Why do this?

Me as a young boy in Caloundra, Queensland.  I was a big fan of fishing.For me, climbing Mount Everest has been a lifelong dream.  I've always been inspired by explorers and adventurers - and I seem to have a magnetic attraction to the mountains.  But that's not to say I've spent my whole life planning to climb Mt Everest.

After Fiona and I met at university, we started doing lots of hiking together, and then started tackling some small peaks.  Over the years, these gradually turned into bigger and more difficult mountains.  Which is when we realised that, hey, we nearly have enough experience to tackle Mount Everest!  At first this sent our heads spinning, but we soon realised that we were in a position to do this now and so we set about getting some more experience and training.

But why have we focussed on Mt Everest and not any other mountain?  For us, Mount Everest represents a big test of physical and mental endurance – demanding extreme physical fitness and capability, courage, and strength of character.  Although there are many mountains which are more technically demanding than Everest, there is no dispute that Everest is the highest physical point on the planet, the roof of the world.  Hence Everest seduced both us as it does to thousands of other climbers around the world.

Fiona and I between camps 3 and 4 on Everest in 2006 at the start of the traverse to the Yellow Band.  This was our first time using oxygen.  We had a great day and really enjoyed the stunning scenery. As some of you reading this will know, in 2006, Fiona and I set out to climb Mt Everest and we had a fantastic adventure doing it.  Our climb was almost perfect except that my oxygen tank ran out on summit day just 100 metres short of the summit!  Needless to say, my hopes of reaching the summit quickly faded as my priority shifted to getting down safely.  Fortunately, Fiona was able to continue and she summited on May 23rd 2006.  You can read more about our 2006 climb here.

After returning from this trip, I knew I would go back.  So many people have said to me that I was so close that in their books, I've already summitted.  But I do want to go back and feel what it is like to stand on the very top of the world.  At the moment it feels like unfinished business and it's been such a life long goal for me.

Here's me on a mountain in Andorra in 2006 (between France and Spain).  Fiona and I got up early to climb this before breakfast and it was absolutely beautiful. But going back was a huge committment.  I'd already been training very solidly for 2 years - could I really put myself through another whole year of that?  Was it time to get on with my life and come back to this later?  After a couple of months on holiday where Fiona and I did some light running but basically gave my body a rest, I decided that now was the time.  If I had to start from scratch again in 5 years time, I knew it would be so much harder - better to do it now while my fitness is already high and we don't have too many other committments to worry about.

Last time when we left for Everest, our big question was "can we do it?".  We'd done all the preparation we could but still had no idea whether we'd be strong enough against a mountain as big as Everest. 

Having been there before, this time my focus is different.  I know I'm strong enough - I was strong enough last year and this year I'm even fitter.  But that doesn't mean I'm taking anything for granted.  In fact, I'm more determined than ever to climb in good style and that means with a good level of safety. 

Having experienced it before, and watched 15 others go through it around me, I now know much more about the other factors that can jeopardise a trip - such as health, oxygen systems, weather, mental toughness and attitude, and equipment (although I've no doubt that I'll learn a lot more on this trip as well).  Mountain climbing is certainly a dangerous sport, but there are a lot of risks which can be minimised or in some cases eliminated altogether.  I also know that it'll be different this time climbing on my own.  Although Fiona will be at basecamp for the last part, it'll be different without her right there with me and it's something I'm preparing for with my training, equipment (good radios) and outlook.

Another reason to climb Everest is the natural beauty of the Himalayas.  Last year, we were so focussed on preparing ourselves for the climb, that we were taken by surprise at how beautiful Mt Everest is.  Base camp is not a particularly pretty place, but we both really enjoyed our time there.  We got to know lots of amazing people and lived in a very different community for the period we were there.  Once we were climbing, especially above the icefall, the scenery was truly stunning.  Yes, the Lhotse face is incredibly hard work, but it's also incredibly spectacular.  And the entire climb above camp 3, up to the South Col, and then onto the summit, was truly amazing.  These are the images of Everest that I hold in my mind now, and draw me back to climb again. 

So why am I climbing?  In short, it's because I love being in the mountains and when it comes to height, Everest is truly a mountain of all mountains.  Having set Everest as my goal, I want to give myself the opportunity to acheive this before moving on to whatever's next in my life - I don't want to live with regrets.  Yes, there are risks, but I intend to take a very conservative, considered approach so that I can really enjoy my time on the mountain.

Paul

Messages

Climbing.

Hey, good luck on you're climbing trip! I hope you summit and have a great time! I believe in you! keep up the great work!

stuff

hello mi name is ben i want to no sum things im from australia i live in victoria n from geelong about an hour away from melbourne so how did u get so high on mount everest

Hullo from Melbourne

It's Helen Lee again and I am reading everything on your web site, and I just must express how over whelmed I am by your preparation, your insight and caution, combined with the immense challenge. You are able to express the beauty of mountains, the skills required, the attention to safety and your motivation to climb this big 'mother'! We want you safe but how good will it be to have you, safe and happy!!!!!! Good luck, Paul.
This is just a little, aside now. I am a school teacher friend of Marys. One day while doing emergency teaching, I was in the staff room and overheard a conversation about you, Paul. This teacher had taught you, and was saying, I always knew Paul Adler would accomplish alot, he was very driven and a special kid, and how wonderful it is that he is climbing Mt. Everest, attempting to stand at the top of the world. I wanted to yell and name-drop saying, I know his mum and dad... Anyhow, you met Fiona, have shared so much and now, all we hope and wish for, is that, it's your turn, god's speed, good luck, take care, enjoy it all
Helen Lee Melebourne

Truely Inspirational

Well done Paul and Fiona, you are amazingly inspirational people. I have followed both your 2006 & 2007 Everest expeditions - both incredible feats of determination and endurance. Love the concept of this website BTW - I will certainly be making regular visits here to be inspired by, and support others in, their individual 'Everest style' quests.

Lee W - Canberra