Having just finished our two day trek in the Pyrenees I would like to give you all a taste of our experience. If there is one word to summarize these past two days it would be breathtaking; both figuratively and literally. As we made our wayii over rocks, streams, and mud we often found our breath taken away literally by the high altitude and rigorous climbing. However, throughout the exhausting hike our hard work was constantly validated by truly breathtaking views that ranged from deep blue lakes to craggy rocky peaks. As we made our way up on the first day to the refugio, a small alpine hut where we would eventually spend the night with 40-45 other hikers, we were greeted with clear blue skies and sweeping views of the numerous mountain peaks and valleys that lay around us. This first day saw us mingle with mountain cows, brave the freezing cold water of a glacial lake, and eventually reach the altitude of 2,200 metres where we were met by shelter and an excellent dinner inside the refugio. Before all heading to bed for some much deserved sleep we were all able to spend some quality time together in the communal room of the refugio. One of the best parts of our stay here was the magnificent views from the refugio, which sits picturesquely above a lake and below some truly imposing mountain tops. The second day we set off surrounded by fog on our journey back down the mountain, this time on another route. For the first part of the day our views were hampered by what seemed to be omnipresent fog, however later in the day after the fog had cleared we were treated to some great vistas as we descended down upon lake after lake on our way to the trail head. As we finally reached the trail head many of us were greeted with a feeling of relief, knowing that a hot shower and rest awaited us at the hotel. However this feeling was somewhat melancholy after realizing that we would be leaving behind the raw and potent beauty of the Pyrenees. This experience, like so many others along the trip, was challenging but incredibly rewarding. Unlike in Medina de Rioseco where we struggled to adjust to living in a new language and adopting the culture of a different country, but were rewarded with the creation of meaningful relationships and a vast improvement in our Spanish abilities; here, in the Pyrenees, we struggled with a rigorous climb and adapting to new surroundings, but we were rewarding with incredible views and an experience that none of us are likely to forget for years to come.

Army trains soldiers in Kashmir to reduce non-operational casualties

Indian army conducted training for its soldiers in mountainous region of restive Jammu and Kashmir to reduce non- operational casualties to the minimum. The government set up a specialised ‘Kargil Battle School’ soon after a major war was concluded with Pakistan in the region in 1999, to train soldiers in mountain climbing and high- altitude warfare. Rigorous training is imparted to the troopers so that another Kargil could be averted in the future, as the operation had cost the Indian Army hundreds of young lives. Lieutenant Colonel of Indian Army, RDSharma, expressed satisfaction with the training programme. Soldiers are trained to climb high- altitude mountains within minutes. They are skilled with various techniques and specialised artilleries to combat their enemies at altitudes, where the oxygen levels are low.