With NHS sponsorship deals now in place, scores of centenarians are reported to be gathering at Everest base camps and waiting for a break in the weather to make their ascent on the World’s highest mountain.
Speaking from South Base Camp in Nepal, 102-year old Roger Braithwaite from Carlisle said, “There’s been a little bit of drizzle which has made the ice a bit treacherous underfoot. But with crampons attached to my new tartan slippers and Zimmer, I’m hoping to start out for the summit after a nice cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit.”
‘Bide-Away’ care home manager, Alice Johnson said, “We’re fully behind Roger and will be keeping his chair warm for him for when he gets back. Mind you he often does that without any assistance from us.”
Meanwhile, at the North Base Camp in Tibet, 104-year old Elsie Jones, said, “I’m hoping that the two week’s training I did climbing up and down the stairs at home will set me in good stead for tackling the northeast ridge. Mind you I had a lousy night’s sleep, what with the Yaks grunting outside my tent all night and my climbing buddy, Marjorie, up every hour with the water works.”
Elsie’s daughter, June, who was unable to accompany her to Tibet due to an urgent hair appointment, praised her mother and said that, after extensive publicity up and down the street, she had already raised £3.50.
Meanwhile, Sherpa guides have expressed concern about the number of elderly people now gathering at Everest base camps and have asked for some constraint.
“The problem we’ve got with these centenarians is that they are like stubborn old goats. They don’t mind queuing for hours and a lot of them have brought their own oxygen.” said a Sherpa spokesman.