Experiencing Everest and Everything Inbetween
Pelorus works alongside a range of incredibly brave, pioneering individuals who are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone to achieve what many would perceive to be unachievable. We caught up with adventurer Rupert Jones-Warner about summiting Everest, world firsts and his incredible experiences along the way.
Tell us about your background and how you prepare for your expeditions.
So far it has been relatively progressive. I came from a strong sailing background rather than climbing background so the whole journey has been short and fast.
The first mountain I climbed was Mont Blanc, then climbed several other mountains in the Alps before heading to the Himalayas. I had several trips to the Himalayas before finally heading off to Everest. After two attempts of the ‘Everest Double’ I thought the obvious choice would be the ‘K2 Double’. It will be interesting which route I take after that.
Tell us about some of your best experiences.
Many amazing experiences, I think in hindsight one of my favourite experiences would have been on the North Side of Everest on my second Everest Expedition. I had just summited Everest from the south side before heading over to try and summit from the north and there were only three of us on the north side of the mountain following in the footsteps of George Mallory. Being able to see the summit and not another soul on the mountain was a pretty epic feeling.
I think the sunrise on the South Summit of Everest was pretty incredible. You’re climbing through the dark with a head torch and then all of a sudden the sun comes up over the Himalayas and you realise quite how high and vulnerable you are. It’s absolutely breath-taking and incredibly addictive.
The summit of Annapurna was incredible. I must admit, the mountain has a very small success rate due to weather and avalanches. When I set off I wasn’t expecting to summit but when we did it was a massive surprise!
Talk us through your achievements so far, and any goals for the future.
When I summited Annapurna I became one of only a handful of Brits to achieve it as well as the youngest. For me, this was an incredible achievement.
The ‘Everest Double’ would have made me the Youngest in the World and the first European. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible. When I first attempted it in 2015, I was caught in the worst Earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years killing thousands as well as 22 on the mountain itself. In 2018, after summiting the mountain from the south side, I approached the mountain from the north side. When I got within 24 hours of summiting, I found my oxygen that had been cached at one of the high camps had been stolen. I had no other options than to abort.
The ‘K2 Double’ I am planning next summer will be a world first and is by far my most ambitious project yet. The aim is to climb the mountain twice within a week which hasn’t yet been done. K2 is considered ‘the mountaineer’s mountain’ because of its difficulty and technicality. I must admit it makes me a little sick when I think about it because it is incredibly ambitious and not the safest of projects. But I suppose that is what it should be about. If it doesn’t scare you, then it’s not big enough.
What are your best and worst memories?
I think one of the best memories was arriving at Everest for the first time – and I wasn’t even at the summit. But I remember seeing it for the first time on a trip to Ama Dablam which evoked such a mixture of excitement and fear of the unknown.
On the flip side, I think flying out of Annapurna Base Camp having summited was pretty epic. It has a pretty high fatality rate (33%) and summits are far and few between, so I wasn’t going to Annapurna expecting to summit. Jumping in a heli and flying out having summited and survived was an incredible relief! Awesome experience!
I think the worst experience must’ve been in the Earthquake in 2015. I was on the Tibetan side of the mountain when the earthquake happened. It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and I was at basecamp in my tent. The whole ground shook and then it was over. Still incredibly peaceful. It was only after when I started getting the notifications on my phone from the news channels did I realise the scale of it.
There were almost 9,000 people killed in the earthquake and 22 on the mountain. Before arriving at Everest, the team had trekked through the Lantang Valley. But being on the Tibetan side of the mountain, you could see Everest and you could see the devastation but there was nothing you could do – a horribly surreal yet humbling experience.
Who have you met along the way?
I have worked with some very cool people in the past. But I recently climbed Annapurna with Nims Dai. It was the first mountain of his ‘Project Possible’ expedition where he planned on climbing the 14 highest mountains in 7 months. It was an absolute pleasure to climb with him especially being his first mountain on his journey. He was so optimistic at a time where people thought it wasn’t happening he cracked on and I have huge respect for that. He made it happen.