A Mountain to Climb: Question 3/10 from Joel Nurser’s £10k Interview

When do your feet have to travel tall to reach a tall feat? When you look up at Mount Everest looming over you and think “How did I get here?”

That is exactly what Joel Nurser from Lytchett Matravers will be ruminating when the world’s most legendary mountain stares down at him in November 2019. Until then, Joel is facing the tall feat of getting mentally and physically fit, and attempting to raise a mountain of money – exactly £1 per metre climbed. Follow his journey here, from Poole to Kathmandu.

DEFINITION: ‘a tall feat’ is an extraordinary act or achievement, displaying boldness, skill; a noteworthy accomplishment of great courage, skill, or imagination.

Selfie of Joel Nurser on Mount Kilimanjaro glacier raising money for Marie Curie charity
Selfie of Joel Nurser on Mount Kilimanjaro glacier raising money for Marie Curie charity

Joel Nurser, Operations Director of Poole based Composite Profiles UK, has set himself the very tall feat of climbing the 5,380 metres to Everest Base Camp, whilst also attempting to summit neighbouring peak Kala Patthar, sitting 263m higher at 5,643m. His inspiration, his Mum Sue Nurser, who sadly passed away from Pancreatic Cancer aged just 59yrs old. Poignantly, Sue enjoyed serving her local community working first in a building society and in latter years at Longfleet House Doctors Surgery. Her parting advice, “LIVE YOUR LIFE! do not be afraid to do the things you wish you could do, life is too short.”

In 2016, Joel joined Action Challenge and raised £5,180 for the Marie Curie charity climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of his mum. Joel wants to add a further £5,380 to their pot – the height in metres of Everest Base Camp – to raise a total of £10,560. We have 10 questions in which to do it, one question a week posted below, hence ‘The £10k Interview’. Follow Joel’s journey from Poole to Kathmandu and help him raise the equivalent of £1 per metre climbed. Afterall, what else can you buy for the same price as a piece of cloth, pint of milk or loaf of bread – life enhancing cancer care. It’s got to be worth a click.

Live your Life to the Full

To inspire you to get over the midweek hump, every Wednesday we will post below a Q&A from Joel’s £10k Interview. You never know, it might stir something in you to go on your own adventure. In memory of so many of our loved ones, remember to live your life to the full.

Next week Question 4/10: Do you think anyone can take on the Everest challenge? What was your knowledge of climbing beforehand?

Panoramic view of Mount Snowdon summit
View of Snowdon summit taken on training walk for Mount Everest Action Challenge. Raising money for Marie Curie charity.

Interview with Joel Nurser – 10 Questions to raise £10k

Lukla Airport in Nepal is one of the most dangerous airports in the world, how do you feel about flying into it?

“Yes, I have to fly into Lukla Airport, which is notorious for being one of the most dangerous airports in the world. It is literally located on the sloped side of the Himalayan Mountains 9000 feet above sea level. The runway is only 527m long at a gradient of 11.7%. If you think that a running track is 400m, it gives you an idea of how unbelievably short it is! Also, the high altitude means low pressure, which apparently makes it really difficult for pilots to land.

An interesting fact I have discovered in my research, Bristol Airport is our UK comparison. Bristol Airport has one of the shortest international airport runways in the UK. It’s 2011m long – still it’s four times the length of Lukla Airport. Most of the people who want to climb Everest have to fly to Lukla.

So how do I feel about landing there? In all honesty, none of the dangerous things I have read about my trip really phase me. There’s nothing I can do about it. If I crash and die, well it’s out of my control so there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s really how I look at it. Maybe that’s my Mum’s inner voice telling me to live my life to the full. If we didn’t do things for the fear of it, we would live much more boring lives. I am looking forward to the views!”

Lukla is a small town in eastern Nepal right at the foot of Mount Everest. Before the existence of an airport, Lukla could only be reached by road traveling from Kathmandu to Jiri and five day hiking from Jiri to Lukla through rugged hills. Lukla Airport was built in 1964 under the supervision of Edmund Hillary who bought the land from local Sherpas. The high altitude often causes difficulty for the pilot to control landing speed of the plane. The flight time is only 25mins and it’s not uncommon for passengers to board their flight, buckle up and prepare for take-off only to be directed off the airplane as the weather conditions had just changed in Lukla.

Tell us some of the juicy facts about your trip: How high is Everest Base Camp? How cold will it be? How long will the climb take? What will you eat?

“Mount Everest itself is nearly 30k feet or 9k metres high (29,029 ft / 8848 m). Some people find it easier to think about it in miles – it’s 5.5miles high but it actually grows 4mm every year due to some geologic uplift.

I am trekking to Everest base camp, which sits at nearly two thirds of the height of Everest at 5,380m. It’ll take 10 days to get there. We only get two proper acclimatisation days – on Day 5 at 3500 metres and Day 8 at 4500 metres before climbing an extra 1000m by Day 10. By the time I arrive, I will have trekked for 78hrs at high altitude with temperatures down to -20.

Day 11 will be the greater challenge though. For those that are feeling okay and not struggling too much from the altitude, we will attempt to climb Kala Patthar, which is 300m higher than base camp at 5,643m. If the weather is clear, we should be able to get stunning views of Mount Everest, which is why people push themselves to do it. I am sure I will be fine though. I am fit and determined so will just get on with it.

As for food, it all has to be carried on the backs of Yaks or by Sherpas. We’ll stay in tea houses along the route, where meals will be prepared. They say the food is a mix of Nepalese and international. I’m led to expect that there’ll be a lot of eggs, porridge, pasta, noodles, rice and potato to keep us going. Any meat is flown in via Lukla Airport and carried up without refrigeration, so we have been advised to stick to a veggie diet!”

What kit do you need to climb to Everest base camp? And why did you choose to do the Everest Base Camp venture with Action Challenge?

“The hardest part of preparing, training aside, is working out which vaccinations I need to have. So far it’s Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Rabies and maybe Malaria but the travel clinic don’t seem too sure if I’m honest. I have had to buy some pieces of specialist clothing and equipment too. I have a super warm down insulated jacket, Goretex trousers and jacket for the wet weather, merino wool thermal clothing, boots, high wicking layers etc. I have hired stuff too, like a thermal sleeping bag, silk sleeping bag liner, mountain gloves and hiking poles. You do have to budget this in too though, I’ve probably spent around £800 on clothing and equipment on top of the cost of the trip.

Why I chose to go with Action Challenge? I chose to go with Action Challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro a few years ago just after my mum died. I knew they were very well respected and that they worked with hundreds of charities and offered a huge range of activities and challenges. I raised nearly £5k for Marie Curie back then. I am hoping to beat that this time. In the spirit of living your life to the full and helping others, I would strongly recommend that people look up Action Challenge online to see the range of activities that are possible to do and the charities that are hopeful of your support. You won’t regret it!”

Do you think anyone can take on the challenge of climbing to Everest Base Camp? What was your knowledge of climbing beforehand?

Joel will share his thoughts on Wednesday 18 Sep 2019. Check back then.

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