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Phuket boy ‘Gus’, and family, reach Mt Everest Base Camp

Phuket boy ‘Gus’, and family, reach Mt Everest Base Camp

Phuket boy “Gus”, at just 7½ years old, and his mum ‘Nan’ Mansfield and their team of eight, successfully reached Mount Everest Base Camp in their attempt earlier this month.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 26 November 2022, 09:00AM

Here is a report of the achievement from team member Kevin Mansfield:

The team reached the Base Camp at 5,340m on Nov 14.

We believe Gus to be the youngest Thai citizen who has completed the trek, a significant achievement. 

Successful treks in the Himal [Himalayas] depend on several factors. Firstly, the professionalism and experience of the company employed: the efficiency of the back office in case of emergency, proven safety and evacuation protocols, effective communication and workable SOPs (standard operating procedures).

Secondly, the quality of the guides is vital. Their knowledge of the route, the environment (terrain and weather), their ability to read trekkers’ body language, and their ability to communicate important information in a clearly understood manner is fundamental to success.

Thirdly, the fitness level and preparation of the individuals is also a key factor including psychological preparation of what to expect in terms of terrain and temperatures. We saw several adults sitting and crying along the way as they had no idea what they had gotten into. Gus actually encouraged them to keep going.

Our group had ticked all of the boxes, and had worked previously with the trekking company for over 20 years. An added advantage was that between our group, we had over 19 treks to either Everest or Annapurna. A host of experience. 

C and C Marine

Following a pre-trek safety brief, and not so comfortable bus ride to a regional airport (probably the most dangerous part of the whole journey), we took a flight to the infamous Lukla airport (also called Tenzing-Hillary Airport), which was where our trek would start. An easy four hours on the first day to get our bodies accustomed to what lay ahead.

Over the next eight days we would cover 71km to reach base camp and ascend vertically over 3,500m ‒ an average of 12km per day. As you ascend above 4,000m the amount of oxygen decreases and by Base Camp, it is difficult to breathe, with physical exertion creating a continued “out of breath feeling”. November is Autumn in Nepal, and the peak season for trekking, so temperatures although cold are manageable with the correct clothing and equipment preparation. Winter starts late November and goes through to February, when trekking is much more difficult with a higher level of risk.

One of the interesting terms used in Nepal to describe the upcoming trail is ‘Nepali flat’, a delightfully optimistic description of a walking path which leads to a lower elevation, but requires a few thousand metres of ascent to reach that lower elevation.

It’s difficult to describe the exhilaration of finally reaching our goal. As a family, to share such an experience, brought an overwhelming emotional response. And there were tears all round. For Gus, he was keen to share the moment with his teachers and students at Kajonkiet Thalang school, where he has received great support. His classmates had been following his progress on YouTube.

Our other Phuket trekkers Michelle Hossack and Sherri Drolet made the trek look easy, a testament to their prior training; If you ever consider trekking in Nepal, follow Gus’s advice.” If I can do it, so can you” just keep trying! 

He will be happy to give you advice!

Note: Our exhilaration has been tempered by the sad news of the tragic passing of two Thai ladies trekking in the western part of Nepal, our thoughts are with their friends and families.

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Kurt | 27 November 2022 - 09:57:16

Congratulations to 'Gus' and his team. A spiritful example for all young people.


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