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Jason Smith

The 2012 Mont Blanc Page

Fundraising for Weston Hospicecare
£2,291
raised of £2,500 target
by 71 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Mont Blanc Challenge, 20 March 2012
Participants: Mont Blanc Challenge
Weston Hospicecare

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 900328
We provide free end-of-life care to people affected by life-limiting illness

Story

Welcome to Our 2012 Mont Blanc Challenge Page!

Every Pound counts to such a Great & Worthy Charity that is

"The Weston Hospice"

Thank you for taking the time to read about our 2012 Challenge this year. We are hoping to raise in excess of £2,500+ for Weston Hospice. My Page will explain how things are going, training, sponsorship and what exactly is the TMB and the height and Summit of Mont Blanc itself so feel free to read the whole page and come back to see just how the progress is going.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now. Please read on and see how things are going with our Challenge preparation.

MONT BLANC Challenge TMB

A Little Guide to what exactly is TMB and the Mont Blanc Challenge. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe and the highest in the Alps. The Italians call it Monte Bianco - White Mountain and the French La Dame Blanche - The White Lady. Mont Blanc sits between 3 countries, Italy, France and Switzerland and in forms the Mont Blanc Massif Region. The TMB is a World Famous long distance hike around the Mont Blanc trail approximately 170km long, usually hikes in around 10 days with total ascending to approximately the height of Mount Everest 33,000ft and attempted in an anti-clockwise circular route. The route takes each challenge through Italy, Switzerland and back to France with some of the most amazing high altitude scenery, glaciers and is also part of one of the Worlds longest GR5 routes across Europe.

Most attempts for the challenge/hike can not be made until June due to weather restrictions and the amounts of snow depths in the area at altitude. 

We are flying into Geneva and starting our Challenge in Chamonix, renowned as the World famous Mountaineering town of France and a perfect start location for our circular route. Weather permitting we shall be attempting to ascend to our destination within the final 3 days of our route and also use a night stop acclimatise day at the top of Aguille Du Midi approximately exceeding 12,000ft.

It is with pleasure to name fellow friends who will also be attempting this challenge as our previous ones in the past such as 'The 3 Peaks Challenge', Kilimanjairo, The London Marathons and many others:

Nick Smith - Paul Davies - Paul Harrington

Peter Skilton (of Solsteerin) - Duncan Perry (from Canada) and Myself Jason Smith.

Duncan has had the priviledge along with myself of summiting Mt Kilimanjaro 19,341ft in Tanzania so will be used to the extremes of the body under pressure at altitude and possible altitude sickness.

We have started training, running, climbing, hiking! This trip we are carrying every piece of kit required for the challenge, we are sleeping in tents, sleeping bags and therefore our kit bags will be quite heavy and need to be endured throughout our 12 days of the challenge.

I look forward to keeping you all updated and to how the sponsorship maintains it's goal, once again I cannot stress just how much The Weston Hospice does and for so many. Being part funded with such a small amount annually puts immense pressure on Fundraising much need money that is spent on critical equipment and support, medicines and essential requirements. At some point I will be adding just where raised money will be spent so as to let you our sponsors see exactly how well spent your money is on such a great cause.

Feel free to contact or text me on 07939 009153 if you or a friend is suffering and battling with Cancer and would like to be mentioned during our build-up to this challenge. 

The past week I've been gathering a list of equipment for the team and suddenly realised I needed to get a new tent, carrying our backpacks, food, water and essentials at high altitude over 12 days the backpacks can't exceed 25lbs in weight, as every pound and ounce matters. My search for a quality tent has been a challenge in itself as most tents are 2 man tents and the weight varied dramatically from a few kilos to 4.5+Kilos. 

For every pound in equipment it would mean less food carried or worse still a heavier backpack. Taking the tent, Sleeping Bag, Backpack, water and utensils without thinking about clothing or other essentials the weight could already exceed the 25lb goal so pre-planning and searching is essential.

I managed to find a 1xMan Tent weighing in at just 1.8 Kilos that looks sturdy and worthy of doing a good job at 12,000 ft, aluminium pegs and UV backed canvas and a reasonable thick groundsheet, however, it will be tested numerous times but only locally and on a weekend treck somewhere here in the UK before deciding to stick or be back to square one.

My training has been progressive and I am personally up to 7 miles and under an hour over hills and flat so averaging at 8 minutes 45 seconds per mile. I intend to start running with the backpack included in 3 weeks time....!!! Delay, delay, delay lol. HAPPY EASTER Everyone x

London Marathon 22nd April 2012

Last night news filtered through to the media of the sad death of Claire Squires who was just finishing the London Marathon at Birdcage Walk, paramedics were unable to revive Claire who was running for the Samaritans. The news is a shock as Claire was only 30 years old. We have sponsored her today and will take her courage and inspiration on our Challenge. Claires charity sponsorship page is Claire Squires and we hope a HUGE amount is reached, Claires memory will live on and I personally hope her sad news will inspire many others to take up a challenge or maybe run the London Marathon themselves in years to come.

May

Hard to believe that it's May already, despite the cold and wet weather here in the UK, the training has to continue, at 42 I'm no spring chicken no more and clocking up these 10 mile runs every Sunday are starting to take their toll with a mid-week 5 mile short speedier run, I was intereested to see how the team were getting on with their training. Pete Skilton who's a team member and part-owner of Solsteerin popped round with his kit bag on Friday, I nearly didn't recognise him!! He has lost not pounds in weight but stones! I was amazed, he's training everyday and certainly looking much better for it.......I guess that's youngsters for you though.

Pete chose a latest state of the trekking world backpack called 'Deuter' weighing extremely light yet providing the essential space for sleeping bag, tent and essentials. We decided it would be good to arrange a team meeting later next week and discuss routes across the Mont Blanc massif region as there are quite a few alternatives if the weather takes a turn for the worse, also, to discuss what or who needs cookers and our tents situation. A crash course in cooking on a small gas stove that holds not much more than a sausage and 6 baked beans is not going to see me through the day so a few high carbohydrate supplimentary meals will be part of my stable daily calorie intake as our guide states we will be burning up a few extra thousand calories per day than usual! Ouch, I'm going to be hungry a lot I think lol.

We've also finally launched our Facebook Mont Blanc Challenge Event Page and our Press Release has also been accepted so it's all systems go! We are going to set-up a Twitter account for all to see our updates during the Challenge and look forward to receiving a few fun messages and support, amazing that technology can give you this on the side of a Mountain, providing theirs signals of course! We already have a few business sponsors on board with kit support and sponsorship for the Weston Hospicecare: Many Thanks to: NK Sports, Sports Store, Sporting Equipment and sponsorship, The Print Sign Shop, Printers in Weston-super-Mare for advertising, printing and great support, Steel Decking Suppliers Prodeck-Fixing in Somerset for sponsorship, Hairdressers in Weston-super-Mare, Headlines Hair & Beauty.....no, not for hair cuts before we go but for sponsorship lol, Caravan Dealers Davan Leisure for sponsorship, support and equipment. Many thanks to those who have been sponsoring via our www.JustGiving.com/2012MontBlanc page here too.

I'm personally looking forward to some warmer weather for training and with just over 7 weeks til we fly out June is fast approaching. Geneva, Switzerland, and Chamonix Mont Blanc have been enjoying some warm temperatures so maybe the snow situation is getting better and the crampons can stay in the bags! The Euros kick-off in June so time will fly for sure.

Recovered from my throat infection and decided tonight was a nice night to go for a run, blow out a few cobwebs and at 8 miles I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left calf muscle!! Ouch!! Not good, managed to slowly jog back home to assess the damage and it looks like a few more days rest for myself. The rest of the team seem to be progressing very well and building up the cardio for the thinner air!

Many Thanks to Blocked Drains Cleaning Company 'Lords of The Drains' for Sponsoring the Team on our Challenge.

Wow, how time fly's by when you're having fun!! Training has began again after damaging my calf muscle and post cold but with only 4 weeks til the Challenge now every day counts. All equipment has been trialed and tested, the routes have been scrutinised and locations for camping on altitudes or slopes that are hopefully not too exposed to the winds or elements. An altitude day has also been planned to the top of Aiguille Du Midi, one of Europes most Beautiful views standing in excess of 12,000ft looking across to Mont Blanc itself, we plan to spend the night sleeping at the High Point hut a day or so before our opportunity to attempt the summit. 

Weather in the UK has improved immensely seeing temperatures around the high 20's has helped with spirits and training but weather over the alps has taken the brunt of heavy snow last week with over 35cm falling in just 2 days above 6,000ft, thankfully we were due to go this week coming but changed dates to fir everyones availability.

The sponsorship has been flowing in, a massive Thankyou to ALL who have taken the time and support The Weston Hospicecare. A Few BIG THANKYOU's to Website Hosting Company  'Patrick Internet', Drain Cleaners 'Aquablast Drains', Tribute Act 'American Legends Show for Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond Tributes, Professional Caterers 'Nickies Griddle' in Somerset, Yolande Henley!!, Wedding Video Filming Company 'WeddingFilming.co.uk', Conrad Logan, Ken Jones of Radiodetection Company Cal-Services, friends and family. 4 weeks to go and we've nearly reached 50% so I am going to push hard in training and also sponsorship and see if we can reach both goals, fingers crossed. 

Summer 1st June

As the 'Golden jubilee' approaches followed by The Euros football the next few weeks will be enjoyable in some way we hope, have a good one everyone, until my next update. x

Back to Heavy Rain & Strong Winds

This coming weekend 10th June 2012 see's the Weston Hospicare Group launch another fantastic annual event called "The Mendip Challenge" where you have an option to walk, run or trek the 5 mile, 10 miles, 20 miles or the "BIG ONE" 30 miles + 1 Extra mile for FUN to see the views atop the Crook Peak. There certainly will be plenty of puddles this year as Atlantic Lows sweep in on the Jet Stream bringing more heavy downpours and strong winds. Feel sorry for anyone doing the 30+1 Miles............oh............that's me! :o)

If anyone gets the chance to show their support via the routes or in sponsorship it is greatfully appreciated. This is a perfect final big training session for me personally prior to Mont Blanc TMB and I certainly look forward to spending some quality time chatting en-route with a few friends, Nigel Flaskett is also taking on the Mercury Mendip and is a long time friend through my football days at Weston Saint Johns. See you all on the Mendips! (3 weeks tomorrow til The TMB Challenge) Where has all the time gone!

The Mercury Mendip Challenge

30+ Miles through the rain, pain, mud and awful weather conditions but with a bunch of people that all had the same thing in common, 'Making a Difference'! Whether in memory of a loved one or for someone who is currently using the Weston Hospicecare Amazing services, the event was brilliant. Organised to perfection with water stops, check-points and emergency support if needed. The blisters, aches and pains are slowly subsiding and healing so it's a few small runs and 10 mile walks now until 29th June, how time flys.

Walking the 30 miles (48kms) on Sinday gave me a perfect opportunity to test out my Deuter backpack, platypus (Camel sack) for drinking, weight issues with amount of kit carried as on Sunday it was around (25lbs), walking boots for blisters and for any fine tuning. During the TMB Challenge the furthest we will walk in a day will be around 21 kilometers unless we need to make up ground from previous days and weather depending conditions that may slow us down. Taking into account the harder terrain, the altitude but the UK Weather will surely take some beating!! It poured and poured.

The route for the TMB Challenge we are taking is anti-clockwise that begins at Chamonix in France, Les Houches to Les Contamines to Les Chapieux, to Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur, to Rifugio Bonatti, to La Fouly, to Champex, to Trient, to Tre Le Champ, to Le Flegere and finally back to Les Houches via Chamonix.

Weather depending and knowing how hard we all push each other we are hoping to have a good days rest prior to a acclimitisation day on top of Aiguille Du Midi, some 12,000+Ft high that looks across to Mont Blanc, weather permitting and fitness depending some of the team may use this prior to summiting Mont Blanc as a perfect height ascending to 15,000Ft, giving the body a better chance to acclimatise to the conditions. The most popular route to summit Mont Blanc is known as The Gouter route, it's the shortest route, most popular, even though it's one of the largest altitude differences in the world, as only crampons, limited ropes and poles are required but temperatures drop to as low as -45 with wind chill so wrapping up warm is essential. A night time stop at The Gouter hut, leaving at around 1am to the Gouter Dome, next point is the Bosses Ridge above Vallot hut, this is where crampons and ice axes come into their own, then finally with good clement weather onto the summit for a memorable sunrise. We may use a guide based in Chamonix to lead and summit, depending on group choice and whoever feels fit enough to continue.

56% Sponsorship  - We are Getting There!

I'm delighted to announce we have reached 56% of our sponsorship goal, thankyou to everyone who has helped us reach this goal. The UK Wedding Planner and Brother in Law George Watts, The Hilton family, Professional Landscape Photographer John Finch of 'Finch Photography', school friends Linda Locke and Mum, Stuart Green and Duncans Brother James Perry of PCS Limted in Calgary Canada.

7 Days & Counting

This weekend we welcome Duncan's arrival from Canada and he will be meeting the rest of the team mid-week, a message to Paul Davies, GET WELL Before Friday buddie! Paul has had a Virus for the past few weeks and has gone onto anti-biotics so hopefully will be fit and raring to go come Friday 29th. The Weather here in the UK has been nothing short of amazing................for all the wrong reasons! As many of you know I help website owners achieve better search resiults as an Seo and help moderate the weather website UK Weather World, the UK's biggest and best weather forum so updates on our weather predicaments on the alps should hopefully be well planned, afternoon storms and snow still falling across the massif region is somewhat concerning even as we approach July, I can see the UK and Europe having some glorious hot weather in mid July onwards but by then we shall have returned.

Sad News

As the team knows, the Massif Region and the Alps takes many lives per year, Chamonix is nicknamed the 'Death Sport Capital of the World' due to the amount of extreme sports in the location and sadly Mont Blanc climbing. The World of ski-alpinism was rocked to the core last week with the sad announcement of the death of Stephane Brosse. Stephane was a world Champion and a World record holder for Mont Blanc and many other accollades to his sport and sadly died rapidly crossing the West side of the Mont Blanc region while filming with a team doing what he loved. The previous week another death was reported in the dangerous Grand Couloir 'Death Gully' on the ascent to Mont Blanc via the Gouter route, a stark and harsh warning to us all and others who are attempting the ascent. The Alps can look beautiful on a glorious sunny day and turn at the blink of an eye with Blizzards even possible during July and August with 4 deaths of walkers on the TMB in a July Blizzard a few years ago, planning is everything, instinct and awareness. The many attributes we will all be taking with us.

I'm deeply saddened to say a friend from Weston who's Mum needed the Professional care of The Weston Hospice in her last few days of her life just last week. Her family had been caring and loving her up until the Professional and medical care was needed and thankfully the hospicecare was there. We understand that Times are hard we know but even if friends on Facebook can share my post on my wall, it is getting the message out to many others of just how amazing the Weston Hospicecare is for so many people during a time that it is so badly needed.

On a Happier note, I'm delighted to say we reached £1,500 this week, exceeding 60% of the total fundraising goal! Thanks to all who have sponsored so far, keep the share messages on Facebook going. The final days prior to our Challenge will be no doubt nervous ones, last minute checks, food and backpack weighing and hopefully some good support from the local press. Don't forget, you'll be able to keep track of our progress on Twitter as well as our Facebook events page. http://twitter.com/#!/2012_MontBlanc

Many Thanks to great friends Sue & Ray Fear, Marie Colpitts, Chris Donkin, family Matt Smith & Kerry Worlock, Mike Marshall and Shelley and Brian Dudley, Simon Gready of Safemode Computer Support, Jon Williams, Louis and Collette Loizou, Laurence and Michaela Haring of Dental Nurse Agency and 24 Hour Garage in Weston-super-Mare, The Hiltons xx, Jane and Simon Coles of All-Autos Repairs and MOT Garage in Weston, Linda and Valerie Cole and Professional Kitchen Installer and Fitter Rick Edwards. Your support has been fantastic. 

A Warm welcome to Duncan Perry, team member has arrived from Canada today, he meets up with the remainder of the team later this week, hopefully he's bought some Canadian sunshine for the UK! 4 days to go and all eyes are on the Alps weather forecasts now. Please keep sharing the Facebook posts on your profiles and spread to great work of The Weston Hospicecare, you've ALL been brilliant, Thank-You.

A Special Thanks to IT Support Providers TN Associates for their support and sponsorship taking our personal fundraising goal to 70%! Thanks Tim Noble and Co x.

Many Thanks to Sarah Craw Chiropodist in Weston-super-Mare

We Did It!

We are back safely after completing the TMB in just 8 days, we rekked over 200kms, ascended over 33,000ft equivalent to ascending Mount Everest, we crossed all 3 countries and completed a 360 degree anti-clockwise route through France, Italy and finally Switzerland circumnavigating Mont Blanc itself. We were able to take all of the high pass columns over the heavy snow, ice and glacier routes before returning to Chamonix, les Houches. We walked in 37 degree temperatures and camped in some of the most spectacular locations on earth. If anyone is considering trying the TMB or similar challenge then 'Go For It'. I can clearly see why it is rated as the Worlds Best Trekking route and one of the toughest in the world.

No doubt many of you have seen the news story of the awful avalanche that killed 9 climbers on Wednesday 11th July around 4.30am and that this was one of our opportunities as our timing and conditions were not good on Monday. We met up with 2 British teams who were coming down from L'Aiguille Du Midi that had failed on numerous attempts via Mont Maudit route to the Mont Blanc summit, we hope these were not caught up in the avalanche. Our thoughts go out to all family and friends of those that were involved. John Taylor, Roger Payne and Steve Barber were 3 British climbers sadly killed. Once news had come through it was clear that our Challenge team had been very lucky as we had decided to turn back after reaching the top of L'Aiguille especially after being told there had been an avalanche on Saturday via Tacul and due to high winds. We were asked to do interviews with Sky News about the Mont Maudit avalanche, BBC, Radio 5 Live and many others. Myself and the team feel extremely lucky and saddened of the loss of life, when stepping onto any mountain, snow covered or at altitude, you are putting yourself at some risk, it seems as though the avalanche could have happened at anytime but heavy night time snow and warm temperatures during the day matched with strong winds leading up to the event may have contributed to the avalanche. The L'Aiguille Du Midi cable car is closed today due to high winds.

We cannot thank our family, friends and all of you who have taken the time to wish us luck, support our challenge and sponsor us during hard times, I am therefore delighted to let everyone know that we have virtually reached our £2,500 goal which at times I thought we would not. The Weston Hospicecare have given us some valuable facts on where and what the sponsorship will be spent on. As previously mentioned, every penny goes to the Hospice as the team members paid for our trip from our own personal money therefore giving the charity every penny raised, I wish more fundraisers would do this so the chosen charity benefits moreso. I hope we didn't worry everyone too much during our Challenge, I must admit, there were many scary moments on columns, ice crossings, high altitude ladder climbs and on the Mont Blanc Massif itself. Duncan Perry had a nasty fall and had badly torn his ligaments or worse still cracked a bone in his ankle while Nick Smith had a lucky escape when falling on an alpine path but saved by a tree when rolling down the slope edge. It goes to show, never under estimate a Challenge and ALWAYS respect the mountain ranges.

A Personal Thank-you to the guys and support in Weston-super-Mare. Duncan Perry flying from Canada to join us, Nick Smith, Paul Davies, Paul Harrington, Peter Skilton, Keith Trask and Jack Edgar, it was a pleasure and an honour....remember............."It's Only Pain". xx

Please keep sponsoring us, our page will be open for a few months yet and the Great work of the Weston Hospicecare continues. I return back to my Profession as an Seo and Web Design Marketing in Weston-super-Mare but am available to speak to anyone for advice on equipment and the TMB Challenge. 07939 009153.

 

About the charity

Weston Hospicecare

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 900328
Weston Hospicecare provides expert end-of-life care, free of charge, to people with life-limiting illnesses. Our goal is people can live as well as they can, for as long as they can; we help them feel like family and friends again, not just patients and carers.

Donation summary

Total raised
£2,290.20
+ £371.55 Gift Aid
Online donations
£1,995.20
Offline donations
£295.00

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