“A simple act of kindness made me realise it’s time to start giving and helping others”.
How it all began
Even as a very young boy I had a fascination with things that are a little different, finding challenges to push me to my limits - not just physically and mentally but also personally. There is of course the obvious mental and physical aspect of training for and climbing Mount Everest. Then there is the personal challenge of raising the money to fund such an adventure, whilst helping others by raising funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
A year away from the big event, and I was still undecided on whether to support a charity. However, a friend of mine did something extraordinary that made me realise that life is about giving and helping others. I was at a BNI networking meeting when Steve stood up and presented Thames Valley Air Ambulance with £300 which he had won on their charity horse racing event the night before. Now, most people would have found a personal use for this money, but not Steve. In front of a stunned audience he quietly handed the money over and words cannot describe how such a small but generous gesture had the biggest impact on myself.
I've invested my life savings to follow my dream over the last 5 years and finally I'm heading for the big one (the summit of Mount Everest). The expedition is planned for April 2018 and training is going well.
Achieving this dream will also allow me to raise as much money as possible for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, who deliver critical medical care to save lives across the Thames Valley. I hope you can donate what you can to support this extremely worthy cause.
Who gets the money?
1) Thames Valley Air Ambulance, who will receive all proceeds minus the ‘JustGiving’ admin costs.
Follow the Climb
I am running a Facebook page with all the updates before and during the expedition. https://www.facebook.com/groups/166170860610974/
My love of mountaineering began as a young boy living in the Pennines. This interest was reignited when in my thirties I headed to Peru to trek the awe-inspiring Inca Trail. I summited Kilimanjaro soon after and on my first trip to Nepal to trek the Everest trails, I witnessed the majestic beauty of Mount Everest for the first time. Various weeks in Scotland followed, honing my winter mountaineering skills. Ready for my next challenge, I returned to Nepal to conquer Mera Peak - a great introduction to high-level mountaineering. Mount Denali in Alaska followed, my toughest challenge so far and one of the mountains required to accept my application to climb Mount Everest.
I arrive in Nepal on 8th April 2018, completing the expedition in early June. Sixty days have been allocated for the expedition. The aim is simple, to climb to the summit of Mount Everest and return safely.
I'm climbing with SummitClimb. They have completed more than 25 Himalayan and over 11 Everest expeditions with a strong record of reaching the top of our world's highest peak. With a personal working knowledge of Tibetan officials, liaison officers, sherpas, cooks, yak drivers, and hoteliers/ restaurateurs, their experience in helping me achieve my goal will be invaluable.
We are climbing the North side of Everest from Tibet. This is the route George Mallory and Andrew Irvine climbed in 1924, never, sadly, to return. Did they reach the top? Nobody knows. However, in 1999 they found George’s body and missing from his person was a photo of his wife. This could be significant as he promised his wife he would leave her photo at the summit. To this day Andrew has never been found.
Everest National Park
At 8,848 metres / 29,035 feet, Mount Everest is perhaps the most coveted mountain in the world. Everest National Park in Tibet is situated among rolling, vast green short-grass and boulder-strewn valleys leading up to the base of the mountain. This beautiful and stark environment is inhabited with wild birds and animals such as antelope, deer, fox, gazelles and yaks. Plants in the park range from spruce, pine, and a wide variety of evergreen trees as well as coldbelt grasslands. Upon reaching basecamp we trek towards the mountain, where the changing vegetation becomes more alpine and rocky. The best views of Mount Everest can be seen from this altitude, from either Tibet or Nepal.
Starting the climb to basecamp
The journey from Kathmandu into Tibet and basecamp offers an interesting insight into Tibetan culture, walking in the beautiful surrounding hills to acclimate to the rising altitude. It offers a great chance to encounter the vast Tibetan plateau and the surrounding Himalayan Giants. We end at Chinese base camp at 5,200 metres/17,000 feet, located near the ancient and active Rongbuk Monastery. Along the way we stay and eat at rustic hotels.
At this point we’ll be higher than Mount Blanc and it’s the only time I’ll get a tent to myself. Tents are based on a sharing basis beyond this point, and on past expeditions I have been extremely lucky to have tent-shared with some truly inspiring mountaineers.
Trek to advanced basecamp (6400m)
This beautiful trek to the base of the highest peak in the world is very accomplishable by the average person who enjoys walking. There is no climbing, only walking on moraine trails. From basecamp we trek up the amazing Rongbuk glacier, also known as the "Golden Highway", where there are gorgeous views of stunning peaks in the area, including Lakpa-Ri and its "Little Sisters", as well as Changtse and Everest. At 6,400 meters/21,000 feet, Advanced Basecamp (ABC) must be the highest basecamp in the world. At this point we’ll be 500m higher than Kilimanjaro.
Climbing to the high camps (7000m)/(7600m)/(8300m)
After ABC, we clip into our fixed lines for a sloping glacier walk up to the North Col (camp 1) at 7000 metres/24,900 feet. There is one steep section of 50-80 degrees. North Col is a pass between the Everest North East Ridge and Changtse. There are incredible views here, looking towards Pumori in Nepal, as well as Lhakpa Ri. At this point we will be higher than any mountain outside of the Himalayas.
From the North Col, we ascend the glacier and eventually the rocky north ridge to set up Camp 2 at around 7500-7800 metres/24,600 feet.
After camp 2 the trail traverses to the west and up the north face around and through a series of 30 degree gullies and slopes before reaching the site of Camp 3 at 8,300 metres/27,200 feet. At this point only the summits of Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, Lhoste and Makalu are higher.
This will take a minimum of 4 weeks. If it all goes to plan and the weather holds, it could realistically take 6 weeks before a summit attempt can be made.
Summit attempt (8848m)
From Camp 3 (8300m), we will make our final summit push. Climbers must first make their way through three rock bands known as the first, second, and third steps. Step 2 in particular, is an exciting rock-buttress to ascend. After surmounting the 3rd Step, the summit is ahead. Once above these steps, the final summit slopes (35 to 58 degrees) to the top (8848m).
We will be taking a lot of rest days throughout the expedition. Rest days are our recovery days. We are encouraged to relax by reading, listening to music, eating and drinking, the only physical exercise being a stroll to visit other teams. There might also be the opportunity to descend to a low village for three-four days to soak up the sunshine and thicker air before our final summit push.
Thank you for your support,