dan and Toni, two canuck bikers, got up to Keylong before we hit deep snow, back to Manali, then the Jalori pass, Shimla, then on to Gangotri, refused to let us into the west of Nepal, finally Sunauli, Kathmandu, and the Annapurna base camp with Kathryn and Michelle, then my first and last Indian beach for Christmas and new year.

a swift 6 months teaching, then:

July 1989

from Jammu to Leh by bike, riots and shooting in Leh, a trek down the Markha valley, then bike to Manali, and bus to Nepal, 5 great weeks in the Annapurna's, around the circuit the wrong way!


Christmas in UK and I scam 3 weeks for Easter vac, fly to Nepal, and trek up to Kala Pattar, taking pics of school kids and dishing out school pencils to some schools. Bacterial dysentery, and my first slide shows, my new head proves pretty bad so in July 1990 off to Java, Bali, Lombok, Malaysia, Thailand, on my bike. Visit Jamie and Fiona in Singapore and get shitfaced, and agree in the spring of 92 we would trek to Annapurna, and meanwhile, I cut short my time in SE Asia and head for Nepal and six great weeks in the Everest region with John, Tiffany, Kim, Kevin, Danielle and the stoned Danish girl.

Back in the UK I supply teach and live in a squat, its cheap. Then in March 


get 2 months in Nepal, Annapurna Sanctuary, Everest, and Langtang snow and high passes. Back in the UK, I walk into a class that has been mashing up supply teachers and get offered a terms work, which means they have to pay me up to August!

July 1991

Six weeks off, and Ladakh, across Zanskar.

October 1991

After 6 weeks at Ashmount, get offered a job for when I get back, from where? October, I fly to Skardu and freeze my ass cycling, but get to Kashgar! I do some great exploring around Kang Yaze, then back to Karachi, Kathmandu, and 6 weeks in the Annapurnas with Belinda, Justine, Gabby and Alex, and arriving back in February. Get offered a senior teachers job.

Easter 1992

My new head gave me 4 weeks at Easter, so we headed to Annapurna.

Jason and I had a horrific time trying to land at TIA, and went back to Dhaka, an hour later, we were safely at TIA to be met by Jamie and Fiona, who had witnessed our plane unsuccessfully try to land. Off to Pokhara, and an awesome trek to Annapurna Sanctuary that will be passed down to generations of Schones. Then Jason and I flew to Lukla and did Kala Pattar.

Summer 1992

The lovely Justine was still in Europe, so there I was flying into Lukla in July-and it was great! up to Namche, then over the Cho La solo in deep snow, back to India, and cycled up to Leh, not bad in 6 weeks!

Christmas 1992

Teacher's treks are born, as I get a deputy headship, is it possible to combine teaching and trekking? Yep, fly to Nepal and do Gokyo in 2 weeks.

spring 1993

A teachers trek. Easter and I fly to Jomsom, climb the Dhampus pass, camp wild, the do Marpha - Beni in 2 days..

Summer 1993

Another 3 weeks in the Khumbu at the high pastures, then after 4 days stuck at Lukla, by jeep to Leh and 10 days in the Markha valley with Jamie and Fiona.

Christmas 1993

A teachers trek, a flying visit to ABC in deep snow

Easter 1994

A teachers trek, to Kala Pattar, meet Rob Hall and his expedition.

Summer 1994

Back to Pakistan, I trek to Hushe and climb the Gongodoro La for an awesome view of K2, then over to Ladakh for the Markha valley and my first visit to Sorra and Dat, all in 6 weeks! Arrive back in time for my first lesson still in my trekking boots.

Christmas 1994

An extra week and around Annapurna Circuit in 13 days, before seeing Jamie and Fiona in Hong Kong to plot our next family trek. Oh, and I meet Jamie McG on a bus to Pokhara and swap Shipton and Tilman stories.

Spring 1995

Teachers trek, Gokyo, and its time to leave teaching.

Summer 1995

Jeff, Jamie, Fiona and I get wiped out by heavy storms in Lahaul but still make Chandra Tal lake, then inspired by Jamie I fly to Jumla and do Dolpo!

Christmas 1995

A wintry Gosainkund, and meet Jamie McG who recognises my jacket, not me as I have got so fat!

Easter 1996

Kala Pattar teachers trek, and I quit teaching.

summer 1996

organize trek across Zanskar with 4 trekkers, the trek to Kharnak and Tsokar lake, walk from Jiri to the Khumbu, then Langtang and Annapurna's

spring 1997

Trekking in Darjeeling

summer 1997

Around Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, then Rakaposhi base camps.

Winter 1997/98

Dragged kicking and screaming back into teaching, 2 months in the Himalaya first.

Summer 1998

Across Zanskar with Matt and Hannah, then the Parvati Valley to the Parang La, and the idea for caravan is born...then to Kinnaur, the trek from Manali to Dharamsala, then Deo Tibba, then on to Nepal to party around the Annapurna circuit and a flying visit to Everest..

Spring 1999

Mandy and Karen do the Annapurna's, then I spend a month in the Khumbu before doing Tilicho lake, then a gourmet trek in Zanskar with Jamie McG, Mandy and Karen hit the Markha valley, and I finally trek from Lahaul to Tso Moriri to Ladakh, with Lobsang and caravan is ready for the public. Then I go on to trek with Jamie McG to Kangchenjunga and my first 6000m peak and on to Makalu... and a group of people who are bound to meet in trek heaven, Dana, Dave, Sam, Gary, Martin, not to mention KE Karl who will found the Himalayan branch of Trekkers Anonymous. And then in early 2000 I work for the HEC teaching in the Khumbu. Back to the UK for 3 months teaching, and then with 3 litres of red wine I lead Himalayan Caravan, Beau, Casey, Max, Don, me, and of course, Lobsang. A stunning success, then a sentimental trip across Zanskar before leading Kangchenjunga and back to the Khumbu.

From here take a look in the various Previous treks sections. 

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