Saturday, April 16: We spent the
day (as we will for the next couple of weeks) at basecamp acclimatizing to the
high altitude and training for the Khumbu icefall, including walking on
ladders, ice repelling, attaching trek members but ropes and carabineers, and
standardizing equipment. The signed prayer flags from the Trek to the Top
event have been hung up at basecamp and have been blessed by the local llamas.
We also have a Canadian flag on our tent. Next week, we will start the ascent
to the upper camps, starting with Camp 1, then Camp 2, and then back down to
basecamp to acclimatize again. We will be doing this ‘leap frogging’ back and
forth from the upper camps and basecamp until mid-May when we will try to
summit – hopefully the weather will be in our favour! Spirits are high as the
team puts their crampons and ice picks into action!!
Wednesday, April 13: The team
arrived at basecamp around 6:30pm, after an incredible walk up the glacier.
Everyone is tired but feeling good (Rob is still battling a cold and chest
infection though). In the clear, crisp weather, the team set up their tents
and joined the many other groups who are also settled at basecamp.
Communication can now be formally set up. The team will enjoy
meeting some of their fellow travellers in the next day or so, and sharing
their stories and good Canadian hospitality!
Rob Follows, Founder and
Chairman of Altruvest Charitable Services as well as Chairman of Maritz Canada
Inc., the largest performance improvement company in Canada, and his new
bride, Katrina Sandling, will scale Mt. Everest in May 2005, it was announced
today at a kick-off event at the Sutton Place Hotel. The event drew over 100
influential attendees from the business and philanthropic sectors to celebrate
and support the Everest campaign.
In the presence of Ang Dorjee
Sherpa, a famous Sherpa, who has now scaled Everest 10 times and will be
climbing with them, Follows explained that for the Everest trek the team
represents Everest for Altruvest, a one-year fundraising initiative to raise
over $1,000,000 to launch the Altruvest Vision Fund. The Fund will help ensure
Altruvest’s long-term sustainability to help hundreds of charities improve
their performance. The couple's altruistic wish is to inspire more
contributions to Altruvest, all of which will leveraged to help small and
medium sized charities in Canada contribute more to their communities.
Why Everest for Altruvest?
Rob Follows commented, "With over 250,000 board volunteers needed annually,
most Canadian charities need help to find the skilled and dedicated volunteers
to build better governed organizations and deliver more services to their
communities. Altruvest is a bridge between new business and professional
volunteers who can contribute a lot to the charitable sector and charities
that need and want new board members.”
He continued "As Everest
inspires people to stretch their performance, so too can Altruvest, through
further funding, help charities improve their performance and strengthen
communities. Through a growing donor base, Altruvest can generate tools for
charities for generations to come. And in closing, "Just as Everest has become
an international inspiration, Altruvest, as a Canadian best practice, will
also become an inspiring global leader."
Murray Koffler, Founder,
Shoppers Drug Mart and Philanthropist of the Year Award recipient remarked, "Altruvest
has made an enormous contribution by innovating the means whereby volunteers
are encouraged and assisted to serve on boards of charitable organizations.
This further expands their ability to serve the communities they support. As
well, Altruvest assists these organizations in improving their governance to
function more efficiently. Rob Follows' exciting venture, with Katrina,
climbing Everest for Altruvest will go a long way in highlighting their work
and deserves every support".
In conclusion he added, "One
should also underline that this is not a self promoting stunt. 100% of
donations go directly to charity and Rob and Katrina are covering all of their
own costs for the climb."
This climb marks the fifth of
Rob and Katrina's 'seven summits' on their goal to scale the highest summit on
each continent in support of the Everest for Altruvest campaign. So far, they
have summitted 4 of the 7 summits, with the plan to do the 5th in June:
Tanzania (19,563 ft.) Oct. 2003
(22,841 ft.) Jan. 2004
Russia (18,481 ft.) Aug. 2004
Antarctica (16,066 ft.) Nov. 2004
Nepal (29,035 ft.) May 2005
Alaska (20,320 ft.) June 2005
With a departure date of
March 31st scheduled, altitude training and physical conditioning are vital.
To ensure strong conditioning, Rob and Katrina have just completed a
qualifying climb on Mount Vinson, Antarctica in severe, –60C° conditions.
Their commitment goes beyond simply reaching the summit, as they were also wed
at the top of Mt. Vinson, just last November.
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