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Rupert Jones-Warner Completes Himalayan Record-Setting Expeditions Sponsored by Go Ape

Sponsored by Go Ape, British explorer Rupert Jones-Warner has completed his mammoth expedition up Kanchenjunga (8,586m), the 3rd highest mountain in the world. He has also set the Fastest known time (FKT) from the Kanchenjunga summit to the city of Kathmandu on foot.

Over an 8-week period he completed his 695 mile journey, which incorporated a range of disciplines including high-altitude mountaineering, trekking and ultra-running through some of the most beautiful and demanding environments on the planet. He clocked 1,119km (695miles), 881,608 steps, 31,117m ascent / 35,145m descent and took 518 hours. The equivalent of walking from London to Edinburgh and back and climbing the Shard 100 times.

The expedition was set up into three phases: The first phase (Phase 1) was the ascent of Kanchenjunga. Phase 2 was the massive journey on foot from the summit of Kanchenjunga, back to base camp, through the Himalayas and then on to Everest Base Camp. The final phase (Phase 3) was the journey from Everest and back to Kathmandu. The journey included freezing temperatures through the ‘death zone’, extreme heat, monkeys, snakes, leeches, giant insects, dehydration, rope bridges and dangerous river crossings

Rupert on top of a mountain with his sponsor flag during his expedition

Rupert Jones-Warner said, “This expedition felt unlike any other I had experienced before. You’re normally half-way done when you reach the summit of a mountain, but when we made it to the peak of Kanchenjunga, I knew, the greatest challenges still lay ahead.

We summited Kanchenjunga on the 12th May and there were points I did wonder whether we would make it. Everyone was exhausted after almost a month of climbing, but the views and the team spirit kept us going. Honestly, when we reached the summit, my main thought was that this is just the start. That is where I started the stopwatch for the Summit to City FKT. After 12 hours ascending 1400m on steep ice, with freezing temperatures from top camp and no food and drink, the celebratory Percy Pigs at the top were just about the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

The first, second and third phases of my expedition were polar entirely different experiences. When we returned to basecamp it felt emotional to say goodbye to the team, with whom I had lived alongside for over a month and shared such an incredible experience. Leaving the majority of my gear with them I set off with only my 35l rucksack and soon the icy, glacial, mountainous scenery transitioned to a super hot humid jungle teeming with wildlife."

Rupert running through the forest in Nepal
Temple in Nepal

Despite extensive research, the Great Himalayan trail was not quite what I expected, more like a Great Himalayan very vague path. Using my GPS, maps and a decent amount of guesswork, I found my way along the winding trail through incredibly tough but beautiful and remote landscapes.

I stayed wherever I could along the trail, sometimes it was teahouses, sometimes it was strangers floors but the repetitive journey cycle of trekking and a diet of fizzy drinks and biscuits – what was most available on the trail – felt quite consuming and lonely at points. It was hard not knowing where or when your next meal was, where you would next be able to find a drink or where you would rest that night. For most of the journey I would have one meal a day and the rest was topped up with snacks I could find. Often it was small packs of biscuits I found on the trail. It was a relief to meet with my brother and my partner at Everest basecamp after about 11-12 days, where we
continued the journey together.

We arrived at Kathmandu at nearly 1am on 6th June, 518hours, 53minutes and 44seconds after I set off. It was such a huge yet anticlimactic moment. I thought I’d be jubilant to reach the finish line, but we had just about enough energy to take a photo by the ‘Welcome to Kathmandu’ sign before we set off in search of a new destination, the Kathmandu Airport café!

Re-joining the ‘real world’ was as much a shock to the system as leaving it behind had been. You appreciate the small conveniences of modern life, like food whenever you need it, cold drinks, contactless payment, and the little challenges like struggling to check into a hotel can, weirdly, feel as enormous as a 100-mile run.”

Rupert’s main sponsors included Go Ape, Arc’teryx, Suunto, and Nytetimber

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