TV presenter and Olympic cyclist to Climb Everest

Former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton and TV presenter Ben Fogle have announced they will attempt to climb Mount Everest next year to raise money for the Red Cross.

Former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton and TV presenter Ben Fogle

They will face winds of up to 200mph as they raise money for the charity on the mountain, which six people have died climbing this year alone.

Since Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person to reach its summit 64 years ago, more than 280 people have died attempting to emulate him.

Fogle, 44, and Pendleton, 37, will take on the challenge with the assistance of sherpas and mountaineer Kenton Cool in May 2018, according to The Telegraph.

Pendleton admits that her husband, sports scientist Scott Gardner, isn’t thrilled about the potentially fatal trip.

‘I’m probably having a midlife crisis, for sure,’ she said. ‘I think in an ideal world, he’d like to be able to be able to stop me, but he knows that won’t make me happy.

‘I believe in fate and what will be will be. I feel like it’s something that I want to do, I want to attempt.

‘Whether it happens or not I don’t know, whether we get there and weather conditions aren’t suitable.’

Fogle’s wife, Marina, told him ‘your days of taking on big challenges are over’ following the birth of their children Ludo, now eight, and Iona, who is now six.

Following the disappearance of British explorer Benedict Allen in Papua New Guinea, Marina said the episode ‘sent a shiver’ through her and Fogle understands her earlier request for him to ditch big challenges.

‘I am a father, I have two children, and I think part of those parental responsibilities are to inspire your children and to share with them opportunities and experiences.

‘I think, as the children grow up, you want to be an inspiring influence on their life.

When asked if he is prepared for inevitable romantic speculations from the public, he said: ‘There will always be speculation.

‘But we are trying to break expectations [and show] that a male and a female can spend time together and just be friends. Not “friends” in inverted commas.”

The pair have agreed not to be reckless about the climb. Hundreds of climbers are annually thwarted by poor weather and forced to abandon their attempt after not getting high enough, quickly enough.

The time when the conditions are just right to climb occurs over two weeks in May.

Most climbers go up and down the mountain from Base Camp for six weeks before attempting the mountain’s top 848 metres – known as the death zone. 

But Fogle says he and Pendleton will try to do the whole thing in four, all the while acknowledging they might not make it.

Pendleton’s career since retiring from cycling after London 2012 has seen her become a jockey and compete on Strictly.

She admits that if she had children she might feel differently about the challenge.  

She has spoken candidly about struggling to cope with the pressure brought by her high-profile cycling career. Pendleton self-harmed on the night she won her first Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008.

She says she hasn’t experienced that level of pressure since she left the sport behind.

Fogle said he’s looking forward to the risk involved in this latest exploration and says the stillbirth of his son Willem in 2004 has strengthened his resolve to seize the moment.

‘It’s difficult to describe the heartache of holding your lifeless son in your arms. Imagining what his life might have been,’ he said.

‘But it gave me renewed purpose. I want to seize the moment and have no regrets.

‘I am a firm believer that we have, as a society, almost made risk an extinct word.

‘We are terrified of it, we shy away from it.’

Two local sherpa guides will accompany them on Everest, as well as 44-year-old Kenton Cool, who has climbed to the summit 12 times.

The pair spent three weeks in the Bolivian Andes with the mountaineer in August and will take on training climbs in the coming weeks.

They will also visit Nepal with the Red Cross and the project will include a podcast and some filming.

As part of his new UN patron of the wilderness role, Fogle will raise awareness of environmental issues affecting mountains.

His good friend Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, of Jordan, is funding the project in memory of her father.

Source: Daily Mail