Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week #7: Still struggling with the sponsors

This week has been tough. I am struggling to get some traction in term of sponsorship and support. Coca Cola and Westpac have rejected the proposal, stating that they have already allocate the funding for the year and that I need to try again next year. I have quickly workout that most of the major company allocate sponsorships on a year by year base, which clash with my 4 years program of work. On the exciting side, the deal with Toyota and RedBull are still progressing and hopefully they will produce positive results.

I have also has email exchange with a climber who made it to Everest and back asking to validate my plan and she suggested a few changes. To include Aconcagua to the list and to remove either Cho Oyu or Shishapangma as they are very similar in term of physical and mental preparation. I think I will take her suggestion on board and, interestingly enough, that could cut the timing to get to Everest of one year (!!!).
Some replanning will occur the last week of October, when I will be in NZ with my climbing partner.

Finally I have spent about 1,200AUD in new gears, buying a new jacket and new ski mask and balaclava! I will publish some pictures soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week #6: Another week gone...

The focus of the week has been on securing a sponsorship deal. This is a great adventure and I am preparing very well, but every great adventure come with a price tag. The whole adventure is about 180,000 AUD over 4 years and help from the sponsors is very important. I know it takes a bit of the romance out of the story, but the budget issue is becoming a bit of a reality check. The sponsorship deal for Red Bull has been sent. I have contacted 9 other major brands but it's hard to get hold of the right people, the key decision makers. If you know anyone in the marketing or communication departments of big corporates, which may have an interest in supporting the challenge, please feel free to send the contacts through.

As for the physical preparation, I have done about 40km this week at various paces. 22km at 4m05sec/km, and two set of 10km at 3m40sec/km. I have moved from the initial 20push up max to series of 35, and improved from 6 pull-ups to 30 pull-ups. Yes, I know, it's not much but things will improve if I keep working hard on it. The swim at 6am, outdoor, in the cold Victoria's spring is still not my cup of tea, but I keep going, hanging in there, and hopefully it will get easier. I have tried taking in salts before swimming and it did help a little, at least I am not cramping anymore after only 500m!

It is important to remember that this is a program of work of 4 years, 210 weeks of work and not all the weeks can be extremely exciting, although it is the consistency and the willingness to keep going, every week, that will bring me up the top of Everest.

Please keep supporting me, as I need any help I can get - thank you!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week #5: Working on the sponsorship deal

I have spent the last week preparing a solid sponsorship proposal for RedBull and setting up the template that I can apply to other possible sponsors. Taking on lot of advices and suggestions from the guys from the FB Fan page, I have finalised a list of prospects and over the next couple weeks I will push even harder on this front and try to close a few good deals. Thank you so much for your great support and ideas!

As for the training, I keep increasing my leg strength by doing squats (over 750kg per series). Cramps are still a problem, especially during my swimming sessions and I am told that a bit of electrolytes and a pinch of salt could help. I will test the theory next Friday, on my morning swim. I am increasing my stamina, running at 3min40s/km over 12km and finally I have worked at the horizontal bar on pull ups where I still struggle a lot. The pain on my upper body is present after each session, but the recovery is getting faster indicating I am getting stronger.

I am also finalising the logistic details for my AMT (Advanced Mountaineering Training) in NZ. The only problem is that I thought it was only two weeks away (09/10) when the trip it's really a bit less than six weeks away (10/09). I guess I was just too keen to get over there and earn my strips. On the bright side, this mean I still have some extra week to get mentally and physically ready for it!

Thank you for following me in this amazing adventure. This is just the beginning - stay tuned!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week #4: working on sponsorship

With less than 7 weeks left before my mountaineering trip to NZ, I am focus on my material check list. By the next week I will send out the final list with the items I will rent from the Alpine Guides - which at this stage includes the climbing helmet (I will never buy one!!), a few spare descenders (belay devices) and the bivvy bag which I am definitively not going to buy as I am unsure if I will need it in the next trips. I should manage to keep the cost of new gears under the 2,000$.

Speaking of finances, I have made no progress and the Everest bank account (BANK: Westpac Account Name: Everest 2014 BSB: 033009 Account Number: 437250) is still at less than 400$. I have however contacted RedBull and The North Face sending them the high level plan and I am anxiously waiting for their replies. The Fans Page on Facebook is start getting some attention with the last week scoring 341 contacts up from the 31 contacts of 2 weeks ago. The target is to pass the 1,000 contacts and that will hopefully generate generate some media attention.

As for the physical preparation, I have been training for 6 hours this week - far from my dreamed 24 hours a week, but I as long as I keep increasing the training, I am happy. I know I have room to improve my routine and I will push harder as we approach the end of the year and we enter the crucial 5-6 months prior Muztgah Ata.

Finally, I will wrap up this week's update with a videoclip on what's expecting us 4 years from now. Awareness is not only important but it is the first skill that a good mountaineer need to develop.

The clip was taken on the Khumbu Icefall, simple passage between Base Camp and Camp 1 (about 5,500m)