Thursday, 24 June 2010

Reflections by Pete Sunnucks

What an incredible year its been. I’m still coming to terms as to what we have just accomplished, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Its an absolute honor for us to be the first to stand on Top of the World for Help for Heroes and JTYAF. Reflecting on the last twelve months, we have pretty much lived, breathed, ate and slept Everest, in order to achieve the ultimate dream. We've had an amazing time together, both in raising funds for two outstanding, poignant Charities and training for the big event. What makes me smile is the longest period of time Matt and myself spent apart was when he was evacuated from base camp! I believe the fact we stood on Top of the World together is a fair reflection of how much a strong team we have become, particularly that we are still on speaking terms after sharing a tent for two months.

There have been many twists and turns along the way, some of which we could have not foreseen; it’s not been an easy journey. The satisfaction of succeeding against adversity is certainly one to savor. It’s certainly pushed myself outside my comfort zone both physically and mentally, living each day on the mountain with the thought that at any moment I would have to make a life or death decision, whilst at the limits of my capabilities. I can definitely draw on these experiences, particularly when Matt fell down the crevasse at over 7000m, and know that I've proven myself in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. On the spectrum scale on how you can climb Everest, we took on one of the hardest and triumphed. I am deeply proud of what we have achieved, especially how much Matt has proven people wrong, its unbelievable.

However, I really hope that one member of our expedition group, Geordie Stewart, someone who we both come to know very well and has become an immense friend, finish and achieve his dream on Everest next year. Unfortunately this year it wasn't to be, but we have complete confidence he will do it next time. He will be the youngest Brit ever to complete the Seven Summits.

I have some fond and incredible memories from this adventure, as well as making some life long friends. The question of ‘Would I do it again?’ has been asked a couple of times now and my response is simply ‘I’ll get back to you on that...’ As much as I’ve found mountaineering a remarkable experience, it has shown little evidence of sportsmanship, particularly with all the politics that surrounded our summit day, and the atmosphere we had to endure back to kathmandu. I think it's fair to say that the expedition was very much a group of individuals rather than a true team.

This achievement would have not been possible without both our families, friends and sponsors support. Its been unbelievable. We are completely staggered and humbled with the amount of good wishes and congratulations messages we’ve received, and how much money we are continuing to raise for Help for Heroes and JTYAF. I really hope we have both contributed to the growth and success that the JTYAF deserves. We really cant thank people enough.

As for the future, integrating back into society and gaining back the amount of weight lost is a priority, particularly as we have running water, home cooked food and a bed! The incredible experiences and lessons learned from this past year will no doubt allow us take on what ever challenges arise in our future careers and lives, always living by the mantra of ‘Climb as high as you can dream.'

The quote below by T.E Lawrence below will certainly remain with me for the rest of my life.

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

Once again, thank you all for your support


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