Desiree Bezuidenhout

Desiree Bezuidenhout

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On the 2nd of March I will be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime when I board an airplane from London to Kathmandu, Nepal, to commence a sabbatical for a few months of travelling and experiencing more of our beautiful planet that I only ever dreamed of seeing one day. This isn’t just time for me though as I wanted to challenge myself and give something back to others in the process. I decided to start with a physical achievement in the Himalayas to ascend the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8,848m), while at the same time raising money for charity.

The first challenge will be not losing my stomach on the flight from Kathmandu into Lukla airport (2,800m) where the runway is only 460m long and in 2010 The History Channel rated the airport as the most extreme and dangerous in the world due to the high terrain immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below! I will then commence my trek which will take approximately 17 days and instead of following the classic well-travelled route, I have opted to take the slightly longer and more challenging route via the tranquil glacial lakes in the Gokyo Valley which make up the world’s highest freshwater lake system. I will ascend to Gokyo Ri (5,357m) for the most comprehensive views of the numerous 8,000m peaks in Nepal and continue my trek, crossing Cho La Pass (5,420m) with its towering glaciers. A couple of days later I will reach Mount Everest South Base Camp (5,364m) and ascend slightly further to what will be my personal highest point at Kala Pattar (5545m) where I will gain uninterrupted views of Everest and many of the famous ascent routes.

I have been training for some time both at Elite-Bodyworks and Beachdown Health and Fitness Club. This has not been without disappointment and a couple of injuries, the most serious of which was to my lower back putting me out of training for a combined period of close to 5 months in the past year. With the help of Verity Wills at Hook Chiro along with Simon Orr and Nick Knight at Reactivate Physiotherapy Clinic and Lola Turvey at Hypo-Tone UK, I managed to fully recover and as of January I have been training to full capacity again with Ben Ross and Alex Jones at Elite-Bodyworks. I can’t recommend any of the individuals or their businesses enough as their professionalism, support and knowledge (as well as good banter!), have helped get me fit and well again so I am able to achieve my personal goal. My aim now is to successfully trek to Kala Pattar and descend back safely without any reoccurrence of my previous injuries.

Those who know me well will know that I tend to spread myself too thinly at times much to my own detriment, so sticking with my characteristics I have opted to go with three charities;

The WWF - the world’s leading independent conservation organisation building a future where people and nature thrive together. They are passionate about sharing the planet’s resources more sustainably while tackling global climate change and protecting endangered wildlife.

The United Nations Association UK (UNA-UK) – “UNA-UK believes that a strong, credible and effective UN is essential if we are to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. We advocate strong government support for the UN and demonstrate why the UN matters to people everywhere.”

The Mountain Trust – “The Mountain Trust is an innovative organisation providing novel solutions to problems encountered by some of Nepal's most disadvantaged people. Our mission is to improve the lives of people in Nepal who struggle to access healthcare, education services, and human rights. We achieve this, in part, through our exciting programmes, projects, and volunteer & internship placements.”

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