Friday, March 16, 2007


EverestSA2007 - Inspirational!

In my previous post I mentioned inspiration; how we need people who inspire us by the things they do, whether big or small. I don’t have to look too far to find it, as my uncle John Brand (that's him right - promise) from East London and my 2nd cousin Mike Patterson from Cape Town, both avid mountaineers, will be attempting to summit the north side of Mt Everest next month as part of a 4-man South African team (with team leader Ronnie Muhl and Andy van der Velde).

The thing about John is that he had a micro-lite accident 11 years ago, breaking his legs and resulting in years of operations and the fear of not being able to walk, run or climb again properly. But the man is a determined one (or should I say a Brand!), and was up and training again as soon as he could.

He's done loads of Argus Cycle Tours, 2 Oceans Marathons, even a couple of Comrades Marathons are now jotted down on his CV. He and Mike had family and friends in Cape Town and East London in a flat spin when we didn’t hear from them while they were gallivanting on Aconcagua, located in Argentina. It’s the highest peak in the Americas, the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the highest peak outside of Asia. He has also been on Denali (The High One in the Native Athabascan language) American word for North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley in the mountain chain called the Alaska Range. John also climbed Mera Peak in the Himalayas. John, Mike and his sister Carol tackled Kilimanjaro - Africa's majestic mount! (Pictured left to right Mike, Ronnie, Andy and John)

Mike is one of those guys you see going up Table Mountain for a morning jog, and he's 'done' Denali and Cho Oyu (8201m) in Tibet in 2005.

Ronnie, from Kommetjie, has written some books about his inspirational experiences, having climbed four the Seven Summits already: Aconcagua in South America, Denali in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Russia, and then last year when he had to turn back from the summit of Mt Everest because of a faulty mask and the wind wanted to send him crashing – 148 vertical meters from the top. Juslike! Andy has reached the summits of Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua.

So now it’s back to Mt Everest – just this time with my uncle. Pretty inspirational. The group’s website Everest Expedition SA 2007 is going to follow their progress – I can’t imagine John sending any emails as he has just mastered the SMS! They are involved in some unique medical research , where it is likely that they will be recording the highest ECG curves ever taken - they'll be using an Event Recorder, which will measure their heart rate which info will be emailed to doctors at the base camp below. Higher up they might have to write it down... .

They arrive in Nepal on the 3rd of April 2007 and leave Kathmandu on the 7th of April for Base Camp, to begin their acclimatisation process. They hope to summit towards the end of May.

It’s pretty hectic stuff. Almost like – cool, but rather someone else’s family… But. He and Mike are putting their noses to the wind and following their dreams. Makes me want to do the same. Go South Africa! Go family!!!

John is a Brand, so you can be sure he’ll keep his shorts on! Ill keep you updated.

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I wish them good luck on their trip up Everest.
Thanks G'Joe - pretty tuff stuff!

Keep well!
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