Article by Mal Holmes
What a journey, and privilege it was to witness a presentation, by a life-long mountaineer, as Paul Fox. Paul began his talk entitled ‘Disaster to Triumph’, to the SLPS, by telling the members about his early life in the mountains of Britain, with his father… and Paul was to carry his obsession on to University, and after, during his profession as an airline pilot on one of the British Air-fleet companies.
Paul, always longed for his ultimate climbing goal, to scale a peak shrouded in tragedy, but ultimate ‘glory’. EVEREST… The jet-stream winds which blow over the top of the mountain, move briefly in the ‘climbing’ months allowing a small window of opportunity of 8-10 weeks, for climbers to make the ascent. Paul told the membership, that on average… 1 in 10 climbers, never get to tell their stories… Paul also said… “cut or injure yourself and you die on the mountain”… “Lose a glove and you lose a hand”… such are the dangers of this perilous but prestigious mountain. Paul was asked…. “If there are numerous routes to the Summit, and climbing time is short, how many climbers are on the mountain at a given time”… Paul replied “About 400-500″… GOSH !!!
In 2015, Paul, set off with a professionally guided ascent of Everest, acclimatising himself to the rarefied oxygen levels, and spending a few days at each base and climb camp… However, there was an Earthquake in Nepal, killing 1000’s… so the Chinese Government closed the mountain, sending all climbers home.
In 2017, Paul tried again, and told us of the perils faced on this SUCCESSFUL ascent… Paul’s presentation included some stunning imagery, and his use of professional drone imagery, to show the climb in all stages (other than the summit, as the air is too thin) was brilliant to say the least… If other Syllabus Secretaries for Societies/clubs are reading this… It is highly recommended that you book Paul… as the chance of seeing any Everest journey’s from the L&CPU circuit speakers, is nill.
The end of the evening was taken up with a small auction, of 3 prints from his presentation, and all funds raised went to Paul’s ‘Just Give’ charity named ‘Just a Drop’ for supplying clean drinking water to the inhabitants of the area…at… all donations are appreciated.
A Superb night !!