Interview with Jo Bradshaw about her Everest & Lhotse twin peak expedition later this year.
1. 2015 didn’t quite go to plan, how have you put this behind and mentally motivated yourself for this next attempt to summit x2 8000m peaks?
Being given the chance to go back whilst we were still at EBC after the earthquake was a massive boost. The summit attempts were taken out of our hands, not by ill health, bad preparation or injury but by a force of nature that no-one predicted. It’s time to head back and give this challenge my best efforts not only for me but for my family, friends, my sponsor and supporters.
2. Your build up in training last year was grueling have you followed the same plan this year?
Last year I thought I was doing the right thing by working on a lot of high altitude expeditions in the run up to Everest/Lhotse, the work was great but in fact I arrived in Kathmandu exhausted after such a busy work season and then caught a bad cough/cold which was a worry. This year I have much more of a relaxed approach. I am training hard with strength work, running, walking and making sure my diet is as good as it can be but more importantly my mind is more relaxed about it all too which is a huge bonus.
3. What didn’t you take to base camp that will be packed for this season?
Bovril, Heinz tomato soup sachets and Starbucks coffee sachets! I took loads of sweater snacks last year which were great but I missed my coffee and savoury bits! I’m starting to hoard bits and pieces now to ease the cost!
4. You watched the film Everest how accurate was this in depicting the base camp scene?
I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the film, it is a Hollywood production and this drama came out in the film. The film is based on events which took place 20 years ago and I things have changed a little since then! Life at base camp is very chilled, lots of rest, reading, chatting with fellow climbers, not sure I’ll be sunbathing with a tinny in my hand! Reflection
5. What are you most looking forward to (apart from summiting Everest and Lhotse)?
Seeing our Sherpa team and fellow climbers again. I haven’t been back to Nepal since we arrived home in May last year and I can’t wait to see how our Sherpa friends are. I’m also looking forward to getting back into the swing of true expedition, the simplicity, the raw nature of what we are about to take on, life stripped back to the core.
6. Who is you leader and why did you choose to go with 360?
I’m heading out with Rolfe Oostra who has been a friend, mentor and fellow guide since I first met him in 2007. I never, ever thought I was capable of climbing anything let alone the mountains that he has encouraged me up. Rolfe has been instrumental in mountaineering career, as a climber and leader. We are chalk and cheese but our little systems work well and we make a great team. I trust him with my life and hope the feeling is the same as on Everest we look out for each other, we are climbing as friends and fellow mountaineers rather than as client/guide. I think I have heard all of his stories about a million times now though!!
7. What foods do you miss most when out on the hill?
8. Are you taking any special goodies (comfort foods) and what
(mentioned above!) More savoury snacks that I usually take, a good mix of carbs and protein. You eat what ever will keep you going and when we are expending 7000 – 15000 calories the higher we go, every calorie taken in counts.
9. If you can take 2 luxury items what would they be?
Only one item for me – Daisy, my fabulous dog. She would love it!
10. Your top tips to help get you started on the 7 summits?
Most people start on Kili, get the bug and then expect the other 6 summits to be the same. Moving from Kili to Aconcagua or even Elbrus is a massive step so my advice is to look at each mountain in it’s own right, for it’s own merits rather than comparing them to each other or thinking they will all be like Kili. Aconcagua is a kick arse mountain and will chew you up and spit you out if you are not prepared, mentally or physically but it’s so worth effort! The time spent preparing for any mountain will always be of benefit but buying the most expensive kit will not get you to the top, the work of training hard will.
11. How do you cope without your home comforts when out on the hill?
I actually love the simplicity of not having wifi, electricity, a kettle. When stripped back, you actually live in the moment rather than thinking of what’s happening next and life slows down to a lovely pace. I have a good set of expedition equipment now from my super warm sleeping bag to my favourite trekking pants. I’ve gone through the trials of getting a good system so slip back into my expedition life very easily and I love it!
12. What music drives you on when the going gets tough – do you have a play list?
My iPod has a very eclectic mix of music from Michael Buble to Avicii, Dolly Parton to Led Zeppelin! I tend to put my iPod on shuffle and see what comes up next rather than a playlist however Jack Savoretti is a particular pick me up at the moment!
13. Have you a reading list on your kindle if so which book is at the top of the list?
Like my iPod, my Kindle has a wide variety of books on it. I’ve just started reading Bill Bryson’s books which transport me into someone else’s life. I do love reading books which I learn so much from or learn about people through autobiographies as well as fiction. Having been on so many expeds with Rolfe, I’ve read a hugely eclectic mix of books which he has with him and am sure will keep on doing so!
14. It’s a 7 week expedition what/who do you most miss?
My dog Daisy! I miss our cuddles, her crazy face, running with her and just having her around. I lost my older Spaniel, Jess, in August last year and I miss her desperately but have her and Daisy’s paw prints on a bracelet which is a great reminder of them, plus my parents finger print necklace too which is a great support.