Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 019 Contents December-June 2011 Scoop Traveller 95
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Patrick Hollingworth PROFILE
rom his tent, Patrick Hollingworth had a clear view of the
toll extracted by Mount Everest on those unlucky enough - or
ill-prepared enough – to fall foul of the peak. While preparing
for the final push up to the summit through Everest’s Death Zone,
Patrick could look out and see a leg bone and foot of a long-dead climber,
a memento mori slowly pushed down the mountain’s glacier. Later, the
body of a recently perished Russian mountaineer would be lowered down
past Patrick by a team of sherpas.
For the WA adventurer, attaining the summit of the world’s most
revered mountain would be the culmination of ten years of work.
Overcoming a chronic fear of heights to become a regular climber, Patrick
had spent the previous decade working his way through a variety of
challenging ascents, learning lessons with every success. Tackling Ama
Dablam in Nepal earned him a pulmonary oedema, and taught him never
to take the risk of high altitude too lightly. Taking on Denali in Alaska
instilled the skills needed to survive in extreme temperatures. Back in
Nepal, he ascended Baruntse, meeting Sumit and Lakpa on the way,
two sherpas, who would become his friends, and who would eventually
accompany him up Everest. And Cho Oyu in Tibet taught him drive, the
ability to push fatigue and pain aside to reach his goals.
It was also on Cho Oyu that Patrick looked across and upwards to
“the most amazing sight I’d seen in my life”. This sight of the Everest
summit just 20km away crystallised all his previous experiences into one
determined plan to conquer the world’s tallest mountain.
Commercial climbing expeditions have reduced the death rate amongst
those attempting the mountain to just four per cent – led by experienced
guides, with the benefits of better equipment, weather forecasting and
sheer safety in numbers, more people than ever have made it up – and
more importantly, down from – the legendary summit.
Patrick crosses the Geneva Spur,
7900m, just below Camp Four.
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