Cystic fibrosis sufferer braced for Everest climb

13th Jan 2014

Anyone on trekking holidays to Nepal and Tibet who has witnessed Mount Everest's awesome splendour will know it proves more than a handful for climbers with perfectly functioning lungs.

So the 8,848m (29,029ft) summit would present an insurmountable challenge to someone with a respiratory disease venturing into the thin Himalayan air?

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Nick Talbot, a director for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, believes not.

He plans to follow in the trailblazing footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, with a two-month climb to the world's highest peak in May.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic respiratory disease that affects about 10,000 people in Britain, making it extremely hard for sufferers to breathe.

But this is not deterring Talbot.

He has already scaled the summit of Tibet's Cho Oyu, the world's sixth highest mountain at 8,201m (26,906ft), in 2011.

Talbot is climbing to raise funds for the CF Trust, a charity that backs cystic fibrosis sufferers.

He will be part of a nine-person crew, headed by mountaineer David Hamilton, who has scaled Everest eight times previously.

Talbot said: "There will be times when I'm nervous on the mountain, such as at the ice fall at the start, where you cross over crevasses and when you get near the top."

The experienced climber said it is "just about staying level-headed and coming down safely".

He is benefiting from the latest medication, Kalydeco, which has hugely enhanced his lung function and lowered the chances of infection.

These are Talbot's primary worries in the plummeting oxygen rates at high altitude.

Both Nepal and Tibet are perennial favourites with travellers on private journeys, with their abundance of cultural sites, several of them spiritual, offering a soothing getaway from the stresses of day-to-day life.

Tibet's Mount Kailash is a sacred place to five different religions, while the imposing Boudhanath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal's Kathmandu.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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