Jamie Campbell-Harris, Group CFO of Incisive Media one of our Corporate Partners, shares his story below.
In August my daughter, Alexandra, and I joined a group of friends and other trekkers on a trek to Everest Base Camp. Having read numerous books about the climbing of Everest, both successful and unsuccessful attempts, it had been a long term ambition of mine to see the mountain in real life. When the opportunity came up this year, I just couldn’t turn it down despite some trepidation about the altitude and other challenges on the way. I was pleased that I persuaded Alexandra to come with me!
Given the challenges we faced, we both thought it would be a huge opportunity to raise some money for charity and we each chose a charity dealing with matters close to both our hearts. I was delighted to support The Connection at St Martins, as it is based close to my office and helps so many people in need in our local area. Alexandra chose Breast Cancer Now.
The trek had two goals. Firstly to get to Everest Base Camp (5,380m) and secondly to climb Kala Patthar (5,550m), a small mountain close to EBC, but from which you can get great views of Mount Everest (which actually cannot be seen properly from Base Camp). It was planned to take 10 days to trek to EBC which included two acclimatisation days. We took it slowly to give us the best chance of avoiding altitude sickness, but it also gave us the opportunity to visit and stay in several different local mountain villages.
The first two challenges of the trek included the flight to Lukla in the Himalayas (famously considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world!) and crossing a number of suspension bridges across rivers and gorges which were extremely high and quite wobbly! With these challenges overcome, altitude became our main concern as we both found the walking, even up some steep and long trails, tough but manageable and actually enjoyable. That, and the constant low hanging cloud and rain, as we were doing this trek in low season towards the end of the monsoon. We feared that we may never see Everest after all!
The Big Day
All was well though. On the day we trekked to Base Camp, the cloud lifted, there was a gorgeous blue sky all morning and we were surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. This weather stayed for the next three days while we were at our highest points and happily we saw stunning views of Everest as well as other famous mountains in the region – Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori and Ama Dablam to name a few.
Alexandra and I were lucky to achieve both our goals, but not everybody did. Only 10 of the 14 original trekkers made it to Base Camp and only 5 of us made it up Kala Patthar. I think the knowledge of the sponsorship we raised put some pressure on us to meet our side of the bargain and we were delighted to rise to the challenge!
If you feel inspired to take on a challenge for The Connection, please visit our events page.