At the weekend, 1st June to be precise, Pete Johnson attempted to “Everest” Beeley Moor, aka Hell Bank in the Derbyshire Peak District.
“Everesting” is a concept formulated by George Mallory, the grandson of… George Mallory, who attempted to climb Mount Everest in the 1920s. In the early nineties, George set himself the target of climbing Mount Donna Buang 8 times, a total of 8800m, roughly the height of Mount Everest – on his bike. An account of his attempts can be read here. He eventually climbed it 10 times in succession. And all this in preparation for his attempt on the north ridge of Everest in 1995.
Since then everesting has very slowly caught on to the extent that 67 people world-wide (2 in UK) have attained the title of “Everester”.
As of 1st June Pete Johnson made it 68 and 3 in UK.
I discovered Everesting through a tweet by Pete Johnson a day or two prior to his attempt. Living only a few miles from Beeley Moor, and having climbed it a few times on the Fusion CC Sunday club runs I was intrigued. Pete’s donation page stated he’d have to climb Beeley Moor 41 times to reach the Everest altitude of 8848m. All at one attempt, no sleeps in between – see the rules here.
I knew Pete would be starting on the Sunday morning about 06:00 and expected the attempt to take between 14-16 hours. But there was no way I’d be there at the start – not with my 70 mile ride Out in the Peaks I’d done with a friend the day before.
I eventually turned up about 15:15, and first saw Pete making his 26th ascent. I continued to the bottom of the hill to wait for him to return. On his 27th ascent I rode with him, we chatted and I asked if he’d mind me taking a few photos – he was fine with that.
Over the course of the subsequent ascents with him I learnt he competed in audaxs on a monthly basis and how on the London-Edinburgh-London event he did it in 3 days with a total of only 6 hours sleep! This probably explains why he didn’t need to train for this attempt.
All in all I did 6 ascents with him, but I had the luxury of spreading them out over the remaining ascents he still had to do. And I can tell you those 6 were enough! In between I took some photos of him ascending and descending and, of course, one of him crossing the finishing line. But not before a bit of drama.
On the penultimate ascent I said I would wait at the top so I could get that shot of him crossing the finishing line. However, I got a bit concerned when he became overdue for that last ascent. Fact is the light was rapidly diminishing and I had no front light for the journey home.
But I couldn’t leave without first checking to see if he was OK. So I started back down the hill only to see him coming towards me. I hastily turned around and headed back to the finish line where I snapped him just in time.
Turns out his GPS unit, the Garmin Edge 800, stopped recording – it wasn’t that the unit had run out of juice (there was a spare power unit attached). In the end he switched to a spare GPS unit before continuing the final ascent.
Here are some of the photos I took: