LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge
Departs: 13th April 2019
Leader: Carrie Gibson
6th May –
Welcome back to the team who have landed safely back at London Heathrow. We are pleased to confirm that the team successfully broke 2 WORLD RECORDS (subject to Guinness verification) – huge Congratulations to the challengers! Read the full story on the Wooden Spoon.
The World Record breaking match of the highest ever rugby game took place on 30th April at 6,331m. The previous record was on Kilimanjaro at 5,119m. We marked out a rugby pitch on the East Rongbuk Glacier near Advanced Base Camp where the team spent a few nights acclimatising before the game. The game had a rather slow-motion feel to it but despite the altitude, cold and snow the teams had some good runs and it was tightly contested to the final whistle. Our Everest team Sherpas also took part in the game and were thrilled to have their first experience of rugby potentially making it into the Guinness book of records.
Both record breaking games are subject to verification by Guinness.
27th April –
After a challenging 9 hour walk from intermediate camp the team have finally made it to Advance Base Camp on the North side of Everest. At around 6450m the air up there is half the pressure that you breathe at sea level. The team now need to recover their strength while they rest for the next two days in preparation for the next rugby game.
26th April –
Congratulations to the team on the highest ever touch rugby game!
It’s been an eventful few days at base camp as the team have been adapting to the altitude and have done some more acclimatisation walks, and yesterday they played a game of touch rugby to set an (unofficial) World Record for the highest ever game, at 5119m. Read the full report on the Wooden Spoon website.
Carrie has called in this afternoon to say that they have reached intermediate camp at 5760m. Leaving base camp, Everest disappears behind 7500m Changste, initially a gentle flat walk before turning steeply up to the left through good rock scenery. Eventually, the valley reveals the amazing pinnacles of the East Rongbuk Glacier and the camp for the night. The Rongbuk Glacier is an impressive frozen ocean of ice waves. From here the views of the glacier and the Himalayan peaks are some of the most dramatic in Tibet. Along the east side of the glacier is the trail that expeditions use to begin their climbs of Everest and this is the trail the team took. Intermediate Camp is set in a barren world of moraine hills under beautifully sculpted yellow-orange granite cliffs. The tents were all set up ready for the team when they got there. The walk up there took the team about 8 hours and it’s been a nice fine day. Tomorrow they will continue up to Advanced Base Camp (6,340m) to join the Everest summit team who have been there for the past few days.
23rd April –
Hello from Everest Base Camp!
The team reached base camp on Saturday and are settling in well. They have been up to c.5500m and have done a couple of acclimatisation walks over the past couple of days. One to the junction of the East Rongbuk Glacier and back to camp, and another up one of the ridges near base camp. This is all part of the ‘climb high, sleep low’ approach to acclimatising where you walk higher during the day to get your body used to lower levels of oxygen, then drop back down to sleep. They will do another walk tomorrow then have a rest day where they might play one game of touch rugby. They’ve been getting in some practice of their set moves already!
19th April –
Today we travelled on to New Tingri, or Xegar as it is also known. As we travelled along we saw a Ruddy Shelduck 🦆 which is sacred. We also learned what the colours on all the small houses signified:
Black – courage
Brown – intelligence
White – love and compassion
Also Tashi told us that in Tingri if a family had 3 sons they would have 1 wife between them so to keep the brothers together and continue the family farm. Although he did add that now a days it’s not so common.
Today should have been our first sighting of Everest but alas it was cloudy so John will point it out for where it should be. We have also been tasting some local delicacies – today gecko!
Today we drove to the high point and had a short acclimatisation walk. It’s the first time at this altitude for most of the team and they are starting to see what it’s really going to be like, how cold it can be and how even short distances can be challenging. Everyone coped really well today and we are all looking forward to getting to base camp tomorrow.
18th April –
Today we went to the Gyantse dozing (or fort) it was built in the 14th century. The fort had great statues that show what life was like back in the day. The team even held their own court and several “crimes of the trip” have been judged!
The town is famous for carpets and horse racing. In Chinese it is known as the “Hero City” because of the determined resistance of the Tibetans against far superior forces during the British expeditions to Tibet of 1903 and 1904.
We then drove to Shigatse and visited the Tashilhunpo monastery. Shigatse is the 2nd largest town in Tibet. Tomorrow we head to New Tingri.
17th April –
We had great weather for our visit to the Potala Palace and Tashi Lhunpo monastery yesterday. Today the team have moved up to Gyantse at around 3900m. We took a scenic route along the old road from Lhasa where we visited the view point at 4280m. The Tibetans at the view point had mountain dogs with sun glasses and wee goats with funny hats, but I much preferred to look at the views and the halo round the sun. The weather was beginning to change and so far today we have had bright sun, snow, sleet, rain, hailstones, thunder and lightning and were very lucky to experience the Scottish conditions from inside the bus! At the highest point of the journey today (4998m) we had a little throw about with the rugby balls and hopefully by the end of the trip the team will have taught me how to catch it! Jon is a ruby tots coach so he will hopefully be best qualified to coach me.
We passed the beautiful Yamdrok Lake, 72km long and means turquoise in English. It is one of the 3 largest sacred lakes in Tibet.
Tomorrow we walk up to the old fort in Gyantse before moving on to Xigatse.
16th April –
On arrival in China the team had a nice night in Chengdu, some went and explored the markets and ate chicken feet. Next day we flew to Tibet’s capital Lhasa at 3600m where we had dinner in a restaurant close to the hotel. Today we visited the famous Potala Palace and climbed up all its 432 steps then Jokhang Temple which was great as it was really quiet and we got to see the monks debating. Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important Buddhist temple in Tibet and is located just in front of Potala Palace.
Tomorrow the team will start their journey towards Base Camp crossing the many high passes of Tibet to further aid our acclimatisation and ensure we arrive at BC in good health. The first stop is Gyantse 3950m.
10th April –
This weekend the team depart the UK for Chengdu. They will arrive on the 14th and spend the night in Chengdu while paperwork for Tibet is issued. They will then fly to Lhasa on the 15th April and after a day’s sightseeing in Lhasa will make their way to Everest Base Camp. The planned arrival date at BC is 20th April.
19th March –
Finally we say goodbye to all the freight, much to Stu’s relief, which is on its way to Kathmandu. It will make its way overland with our Sherpa team and will be reunited with the rest of the team at base camp. After that Yaks will transport it up to Advanced Base Camp, where the game will be held.
January 2019 – The team headed up to Scotland for some cold weather winter training –
September 2018 – The Rugby team have their first get together in the Lake District – Lake District Training Weekend