Jill Blacklock (left) and Coral Forbes take a break from training on the Goose Spit steps to show some of the pennants they will take with them to Mount Everest Base Camp on their Summit of Hope.

Comox nurses climbing Mount Everest to help BC Children’s Hospital

Local nurses Jill Blacklock and Coral Forbes started their trek to the top of the world this week, or at least closer to it than the majority of people ever get.

Blacklock and Forbes are climbing to the Mount Everest Base Camp.

This is no ordinary bucket list venture; they are doing it for the kids.

Whose kids?

Possibly yours.

The hike is an expedition organized by the non-profit association Summits of Hope.

The society is an official partner of the BC Children’s Hospital and the climb is a fundraiser.

A year in the making

Blacklock said that the whole excursion was a product of a professional development meeting a year ago in Vancouver.

“One of the people in that meeting said they were hoping to raise funds …, by trekking to base camp,” said Blacklock. “We’d never heard of this before. So there was a group of about 12 of us that sort of got together and partnered with Summits of Hope.”

Each member of the trek was responsible for fundraising at least $5,000. Blacklock and Forbes reached their goal through bottle drives, raffle tickets and word of mouth.

In addition, anyone donating $40 or more to the cause had the opportunity to inscribe a message on a pennant-style flag. Blacklock and Forbes strung all the collected flags together and will be flying them at base camp.

“Every cent we raise goes to the BC Children’s Hospital,” said Forbes.

The ladies are responsible for the travel costs (flights, transfers and food) associated with the trip. Summits of Hope finds accommodations for them during the adventure, “which is probably nothing more than a teahouse,” said Blacklock. “We take our own sleeping bags. We were told we aren’t sleeping in tents, but it will be fairly rustic accommodations.”

Two-week climb

They will climb a total of just over 9,000 feet in 14 days, to the Mount Everest base camp, which is 18,204 feet above sea level.

“We will trek, on average, about five hours a day,” said Blacklock. “The last expected day of the trek is Nov. 17, when we hike from Namche back to Lukla.

“The biggest adjustment will be getting used to that altitude, because living where we do, at sea level, well there’s not much we can do to prepare for that.”

Blacklock said there are a couple of acclimatizing days built in, and that during the trek they will “hike up and sleep down,” meaning they will actually reach a peak every day, then descend before ending the day’s trek.

Recent avalanche

Blacklock and Forbes had a bit of a reality check a couple of weeks ago,  when news came of the tragic avalanche in Nepal that killed 29 people, including Jan Rooks, a nurse at BC Children’s Hospital.

“It scared me a bit when I first heard about it,” said Blacklock. “I was curious as to where it was, because one doesn’t expect that kind of weather there, at this time of year. But … when I looked it up on the map, I saw that it was over 300 kilometres west of the base camp. Different part of the Himalayas. We are in a different area, entirely.”

Climb starts today

Today, after nearly a year of training, mostly by walking up and down the Goose Spit staircase, the trek begins, from Lukla, Nepal.

Anyone interested in following the adventure can do so with the click of a mouse, by accessing the Summits of Hope website, at www.summitsofhope.com and click the “base camp live” prompt at the top of the page.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Blacklock. “There will be daily audio reports and photos… and you can follow it on Facebook too.”

Donations are still being accepted on the Summits of Hope website as well.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Comox Valley school board wants consultation before ferry cuts

Province provides some funding for discretionary sailings over summer

Comox Valley RCMP member hit in head with wood

Incident was part of a busy Canada Day for local police

With video: Soaring above Mount Washington

The longest zip line on Vancouver Island officially opens its doors

Canada Day barn fire keeps three Island crews busy

Oyster River, Courtenay and Campbell River fire departments all respond to incident

Spray parks in Comox and Courtenay reopening

Both parks are free and open seven days a week, rain or shine.

A list of charge rates or Crown referrals from police oversight bodies across Canada

Here are the rates of charges or referrals to the Crown from their most recent annual reports or online data

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Most Read