Stephen Green is an amazing 23 year old from Edinburgh who is about to embark on the journey of his lifetime – an expedition to summit Mount Everest. If he completes his goal, he will become one of the youngest Britons to stand on top of the world.
Stephen hopes to raise thousands of pounds to split between Marie Curie
and Cancer Research UK
in memory of his father, Raymond, who died from cancer two years ago. This loss has spurred him to climb the mountain sooner in his lifetime than he had planned for, but he had discussed his dreams to climb Everest with his father, who told him to go for it.
Having travelled throughout Nepal and the Himalayas, I have wondered in amazement how someone could conquer anyof the peaks in conditions of below freezing temperatures and extreme windchill. There are dangerous ice crevasses to navigate as well as coping with high altitude and the sickness that it can cause to even the fittest person. The summit of Mount Everest is the highest place on earth at 8848m and made me dizzy looking at it from a plane. In Nepal, the epic mountain is known as Chomolungma, which means: mother goddess of the universe and has to be treated with respect.
I met with Stephen at his home in Edinburgh and he is a very likeable yet determined young man. We spoke at length about his preparations for the journey of his lifetime.
Stephen first of all explained to me that this trip has been funded privately and that every penny raised on his donation page
will go to charity rather than help cover the cost of his expenses.
When he graduated from Aberdeen University, Stephen had planned to head out to Canada to become a ski instructor and put his years of experience on the slopes to good use by teaching others. “Everything changed when my dad died, I realised I had to do something to raise money for those that had helped him in his final months”. He went onto explain: “I hadn’t even climbed in recent years, despite doing it competitively when I was younger.” He was introduced to the indoor climbing wall at Alien Rock by his father and realised he had talent for it.
“I knew I couldn’t head out straight to Everest and attempt to climb it with no experience, so I started to train extensively, with Everest being my goal”. Stephen has prepared with previous expeditons to the summit of 4810m Mont Blanc
in the Alps and the 6856m Ama Dablam
in Nepal. These climbs taught him many important lessons, vital to completing Everest. “I thought I was prepared until I did these two climbs, but realised that mental preparation is just as important as physical fitness. I was a little naive, but have learned to pace myself and now know not to expend energy unecessarily.”
Stephen explained to me that Ama Dablam is far more technically difficult to summit than Everest and was surprised at his sherpa climbing partners who were impressed with his skills at such a young age. The Nepalese experts had both summited Everest twice and said that if Stephen kept his fitness level the same, he would “find Everest easy” as they giggled to each other. This may have given Stephen some confidence, but he is aware of the difficulties lying ahead of him.
His training regime has been gruelling since last summer and I got tired just listening to what his exercise routine entails.
Every morning, he runs to the top of Arthur’s Seat from his home as a warm up before finding a steep scree slope on the side and completing interval training for a further 2 hours. Stephen then has to re-fuel his body by eating a large bowl of pasta late morning before resting. He spends this time campaigning for support by writing hundreds of emails and making telephone calls.
Late afternoon sees him head to the Edinburgh University gym where he runs, cycles, rows and uses the step machine for 40 minutes each. This is followed by core exercises and conditioning to keep him lean and his body weight down. He consume 5-6000 calories a day.
Weekends see Stephen head up north and into the Cairngorms for climbing practise and familiarisation with all his equipment.
Explaining his plans
I questioned Stephen what he was taking to the summit: “I am taking two flags with me. One for Marie Curie and Cancer Research alongside a photo of my dad and the second flag is full of messages of support from all my family and friends.” We talked about the possibility of not making the summit due to adverse weather conditions, or mistakes and delays by other climbing parties which have caused fatalities in past climbing seasons: “I’m young, so would try again, I can only do my best.”
We discussed what he thinks he would feel like if he returned to Scotland, having made it to the top. “I think it would take a while to sink in, but I would definitely have a celebratory drink and a decent bacon sandwich.”
Stephen showed me all his equipment and his boots which will keep his feet warm in temperatures of minus 60 degrees celsius. The boots have already made it to the top twice and I have every confidence if conditions are right, that Stephen will take them to the summit for the third time.
Stephen sets off for Kathmandu on 3rd April (via London on 29th March). He is still looking for companies to sponsor him, so do not hesitate to get in touch
You can make a donation
to help Stephen reach his target, read his blog
, join his facebook group
or follow him on twitter
. His climbing party have access to a satelite phone so updates will hopefully be made as he climbs. Edinburgh Spotlight is looking forward to his progress reports and wishes him lots of luck and good weather conditions.