On December 11th, 2018, Abbas Sultan and Team Orange left the UK, staying one night in Kathmandu, Nepal, before landing at Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport, whose runway is among one of the world’s most dangerous.
Each day they trekked for six hours, stopping only for food and drinks. The route was steep and rocky, and they needed a rest day for every 1000m climbed so their bodies could adjust to the altitude. On these days they hiked uphill and back over short distances, to help them acclimatise. Sadly, not everyone was able to adapt, and some of the group didn’t reach Base Camp. The team hiked from village to village, sleeping in locally built lodges. Every increase in altitude brought with it a drop in temperature; the day’s exertions made the cold less noticeable, but overnight temperatures dropped to -20o.
While the trekkers carried their daily essentials, local porters carried the rest of the baggage and, although the menu was mainly limited to rice with lentils and vegetable curries, chocolate, fizzy drinks and Tibetan fried bread were great treats and helped morale.
Abbas says he kept himself going by maintaining self-belief, talking and joking with the people he had trained with over the last year and keeping a positive attitude.
On day eight the group spotted Base camp in the distance. Standing at an altitude of 5,380 metres Abbas was ecstatic to be completing his biggest challenge so far.
The shorter, more direct journey back down took only four days without the need for acclimatisation breaks.
One unexpected bonus on his journey was the tantalising and inspiring view of the very peak of Everest from Base Camp.
Abbas said, “overall, this was one of the best experiences for me! Not only did I challenge myself, but I also (along with the scouts) raised over £10,000 for the Rohingya Refugees, bringing the total to £240,000”
In 2016, while recovering from knee surgery the Beech Hill Scout Leader was looking for a new challenge. Having watched the London marathon, he was inspired to enter the 2017 event.
While training he saw a Penny Appeal tweet about Everest Base Camp and immediately signed up to Team Orange. He continued his gym training, but the best practice was in real mountains like Snowdon.
Article by Aaisha Ahmed Scout Leader Beech Hill