Exodus’ Managing Director Peter Burrell reports on the recent charity climb by One
I am really pleased to report that the team from Global Ethics made it to Kala Pattar and 5555m in November to complete their challenge. They raised well over £18,000 in the process. This means that at least another two communities in Africa will soon have access to clean water via a Play Pump. These are fantastic contraptions where school children provide the muscle power by spinning a roundabout to pump water which is held in a storage tank for them to take home at the end of the day.
Originally I had intended to complete the climb with them, but sadly work commitments got in the way. However, I was lucky enough to join the team for the first few days. Meeting in Kathmandu we had a frustrating day and a half at Kathmandu airport caused by the closure of the mountain airstrip at Lukla by unseasonably bad weather.
Undaunted, we finally flew in by helicopter to a small field two days walk south of Namche Bazaar, the main village on the route to Everest. From here we climbed through ever more impressive scenery to Khunde, the site of the hospital founded by Sir Edmund Hilary. This establishment provides the only comprehensive medical resource for the Sherpa population in the region and relies heavily on support from various benefactors.
As part of our wider Himalayan Community Support Project, Exodus arranged to transport and install two solar cookers, kindly donated by our clients, so that the hospital could benefit from free and environmentally friendly cooking power and a plentiful supply of hot tea. Holding a similar ethos to Exodus the One team were interested and willing helpers and the cookers are now up and working.
After visiting the local monastery to view the famous Yeti scalp, I was forced to say my rather disappointed and sad goodbyes and wished the team luck and stamina for the days ahead. I left them in the good hands of Valerie Parkinson, our Everest veteran and Manaslu summiteer. Valerie sent me this update after the summit day. “The day we were meant to climb Kala Patar dawned snowy and cloudy – despite the adverse conditions the team decided to go for the top. All 4 got to the summit of Kala Patar – 5555m at around 8.30 a.m. Visibility was almost nil and it was snowing and windy. The temperature dropped to well below zero at the top so there was just time for a quick photo before descending to Gorak Shep for a well deserved breakfast of fried eggs and baked beans on toast.” The guys were so fit they also managed a side trip towards the Khumbu Ice Fall where Valerie regaled them with her exploits of spring 2009 when she crossed this treacherous jungle of ice several times whilst climbing on Everest. Everyone at Exodus would like to congratulate the team of Matt, Paul, Mark and Gerrard on their achievement and fundraising success for such a great cause.