Climbing Mt Cho Oyu in the Tibetan Himalaya.
How much did you raise:
What motivated you to do this challenge?:
It had been a lifelong ambition of mine to climb an 8,000m+ peak without supplemental oxygen, and Cho Oyu seemed like a good option - it does not attract the crowds of base camp trekkers who are so prevalent on Everest, and the approach journey offers a glimpse into the vast, desolate, wilderness of the Tibetan plateau. My group was a semi independent expedition comprising three English climbers, four Australians, one American, two Canadians, two Norwegians and a Frenchman. So quite a mixed group of individuals, each with his own personal reasons for being there, but also with one common goal - to reach the summit!
At 8,201m Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world, and one of only 14 to protrude into the fabled "Death Zone" - the altitude at which acclimatisation is impossible and survival becomes a race against time. Given the months of physical training I put into getting ready for this trip, not to mention the financial cost I was footing, I thought I had as good a reason as anyone to ask friends and work colleagues to show their support by donating to my designated charity.
As it happens I did not make the summit due, very annoyingly, to a violent stomach bug at 7,200m which left me dangerously dehydrated and exhausted. It was nevertheless an inspiring trip and one I was glad to have the opportunity to be part of. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to team mate Guy Leveille, who tragically fell and was killed on his summit attempt. His humour, selfless generosity and good nature touched everyone and will not be forgotten.
Why did you choose to raise money for War Child?:
With so many needy causes in the world, and so many excellent charities doing invaluable work, it was never going to be easy deciding which charity to back. In the end though I felt that War Child's work with marginalised children around the world was perhaps more necessary now than ever before. With so many ongoing conflicts around the world it has never been more important to try to undo some of the otherwise irreparable damage that has been wrought on children in numerous countries and societies. I was proud to be fundraising for War Child, and touched by the level of support it received.