Firstly this blogs’ Twitter shoutout goes to @AlScourfield. Really glad to be building up such a big audience surrounding the climb and the project in general.
I’m glad to confirm Great Bear Distribution of Tattenhall, Cheshire, as my latest sponsor who have contributed a significant amount towards my trip as a leading UK 3rd party logistics business. Many thanks to my friend Carl Johnson for his help with getting in contact. Check out www.greatbear.co.uk.
It’s been a successful few weeks of fundraising with a record of 6 meetings in 2 days last week! Thanks to Paul Daniels I’ve got 3 local Chester businesses becoming official supporters, including the Spinney Day Nursery, so another £750 in the kitty. Plus another £1,000 sponsorship from a local business to be confirmed soon.Tarvin Cars, one of the leading taxi services in my local area, are covering my flight and travel costs for the expedition. Awesome stuff. There’s more and more meetings in the pipeline. Could there be another major sponsor about to come onboard? You’ll have to wait and see. I’m equally grateful for all of the support I’ve had and my smaller sponsors too- pennies make pounds. Realistically the pressure is on BIG TIME now to fund this but I’m going to do it. I know it. If it wasn’t hard- it wouldn’t be worth doing! There is no try- only to do, or not to do….
If you’re interested in what drives me towards this big and beautiful mountain, risking everything, check out my latest interview- humbled to be titled the ‘ultimate teenage explorer!’ http://mudadventure.com/2014/02/04/the-ultimate-teenage-explorer-alex-staniforth/
It’s hard finding a balance nowadays. I breathe and live Everest. I should probably buy it a Valentines Day card next week. There’s no point training like hell for something I can’t afford to do…. equally, there’s no point setting up a project and fundraising without getting enough preparation to actually achieve it!
On that note, training has been going well. An 85 mile cycle barely tired me, which is probably a good sign. Went climbing with my Baruntse expedition leader Francis last week and was great to catch up on Cambridge Crags Route, II, Langdale, Lake District. Hot aches, eyes burning as snow pummelled my eyes, snow falling down onto us…. it was an awesome day out and great training experience to look after myself and wade around in the snow, had a great time. In fact later today I’m back off to the Lakes for some walking and wild-camping with my friend Keiran Hewkin, who’s setting up a great social enterprise business called Summit Clothing. Providing the high winds don’t blow him away on Helvellyn tomorrow, he’ll be launching this Spring so please check it out. Then back out with Francis for more climbing on Tuesday. I’ve been sitting on so many training ideas for a while, with 7 weeks to go, I just need to get on with it and get out there. Clock’s ticking.
I walked the Sandstone Trail on Thursday- well, just short of it, 32 miles in about 11 hours. Very muddy and slow underfoot. I was alone and in the dark for a few hours- in rain for most of it. Mentally I kept focused which I’m pleased about. Not particularly hilly or difficult, but a very long day out. Need some new boots!
But whilst I reap the rewards of what I and my supporters have sewn and new opportunities emerge, I lost my biggest supporter this week and best friend. My dog, Harley, a 13 year old Chocolate Labrador went for a walk in the skies. The end of an era. He was never the same since my other Labrador, Hooch, passed suddenly last September. Old age and various health problems caught up with him and by the end he couldn’t walk and refused to eat- we’d kept him alive on steak and sausages for his final weeks (I even made him a cake!) but his quality of life went downhill. He was a real fighter. I ultimately had to make the hardest decision of my life, to end his struggle and suffering, and after taking him for one last poignant sit by the local pond he had loved frolicking in, we watched him close his eyes for the final time. His time had come. Put to sleep in his bed at home with us by his side; as he’d been by ours for those many happy years. My dogs have grown like brothers to me. The only comfort I get is he’s no longer in the discomfort that kidney failure was causing him, tired or weak. I desperately miss having him around and I could say so much more. Every time I had to train in the mountains, I was dreading anything happening whilst I wasn’t at home. It’s true that whilst dogs can’t speak, they’re always there to love you unconditionally no matter what. It’s a great feeling. Harley was an intelligent, loving ‘gentleman’ dog, and very special, a one of a kind- I have never known a dog like him. His love for cheese, fine dining, slippers, his bed and anything soft… basically everything…. was undeniable. I have so many memories and laughs to share but this list would go on too long. Maybe the book Marley and Me needs a sequel…
I have no shame in showing the soppy, personal side to an ‘intrepid’ Everest climber-to-be. I’m honest and open and not going to put on any sort of act- my blog is about my personal life, after all. Sometimes I question why I’m putting my family through this, climbing such a dangerous mountain, but it means the world to me. I suppose we all need to be grateful for what we do have in life. I’d do anything to go back and walk my dogs again. It’s the simple things we take for granted. I’m grateful I have so many unforgettable memories to treasure and good times with them to enrich my life.
It’s not the same without them but I’ll never forget them and I know they’ll be pulling me on their leads all the way to the summit of Everest this May. I hope I do them proud.
Carpe Diem! Life’s short.