Willie Mitchell of The Leanne Fund recently said to me "do you realise that it's the height of six Ben Nevis' stacked on top of each other just to reach Base Camp, and ten to reach the summit.. It is actually between 6 and 7 x Ben Nevis to reach the height of 19,800 ft I am aiming for.
Maybe it was at this point it actually dawned on me the size of the task that lay ahead of me. This was not going to be like a day in the hills gathering sheep knowing that at the end of which I would be going home to my own bed. This was going to be about testing my own physical and mental capabilities along with dealing with altitude acclimatisation and extreme altitude acclimatisation.
I can be the fittest person on earth but without the correct mental attitude and understanding on how to deal with theses atmospheric changes and decreased oxygen levels, I might as well stay at home.
One part of this trek that does bother me is Mountain Sickness / Altitude Sickness so I have being reading up quite considerably on this. Then of course there is the prospect of meeting the elusive Yeti.
A bit about Mountain Sickness: Courtesy of Altitude.org
Altitude sickness has three forms. Mild altitude sickness is called acute mountain sickness (AMS) and is quite similar to a hangover - it causes headache, nausea, and fatigue. This is very common: some people are only slightly affected, others feel awful. However, if you have AMS, you should take this as a warning sign that you are at risk of the serious forms of altitude sickness: HAPE and HACE.
HAPE is excess fluid on the lungs, and causes breathlessness. It is never normal to feel breathless when you are resting - even on the summit of Everest. This should be taken as a sign that you have HAPE and may die soon. HAPE can also cause a fever (a high temperature) and coughing up frothy spit. HAPE and HACE often occur together.
Two things are certain to make altitude sickness very likely - ascending faster than 500m per day, and exercising vigourously. Physically fit individuals are not protected - even Olympic athletes get altitude sickness. Altitude sickness happens because there is less oxygen in the air that you breathe at high altitudes.
Physical training has become a way of life at present with my presence at 4am in the gym as quite normal (peace and quiet) as has the weekend trips to the hills with my rucksack weighted with bottled water as ballast to replicate what I am going to have to carry.
My diet has had to change (to a certain extent) with carbohydrates and calories playing their part, however the fry up remains (albeit on a reduced level) as does the occasional bacon roll. Coffee is reduced, Water is increased. My body has gone into shock !
Mt Everest Images Copyright: Sir Chris Bonington.
The majority of the worlds population can only ever dream about what it must feel like to stand on top of the worlds highest mountain, and at the same time not realise just how much preparation, organisation and physical and mental energy it takes to get there, and, in an environment with depleted levels of oxygen and sub zero temperatures. My trek to base camp is not about personal goals, it is about raising funds for two fantastic charities and at the same time it is also about respecting the men and women who have not only been there before but have achieved the ultimate goal in reaching the summit. It is also about paying my respects to the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to achieve their goal. Looking back over the years I can only admire how Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing managed to reach the summit when you compare the equipment and clothing they had then, to what is now readily available. I owe a debt of thanks to Sir Chris Bonington for allowing me to use a handful of his images to showcase a journey I am about to make.
To climb to nearly 20,000 feet I would have said " I can't do it", but even if I have to crawl........ For the Leanne Fund and St Abbs Independent Lifeboat I will achieve it.
Most of the climbers and trekkers in the world long to work their way to Everest Base Camp at least once in lifetime. The Everest Base Camp Trek has been exceptionally popular for climbers and trekkers since the very first successful expeditions to the Nepalese side of Everest in 1953 (May 29th) by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary. The area is famous for its stunning mountain peaks and the welcoming and friendliness of local people. The region is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. While many of the routes through the mountains are challenging, there are ample places to rest and let your body get used to the elevation.Visit our Fundraising Page