Rising 29,029 ft (8848m) above sea level, the summit of Mount Everest is the highest point on the planet. Many have climbed this behemoth from the base camp at approximately 12,000 feet, but no one has climbed its equivalent vertical height in one session. That may change when two men from London race one another to be the first person to climb 29,029 feet in a continuous session. The first one to achieve this feat will be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records™.
On March 11th 2011 Tom Lancaster and Jonny Briggs will begin an estimated twenty hour assault on an eight meter high mobile climbing wall. To achieve the goal of climbing 29,029 feet, Tom and Jonny must scale the mobile climbing wall 1106 times.
The event will be taking place at the British Leisure Show, a festival style event covering all things outdoors and more. The mobile climbing wall will feature four climbing routes with four auto belay systems that will be switched out every hour to prevent them from overheating. Tom said that there will be a red button at the top of the route that must be pressed every time to record a successful climb.
The Longest Climb is being done in memory of the late mountain guide, Rupert Rosedale who perished in an avalanche in December of 2009. Tom, who learned to climb under the guidance of Rupert, said the he was a great man. Tom began climbing when he was about fourteen and has been at it ever since. Jonny Has been climbing only for a few years, but is just as enamored by it as Tom.
Tom and Jonny will also be raising money for three very deserving charities: Amnesty International, Mountain Rescue England and Wales, and Heart UK. Though they don’t have a designated fundraising goal, Tom and Jonny hope to end up with nearly £10,000 to split among the three charities.
Training for this event began back in 2009 and has consisted of pitch after pitch of wall climbing combined with Cardio, Rowing, and Cycling. Tom believes that the biggest issue with completing this climb will be getting back on the wall after each pitch rather than the actual climbing.
Social media has played a big part in the promoting of The Longest Climb for the past year or so. They have been regularly sharing their progress and achievements. If all goes according to plan, expect to see regular updates on The Longest Climb’s Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as a live stream of the event.
With all of this training and climbing, what does one do to recover afterwards? Many days of sleep and rest. Tom said that he expects the hands and feet to take the bulk of the beating from twenty plus hours of climbing and plans to take it easy on them.
The journey that these guys have embarked upon is really nothing short of remarkable, but climbers like so many other are passionate, and dedicated to what they love. Nearly 30,000 feet of climbing to some may seem like a nightmare, but to Tom and Jonny, it is a labor of love.
Click to hear the interview
Interview with Tom Lancaster (28:40)