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5 Reasons I Trekked to Everest


I’m a Network Consulting Engineer, working for Solution Validation Services. I’ve been with Cisco for 20 years this April working in our Green Park office in Reading. UK.

My big 50th birthday was coming up, so I started to think how I was going to celebrate. I wanted to do something epic, something that would challenge me and that I’d never forget.

A colleague of mine mentioned a trek he was going on into Everest Base Camp, in Nepal. The trek was in aid of Hope for Children, a charity that enables vulnerable children to experience a happy childhood by improving their access to education and healthcare, and empowering families to support themselves. This sounded like the perfect opportunity. I thought about it for a while then I signed up through Choose a Challenge—after all, how hard could a trek be to Everest Base Camp?

photo of David waving a Cisco t-shirt on Mt. Everest
No picture is complete without a Cisco t-shirt.

I started to carry out some fundraising for Hope for Children, which included a table tennis competition. As part of my preparation, I did some hiking along the 3 Towers route—a route I had previously hiked in the 80s. And I also completed the 3 Peaks Challenge. Both were an amazing experience in themselves. Unfortunately, James had to pull out of the trek. But I decided to continue, as I’d turn 50 during the trek—what a way to celebrate my birthday!

On September 5, 2017, my adventure to Everest Base Camp began! I meet my team for the first time at Heathrow airport, 23 first and second year university students from Exeter university. We headed, first to New Delhi then to Kathmandu. We stayed overnight in Kathmandu, then the next morning, we took a flight to Lukla (voted the most dangerous airport in the world!). I thought the flight and landing at Lukla were fantastic

Our trek officially began on 7th September 2017, from Lukla (2840m). Each day we’d get up at 6.30am, pack our ruck sacks ready for the porters to collect, have breakfast and leave for 8-9 hours trekking. We crossed the famous steel suspension bridges on the way up from Lukla, they took a bit if getting used to at first, but as long as you didn’t meet any Yak’s coming in the other direction it was fine!

photo of a Yak
The infamous Yak, found throughout the Himalayan region.

Our route took us from to Phadkding (2600 m) then to Namche Bazzar (3400 m) where on the 8th September, I celebrated my 50th birthday (no celebratory drinks though in case it caused altitude sickness!), then on to Tengboche (3800m) and Dingboche (4410m), Louche (4940m) and to Gorak Shep (5200m).

I’d never trekked at altitude before so I did not know what to expect. It was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done in my life. Most of us were suffering from nausea, stomach bugs, loss of appetite, insomnia and headaches. Even eating was tough, and you had to drink between 3 to 4 litres of water each day to help reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. The higher I got the harder it was to breathe and above 4000m. I really started to feel my energy levels drop and exhaustion start to set in. It was a case of walking 10 small steps, pausing to and get your breath back and controlling your breathing—this went on for many days.

We finally made it to Everest Base Camp (5364m) on 14th September!

The views along the route were spectacular, you’d get a glimpse of the peak of Everest from certain places, or other high peaks such as Ama Dablam and Nuptse. I have the greatest respect for the Nepalese people. Each day we struggled up with our light day packs, only to be over taken by Sherpa's with seriously heavy packs on their backs. The Nepalese people are resilient, strong and amazing!

We retraced our route coming back down, only changing slightly to come through Pheriche. But the walk back down was a lot easier than going up! I was totally exhausted, but also felt on “top of the world.” I also finally got to enjoy a beer!

This was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done both physically and mentally, but it was also the most rewarding. I wanted to do something different and challenge myself, and I did that and more. And in the process I lost over a stone in weight.

What’s more, I was lucky enough to take advantage of Cisco’s Time2Give program and use my five giving back days towards this trip. As an employee, being able to use Time2Give means you can take part in a charitable event like this and make a difference without using all your family holiday time. This is one of the aspects that differentiates Cisco and make it a great place to work!

photo of David at Everest base camp.
David at Everest base camp.

The 5 reasons I trekked to Everest:

  • To take advantage of our Time2Give program
  • Helping to raise $100,000 for Hope for Children
  • Doing something really epic for my 50th birthday
  • Taking part in the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done
  • Flying from one of the most dangerous airports in the world

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