Last night I attended the Sherpa Adventure Gear, “Everest Uncovered” talk at the Royal Geographical Society, discussing the history and future of the world’s highest peak.
The talk featured Sherpa Adventure Gear athlete Kenton Cool and Sherpa Adventure Gear brand ambassadors Lakpa Rita Sherpa and Heather Geluk, who’s written a blog about her thoughts on not being a “hardened mountaineer”, but a ‘normal’ person,with a 9-5 job here.
Heather told us that how she jumped from 6000m peaks, straight to Everest…. was perhaps not being the best way of doing it and how being a woman on Everest wasn’t an issue, as everyone was equal in the team. ( A topic I’m interested in and explore in an article coming up soon…) She explained that even being super fit doesn’t mean you will make it to the top; she prepares by sleeping in an altitude tent for 6-8 weeks beforehand to stimulate the body to produce more red blood cells. Can’t be great for the love life though?
Kenton was asked if he would consider climbing Everest without carrying additional oxygen. It’s something he’s thought about, he said, especially as he is a keen cyclist as he has questioned if using oxygen is any different to doping in cycling. Kenton says his short term memory has certainly been affected from lack of oxygen.
He was asked by a concerned parent who’s daughter wants to get into mountaineering if it really should be something he encourages as its a ‘dangerous sport.’ Kenton said that ultimately you have to consider who you are and what drives you. He and Heather said it was about the people along the way that you meet who inspire you and take you from one journey to another into dangerous places. For Kenton, its not about being the best, but ‘being the best you can be.’ Heather agreed that it was not about being ‘harder, faster or higher’- but about loving being in the mountains… so I guess they encouraged worried dad to let his daughter follow her heart?
Anyway, I’m certainly keen to do more treks and climbs next year… again, inspired by people I’ve met along the way…. on ski trips, in Chamonix, and during my own trip to Everest earlier this year for the 60th anniversary of the first successful summit of Everest by Hilary and Tenzing.
Here is an earlier blog about this: On top of the World, Making like Edmund Hillary on a trip to Everest.