AN intrepid Hartlepool businessman says he is still determined to carry out a charity trek up the world’s highest mountain despite an avalanche sweeping down its slopes and killing 16 people.
John Mulcahy had almost finished his preparations for an ambitious trip to Mount Everest when tragedy struck last Friday.
The 48-year-old, from Seaton Carew, is due to tackle the gruelling trek in aid of Norton-based autism charity Daisy Chain as “there is an amazing amount of people touched by autism”.
But his plans, which have been in the pipeline for about a year, were thrown into jeopardy when he heard that 16 sherpas had died in the avalanche, forcing the immediate cancellation of all climbing in the Mount Everest area.
John, who is dad to Jordan, 24, and six-year-old Eesa, and has already raised £4,200 for the charity, said: “It was absolutely horrendous when I heard the news.
“For my own selfish part I was concerned about whether the trip would go ahead.
“But I phoned Jagged Globes, the company I am travelling with, and unknown to me they actually had one of their own sherpas killed and another injured in the incident.
“Obviously the most important thing is the tragic death of so many sherpas.”
John said Jagged Globes have a party at base camp set to tackle Everest, but members are likely to be sent back as they can’t climb without the sherpas, who have abandoned the season.
He said: “But because I am only undertaking the trek to the south base camp I am hopeful.
“I have been sent an email telling me my trip is going ahead.”
John’s attempt to scale Kala Pattar, just above south base camp, which is 18,370ft up the 29,029ft mountain, is due to start on May 4 and his trip will last 19 days.
John, a financial advisor for Bishop Auckland-based Ashcroft Financial Solutions, is still determined to fly out to hit his fundraising target – even if the journey there will also prove a hazard.
The grandad-of-two said: “Another concern is landing in Lukla Airport, it’s believed to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world as the runway is so short, and Nepalese airlines are banned in the EU due to their safety record, so the biggest danger will be setting off!”
Before then he intends to complete his gym training before having a few days rest and relaxation ahead of the challenge.
“I’m a bit sad about the circumstances,” said John, “but I have put so much effort into my training so far I hope I can complete the trek.
“I will be happy to abide by whatever decision they make about the conditions when we are in country.”
John thanked Liam Howlett who took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in June last year, which raised £960 towards his target.
To support John and make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/John-Mulcahy1.