Phil Spencer joins the third ascent of Everest In The Alps

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Phil will join Rob Ritchie, whose ten year old son Toby, has a low grade brain tumour and others to scale the height of Everest on skis in just four days from 5 March 2019

This will be the third ascent of the expedition and the second time that Phil has taken part.

Phil said: “I'm really looking forward to it this time. I know it'll be tough but I feel fitter this year than I did for last year's ascent."

In 2015, Rob and seven of his friends and family travelled to the Swiss village of Verbier where they took on the very first Everest in the Alps – by skiing a gruelling 8,848m uphill, the height of Everest.

The group raised an incredible £3million, helping fund the creation of The Everest Centre for research in Germany – a leading research centre into paediatric low grade tumours which opened in June 2017.

Last year saw 27 skiers (pictured), including Phil Spencer, take on the challenge, again raising for vital research and cementing Everest In The Alps as a unique endurance challenge on the expedition calendar.

Phil said: “It's a really interesting challenge, it's unique. When you tell people they're immediately curious, not that they can really picture what 5.5 miles vertical actually looks like, or indeed might feel like, to try and climb."

The four-day challenge on 5 March 2019, will test all skiers to their limits. They'll ascend over 2,500m every day to reach their target. The average amount of time out on the snow is ten hours a day but it can be longer – however long it takes to keep on track.

At altitudes of up to 3,500m, each Everest in the Alps challenger will burn through a daily average of 10,000 calories – the equivalent of running three back-to-back marathons and preparation for the four days takes months.

“There are genuinely scary moments. Last year we got spread out as a team; people were moving at different paces and all of a sudden you look across the mountain and your team mates and the guides are spread out.

“You're feeling on your own and you hit an ice patch and you look down and you think; if I slip now, I'm going to be in a whole pile of trouble. There's nothing and no-one that could have helped me out of that.

Along the route, the team will spend the nights in a remote mountain hut, giving them a basic but well-earned rest and a chance to gather their strength. Early starts mean that they will have to be back on the slopes at 6.30am each morning.

Funds raised by Rob, Phil and all the teams will go to The Everest Centre, financed by The Brain Tumour Charity with a global remit to research new treatments.

The centre will fund several, vital research projects that will help us understand more about low grade paediatric brain tumours, such low grade tumours in the brain often make them only partially operable.

Consequently children often have to go through multiple rounds of invasive treatment like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and relapse is a constant fear.

Rob Ritchie sums up the spirit of the expedition: “Everyone has their own Everest.

“It appeals on many levels. A lot of good people came together from all different walks of life and ultimately we've raised a lot of money for research that's been so underfunded."

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