Count Down to World-First Everest Challenge in Verbier

The count down to the Everest in the Alps challenge has begun. There is just a week to go until the team will climb the 8,848m height of Everest on skis in four days to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

London, United Kingdom, March 19, 2015 --( The one-week countdown has begun until Everest in the Alps, a world-first ski-touring challenge taking place in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier from 24 – 27 March 2015.

During the challenge an amateur team of 14 will climb the 8,848m height of Everest on skis in four days to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Hampshire-based Rob Ritchie is behind this world first event. His youngest son Toby is battling a brain tumour and, since diagnosis, has endured major surgery and chemotherapy.

Ritchie said, “I hope our efforts highlight the underfunding of brain tumour research; it gets less than 2% of the UK’s annual spend on cancer research.

“As a parent, having a child diagnosed with cancer makes you feel powerless. What can you do? Walk to the ends of the earth, climb the highest mountain? It doesn’t work. On reflection, maybe you can do something. Maybe you should climb a mountain, or attempt your own personal Everest. This is how Everest in the Alps came about.”

Colleagues at Goldman Sachs, where Ritchie is a managing director in investment banking, have helped raise over £2 million for The Brain Tumour Charity through Everest in the Alps.

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said, “We are immensely grateful to this committed team and support them all the way. This is the largest single donation we have received for research into childhood brain tumours and it will have a profound impact on what we can achieve.”

Online, Everest in the Alps has nearly reached its online £100,000 fundraising target. All donations will help The Charity progress in efforts to find a cure.

Challenge organiser, Tom Bodkin of Secret Compass, said, “Ski-touring is a tough and often uphill activity – each team member’s daily calorie burn equates to running four marathons back to back. It’ll be tough but we aim to succeed, motivated by Toby’s situation and that of children like him.”

Ritchie said: “We want to leave a legacy out of this whole terrible situation. Toby will almost certainly need treatment again, probably more than once. Day to day now, he is going to school, which is brilliant. He wants to tear around with everybody but doesn’t always have the coordination and balance.”

All money raised will go to The Brain Tumour Charity’s ring-fenced Everest Innovation Fund to launch specific research projects into the type of tumour Toby has – a low-grade glioma – as outlined in The Charity’s new research strategy this January.

In 2015 Secret Compass will stage other challenging expeditions in Lapland, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Siberia, Panama, Armenia, Sinai, Iran, Burma, Ethiopia, Namibia and Kyrgyzstan.

Rob Ritchie and representatives from The Brain Tumour Charity and Secret Compass are available for interview.
Secret Compass
Kerry O'Neill
0203 2398 038