The week before any type of challenge is usually filled with a certain degree of trepidation – last minute purchases (often through Amazon), panic fuelled exercise sessions, and lots of packing. And when you’re preparing for an event during the school holidays with a 6 week old and a toddler to keep occupied – it’s all the more challenging. But hey – if it was easy, everyone would do it!
So in a few days time, I’m heading out to the Alps to tackle one of the most audacious challenges I’ve yet to sign up for. It’s called, Everest in the Alps. The premise is simple – over the course of four days, to climb to the height of Mount Everest, on skis. The majority are raising valuable funds to help the Brain Tumour Charity to continue its valuable research into the medical condition. And some are simply looking for a challenge.
So, in case you’ve not read my previous post on Everest in the Alps, then check it out. Otherwise, read on!
Packing, packing and more packing
Our bedroom now resembles an outdoor warehouse. Much to the irritation of my beloved wife and to the delight of my 3 year old, piles of kit are scattered over the bed and the floor. My daughter is taking great pleasure in moving items from one pile onto another, just to confuse me. Or she simply runs away with it. Either way, I’m beginning to wonder whether my fellow Everest in the Alps team members are also going through this.
You see, whilst preparing for Everest in the Alps, I’ve found myself scratching my head a little more than usual. This is because there are a number of elements that have to be catered for:
Before and after the event. We have a couple of days either side of the 4-day challenge, where we’ll be in Verbier. So there is no need to pack too much there.
Mountain kit. This is what we’ll be wearing and carrying with us whilst skiing and my main headache. What the weather does determines what I pack. To some extent at least.
Hut Kit. What we’ll be able to have access to each night at the mountain hut.
Fortunately, this isn’t a ‘self-supported’ styled event, where I literally have to carry everything I need on my back, but it’s still a logistical exercise to make sure all eventualities are catered for. Especially when you factor in the weather.
The weather in the Alps
Most things are fairly controllable, but the one thing that always throws a spanner in the works is the weather – especially at altitudes of 3000m. The forecast changes as often as the Brexit negotiations, and although it’s been unseasonably warm the past few weeks, I know from bitter experience that it can change in the matter of minutes. The current weather forecast looks somewhat dubious – not the balmy weather we’ve been having, but high winds, snow and temperatures hovering between freezing and -11˚C. But the sun is due to poke its head out. Who knows what’s happening on Friday!
So the three questions I keep asking myself are: Will I get too hot with the kit I have? Will I get too cold on the descents? What will 50km/h winds and snow feel like? And the bonus question – will I get blisters with my rental boots. All of the answers to the first three questions will determine, to a certain extent, what kit I bring.
I’m writing a separate blog post on what kit to pack for Everest in the Alps, which goes into a little more detail of what I’ll be brining with me.
The packing list we’ve been given is extensive and covers everything from compeed blister repair kit and ear plugs, to thermal layers and goggles. But once we’re actually skiing, it’s relatively straight forward. I’ll be hot whilst I climb and cold whilst I descend.
The plan for the week
With only a day or so before I leave, I’m more or less ready. Next week will be a whirlwind so here is the plan:
I’ll arrive in Geneva and make my way to Verbier and our accommodation – Mont Gele. More importantly, this will be my first chance to meet the rest of the team.
I’ll pick up my ski rental kit, test out kit and attend our first team briefing – where no doubt the weather will be discussed!
Tuesday through to Friday
Where the magic will happen and we’ll begin climbing to the height of Mount Everest on skis. Each night we will stay in a mountain hut. Should be fun! On Friday night, we’ll have a celebratory dinner.
Head home feeling ready to take on the world! And maybe even climb the real thing!
I give my wife a rest from looking after our two daughters. Hopefully she’s not pulled out too much of her hair!