Friday, February 20, 2009

12 Buffaloes Summit Mt Fansipan

On the 7th February twelve very proud Buffaloes (members of Buffalo Staff) stood on the Roof of Indochina, Mount Fanispan, 3,143 metres above sea level. It was the first time a bunch of staff had set their sights on this challenge and it was made ‘oh so much harder’ by choosing the hardest route and doing it in a reduced time of 2.5 days trekking. This is a diary extract from Abs, our Sales Manager.

‘There we stood huddled in a group but with huge smiles, Vietnam flag waving frantically in the ferocious wind and cameras poised. We had made it, in record time. Our team consisted of 11 Vietnamese staff (including our CEO), 1 Vietnamese guide and 12 Hmong porters, oh and me (English). The views were, quite frankly, gob smacking, the mountains peaking through the cloud line and the terraced valleys deep below a bright green, ready for the next rice harvesting. The last couple of days had taken their toll on all of us, trekking mostly up hill through diverse terrain from crossing rivers to scrambling up practically vertical hills, using our hands to hoist ourselves up, but we never stopped smiling (or taking photos in true Asian style!). The porters had energetically bounced past us carrying our equipment, ensuring that when we reached each camp our tents were ready, fire was blaring and the sweet smell of dinner wafted through the forest. We set camp at 2,800 metres and feasted under candlelight then tucked ourselves into our tents to sleep peacefully whilst the wind howled outside. It reminded me of being back in the UK in the winter, sitting around the fire at home, whilst outside is cold and wet.

The trip was a weekend, we all agreed that we will never forget and I would recommend to anyone with a good level of fitness. My main memories include: The Vietnamese insisting that at every corner they took a photo, its amazing we reached the top!, Telling the female staff that their favourite boy band were waiting at the top to do a private performance for them, Our CEO changing his clothes for the photo shoot on the top, when the rest of us looked like we had been dragged through a hedge backwards, the staff playing strip poker on the train on the way up (I was asleep at this time, but they have photos!!!), and of course, being on the roof of Indochina and the 2nd highest place on mainland SE Asia.

Our CEO, Mr Kien sums it up 'We have probably been the fastest Fansipan Summit Group ever for the Cat Cat Route. An incredible acheivement for this Buffalo Team that consists mostly of office ladies and men'

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