Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | England | London – The team
Leader and organiser of the trip, Gavin also organised the British Everest Expedition in 2000 as part of his Seven Summits Millennium Expedition. But on 16th May 2000 Gavin turned back from the south summit, just 100 vertical metres from the top, and watched team mates Andrew Salter, Polly Murray and John Barry summit the highest mountain in the world.
Now he returns to tackle Everest again but this time by the north side with no Sherpa support and hopefully with no oxygen. ‘Just a lot harder, more challenging, more purist, more everything really,’ says Gav, ‘I’m stoked at having the chance to go again, with a really good climber – Williw Canning.
I get the biggest kick out of organising it all – I love the logistics of it all. I’d hate to just pay some operator $40,000 to organise it all for me. After this, I’ll have organised two Everest Expeditions from both sides from scratch and even I don’t summit, I’ll be happy with that achievement’.
Gavin has been to 8000 metres several times now and summitted Cho Oyu, 6th highest in the world, back in ’98 without supplementary oxygen. He has been organising and leading expeditions for ten years now. Gavin runs Adventure Alternative Expeditions, Adventure Alternative Safaris in Kenya, is the UK distributor for Russian oxygen to high altitude expeditions, and chairs his own charity called Moving Mountains which currently supports street children in Kenya and number of environmental and community programmes in Nepal.
He is currently writing his first book about climbing the Seven Summits. His home is currently leaning more towards Ireland. ‘If home is where you are happiest, then it’s Ireland for me’ says Gavin, ‘but I also live in Kent and I have an office in Glasgow. My little home in Kenya is also close to my heart.’
Met Gavin on Mt McKinley in 2000 during the Millennium Expedition and excelled there. He is a qualified mountain instructor with bags of experience and has been working at the Ardclinis Outdoor Centre in Northern Ireland (advertisement break – for all your adventure holiday needs in Ulster, try Anne Bowen at Ardclinis, she makes great jam too!) but just recently Willie has become engaged to an Australian beauty and got his papers for emigration! Now he’s left Ireland and settled in Sydney.
Everest is his last big bash before tackling the even bigger challenge of marriage! Bachelordom is losing a true stalwart.
Will is from Northern Ireland (Newtownstewart) and if you can actually understand a word of what he’s saying through the thick Ulster accent then you’ll find one of the best blokes around… Willie was on an Annapurna Expedition which was beset with bad weather (no summit)and this is his first foray into the icy world of the Death Zone at 8,000 metres plus. ‘Aye well, it’ll be no problem sure, I’ll just gi’it ma best shot sure’n’try to keep me toes….(half hour of fast Ulstertalk later)…and if I summit I’ll be the first from Norn Iron to do it without oxygen!’ A record in the offing!
Willie is a spare individual who is always laffing and smiling, always laid back, always easy going, consummate climber who would think of others before himself, completely non-anal and great craic. He’s one of those guys on a hill who wears just an old T-shirt and fleece when everyone else is in full down suits; tough as old boots is our Willie.