A few months ago I had the crazy idea of putting together an all-female expedition to climb the height of Everest in the Lake District this September. I received over 100 applications and from them selected the final team of 9, myself included. Since then, we’ve been busy doing lots of organising, networking and emailing, but hadn’t actually met yet face to face…until now.
I’m back home from the Everest Adventure training weekend, the first time the team all met. I’m exhausted! And I can’t stop smiling…because I’ve got so damn much to be happy about.
What did we get up to?
Friday night we met at Old Barn Farm where we pitched our tents and had our first introductions.
Saturday was our planning day. We went to a nearby pub and had a long meeting covering everything from our intended route on the expedition to managing sponsorship deals and thinking up ways to engage media.
Sunday we had a 14km training walk. This was combined with Love Her Wild‘s first official meet up and we joined other members to do the hike, followed by a social in the pub.
Highlights from the weekend
Suddenly we all just clicked….
I was feeling a bit nervous about meeting the team for the first time and I could see others were too. Conversation flowed easily on the first night and everyone was being really supportive and accepting during our planning session. Suddenly though something clicked and we all started getting on really well, not just individually but as a team. By the time we said goodbye on Sunday, I felt like I was leaving friends I had known for years.
Learning what this really meant…
It was great hearing the women in the group open up and talk about what being part of this expedition meant to them. It made me realise how much of a big deal the Everest Adventure is. Sure, it’s not a life-changing or world impressive expedition, but for us it gives purpose, a goal and an opportunity to be part of something that will better ourselves and inspire others. That’s pretty cool!
The first Love Her Wild meet up….
I LOVED finally meeting members of Love Her Wild and, as I expected, there was lots to talk about and lots in common. The sun was shining, we had some great views and laughter was a consistent feature of the day. I’m already looking forward to the next Love Her Wild event.
Feeling like I belong to something…
Sunday night I headed home for a much-needed bath and a chill out session watching Finding Dory (it wasn’t as good as finding Nemo!). Within no time though, I was missing my team. We had created our own little supportive community. I can’t remember the last time I felt that sense of belonging and being part of something. I like it!
What didn’t go to plan?
Apart from the fact that one of the team, unfortunately, couldn’t make the weekend last minute, there were no real low points. Although I did learn about the downside of leadership. I didn’t feel particularly stressed about planning or leading the weekend, but I did find it exhausting. Responsibility – making sure everyone gets their ok, that they are happy, that things run smoothly – is hard work. And unlike all the leading I have done previously with children, I found that with adults I felt a sense of pressure to meet expectations. I didn’t want to let people down.
So by Sunday, I was tired from sleepless nights and my body was shutting down. It was a learning curve for me.
Despite not feeling my best, I had the best time. Meeting the team, getting excited about our adventure and seeing my idea come to life. Awesome! Check out the short video I put together about the weekend:
Check out the short video I put together about the weekend:
Update on the expedition
There are different ways to approach an adventure and this is dependant on what you want to do but also on what outcome you are looking for. You could, for example, jump on your bike with a mate and head on a micro adventure to see how far you can get in a weekend. No planning needed.
The Everest Adventure though is different. Logistically, getting 9 strangers together with varying abilities, and ensuring we had a route hit our target. But also because we wanted to use the expedition as a way to promote women in adventure and to encourage others to follow in our footsteps.
To make the most of this we needed people to know about what we were doing…that means making the most of media. We also wanted to source sponsorship. This would provide exposure but would also ensure that all the team were able to participate regardless of financial situations.
So, we’ve been busy!
Here are some updates on where we are at…
We decided to change the name of the expedition from the Everest Challenge to the Everest Adventure.
A few questions came up like – what happens if weather forces us to abort or what happens if a team member really can’t do the distance?
We decided as a group that it didn’t matter. That we would be flexible and, regardless of whether we meet our goal of reaching the height of Everest or not, the point is to do it as a team and to all try our best. We felt that challenge put to much focus on the target whereas adventure was about embracing the unknown and the journey along the way. There’s no failure on this expedition!
The fitness of the team varies greatly but we have all started on a training schedule so that we are in the best shape we can be. We are aiming to fit in 4-5 sessions a week combining long walks (with packs on) with strength training and a bit of yoga to keep us flexible.
Mostly though, we’ve made small changes – taking the stairs rather than the lift or carrying a rucksack with some books in when out shopping.
We were really excited to be sponsored by Columbia and the National Parks. They have just launched a campaign which focuses on encouraging ‘everyday people’ into the outdoors. The ethos fits our expedition perfectly and they are kindly kitting us out so we can stay warm and dry throughout our expedition.
Thanks also to Vivio Life who are giving our training a boost with their 100% natural plant based powders. And to 1000 Mile socks for ensuring our feet stay blister free with their innovative double layer socks.
We will put a post together explaining step by step how we went about securing sponsorship. For now though if you are looking to get sponsorship yourself and want to know more, you can check out how to get sponsorship for your adventure.
Our route has been decided. We will be doing a loop in the Lake District. As well as covering 8,858m of elevation, we will be hiking over 112km and reaching 43 peaks. On our 5th and final day, we will hike Scafell Pike. Reaching the top will mark the end of our expedition.
It looks tough!
We decided to dedicate this challenge to raise the funds needed to build a shower and toilet block for the girls at Arise School in Tanzania. Many of their female students drop out when they reach puberty as they have no means of staying clean during their periods and this money will help change that. Our target is £1,200 and you can show your support by donating here.