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Phuket couple to scale Nepal’s Chulu West for Soi Dog

Phuket couple to scale Nepal’s Chulu West for Soi Dog

Phuket residents Yanisa Kingmala-Beven and her husband Rohun later this month will attempt to climb Chulu West in Nepal to help raise funds for Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 16 April 2022, 10:00AM

The summit of Chulu West, in the Annapurna region of Nepal, stands 6,419 metres high. Yanisa and Rohun plan to make the climb within 21 days.

The couple will begin their trek from Kathmandu on April 27.

“After five days we will leave the trail in Manang at 3,500m and climb up the remote Marsyangdi Valley overlooked by some of the world’s mighty 8,000m peaks, including Manaslu and Annapurna,” explains Rohun.

“We should reach base camp at 4,900m by day 9 for acclimatisation and snow-training. We then move slowly up towards a tented high-camp at 5,120m and then Camp 1 at 5,500m. The summit-day challenge begins at 1am with an 8 to 10-hour climb up the West Ridge and finally, the steep knife-edge leading to the summit at 6,419m [21,059 feet],” he adds.

The couple plan to arrive in Pokhara on May 15 and transfer back to Kathmandu by May 17.

Yanisa is leaving Soi Dog after nearly four years as a volunteer coordinator at the foundation’s shelter in the north end of the island.

“I love dogs. We have four rescue dogs of our own,” Yanisa told The Phuket News before departing for Nepal.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the appalling suffering of millions of sick, injured, abandoned and homeless street dogs and cats in Southeast Asia,” she added.

The goal is to raise US$3,000 to support Soi Dog projects to rescue and protect dogs and cats throughout Southeast Asia.

“We want to help support Soi Dog projects in Southeast Asia as well as some funds going to help dogs affected by the war in Ukraine,” Yanisa added.

The couple have been in training for the challenge for the past nine months.

“I walk 20,000 to 25,000 steps with the dogs five days a week, and I run 5km two days a week

I also do a 10km hill walk with my backpack two times a week,” Yanisa explained.

She also does weight training five days a week.

When doing her hill walk in Phuket, Yanisa carries 10-12kg in her backpack, the same weight she will be carrying during the climb.

“This will be only my personal belongings, like supplements, spare clothing, climbing gear, food snacks and first aid kit.  We will have a head guide, one Sherpa and a second Sherpa at high altitude to carry up food and set up the tents.  We will each be roped to a Sherpa when climbing on the snow from base camp up to the summit.” Yanisa explained.

For good luck she will be carrying her Buddhist amulet around her neck, and bringing with her fitness and a positive attitude.

“It will be a challenge. I have never done any mountain climbing before,” Yanisa admitted. 

“This will be my first time. It will be a big challenge for me. I must say I am excited and nervous.”

Thai Residential

Yanisa has never experienced the extreme temperatures she will face on the mountain, expected to reach -15° to -20° Celsius. The coldest she has endured is about -5°C while on holidays in Chamonix, France with her husband.

The below freezing temperatures previously cost Rohun the chance to complete a climb of Mera Peak, which at 6,476m is the highest of the “trekking peaks” in Nepal.

That climb Rohun was also attempting in order to raise money for Soi Dog.

“He made it to within 300m of the summit, but had to turn back because of the extreme cold,” Yanisa explained.

“I will be wearing very warm clothes. I do not want to fail because of this,” she said.

She said she is concerned, but confident, about the safety aspect of the climb. “Sure, I am confident in the safety. We have been preparing for this, and we will have a Sherpa. We will not be doing this alone,” Yanisa said.

“It is not easy to climb Chula West, and not many people our age make climbs like this. I am 51 and Rohun is 64. He has diabetes and high blood pressure, but it is under control,” she assured.

After returning from the mountain, Yanisa and Rohun will go to England for a three-month break for rest and recuperation, and begin their life in retirement.

But when they return to Phuket, Yanisa and Rohun will return to help out as volunteers at Soi Dog.

“I love dogs and I will definitely go back to volunteer. All my lovely dogs are there,” Yanisa said.

Soi Dog Operations Director Sam McElroy expressed the strong support from Soi Dog for Yanisa and Rohun’s quest.

“We are so excited to support Yanisa in attempting this challenge. She and her husband, Rohun, have been training really hard for it.  

“We are speechless at their bravery and commitment to help end the suffering of the stray dogs and cats in Southeast Asia. Yanisa and Rohun both share a passion for animal welfare and have been part of the Soi Dog Family for years,” he said.

“Yanisa puts her heart and soul into everything she does and we really hope they can both achieve this ambitious feat on behalf of the 1,600 animals we have here at Soi Dog. 

Your donation to support their challenge will directly go towards helping the stray dogs and cats of Southeast Asia. Everyone here will be cheering them on all the way. Phuket ‒ please get behind them! Go Yani and Rohun!” he said.

The first 28 days of the campaign saw B24,148 of the B87,849 target set raised through donations by just 12 people. The fundraiser will remain open until May 29.

All donations go directly to Soi Dog with no fees or costs. Donations can be made in any currency. Visit https://www.soidog.org/content/rohuns-fundraiser

To keep up to date with Yanisa and Rohun’s Chulu West Challenge, follow them on their Facebook page “Rohun and Yanisa’s Fundraiser for Soi Dog” (click here).

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JohnC | 17 April 2022 - 08:55:22

Boring! If they were raising funds for an important or worthwhile organisation it would be newsworthy.

Kurt | 16 April 2022 - 13:39:21

On April 4th we read in PN that NGO Soi Dog Foundation sent US$ 250,000 to Ukraine. Now report of great attempt to fill up the SDF coffers again. Even when it is just a 'little'.  Some how I get impression that NGO SDF is a rich business happening. With the use of innocent volunteering people. I stopped already my considerable yearly donations.  Wish climbers a safe return.

punter | 16 April 2022 - 12:32:38

Wishing you well and for a great cause.


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