Mike Bank and his 10-year-old daughter, Cayman, spent the Christmas period trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, and in doing so …raised over £5,000 for the British Heart Foundation.
They were joined on their gruelling but spectacular trek by a team of people from all over the world, including Australia, South Africa, Mexico, India and America, and expertly led by three native Sherpa’s.
Setting off on December 20th and arriving back in the UK on January 5th, Christmas Day was a rare rest day for Mike and Cayman, which they spent playing football in the small village of Namche Bazaar.
Cayman, a Year 6 pupil at Moorside Primary School, told the Tameside Reporter about her trip. “My highlight was either getting to base camp or the last day of walking when we got to the airport because it started snowing” she said. “That was the first time it had snowed.
“When we finally made it to base camp I felt relieved because I knew we didn’t have any more hard walking to do, it was only three days downhill, and after all this terribly hard work that we’d been doing for seven days, we’d finally made it, so it was a good feeling. I’m definitely glad that I went and did it.”
Altitude sickness is the biggest challenge faced by explorers who make the trek. Mike, explaining how it nearly derailed their trip, said: “Cayman had a really bad headache the day before we were due to set off for base camp.
“I got the passports out and the medical insurance out because if the headaches hadn’t cleared up then we certainly weren’t going to go any higher than where we were.
“The Sherpa had phoned a friend who had a pony. The pony was going to be brought in the morning for Cayman to ride to base camp if she was better but didn’t fancy the walk. If we weren’t any better, they were going to helicopter us out of there. It got to that stage where we didn’t think we’d make it and I was OK with that; if the mountain says no it says no. Fortunately, the next morning and Cayman said she felt 70% fit, which is about as good as it gets. We packed all out stuff up and travelled to a little town called Gorak Shep.”
Despite altitude problems, Mike is encouraging others to make the once-in-a-lifetime trip. “To people who are thinking about doing it; if you can go to the Lake District and climb 2-3 mountains over a long weekend, then you can do base camp. It just depends on how your body reacts to the altitude; that is the difficulty.”
The idea for the trip came when one of Mike’s colleagues passed away from a heart condition, with the dad-daughter duo setting out to raise £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation.
So far, they have raised an amazing £5,356.
You can donate on their Just Giving page; www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ebc-2017.