A message from CEO Richard Steer on his return from his trek to Everest Base Camp:
Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had an enjoyable festive period with your friends and families. Having departed Kathmandu on the 15th December I’m delighted to announce that on Christmas Eve we made our goal of reaching Everest Base Camp and after a further 2 solid days of hiking we arrived in Lukla (the World’s most dangerous airport) for our flight back to Kathmandu on Boxing Day to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation after a very arduous 11 day trek tackling some of the toughest terrain in the World.
The 2 of us had chosen to attempt the challenge unaided so there were no guides, porters or Sherpas to assist our trek to nearly 18,000 feet and the target of Everest Base Camp with everything we needed in our rucksacks. We’d elected to try and tackle the possible altitude sickness and acclimatisation issue by doubling the journey length to reach Everest Base Camp meaning we had 3 days of full on hiking just to get to Lukla where 99% of people start from. The weather at night in the huts and tea houses was extremely cold and meant there was ice on the inside of our room and my North Face minus 10 degree sleeping bag was only man enough for the job with thermals and sometimes even a hat and gloves on when I went to sleep. The daytime was cold but we trekked mostly in the sun and with the physical effort you didn’t notice how cold it was. The nights were totally different though and it was perishing with the temperature at EBC reaching minus 28 degrees – luckily we didn’t have to stop up there.
Because we were trekking for long days and making good progress it meant that due to the speed of our ascent I found the last 2 nights before we trekked to Base Camp to be extremely difficult whereby I couldn’t sleep for a single minute as my heart rate had dropped to 45bpm and my blood pressure had fallen significantly as well in the rarefied atmosphere – at Everest Base Camp there is half the oxygen levels you have at sea level hence the challenge! I felt I was suffocating and every 6th breath meant I had to take two large deep breaths just to fill my lungs before the process started again – this went on all night and was very unsettling to say the least. On the final night before we made our attempt I was up for all bar 3 hours with the same breathing difficulties and I was suffering from nausea and the worst headache I’d ever experienced as the altitude took its grip. It was a huge relief to reach our goal and turn round to find the safer haven of lower altitude which resolved the problem.
I got the chance to leave a Poppy up there and lay a small stone memorial to my Uncle who’d been killed in military service. The area I found to do this was a sacred site in the shadow of the Himalayas where many of the climbers who have lost their lives had memorials dedicated to them. It was a very moving and special place and will live long in the memory.
I’ve been incredibly humbled by the level of support I’ve received for this challenge and it meant a huge amount to me that so many people had taken the time to read my story and to help with the fund raising so a huge thank you from me because undoubtedly that support helped when the going got tough. If anyone who hasn’t supported the cause would like to then please visit my Just Giving page as I’d love to reach my target and I’m so close. Here’s the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-steer1
Thank you for all for your good wishes, it has meant an incredible amount to me. May I take the chance to sign off and wish you and your families a very Happy New Year and I hope you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019.
All the best