Recently I’ve been having a chat with Mark Inglis through Twitter, for which I’m completely honoured, and humbled. If you were to ask anyone in the know in New Zealand about famous New Zealand mountaineers, you’d hear Inglis mentioned amongst some proud names such as Rob Hall, Russell Brice and, of course, Sir Edmund Hillary.
Mark Inglis has a firm place in New Zealand’s mountaineering heritage having been the first double amputee to stand on the summit of Everest. Since then, Mark and Anne Inglis created Limbs4All – a sustainable New Zealand based Charitable Trust committed to helping some of the 400 million disabled people in the world to express potential.
Inglis contacted me to invite me on a trekking expedition that he is hosting in Nepal. Arranged by World Expeditions, this trip takes you to the Gokyo Lakes region at the head of the Dudh Kosi Valley. The trek takes you higher than Everest base camp to Gokyo Ri and to see what Inglis tells me is the real Nepal.
The beauty of having Inglis there with you is that you see the area, and views of Everest, from his own perspective. Inglis can take you around the mountaineering haunts of Kathmandu and introduce you to his Sherpa friends.
The highlight of the trek is an ascent of Gokyo Ri. From the summit you’ll see impressive views of Everest as well as the 8,000m peaks of Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. To put this in perspective, Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest peak and the place where Mark lost his legs in 1982 – stands at 3,754 metres. The highest peak in Brtiain is Ben Nevis at a comparatively minuscule 1,344 metres.
Personally, the highlight for me would be walking alongside Mark Inglis himself and discussing the stories and personalities that I’ve read so much about and knocking pint glasses with a guy who features in a large number of the more recent books himself.
Alas, I’m unable to head of on this remarkable adventure this year but Mark has allowed me to put the offer out there to others. Looking over the trip information, this really is an incredible trip at fantastic value – less than the price of a 20 year old Hilux (yes, I compare all prices to my truck to help me put them in perspective) . Plus $500 goes towards Mark’s charity, Limbs4All.
For a full guide to the trip itself, head to the Gokyo Lakes page on the World Expeditions website and download the trip notes. If you have any questions or want to get in touch with Mark about the trip, feel free to post a comment here or contact World Expeditions through their site.
If you end up going, take some photos for me and give me a run down of your experiences and I’ll post them on this blog.
The incredible pictures of Mount Everest on this page are by my Christchurch photographer friend, Heather Ellis.