|Watch out! Make sure you’re on time.|
Jake Meyer from Tetbury is giving a scintillating talk on Thurs Oct 20th at Westonbirt School!
In July this year Jake was in the first British expedition to tackle the Pakistani giant, K2. Considered one of the most difficult, we caught up with Jake to find out more, and get a taste of what we will learn on the night! Two tickets are being kindly donated by event sponsor Cotswold Barristers. If you don’t win, they are just £15 and the evening is in aid of a great cause, Walking With the Wounded. See the end for the question, and purchasing options!
Can you briefly outline what happened with your recent K2 expedition?
This summer I was part of the first British Team to attempt K2 in 12 years. Early season was relatively smooth. Acclimating, deciding the route and preparing, we were poised to make a summit attempt in July. We set off fit, healthy and with beautiful weather. It would be a five day climb, but we were excited and confident of our chances of reaching the top. The following 7 days turned into an epic journey. Come along to my talk 20th Oct talk for the full story!
What is it about K2 that makes it so difficult?
There are steeper, tougher and higher mountains. The main reason K2 is considered such a challenge is that is it not only incredibly high (8611m), but equally remote. Taking a 120km walk to get to base camp, the weather is fickle. Even the easiest route represents a formidable challenge. Since 1980, 40% of seasons have seen no summits. Ominously, it is the only 8000m peak not to be climbed in winter. Despite that, it still has a 25% summit to death ratio. This tends to raise some eyebrows!
You have come a long way, what is it about climbing that gave you the bug?
It’s rare to find a ‘sport’ where you don’t compete with others. It’s you against the environment. I love that mountaineering forces you to travel the world and seek out some of the most incredible environments and cultures. Whatever the goal, you know it’s only tenacity, determination and hard work that will get you there.
Soloists can have a great time climbing, but the biggest mountains need a team. How do you make group decisions like putting on an expedition, or in fact calling it off?
I’ve done several solo expeditions. I relish the autonomy and ability to make your own decisions. The flip side is it’s harder to motivate oneself. You miss sharing the experience with others. Being a part of a team is an honour never to be taken for granted. Whether leader or follower, clear recognition of how a team works to achieve its goal is key. Leaders may make difficult and seemingly unpopular decisions, other times the team needs to reach consensus for synergy.
For people who are starting out in climbing, what benefits can be gained socially as well as technically?
Like anything new, the opportunity to meet and engage with likeminded individuals is brilliant. The greatest gift for me is the intensity of the shared experience. There aren’t many situations where you choose to spend days or weeks in unpleasant conditions, making life or death decisions, then at the end of it say “Where next?”
Experiences from expeditions can create memorable, visceral and meaningful anecdotes for our everyday lives. Many attend a lecture, listen to a story or buy a book because they want to experience the endeavour from the comfort of their armchair. They then find themselves at the edge of it! In the mountains every experience is magnified: teamwork, danger, boredom, pain, the ecstasy and sense of achievement. This offers clarity for peoples own adventures or life choices.
That given the motivation and desire, you can achieve a hell of a lot more that you might give yourself credit for. The only question is, are you giving yourself the opportunity to find out exactly how much?
Check out Jake’s bucket list for his next adventures! How do they compare to yours?
· Row an ocean
· Go to a pole
· Canoe a river
· Cross a desert
· Climb K2!
Tickets can be prebooked at http://wwtw.nutickets.com/kili2k2 and are priced at £15. All proceeds from the tickets go directly to Walking With The Wounded. The doors open at 1830 on the 20th October, and refreshments are provided.