Can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to childishly imitate the movie ‘The Ring’ and whisper ‘SEVEN DAYS’ for the second time in just 2 years. I’m just one week away from flying back to Nepal for Everest 2015 and couldn’t be in a better place- physically, mentally, socially or financially. Things are going so well that I can’t help but wonder what’s due to go wrong? If I was more laidback, I’d be horizontal.
So time for a quick update as there’s lots of admin to be done in the coming days.
Speaking has taken off once again. Four motivational talks in Chester, Warrington and Wrexham provided good experience and I met Polar explorer Mark Wood. It was quite sobering to hear his own stories of Everest brought to life in front of me. I also spoke to the team at Sharples Group Ltd, one of my expedition sponsors.
Last Friday was the crux. On behalf of headline sponsors Active Cheshire, I spoke at the Cheshire West Sports Awards to over 200 people including a gaggle of notable VIPs to add some pressure, not forgetting headline sponsors Westgrove Group and supporters Shortlist Recruitment also in the room. The stakes were high. I was flabbergasted to receive a standing ovation despite some technical glitches- but what did I expect on Friday the 13th?
We raised over £1,800 on the night for the Alex Staniforth Adversity Fund with the auction (thanks to all who donated!) meaning my fundraising total for both the Himalayan Trust UK and Adversity Fund is now over £5,200. That’s almost the same as the total I raised AFTER Everest last year- and I’m not even there yet!! Thanks so much to all who’ve donated, you know who you are. And a big thanks to Sir Chris Bonington, president of the Himalayan Trust UK, for helping me raise awareness about the £30,000 fundraising target. Utterly humbled.
The pre-Everest PR Wave has truly kicked off and bigger than ever to really build some awareness and hopefully boost charity donations. A plethora of interviews and articles on TV, radio and newspapers have been quite exciting. I was however, cut off from a live interview due to my stammer. Now I refuse to do them live. Meanwhile, over half a million people got an insight into the chaotic bedroom of an Everest climber-to-be…
Training is coming to a close, too. It’s a fine balance between maintaining my aerobic capacity and strength (not that I have any muscle anyway) and burning the candle. On Wednesday, the keys will be pulled out of the ignition. My diet plan remains as strict as ever, until the day I leave. Enjoyed a final hill day with my good friend Ste this week. A pleasant change from the pea soup visibility of Scottish Winter training- the classic Snowdon Horseshoe in epic weather. Ending in style! (Photos by Ste Rumbelow)
People keep saying to me: ”You WILL summit Everest”.
But they don’t know this. I don’t know this. Nobody knows this. My family don’t know this. Does my dog know this? You bet he doesn’t. My hamster doesn’t know this…. and I don’t even have a hamster.
As much as I fully believe that I can- there is no point in saying I will. There are so many factors out of my control. Everest doesn’t care how much money I’ve spent. Just because I didn’t get above base camp last year, Everest doesn’t feel sorry for me. I was one of the lucky ones. Will Everest spit it’s tea out if I plead that I’ve suffered countless hours in the gym and icy mountains in the cold, or made big sacrifices to make it a reality? No. Risked my life in the process? Nope.
But what I can say, is that should the chance present itself, I will give every last fibre of mind and muscle I have left. With the things that I DO have control over, I’ve done everything I can do to reach that pinnacle of the world. The rest, is down to Everest itself. And that’s fine. I’m not trying to conquer the mountain. I’m trying to sneak up there before it gives me a kick up the backside. If you try and beat an imposing 29,035ft precipice of rock; you will lose.
It’s not all about the summit. It’s the journey, experiences, and the people you meet. The rest is a bonus. But of course, we aim for the top. After all, if you boarded a plane to California and ended up in Prestatyn, you’d be a little miffed.
I’m also asked; ”What’s next?”. One day at a time. I’m not there yet. I’ll just keep going upwards.