Everest 24 Report
In 2015, two of our Covent Garden Ice Wall team - Calum Mallory and Mollie Hughes - will be attempting to summit Everest from the North East Ridge (also known as the Mallory route, after his ill-fated expedition in 1924). To help fund their expedition, they formulated an ambitious plan to try and climb the vertical height of the world's highest mountain on our ice wall in the space of 24 hours - a feat that would make them world record holders.
Fresh from their ordeal, Calum discusses the background, training and challenges they faced...
"On the 3rd April my climbing partners Mollie Hughes and Jon Gupta and I set a brand new world record by climbing the height of Mount Everest 8,848M within a 24 hour period.
"In 2015 we will all be heading to Nepal to climb Mount Everest via the North-East Ridge. This will be Mollie’s second time climbing Everest as she summited from the south side in 2012, becoming one of the youngest British women to scale the peak in the process. Mollie is now set to become the first British woman to summit Everest from the South and the North side. Jon Gupta of JCG expeditions is a mountain guide and leads expeditions and exciting climbs and treks all over the globe. Jon also summited Everest last year from the South side and is now leading our own private expedition from the North next year.
"The idea for the event came about one day when Mollie and I were training in the ice wall. We were thinking of ways in which we could fundraise for our expedition to Everest. Whilst we were climbing up and down building our endurance strength, a light suddenly went off in our heads. We could try and climb the full height of Mount Everest 8,848 meters within a day!
"We did our research and found that this had never been done on ice but only an indoor rock climbing wall. With the thought of an exciting brand new world record the challenge was on. We worked out that in order for the three of us to climb the height of Everest we would have to climb our 8 meter ice wall at Ellis Brigham in Covent Garden - a staggering 1,106 times within the 24 hours. At first we didn' t think this could be possible - we would have to climb a minimum 46 times up and down in one hour.
"And so the training started. After many hours of tough climbing up and down the wall we were managing to climb over 60 laps each within an hour, so we were sure that we could do it!
"Eventually the day arrived. At 7pm on the 2nd of April we went to war with the Covent Garden ice wall and started our 24 hour world record climb.
"One hour of climbing had gone by having climbed at a steady pace of 46 laps per hour. We were all feeling really good and strong, and the moral was high (probably because of Jon singing along to our cheesy music!).
"By the time 8 hours had gone by we had climbed 360 laps but were now starting to feel the strain of it all by this time it was 3am and slowly we were getting tired. As the ninth hour approached we had our first injury. In my tired state I had put an ice axe straight through my knee! At this point we all thought it was the end of our challenge as I was struggling to walk let alone climb, but after strapping up my bloody knee it was time to fight on and get our laps done.
"After a well deserved hour's sleep we were back on track and feeling good again, and the hours started to fly by. 11 hours in and we had climbed the height of Mont Blanc (4,810m). As morning arrived we were 17 hours in and well and truly on our way with 807 of 1,106 laps climbed. We were also joined by Everest24 supporter and one of the best British ice and rock climbers - Neil Gresham. Neil kept the buzz going by climbing with us, pushing us to keep going.
"We were now over 19 hours into our 24 hour challenge and had climbed a massive 1,000 laps of the wall. Only 106 laps to go but by now we were really feeling the mental and physical tiredness of this epic challenge.
"Hour 22 had hit and we just 6 climb to go! Just 6 climbs to end our massive ordeal and also make us world record holders! Joined in the wall by friends and supporters of Everest24 we took a climbing route each and climbed our final laps to the top of the world! Half an hour later and we had finished, feeling very accomplished but also very tired!
"From the Everest24 team we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported us on our world record challenge, to the Ellis Brigham staff Bart, Simone, Jess and in particular Mark Brigham and Des Rhule for playing a massive part in helping us to achieve this world record and for taking the night shift and encouraging us to keep going through the night. We owe you one!"