Mount Everest is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Handel Group’s goal to clean up the planet.
Always looking to give back, handel: was proud to recently support West Australian Greg Johnson and his charitable endeavour to climb Mount Everest.
Bringing visibility to the issue of suicide and mental illness in the workplace, and people in crisis, Greg took on a 63-day journey to conquer the tallest peak in the world.
“I chose climbing Mount Everest to demonstrate an analogy that I hope resonates with likeminded people who may be struggling – reach out, reach out to your lifelines and let them help you through,” Greg said.
Climbing Mount Everest is no small feat and is deemed quite risky for unqualified trainers, a fact Greg was well aware of.
Not only was Greg training in the lead up to his departure but also partnered with experienced guiding climb service, Adventure Consultants, to ensure a successful climb.
Departing from Perth on March 29, Greg and fellow expedition climbers – who will come to be his closest comrades – all met up at Kathmandu in Nepal with a welcome dinner.
From there, the team jumped on a fixed wing plane to Lukla (elevation 2,860m) then began a 10-day trek; climbing 5,300m above sea level to reach Base Camp, enduring a lengthy stay to boost acclimatisation do some ice training.
When the timing was right, Greg and his team would then move on to the most difficult part of the 29,029-foot climb.
Although it only takes around five days to travel from Base Camp to the Summit and back, climbers first must spend time at various heights to acclimate their bodies.
Donning lightweight packs and oxygen masks while they traipse through unpredictable terrain, the team will head towards Camp 3 (7,300m), Camp 4 (7,950m) and finally, the punishing Summit.
“I think summit day and getting frostbite within three hours of the climb was the toughest part of the climb,” Greg said.
“Knowing my left foot was not going to get warm and thinking I had another 12 hours to get up and down; it was hard for me to continue pushing through the pain.”
However, with all difficulty, Greg reached the top; something which is considered the most poignant moments of a lifetime.
So, the first thing that popped in his head?
“To get down quickly,” Greg exclaims.
“In all seriousness, I probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I should of; due to the pain I was in, I just wanted to get down.
But the pain couldn’t deflect from Greg ensuring his family were right there beside him.
“I’m slightly annoyed because I had my lifeline and other sponsor flags with me, but I was kind of overawed by the situation, so I just reached for the photo of my family that had stayed with me throughout the climb.
“I then managed to get my sons self-made image of himself and stuck him on top of the world too.”
With a dangerous reputation, a triumphant journey to the top of Mount Everest can often be marred by tragedy.
“I think the experience will stay with me for the rest of my life in both good and bad ways,” Greg said.
“Achieving the feat of reaching the top was so hard across the two months but the reality of seeing the people that had died the night before is also something I found and continue to struggle with.
“But the two months of climbing the ice falls and the times I had with my fellow climbers is something I’ll treasure forever.”
Greg’s mission has not yet ended, having raised over $15,000 from his Mt Everest exhibition, Greg is still looking to raise awareness through other ventures.
“The English Channel is next and I’m currently in the process of getting in shape for the Rottnest channel (20k) and port to pub (25k) swims to qualify,” Greg said.