Mark Van Wyk reflects on his recent trek to Everest basecamp to raise funds for charity

Mark Van Wyk reflects on his recent trek to Everest basecamp to raise funds for charity

Mark is our Senior Supplier Manager, and he recently took on this adventure to raise funds for the charity - ‘Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis' in memory of his late father-in-law. Mark and his friend Craig undertook this mammoth trek to Everest base camp and back - over 90 miles in total!

Mark recently spent 16 days to undertake this mammoth trek, flying first to Kathmandu before flying on to Lukla on a small 16-seater plane. Lukla is reputed to be one of the most dangerous runways in the world!

Mark reflects - Kathmandu was a crazy, vibrant place - mopeds galore, animals in the street and so many amazing sights, smells and sounds. We met our other 6 trekking buddies; a mix of Brits and Australians. Also, part of the trekking group were 2 guides and 3 porters. The porters typically carry 25 kg worth of luggage each! We saw some other older people carrying enormous weights!

We walked for 9 days towards Everest base camp, with ‘altitude stops’ to help us acclimatise. The paths were very interesting, with some scary drops at certain points, so you had to maintain focused for your own safety!

The trek had two distinct parts, the first part in wooded areas, with lovely scenery, rivers, animals and insects in the mix. The second part when we were higher up above the treeline, had little vegetation and importantly, no bugs! The weather was generally really good, cool and ideal for walking during the day. The team rested up in ‘Tea Houses’, very basic huts where we slept and ate. We ate vegetarian food on the trip to minimise the risk of becoming unwell.

We got to know our fellow trekkers really well, eating, sleeping and playing cards together in the tea huts. There was a fire in the common area to help keep us warm (the fuel was Yak dung!) but as the night went on the temperature dropped like a rock especially in our rooms where there was no heating at all, it was common occurrence to wake up with thick ice on the inside of the window and any drinking water would be froze solid!

As we trekked, dealing with the altitude was tough - tightening of the chest and headaches is common, but our group coped with it. We all caught colds, but there were regular oxygen and heart rate checks which was reassuring. It felt such an achievement when we reached Base Camp. The walk back took 4 days at quite a pace, to get us down to more comfortable altitudes as quickly as possible.

This was the most amazing experience - the travel, the trek, the friends we made, the scenery and the sights will stay with me forever. Importantly, it did allow me time to think about the reason I was doing this walk - to raise funds to help people with pulmonary fibrosis. I did this in memory of my wonderful father-in-law Chris.

Mark set a fund-raising goal originally of £2500 - he’s nearly at £5,000!