Fulfilling a life-long dream to trek to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain, Everest, SAE Institute’s Luke Osbond set off in the name of charity to walk at an altitude of 5545m hiking carrying 70kilos of weight on his back for eleven days. He shares his experience with us...
It was something I’ve always had on my bucket list - I’d thought that the Himalaya’s looked stunning and I’m into my photography of course so when the opportunity came about I knew I had to go for it; it was a now or never kind of moment.
Did you complete intensive training for it?
Well I like to keep myself relatively fit any way, but I definitely upped the ante for this, one of my jaunts was rising early enough to run around the Oxford ring road.
What were the conditions like?
It was actually warmer during the day than I thought it would be, especially as you’re drumming up your own body heat from all of the exercise, but the nights got bitterly cold.
Did you get the dreaded mountain sickness?
We all did a bit - I was quite fortunate as mine was only very slight, but I think my general core fitness played a big role in preparing me for that. Because you’re constantly exerting yourself at such a high altitude the reduction of oxygen gave me a constant headache on the back of my neck which was hideous. One guy seemed to be coping but ended up with acute mountain sickness and had to be hellied off the mountain.
Best photo opp?
One morning, even though by that point we were completely exhausted we rose excruciatingly early and climbed by the light of our glow sticks which is no mean feat when literally everything is covered in black ice and you can’t see enough to grab onto, anyway we pioneered on and made it to this incredible view point to see the sunrise over Everest.
It was completely worth it!
And how much did your team raise?
I managed to collect £2600 from very supportive friends and family, and collectively we raised £82,000 for Child Reach International.
That’s an incredible amount!
Yes and to know and have seen exactly where it’s going is great and I feel incredibly privileged to have had this experience.
What was your most favoured memory?
For me it was working within the school for a day and seeing the children’s reactions to what we take for granted - taking a photo on a digital camera and having them see themselves on it got massive smiles. You have to remember that they don’t have any gadgets, electricity or running water.
What was that like to be around?
Very eery almost at first - you feel suddenly overawed by the natural surroundings and totally cut-off from normal civilisation. Yet living like that is completely normal for them and everyone seemed happy.
What’s next on the bucket list?
The Oner. Definitely. It’s a triple marathon cliff run from Weymouth to Poole overnight, typically only 50% of people that start the race complete it and it’s been in my mind to do it for years...
We’ve no doubt that you will! Well done and good luck Luke!