Long time supporter, Mike Phoenix is embarking on a gruelling adventure to inspire the participants of the Rose Bowl Youth Club to “Aim Higher.”
By climbing one of the Himalayan mountains, Mike will raise funds for workshops and mentoring that assist teenagers in applying for university places and jobs.
Show your support and make a donation here
This is Mike’s story:
On Sunday morning October 29th, I hope to climb to the top of a 21,500-foot mountain in the Himalayas called Mera Peak. And if I can get there, I want to plant a Rose Bowl youth club flag on the top.
Mera Peak is just 20 miles south of Mount Everest. From the top of Mera Peak, Mount Everest itself looks only footsteps away.
But it won’t be easy. Mera Peak is fully three quarters the height of Mount Everest. Oxygen is very scarce as you ascend. At the very top, there is less than half the oxygen we breathe in London at sea level. This makes every step difficult.
To get to the summit, there are many obstacles to overcome. First, we must safely fly into the famous sloping runway at Lukla. Which some people claim is the most dangerous runway in the world!
We then must walk for 11 days till we reach the glacier on top of Mera Peak. This is the treacherous path to the top. Before we are allowed onto the glacier for the final 3 day assault, we must prove to our Sherpa guides that we have the mountaineering skills needed. We have to spend a demanding day being tested on our Jumar and Abseil technique, as well as Ice Axe Arrest and walking wearing crampons.
What it takes
Assuming I pass the test, our first glacier day will be walking up to the Mera La pass to camp at 18,000 feet. Our second day on the glacier takes us up to High Camp at 19,000 feet. Every day on the glacier, our near neighbour Mount Everest will look down on us. At sunrise and sunset in particular we will watch colours only those at almost 20,000 feet can see.
The final ascent starts at 2am Sunday 29th October. We will struggle in our small two man tents to put on three layers of trousers, four or five top layers, balaclavas under climbing helmets and double gloves. We will also wear climbing harnesses laden with figure of eight abseil devices. Jumars to clip into the safety rope for the final ascent and prussics to stop us falling if we lose control of our descent. Finally the triple boots go on, then, outside the tent, on will go the razor sharp crampons.
The temperature at that time in the morning will be -20 deg C. We can only pray it doesn’t blow a gale and feel colder still. But it frequently does! The night will be lit by The Milky Way, and, we hope, a half moon and our headtorches. These will reflect off the snow creating an otherworldly effect.
We will then have to walk for 6-7 hours before we reach the base of the summit dome. The sun will be very welcome when it rises warming us through. At the summit dome we will clip into a safety rope our Sherpas will fix. Then we will try to haul ourselves to the very top!
I have never climbed before and, as you have guessed, this is not a trip to undertake lightly. The words ‘steep learning curve’ spring to mind.
I have been asked why I am doing it?
One of my responses is that we all need challenges and to push ourselves to attempt new experiences.
It also seems important to try and engage the young people of The Rose Bowl in the idea of ‘Aiming Higher’. Of trying to take that step out of a personal comfort zone to achieve something more in life.
We are hoping we can raise sponsorship to assist the young people of the Rose Bowl Youth Club to Aim Higher. All the money raised will go to fund homework clubs, CV and mock interview workshops to prepare for job and university job applications. There will be one-on-one support and mentoring to help them to aim higher with their lives and their hopes.
Thanking you in advance for your sponsorship help!
If you are inspired by Mike’s courage and want to show your support for the youth at the Rose Bowl Youth Club donate here
By Indra Rai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons