Everest Trail Race – A journey begins

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I had a dream, like any boy, I had a dream of what might be. Majestic mountains and blue skies; coloured flags draped on string and spread across the trail. Nepal and the Himalayas, it’s sometimes quite difficult to convey an emotion… Nepal stirs an emotion.

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You see, I have had a vision; a vision of what this region will hold for me. Visual delights that can fulfill the photographic passion of even a novice cameraman, to be in this region of the world, yes, near the ‘rooftop’ of the world is something that I never thought would happen.

I have experienced many wonderful things, particularly in the last two years. I have been extremely fortunate, extremely blessed and extremely thankful of the opportunities.

I have witnessed the rainforests of Costa Rica at The Coastal Challenge, the dunes of the Sahara at Marathon des Sables and the vermillion cliffs of the Grand Canyon at the Grand To Grand, but today, I depart on a journey, a journey 46-years in the making to the rooftop of the world. I am finally going to experience the majesty and the awe-inspiring wonder of the Himalayas at the Everest Trail Race.

To synthesize my emotions and thoughts are almost impossible. My expectations are high and I am sure that as soon as I experience my first sights and sounds of Kathmandu, all will fall into place. My camera will convey the images, emotions and beauty of what I see.

The Everest Trail Race is a multi-day journey that will test each and every participant in a way that they have not been tested before. A total elevation gain of over 25,000m with a minimal altitude of 3,000m will mean that breathing alone will be difficult.

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Set against one of the most awe inspiring backdrops, the race will last for six days covering a total distance of 160km. Daily distances are on the face of it relatively easy at; 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22km, however, daily altitude difference goes from 3000m to almost 6000m. It is a demanding race and although each participant is required to be self-sufficient during each day, food, water and an evening camp are provided by the race organization. Daily temperatures can vary from -10c to +18c and the terrain will offer incredible variety; frozen earth, snow and rocks of varying color. Without doubt, the ETR is a challenge, why else would you do it?

My purpose and aim will be to document the journey in words and images providing a daily story that will portray the journey of all involved. Wild beauty, people, cultural encounters all encompassed in a harsh environment. The ETR will bring sharing and ultimately friendship for all. This race will be so much more than ‘just’ a physical effort; it will be a life affirming journey and one that will almost certainly change each person who has the opportunity to experience it.

This will be a race of human values, collective experiences and I for one can’t wait to experience the journey not only from the outside looking in but from within the race looking out.

Nepal and the altitude will be a new experience for me. It excites me but also intimidates me. Will I be able to handle the altitude? In addition to making the 160km journey, I need to work. I am going to need to travel light but also function on a professional level. Sometime ago I changed my heavy Nikon DSLR cameras to the compact micro four/third Panasonic G cameras and without doubt they will be worth every penny of investment on this race. I am able to carry three cameras and lenses for the comparable weight of one Nikon body and lens. My computer is the small and light MacBook Air, I will have an iPad mini, solar charger and I will be using mobile recording equipment such as the Zoom H2N.

Camera kit iancorless.com

Camera kit iancorless.com

I am equipped and well prepared for every race I attend, however, the ETR and it’s part self-sufficient nature not only means that I need lightweight and effective clothing but it needs to pack small. I have to give a big thank you here to UK based company, MONTANE. They have provided me with all the equipment I need (inc luggage) and in addition, I have some new products to test, such as a Montane Sleeping Bags that will be available on the market in 2014.

Everest Trail Race - Montane kit - ©iancorless.com

Everest Trail Race – Montane kit – ©iancorless.com

The above has my daily kit that I will need for safety. Waterproof layers, down jacket, sleeping bag (in case of emergency), windproof shell and gilet, medium gloves/ warm gloves, warm hat and peaked hat. All weighing in and including the pack at 2.93kg.

Everest Trail Race - Montane kit - ©iancorless.com

Everest Trail Race – Montane kit – ©iancorless.com

The above is a stripped down version of equipment with no sleeping bag and just medium gloves weighing in at 1.2kg.

Apparel as supplied by MONTANE:

Montane day clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane day clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane warm layers clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane warm layers clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane outer clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane outer clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane run clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane run clothing ©iancorless.com

Montane pack and luggage ©iancorless.com

Montane pack and luggage ©iancorless.com

So that’s it for now. I leave Heathrow and join the team in Istanbul, we then depart for Kathmandu.

Reports and images will be posted on my website here, I hope on a daily basis, however, communications above 3,000m may well be limited.

Watch this space!

NAMASTE.

Finally, a word from Jordi Abad, ETR director.

” If this was only a pure and hard competition, it would be a nonsense; environment gives its hardness but not the competitiveness itself. We are here to share and to help each other. It is possible to make the effort running any city marathon in the world, but the sensations, the environment and the feelings are to share them with friends, to know new people with whom laughing and weeping. This is what remains in the end and what makes it an unique experience for all”.

ETR website in the UK HERE

Information on Nepal:

It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri corridor. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest metropolis.

The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level.[11] The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.  

Content taken from Wikipedia©

Equipment list supplied by Montane 

  • Montane Beanie 50g
  • Montane Aero Cap 55g
  • Montane Bionic Long Sleeve Crew Neck base layer 160g
  • Montane Bionic Long John 175g
  • Montane Featherlite Gilet 105g
  • Montane Featherlite Smock 105g
  • Montane Featherlite Down Jacket w/ Hood 405g
  • Montane Minimus Mountain Jacket (waterproof) 232g
  • Montane Minimus Tousers (waterproof)  125g
  • Montane Terra Pants 320g
  • Montane Tee Shirt 195g
  • Montane Powerstretch Gloves 55g
  • Montane Sabretooth Gloves 112g

Run Kit

  • Montane Sonic Ultra T 150g
  • Montane Trail Tights 207g
  • Montane Trail Shorts 140g

Sleeping Bag

  • Montane Direct Ascent (sample product) 1055g

Pack

  • Montane Ultra Tour 22 ltr 545g

Holdall

  • Montane Transition 100 

Total weight 4186g minus holdall