Everest base camp no barrier for expedition 

Rise Above Barriers brings wheelchair-bound woman to legendary camp

click to enlarge Rising Above Members of the Rise Above Barriers expedition carry Pippa Blake to the lookout at Kala Patar. Photo by Jon Misovic.
  • Rising Above Members of the Rise Above Barriers expedition carry Pippa Blake to the lookout at Kala Patar. Photo by Jon Misovic.

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“I wouldn’t recommend the trip to everybody. To take someone with that level of disability somewhere like Base Camp, you really need family and friends around and lots of support.

“We thought that maybe people would get tired and wouldn’t be able to help with Pippa and the TrailRider, but it was such an unbelievable group where people were almost fighting to get a spot where they could push or pull. Of course it also helped that Pippa is just an amazing person to be around.”

The day before heading to Base Camp, the group also headed to the lookout at Kala Patar, which was the highlight of the trip for many. It’s at a higher altitude than Base Camp by about 250 metres, and offers a far better view of Mount Everest. The team took several photos from the lookout point.

While the trip to Base Camp was tougher, Ollie said everyone knew they were going to make it.

“We basically had to carry her the whole way because it was just a field of boulders, and everybody was starting to get tired, but just being in sight of our goal just gave everyone this huge burst of energy,” he said. “Nobody was turning back for anything.”

The climb down was much easier, and the TrailRider was a lot better at going down obstacles like stairs and boulders than going up. Although the team brought eight sets of pads for the disk brakes, they didn’t even go through the first set.

Pippa has already done several slideshows on her trip, most recently to a group of MS patients. She has already been contacted by several people who have read about her trip, including one MS sufferer from Kimberley who is now planning to use the TrailRider to summit Mt. Fisher.

“I get e-mails from people who said they have given up, but read about our trip and decided they can still do some things,” she said. “If I can do it, they can do it.”

Not that Pippa’s travelling days are over yet. She’s already looking into her next trip, the Camino de Santiago in Spain — a 20-day pilgrimage from the Spanish coast to a cathedral in Santiago that is recognized as a World Heritage Site. It’s a much easier trail, and would require a much smaller team.

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