A gold level DofE programme participant about to climb the highest peak of the Caucasus.

A gold level DofE programme participant about to climb the highest peak of the Caucasus.

From Award Units

8. June 2016

Kamila Otrubová, a gold level DofE participant, leaves to conquer the largest challenge of her life today. In the following days she will try to climb the tallest mountain of the Caucasus and of Russia, the Elbrus. To make her challenge even harder, once she reaches the top, she will also attempt to ski down on Alpine skies.

I first met the Duke of Edinburgh International Award in England, where it is extremely popular and where it is rather exceptional not to join for students. I liked the fact that it requires doing activities, which are contrary to the approach of Czech students, targeted at a specific aim,” comments Kamila on her motivation to join DofE.

Kamila improved her German language skills as part of the programme and she will soon be sitting her B2 level German exam. She also did a two-week long residential project in Marburg in Germany. Kamila has been visiting the Thomayer Hospital in Prague for over a year to complete the volunteering requirements.

What was behind the idea to climb Elbrus? “I always wanted to hike proper mountains, bigger than the Alps. When you are 18, training is the smallest barrier. The largest barrier on the other hand is the logistics, covering the costs or getting parental approval. My choice of mountain tops was therefore limited to a selected circle of mountains. Elbrus was a beautiful goal – the highest mountain in Europe, which is far away in a country I have never been to”, the PORG Grammar School student explains.

As part of the training, Kamila has climbed two other peaks; Gran Paradisa in Italy and a slightly lower mountain top of the Tyrolean Alps, the Wildspitze. Kamila gained a huge amount of technological, human and mountain experience through both of these expeditions. “It is important not to give up, not to fear and to continue going. DofE helped me mainly with this. Once you all do it as part of a bigger goal and once you are supported by your mentor, you achieve much more. The journey is the destination – if you finally reach the peak or not has long ago stopped being important. What I experienced and understood has become crucial and it a gave an entirely new dimension to my life”, says Kamila to finish her story.

We all wish Kamila the best of luck to conquer the highest mountain peak of the Caucasus and lots of unforgettable memories!

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