Catching up with business. Last week I went to the Brecon Beacons for the day to meet up with award-nominated film-maker Chris Beard whom I met in Chester a few weeks ago. We wanted to get a day filming done for the early stages of his upcoming documentary on Everest. I don’t want to give away too much now but I can promise you it’s a really exciting prospect and Chris will be documenting my approach and journey to Everest from training and my general life perspective too. Who knows, it may be headed for a TV screen near you- I’ll keep you posted. This week’s shoutout from Twitter goes to Phillida D who recently climbed Kilimanjaro with her 10 year old, pretty cool eh?
Firstly, I need YOUR help with my funding now. I’ve been short-listed to win £1500 through the Nurofen Big Lives Trust alongside 4 others. That could be £1500 towards my expedition which would be a great help. Voting opened on Tuesday and the most votes in one week wins. PLEASE go to the page and vote and share as much as you can! https://www.facebook.com/Nurofen/app_575853522447526
I’ve never been to the Brecon Beacons before so I thought it was a good call. I’ve read lots and lots about it in Bear Grylls’ book ‘Mud Sweat and Tears’. Now I’ll come onto that another day but I do want to say quickly that book helped me through the biggest setback of my life- the running injury, quite simply pains in my upper and lower shins, which had me out of action all of last year. Bear’s account of how he broke his back in a skydiving accident and climbed Everest aged 22 just 18 months later, is ultimately what one-day switched on the light-bulb in my head and kept me determined through the darkest depths of frustration I suffered whilst out of all exercise and training for over 12 months- with an unforeseeable future about whether my persistent shin pain and aching would even be diagnosed, never mind treated and me returning to running ever again. I owe him one. I remember reading it on a train last Winter on a rainy day. My attitude changed ever since that day and unsurprisingly, like Bear, I got through it, and I’m now back to full fitness with more strength and stamina than I have ever had.
Bear’s gruelling accounts of running in the Brecon Beacons inspired me. Not to go running with 50lb packs and rifles for several hours of darkness mid-Winter, but to go and check out the place. So we set off up the classic Brecon 4 Peaks Horseshoe, taking in Corn Ddu, Pen-y-Fan, Cribyn and Fan-y-Big. It was a great day out and we had a good laugh. Lots of good footage taken too. Lots more to come too and I’m looking forward to seeing it develop.
The walking was quite easy until I filled my pack with rocks from the edge of the path. It was a superb day out, nearly 900m of ascent and we arrived back at the car bang on time.
So what else have I been up to? Well fortunately my stolen bike was replaced by a shiny new Specialized Allez Sport 2014, for free. Not a bad replacement. Looking forward to getting out and doing some big several hour rides in the build up to Baruntse before I taper off to recover. Right now I’ve been sorting out kit and that has proved to be the biggest pain so far. You have to put so much care into getting clothing right- a tightly fitting boot or glove can mean the difference between warmth and frostbite. You really can’t skimp at this sort of altitude.
Got my Adventure Peaks kit bag too and found out a bit more info. There’s only 4 clients including myself in our expedition so hopefully form a close-knit bunch of mates. I’m feeling ready now and I’ve done my research. There are factors I can’t control but whatever happens this will be a life-changing once-in-a-lifetime experience for me that will give me a fantastic insight into the Himalayas in my preparation for the Big E. Being away from home for 35 days will be a challenge, but we need challenge to push ourselves to develop.
Trying on some of my new gear too. It doesn’t come cheap. Girls think they spend a lot on shoes but this takes it to a new level! Millet Everest boots are one of, if not the, warmest high-altitude mountaineering boot you can buy. Practicing in my 5-season sleeping bag too. It’s all feeling very real. My wallet, very empty. Best of all I get to wear the boots onto the plane in less than 3 weeks time…
Funding wise, I’ve been offered a conditional £5000 grant, but I can’t say much more yet. With my recent confirmed sponsors and some BIG news in the pipeline to be confirmed very soon, I can assure you that I’m making good progress towards my funding target for Everest. In a world where sponsorship is becoming more difficult, I’m pleased, and extremely proud to have great brands supporting me. But essentially, without blowing my own trumpet, a lot of it comes down to a dogged determination and sheer drive to do this off my own steam. My own parents can’t fund the expedition but to hell is that going to stop me.