An Antarctic mountain considered to provide one of the most uncomfortable climbs in the world has been conquered by a Harborough adventurer.
Julian Evans (43), a chartered surveyor from the village of Great Easton, about 10 miles north-east of Market Harborough, got to the top of the Mount Vinson this month.
The mountain has average January temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius, and 24-hour daylight which makes it difficult to sleep.
“It’s a tough one” admitted father-of-two Julian. “We had high winds and a few close avalanches too, and I also struggled to breath for the last couple of hours.”
Julian hopes his latest expedition will raise £25,000 for the Matt Hampson Foundation, a local charity which offers advice, support and treatment for anyone suffering serious injury or disability.
His personal aim is the unique record of climbing the highest mountain on each continent, reaching the north and south poles (both already done)and rowing the Atlantic.
“It’s my own version of the ‘explorer’s grand slam’,” he explained.
Julian’s latest expedition started with a 2,000 mile flight on a Russian cargo plane from Punta Arenas, on the southern tip of Chile to the Union Glacier in Antarctica.
Then a small Twin Otter plane took him to Base Camp, 10 kilometres from the summit of Mount Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica at 16,050 feet.
From there, the approximately 12-mile round trip in freezing temperatures, high winds and a metre fall of snow took around 10 days - six days up, and four days back - hauling sledges and carrying a rucksack.
“The worst thing for me was the lack of sleep” said Julian. “Sleeping on ice in 24-hour daylight, I was only sleeping two to three hours a night.”
With local avalanches, triggered by the unexpectedly heavy snow, giving Julian some “twitchy moments” and a constant battering by high winds, he admits he only just made the mountain’s peak.
“The conditions were so bad that one group turned round, but myself and my guide elected to carry on” he said.
Julian stood briefly on the summit of Mount Vinson at 7.55pm on Sunday, January 16.
“But the worst part was descending, and there were a few times when I tripped up and thought ‘you really need to sharpen up’.
“You can totally understand why the majority of deaths are of climbers descending mountains. And when we were at Low Camp, the avalanches were in touching distance.”
So why on earth does he do it?
“It’s about testing yourself, to see if you have got the physical ability, the mental ability to reach that summit. It’s unbelievably fulfilling.”
His next aim, next year, is to row the Atlantic.
In the meantime, it’s back to work in a London office of property agent Knight Frank.
More information at www.julian-evans.co.uk; donate to charity at www.justgiving.com/Julian-Evans18/