Nalango Secondary school in Kamuli District, South Eastern Uganda, started in 1997 with classes held under the mango trees. Led by inspirational headteacher Paul Kasadha, it now has 632 pupils, a boarding section, and has been granted full secondary school status by the government.
Since 2009, One Mile Closer has raised over £80,000 for the school, enabling the construction and purchase of 8 classrooms; a science laboratory; a computer laboratory; 20 latrines; staffroom, offices and 4 teachers’ houses; land purchase; desks, textbooks, water tanks, solar panels and science equipment. One Mile Closer maintains a close connection with Nalango – despite a long and bumpy motorbike ride, friends and family of Rob and James regularly visit the school, where construction is carried out through the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund .
There was a huge party of family and friends at Heathrow airport to greet Rob and James off the plane last night, with a cheer that filled the terminal building and huge smiles all round. They went home to a small party and a much deserved night’s rest, and everyone is very relieved to see them home safe, albeit thinner and currently without much of their baggage! They now hope to get in touch with so many of those who have supported them, carry out interviews, prepare presentations and generally begin to readjust their lives around their future as holders of the record. We wish them a good few days’ rest first though… We also discovered that they are the 2nd youngest non-Sherpas in the world to have summited the mountain and we think around 10th if Sherpas are included.
Rob and James arrived safely back in Kathmandu last night. They have quite a lot to sort out, but in keeping with the tradition of Everest summitters, they are going to Rum Doodle to claim their free meal… They are leaving Kathmandu on Sunday 28th, and flying back home via Delhi to arrive in the evening.
Rob and James have now arrived back down at the main base camp, where they will stay for a few days, recovering from the climb and clearing up. They hope to be in Kathmandu on the 24th May, and the fly home a few days after that. They continue to do interviews on the satellite phone and are appearing on television, radio and in newspapers back home in recognition of their achievement.
The whole team have arrived successfully back down at Advanced base camp (6400m). They will have a much-needed rest here to recover and sort out their equipment before returning to base camp and clearing the mountain. We should be able to talk to Rob and James here, so more news to follow.
Rob and James phoned their support team from on top of the world at 3:15am. Congratulations to them on becoming the youngest Britons to climb the mountain. They were tired and apprehensive of the descent, but inspired by the panorama of snow-capped peaks and by achieving their three-year dream. They wanted to push their message for young people, and to encourage everyone to donate to Cancer Research for them. They summitted at 8am in the morning in Tibet, having left Camp 3 at 10pm and climbed through the night, and they hope to get back to Camp 2 at 7800m in the remaining part of the day. They expressed their heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported them. We wish them the best for the descent and look forward to hearing from them safe and well at advanced base camp on Thursday night.
TEENAGERS ROB GAUNTLETT AND JAMES HOOPER HAVE BECOME THE YOUNGEST BRITONS TO CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST, AFTER REACHING THE SUMMIT AT 3:15AM THIS MORNING.
The gap year students left school at Christ’s Hospital, West Sussex last year, and they have taken the title from Jake Meyer, who was 21 when he climbed the 8850m mountain last year. Both Rob and James celebrated their 19th birthdays at base camp under a month ago. All three have climbed with expedition leaders Adventure Peaks (www.adventurepeaks.com).
They say the climb was motivated by the fight of both cancer sufferers close to them, as well as adults who have devoted their time to giving opportunities to youngsters such as themselves. They are raising money for Cancer Research UK, and hope to inspire other youngsters to follow their dreams, whilst encouraging the dedicated individuals who continue to provide them with those opportunities.
Their climb from the North side of the mountain in Tibet has already seen them fight illness, weight loss and storms above 7000m, as well as the knowledge of the sad deaths of a number of climbers already this year. Rob’s parents admit ‘We are very excited and proud of how hard they have worked, and of the message of their climb, but there is no champagne until they are back down safely.’
Best friends at school, they first conceived the idea three years ago and have since climbed in the Alps, Pakistan and Nepal as well as all over the UK. They both climbed over 6000m before they could drive, and they funded all their expeditions through holiday work as builder’s labourers and waiters.
The Everest trip however is funded by a number of generous corporate sponsors, although three weeks before the expedition they had almost no funding, and only a few days before they were due to go they were contemplating the impossible decision of sending only one of them.
From the top of the world Rob said ‘James and I are really keen on getting the message out to young people to follow your dreams. This has been our dream for three years. Get out there, follow it up and make sure you make it happen.’
The whole Adventure Peaks team have made it back to camp 2 at 7800m (seven of them summited in total: Congratulations). Rob and James phoned from their brief food and drink stop at camp 3 (8300m), and were exhausted after 32 hours of climbing even then. They were still in a positive frame of mind, and were hugely appreciative so many touching messages they have had following their success on the summit. They informed us a little more about the climb, which was quite technical with temperatures falling as low as -34 centigrade during the night, and they are looking forward to getting off the mountain. They should arrive at ABC tomorrow night, where they could rest for a day before proceeding to base camp.
The website was offline for several hours this evening due to the sudden increase in visitors. It is now back and should remain so. We apologise if anyone was unable to check on Rob and James’ progress as a result.
The whole Adventure Peaks team have made it back to camp 2 at 7800m (seven of them summitted in total: Congratulations). Rob and James phoned from their brief food and drink stop at camp 3 (8300m), and were exhausted after 32 hours of climbing even then. They were still in a positive frame of mind, and were hugely appreciative so many touching messages they have had following their success on the summit. They informed us a little more about the climb, which was quite technical with temperatures falling as low as -34 centigrade during the night, and they are looking forward to getting off the mountain. They should arrive at ABC tomorrow night, where they could rest for a day before proceeding to base camp.
Wonderful news from the mountain that Rob and James have just reached camp 3 successfully. At 8300m this is the the highest campsite in the world, higher than most of the world’s highest mountains, and the final stop before the summit. They are recovering and rehydrating in their tent for their overnight summit push, for which we wish them all the best.
Fresh news from the mountain that Rob and James, with the rest of the Adventure Peaks team, have arrived safely at Camp 2 (7800m), where they will be spending the night. Apparently there have been no problems and the pace was strong all day. Experience counts this as one of the hardest days mentally, and the expedition leader reports that ‘everyone is in a really strong frame of mind to keep up the good pace’. The team will start to use bottled oxygen tomorrow, which should be a shorter day up to the final camp at 8200m. They are still on course for summitting on Wednesday morning, which hopefully marks the start of a two day weather window of calmer wind.
Rob and James have both arrived safely at the North Col, where they will spend the night at 7000m. They seem to have made quite good time on this part of the ascent, and thre are no reports of any problems for either of them, although sadly another member of the team has had to drop out for the moment. The next stage takes them to 7800m for the night, which is reported as being psychologically quite difficult: a long grind up a consistent steep slope, and still two days from the summit. The predictions for summit day weather remain stable, and in addition Rob and James have a chance of meeting Rhys Jones on the summit, who also hopes to become the youngest Brit. He has left base camp on the South side, and we send our best wishes to him for the climb: we hope it could be quite a day for British youth. Back home, the press release for Cancer Research has been picked up by the BBC, the Guardian and the Observer, and a number of regional papers, which we hope to build upon for Wednesday.
After a long day walking up the East Rongbuk, Rob and James have arrived at Advanced base camp (6500m), where they will spend a day resting and preparing for the summit push. More details have come through about the projected summit day, Wednesday 17th, which will involve leaving camp 3 at 10pm the previous night to climb through the night and arrive before the wind gets up later in the day.
Some brilliant news has just come in from base camp that Rob and James will be leaving tomorrow to begin the final summit assault. They will move to advanced base camp tomorrow, then rest there for a day, and then continue upwards spending nights at the North Col, Camp 2 and Camp 3 before hopefully summitting on the 17th May. 5 Koreans have just summitted, so the weather window is thankfully opening, contrary to the signals that have been coming in for the last few days. They are both feeling fit and strong and are spending today making the final preparations. Indeed Rob celebrated his birthday yesterday, and they have both been inspired by all the messages of support, so keep them coming in!
Rob and James have arrived at base camp on the Rongbuk Glacier, reunited with their kit, and they are in process of setting up what will be their home for a substantial amount of time. They will spend nearly a week there before moving to Intermediate and Advanced base camps, and then acclimatising on the North Col (see their route and itinerary here). Their last day of travelling from the small village of Tingri was through the ‘cold, dry and extremely remote’ Tibetan moonscape, over a 5200m pass, and blessed with ‘stunning views of Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishpangma’. They accomplished another acclimatisation walk with no problems for either of them. Base camp also looks directly up to the summit.
Four of the Adventure Peaks team have now finished their acclimatisation, including Rob and James, and they are now resting and recovering at base camp. For Rob and James this includes at the moment the difficult logistical task of setting up lots of media interviews for their Cancer Research appeal. They are however both at the moment in good health and high spirits and are most likely to leave base camp on Thursday or Friday, although obviously this could change. A report on how the lads performed on the climb, which should give them a lot of confidence, can be found at www.adventurepeaks.com.
Rob and James have just arrived at Advanced Base Camp after climbing to 7300m, the highest either of them have climbed before, and a height that marks the final height of their acclimatisation schedule. They previously spent two nights on the North Col at 7000m, and they will return to the main base camp tomorrow to rest and wait for a summit window. Having climbed close to the 7500m that was planned, they were turned back by a storm, an indication that the weather might still be unpredictable. However 5 sherpas have already summitted from the North Side, on April 30th which is unusually early. From Rob and James’ point of view, a little time at base camp waiting for a more complete weather window would be ideal for recovery and preparation. Congratulations to the sherpas for this, and to Rob and James for completing their acclimatisation, and we look forward to hearing more from them at base camp, and hopefully seeing some pictures which we will post on the site.
Rob and James have made it to the North Col: they are both feeling recovered from their illnesses and apparently had an excellent day climbing up to 7000m. They returned to advanced base for the night, where they will be resting today, before returning to the North Col for two overnight stays and a trip to Camp 1 at 7500m. This will complete their acclimatisation, and at the moment the rumour mill amongst expeditions at base camp favors an early weather window for summitting thereafter: If it is so early, they will not return all the way to the main base camp.