Rupert Jones-Warner Interview 2018
At the age of 23 Rupert went to Mount Everest in 2015 to try and become the first Briton to reach the summit via two routes, but the deadly earthquake put a stop to this. In 2018 he tried again, he successfully reached the summit via the South side.
When did you become interested in mountaineering?
I think it was age 22. Growing up I was very into sailing and spent every moment I could on the water. After a while I felt I needed a new challenge and having read many books on climbing decided to give it a go. I found it highly addictive and all i do now is spend my time planning the next trip.
In 2015 you wanted to become the first Briton to reach the summit via two routes. Why? For most people climbing one route is more than enough!
Well, I originally wanted to traverse the mountain. Climbing the South then descending the North. When I found out that wasn’t possible, the idea of the double came about. From there on Iv been on a mission to do the double ascent.
This year you reached the summit via the South side. Which did you find the hardest to cope with, the physical or mental side of things?
Probably physical. The effects on the body are not the same as something like an endurance event. Your energy just gets sucked away and you feel incredibly dehydrated and lethargic. Its just miserable…
Some climbers say the Hillary Step is no longer there, what are your views on this?
To be honest, having never climbed to the summit of Everest before, I don’t know what it actually looked like. All I know is there were no obstacles on the way to the summit.
I have seen many photographs of climbers in very long queues on their summit day high up the mountain. Were you in any long queues and if so what did you think about it?
Yes but only really on summit day. Shortly after leaving the South Col on summit day. Within about an hour of leaving we got stuck in a queue of about 40 climbers on the way up to the balcony. It was one very slow, incompetent and obnoxious man. About 30 of us were stuck behind him for about 3 hours. It didn’t bother him that there was a queue of climbers behind him at all. In the end I unclipped and went around everyone which was very tiring. Once I got passed them it was fine. Unfortunately, it just takes one slow person to cause a massive queue.
How long did you stay on the summit for and did you get the views your hoped for?
It wasn’t that long. About 10 minutes. The view was pretty spectacular and pretty clear. I am sure I will be back there quite soon!
On your second climb via the North side you reached your tent at the North Col and realised something was wrong. What exactly was stolen from your tent?
Well there was only one tent left at the North Col which was there specifically to store oxygen and it also had some food in it. The bags with the food in were open and the oxygen was gone.
What was your thoughts when you knew that you could not go any higher due to the oxygen bottles being stolen?
Massive disappointment. The northern side felt far more of an adventure than the south. The mountain had been closed to everyone but us so we had it all to ourselves. It was incredible. Nothing stood in the way of the summit other than a bloody long day. When we got to the North Col (Nima, Kami and myself) and found there was no oxygen it really was devastating. IM still upset. These things shouldn’t happen. I would say only 30% of the Everest Double project was the expedition itself. The other 70% is the prep, the sponsorship and the training. People don’t see that bit. The expedition is the easy bit. Its a massive effort just to get to Everest.
Once you returned to Base Camp did you or anyone else have any idea who had or may off stolen your oxygen bottles?
There were a lot of people pointing the finger and everyone seemed to know more than me. I can’t say who it was and I don’t want to know. I want to put it behind me and focus on the next project. Funnily enough, one of the people who the finger was pointed at, I shared a ride with on the way back to Kathmandu… He was asking all about my project and my stolen oxygen!
Do you intend to go back to the North side of Mount Everest one day or his this ‘steeling’ experience put you off?
In may ways I was put off but that wasn’t necessarily by the stolen oxygen. Yes, I do intend to go back and yes I would like to reattempt the double. Unfortunately I can’t say when!
Have you any adventures planned for the near future?
Not the near future but I am planning for next spring/ summer. The hardest part of these projects is sponsorship. Its far easier said than done.
Do you have a favourite mountaineering book?
There are a lot. The reason I am in this highly addictive, expensive world that ruins careers and bank accounts is because I have read too many. I think my favourite is ‘No shortcuts to the top’ by Ed Viesturs. He has such a chilled attitude to it. Love it.
Dead or alive, which climber would you like to have a beer and a chat with?
George Mallory. A true legend.
Do you think that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine climbed the Second Step?
I think Mallory would have been more likely to have done it than Irvine… I need to see the second step up close to really make up my opinion. I would have loved them to though.
If you wish to find out more about Rupert Jones-Warner then please head over his website at www.rupertjoneswarner.com