Ellis Stewart of Hartlepool, England, is making his second attempt at climbing Mount Everest this spring. On the day before his last ascent in 2014, an avalanche claimed 16 of the Sherpa guides he was climbing with forcing him to return home without summiting. The accident, Stewart writes, was the most fatal in Everest’s history. Despite the danger and lofty expenses, he is determined to try again.
Stewart lives with his wife and two children and owns a clothing store. Hartlepool is an old port town in Northeast England. The climate is oceanic, with mild summers as well as mild winters. Due to its northern location strong and cold winds come from over the water. Though the weather is nothing like Everest, Stewart has been dreaming to reach the top of this peak for over 20 years.
This time Stewart has experience. After five weeks of trekking around base camp last year and scaling the majority of the mountain, he feels more confident in the mission to come. Though Sherpa guides are planning a safer trip by slightly shifting the route, the trip will never be completely safe. A person must have a keen sense of adventure to scale Everest, whose peaks have seen the death of over 200 hikers.
The climb up Everest is not cheap. Last year Stewart paid out of pocket, $35,000. With the price of airfare and gear, the trip can cost up to $60,000. Stewart’s license, allowing him to climb the mountain is still in effect, saving him $4,000. This year he is actively seeking funding for this adventure with £2,335 (about $3,700) promised on a GoFundMe campaign initiated by his wife Tamara as well as a fundraiser campaign: www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/av6Nf. His kit, including shoes and clothing, is sponsored by Berghaus, an outdoor clothing company.
The season is essential in knowing when to climb Everest, though it will not ensure safety. The weather on the mountains is known to be unpredictable and very fast changing, a sunny day can become heavy rain or snow in a matter of seconds. Stewart will be leaving for Nepal on April 2nd of this year. Spring is the best time to climb the mountain because there is a break in the monsoons meaning the wind, and heavy snow will be at a minimum. With a two week long window, the trip should take Stewart a month and a half to complete.