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  Mt. Everest 2005: ALTRUISTIC COUPLE CLIMB EVEREST FOR CHARITY:  The final report


Update: It is with mixed emotion that I report in our final dispatch that our team is returning to base camp. After almost 2 months of emotionally and physically taxing effort (not to mention the months of preparation just to get here!), we are, of course, disappointed to know that we will not summit this year. The weather was not on our side and the risks too great, hence our team decided to head back down and enjoy the huge accomplishment we did achieve. It is a weird feeling making decisions on a mountainside using mostly external reports, weather and news, feeding us information about the lack of a jet stream or more injuries or even deaths that inevitably shaped the very decisions we have had to now make. The team has obviously bonded over this whole experience and Katrina and I have made new friends and memories for a lifetime. Hundreds of people have tried to climb this daunting peak and not all have reached the summit, and not all have made it home, so it is with a new perspective on teamwork, strength, decision-making and ‘success’, that we will now travel home to start a new chapter….and who knows when we might return! Many thanks again to everyone who has supported us on this amazing journey!

Update: Wednesday, May 25, 2005: After some debate, the team has decided to leave basecamp and start up the icefall to Camp 2 where we will wait and see what the weather does over the next few days. The winds above Camp 3 are still at 50-70 knots and temperatures are dangerous. Normally, there is both an early and late May window for summiting, for example, last year’s Discovery Channel special was based on a team that summited on May 10th. However, this year, all of the weather reports, particularly the very reliable Swiss and Braxnell (UK) ones, are not forecasting a window until June 4 or 5th at the earliest. The late May window is usually the safest window and is ‘opened’ by the warm jet stream pushing up from the monsoon rains in India. Unfortunately, the monsoon rains are 3 weeks late this year so the window is also late. The difficulty is that even if the window does appear, 2 other mitigating factors may prevent safe climbing: the condition of the Khumbu Icefall (if it gets too soft, we can’t safely attach our lines) and the health of the Sherpas who are carrying the gear and preparing the camps. Our guides, the Adventure Consultants, are the best in the business and will not continue if it is not safe. We, and many of the other teams, are moving up to Camp 2 to ‘get into position’ if the window does open early. We all obviously want to summit but our team is sensible enough to know not to proceed if conditions are not safe. I will keep you posted.

Previous Updates


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:

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania                      (19,563 ft.) Oct. 2003

Aconcagua, Argentina                     (22,841 ft.) Jan.  2004

Elbrus, Russia                                  (18,481 ft.) Aug. 2004

Vinson, Antarctica                           (16,066 ft.) Nov. 2004

Everest, Nepal                                (29,035 ft.) May 2005

McKinley, 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. 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.




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