Everest Dinner Party

Date of Adventure: April 2018

In 2018 I found myself heading out to Mount Everest for a meal on the mountain billed as The World's Highest Dinner Party, although the main purpose was to raise funds for Community Action Nepal - a charity that supports the Sherpas and other mountain-dwelling people of Nepal.

The adventure was headed by Neil Laughton an adventurer and entrepreneur who had been on five previous successful expeditions to Mount Everest including a summit in 1998 with Bear Grylls.

Our route started in Katmandu, Nepal where the 15-strong team congregated for initial acclimatisation and to visit the HQ of Community Action Nepal.  We then proceeded to fly out to Lhasa the capital of Tibet from where we proceeded to push up the mountain over a period of three weeks, careful to follow a strict regime for our bodies to acclimatise to altitude.

It is testament to the protocol that not one of the team fell ill with altitude sickness, where as a team of eight who followed us up the mountain but cut two days off the procedure, saw six of their number fall by the wayside.

That’s not to say that we didn’t feel the effects of altitude at all.  Mika and I had particular problems trying to sleep at base camp (altitude 5150m). For the first two nights we found ourselves jolting awake in a form of nocturnal panic, apparently caused by hyperventilation as the body reacts to low oxygen levels. This would occur almost every fifteen to twenty minutes and couldn’t be stopped even when we knew it was coming. Add to the fact that you are jolting awake into a hostile environment – low temperatures, high winds and a hard, rocky floor  - and it culminated into a miserable couple of days.  Our symptoms were kindly alleviated by the doc who cured the problem with half a sleeping tablet each!

The meal at basecamp was actually a test run for the World Record meal that would take place in the North Col at 7,020m.  It had been prepared by Michelin star chef Sat Bains and included miso soup, lamb tagine and a chocolate pudding, all washed down with Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne.

The men all dressed in dinner suits and the five ladies donned ball gowns, whilst the dinner table was decked with crockery, glasses, cutlery and a flower arrangement.

It was while at Everest base camp that I first came across climbers who were attempting the Seven Summits, where you climb the highest mountain in each of the seven continents.  I was enthused by this idea, but didn’t really have any great love of mountaineering.

And so it was thinking about the Seven Summits challenge one (more) sleepless night on Everest that I came up with the idea of combining the Seven Summits idea with the concept of Poles of Inaccessibility that I’d learned about on my trip to the South Pole with Buzz Aldrin.  Wouldn’t it be fun to try and visit the Pole of Inaccessibility on each continent?

And so my Eight Poles Project was formed.

Everest Dinner Party
Everest Dinner Party