Ben’s daring summit push


Queenstown mountaineer Ben Dare has history in his sights. 

The adventurer is part of a four-man expedition who will attempt a first ascent of Himalayan peak Anidesha Chuli over the coming weeks. 

Sixty years after Sir Edmund Hillary summited Mount Everest, the Kiwi team will follow in his footsteps into the white unknown on the roof of the world. 

The 6960-metre peak, known as the White Wave, is in eastern Nepal. 

“Obviously we’re all driven and committed to trying to reach the summit,” Dare, 29, says. 

“But we’d be fooling ourselves if we think there’s not going to be a lot of hardship both physically and mentally. 

“And the mental side is just as tough as the physical – it can be a real rollercoaster ride of emotions. 

“It’s just a case of trying to prepare yourself to deal with it and all the different situations that can arise – and steel yourself for it.” 

Dare, expedition leader Rob Frost and fellow climbers Scott Blackford-Scheele and Andrei van Dusschoten, have spent months building their endurance and strength, and meticulously planning the attempt. 

They flew from Christchurch to Kathmandu last Sunday with 30kgs of high-tech kit each. 

After a couple of days in the Nepalese capital buying final supplies, they will travel by bus to the road’s end and then trek 11 days with 20-plus porters to a 5000m base camp. 

Altitude sickness is a main concern, along with the cold and the unknown weather and mountain conditions. 

“We’ll definitely be feeling it on the trek,” Dare says. 

“But the key is taking it slowly with the altitude gain – typically 300-500 vertical metres a day at the most – allowing the body to adjust to the reduction in oxygen. 

“All of us have been relatively high before – not to the altitude we’re going though, that will be new to all of us. 

“But we’re well versed in the signs and symptoms and what we can do to alleviate those.” 

Once at base camp in the Ramtang Valley, the team will have about three-and-a-half weeks to acclimatise, identify a route, choose a weather window and reach the top. 

“We’re trying to climb in an ‘alpine’ style – effectively from the ground up in one push as opposed to a more traditionalist approach of fixed camps. 

“Everything above base camp will be under our own power. We should have enough time for two or three attempts.” 

Anidesha Chuli is near Mt Kanchenjungh – the world’s third highest peak and 115km east of Everest. 

“There’s quite a lot of history of New Zealand mountaineering in the area,” structural engineer Dare says.