Great view of Everest this morning, quick post from our lunch stop at Thamo with Everest marathon winner Ang Chuttin Sherpa

We left the Ama Dablam lodge at kangzuma just after 8 this morning. Tashi had been an incredible host and even welcomed us to visit her amazing prayer room. 

The full team with Tashi outside the lodge before leaving this morning.

The views of Ama Dablam from Tashi’s have been sublime

Ama Dablam from Tashi’s tea house 

We hadn’t been long on the trail when it steepened and our breaths deepened, when it levelled off we were treated to an amazing view of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam again. 

Left to right you can see Everest, Llohtse, and Ama Dablam (ignoring the dark mountain on the left in the foreground)

Then it was on to khum Jung with its mani walls inscribed with Buddhist prayers and where we picked up Mongo the dog. 

A further couple of hours trekking through pine forest with views all over. 

How far with Mongo the dog join us? We’re all keen on a base camp companion but it’s up to him!

And here we now are with Ang Chuttin Sherpa’s Alpine Lodge. Ang Chuttin Sherpa won the Everest marathon on her first attempt despite stopping to chat to friends along the route. She was then discovered and sponsored to race all over the world including Berlin and Singapore.

Left to right: Billy, Ang Chuttin Sherpa, Rory, Jonathan, Laksma

Let the trek begin!

Its been an awesome few days since I last updated from Kathmandu

We left on Tuesday morning on a twin prop 18 seater light aircraft from Kathmandu to Lukla, a tiny airstrip only 500 meters in the foothills of the Himalaya. Was an amazing flight, with a sharp sudden descent into the landing.

Check out the video below of the planes taking off! Cliff edge on one side of the runway and a wall on the other, not much scope for error! No wonder this airport is labelled the most dangerous in the world.

From Lukla we began our trek, first to Monjo for the first night and then on the second day we trekked alongside the Dudh Kosi river to Namche Bazar, crossing wonderful suspension bridges straight out of Indiana Jones and catching our first view of Everest in the distance along the way.

suspension bridges in the khumbu

My bags hadn’t made it from Kathmandu so I used this stop in the largest trading post in the Khumbu to buy some basic essentials and a “dumb” phone for use at base camp. Base camp veterans all believe that simple phones receive better reception higher up the mountain and I’ve also picked up a local SIM card and receiving sporadic 3G now. The wifi connections in the tea houses have however been significantly worse than I had expected from online research pre-trip.

I’ve also managed to get my inreach satellite communicator working so from here on in (and hopefully to the summit!), you can follow our progress through the Garmin Mapshare.



Great weekend in Kathmandu! Visiting Child Rescue Nepal’s children home and meeting the rest of climbing & trekking team. First of my weekly columns published in the Irish Times.

We arrived in Kathmandu yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. Despite not sleeping on the flight, We’re all feeling a lot more relaxed now that we’ve left home. The final days were actually fairly stressful and for a tired mind the time differences here are initially a struggle. We transited in Delhi which has a 5.5hr time different with London and then we landed in Kathmandu which is a further 15 minutes ahead!

On arriving I was also delighted to see my first column in the Irish Times published on the back page of Saturday sports section and online. This first piece is more of an intro/background to me before we fly out and then from next week I’ll be writing from Himalaya.


On arriving in Kathmandu we were met at the hotel Manaslu in Thamel by our expedition leader Tim Mosedale and we also met Blake and Jonathan who are also on the Everest Summit Team. Blake is from Australia and lives in Barcelona while Jonathan and I know each other from climbing in Alaska last year. I’ll introduce the team properly over the coming days.

The highlight of today was visiting the Child Rescue Nepal boys and girls home in the outskirts of Kathmandu. We had a great time meeting Jamuna and her team and of course all the boys and girls who are currently living there and just broke up for holidays today. Jamuna and her team are doing an incredible job and we received a blessing for the trip ahead and well wishing cards and a banner made by the kids! Brilliant day and its reinforced just how much a change our fundraising will make to the communities of Makwanpur.

FullSizeRenderIt’s hard to overstate how impressed we were with the work Jamuna and her team are doing, rescuing children from shocking situations of trafficking and abuse and ensuring they have a positive environment to develop. We are also very grateful for the blessing we received for our trip and for all the beautiful wishes the kids had drawn for us for the trip and a safe and successful summit.


This evening we met the more arrivals from the trekking and climbing teams: Billy the ex military man from Durham, Laura from Scotland, and Xena from Balham, Ronny Rehn form Dresden who I was training with in Scotland a couple of weeks ago. We all went out for a great meal and a few beers after. Given we’ve now left for the trip, I ended my alcohol ban yesterday and have been enjoying some Everest beers on this trip thus far.

To support Child Rescue Nepal and our school building project in Makwanpur please visit



Here we go! Heading to Kathmandu tonight and delighted to report we have funded the first school project with Child Rescue Nepal

The excitement has been building for weeks and now I’m writing this already onboard our JetAir Flights as we prepare to fly to Kathmandu through Delhi at 8:50pm tonight.

This last week has been packed with last minute shopping, tearing my flat apart to look for random items, spending time with my family and friends, still working hard on some exciting projects with alternative lenders, and dealing with an unusual finger infection which has me on antibiotics as I try to clear it up before we get going.

Here we all are out at the airport just before check in. Its been a busy few weeks, I’m going to sleep like a baby!

everest expedition Heathrow

Left to right: Michael McHugh, Sami Mansour, Jo Tizzard, Rory McHugh, Bernie Angopa. They’re all joining the trip as far as base camp, and we expect to get there just before Easter Sunday.

We’ll be in touch soon from Kathmandu!

The charity fundraising is also going brilliantly and we fully funded our first school this week just before our departure! Your support is hugely appreciated. We’ve had a number of new corporate charity partners join us over the last week, we’ll be unveiling them next week, its never too late!




10 days to go! Great last day in the mountains with Di and Ronny, back to London.

Time is flying by and was really great to spend time with Di who is leading on Cho Oyu (6th highest mountain) and K2 (second highest mountain). Given that I’m going for Everest and Ronny is going for Llohtse it dawned us today that we are attempting 4 of the 6 highest mountains in the world between us over the coming months!

Everest training in Cairn Gorms

Great also to spend 4 days chatting trip prep, kit, tips and tricks. Di has been absolutely brilliant and has had a wealth of knowledge to share from her two decades taking on the biggest peaks and toughest routes. Di also had Ronny and I alternating lead up some nice gullies today to which was great final prep and day out.

Ronny and I are now sitting in the the pub (I think I’ve had about 20 pints of alcohol free Erdinger this week!) in the Cairngorm hotel waiting for the sleeper to arrive to get back to London and I think I’ll be sleeping well!

Mountaineering in the Cairngorms with K2 bound Di Gilbert and Lhotse’s Ronny Rehn

Been a great few days in Scotland. Arriving by the Caledonian Sleeper was a dream, really enjoyed a great sleep and waking up and opening the blinds in the cabin to see the Scottish highlands rolling by.

On Friday we rented mountain bikes and took them around the area for the day. Hills and Lochs and some nice hilly single track terrain. Hanging out with Ronny is also what I needed at this stage as its great to discuss our final stage planning, kit lists, and expectations for the months ahead. Ronny is planning to climb 8516m Lhotse (4th highest mountain in the world) and will be joining our expedition as far as Camp 3 at 7200m before heading a different direction and taking on the north east ridge. With the exception of the final summit push we’ll be spending the next two months together. He’s also gopro junky and just posted some videos of this trip, check them out as well as his blog here.


It got even better on Saturday when we were picked up by Di Gilbert, Di has not only climbed the seven summits but was leading a team on K-2 last year when an avalanche took out all the supplies in an otherwise empty camp 3 which ultimately led to cancellation of the expedition. She’s heading out to lead a team on Cho Oyu in April and is also going to be leading a team on K-2 later in the summer (K-2 is in Pakistan and the climbing season is later then Everest and is typically climbed in July/August).


The thaw in the weather really didn’t help our objectives for the weekend. Mushy snow took out a lot of the routes Di had in mind but we still enjoyed a nice time on one of the gullies under Cairn Gorm yesterday and today we headed to Ben Nevis north face and enjoyed the Ledge route in a constant drizzle.  It looks like we’ll get a good freeze tonight so we’ll be doing something more technically challenging tomorrow for our last mountain day before Nepal. We’ll then be overnighting on the sleeper back to London arriving in Euston at 730am on Tuesday.


On our way down from Nevis ledge route, north side, rain stopped and sun came out and I took my only picture of the day. That’s Di ahead.

And: yes there will be a chance for Jonathan Guidry to take me on at high altitude frisbee golf – just managed to pick up the exact same frisbee in Aviemore which we used for the 2016 championship match on Denali! Fate.


Greetings from the Caledonian Sleeper hurtling through the night to Scotland and a big shout out to Everest Biotech and Myhome, our first corporate charity sponsors for our Nepal school project!

It’s been a great week starting at the Lendit conference and meetings in NY and about to end with mountaineering trip in Scotland. I’ve also enjoyed some nice long runs around central park and some decent gym sessions. Crazy how the weather changed this week in NY, was running in sub-zero temperatures on Sunday and high teens yesterday (oC). Got back to London today and was nearly t-shirt weather.

I’ve also been following Alex Txikon’s attempted winter climb of Everest over the past few days. The legendary Basque climber was trying for a winter ascent without oxygen and has been camped on the mountain for months. Having failed in an attempt in February he had been forced to return to Kathmandu as his Sherpa team needed rest before returning to the mountain with their spring expeditions. With time running out and a new support team (for it to count as a winter ascent it needed to be by march 20th) they went for it yesterday but had to turn back with Alex quoted as saying it would have been “suicide to continue”. Always important to remember he can try again next year. It’s been an awesome effort which I don’t do justice to here. Check him out on Facebook:

Away from work and trip preparations we want to thank everyone who has thus far supported our charity cause to build school buildings in four remote Nepalese villages.

We’ve also received our first two Corporate Charity Donations from Everest Biotech and MyHome which combined with all your wonderful support means we’re really close to £10,000 so far and making great progress towards funding the first school project in the village of Thingan in Makwanpur which is budgeted at £14,500. So cool to think that every pound donated will help kids in this village be in a new school room soon!

It’s fantastic to receive these donations, we’ll be adding their logos to our main blog page (when I work out how!), and I’ve offered to put their logos on my helmet or backpack.

For anyone interested in corporate sponsorship, please touch base on We could even discuss trying to get a photo on the summit with your company logo! Again – for avoidance of doubt all monies to building schools with brilliant charity Child Rescue Nepal – our trip expenses are our own!

Looking forward to 4 days of mountaineering with fellow climber and expedition member Ronny Rhen. We’ll be taken through our paces by Everest veteran and mountain guide Di Gilbert.
I’m sure we’ll have a few cool videos and photos to post over the weekend. When we get back we’ll be on the final countdown!

19 days to go! – finalising the kit list

Downsuits, gps watches, solar chargers, gloves, mits, liners, down sleeping bag cleaners and of course don’t forget the Pee bottle!

Peeing in a bottle is non-negotiable on long high altitude expeditions. Freezing nights when you wake from a bout of sleep apnea or from rolling over and touching the side of tent and showering yourself in ice crystals for the umpteenth time. Altitude messes with sleep and coupled with the need to drink lots of water to stay hydrated in the ultra-dry air – one of the side effects is that most nights high up you often won’t make it through without needing to go at least once. Getting out of the sleeping bag, getting dressed in something suitable for the sub-zero temperatures and high winds and getting out the tent is not an option. Turning to the side and peeing in a bottle is the obvious answer.

Like all key pieces of kit for a big expedition like this, not all bottles are equal. The standard answer is the 1 Litre wide mouth Nalgene. I used a glow in the dark green bottle on Aconcagua in 2010 and while it worked a treat, my experience was that I needed something bigger to avoid having to empty on every use. When I arrived in Alaska to climb Denali, Andy, Ian and Mike from the Alpine Institute were raving about the collapsible 2 litre Nalgene – we managed to get to an REI superstore in Anchorage but they had sold out and only had the 1 litre. I bought it anyhow and found the collapsible to be a revelation as it takes much less focus or positioning inside the sleeping bag to use. Well, I’ve just ordered the 2 litre collapsible on Amazon for Everest and I’m excited about it. Hopefully gives a small insight into the value of the just the right kit when living in harsh environments for weeks on end!

The downsuit is another vital piece of kit. The cold is one of my biggest fears so I’m not messing around with the summit kit. Being cold is often the start of other problems. The best suits from my analysis (which largely meant reading Tim Mosedale’s kit comparison) are from Rab and Mountain hardware – check me out below trying on the mountain hardware suit in Snow and Rock in Covent Garden. It was a hard choice but I went for the very lofty new Rab downsuit: yes I do look like the Michelin man!

The fun end of the kit list are the new gadgets for the adventure ahead. My new kit for Everest includes a Suunto Ambit Peak, the Solarmonkey charger and an Inreach communicator so I can text and tweet from the hill even when we are high up on the mountains. I’ve also got to decide what to bring in terms of entertainment. The kindle is guaranteed, I’ll have my iphone as well, tempted to take an Ipad with a few tv series loaded which I haven’t seen yet. Any recommendations please let me know!

Away from the kit prep I’ve been staying local the last couple of weeks. Some training hikes with a full pack on the south downs, walking up laps of the stairs of my 10 floor apartment building with a weight vest for an hour most mornings, the odd run and gym session, cycling between meetings from Clapham to the west end and the city where possible. I’m heading to New York this Sunday to attend the Lendit conference (thanks Peter!). Been doing some work for a few new non-bank lenders since I left RBS and it will be a great opportunity to touch base with industry contacts and friends alongside advancing some of these initiatives. The conference runs Monday and Tuesday and I’ve a day of meetings in NY on Wednesday before heading back.

I’ll get back to London on Thursday morning and am getting the overnight sleeper from Euston to Aviemore at 9pm that night. I’m sure I’ll sleep well after the red eye from NY and I’ll wake up in bonny Scotland for 4 days mountaineering with fellow climber and expedition member Ronnie Rehn and our guide Di Gilbert who will be putting us through our paces on our last mountain training session before heading off.

It’s a great 10 days ahead. Reach out if you’re at Lendit and want to catch up.


Bernie, Sami and myself on a nice South Downs hike last week. Yes – lots of rocks in my backpack as usual.

Support our charity on

All monies going to building 4 school buildings in off the beaten track Nepalese villages still recovering from the 2015 earthquake.