Bondgate IT has welcomed business consultant Mitchell Smith back from his gruelling Everest charity trek – which included spending a day in hospital.
The 54-year-old, who was sponsored by the Darlington-based IT specialists, fell ill on the second day of his 15 day walk to Everest Base Camp having contracted food poisoning in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
He also endured freezing temperatures, which reached a maximum of minus 5 degrees during the day and fell as low as minus 28 degrees at night.
So far, Mitchell, who is working with Bondgate IT, has raised more than £4,800 in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, in memory of his father Frederick.
He has set a fundraising target of £5,364 – the figures equalling the height in metres of Everest Base Camp – with further donations already pledged.
Mitchell, who runs Newcastle-based Diagnostic Management Services Ltd, said: “Going down with food poisoning on the second day of the trek wasn’t ideal, especially as I had to spend a day in hospital, but the biggest challenge was the constant cold.
“I was often unable to feel my hands and feet and had to tie my trekking poles to my gloves as it was so difficult to grip them. Sleeping in six layers of clothing in a sleeping bag was also a bit of a challenge!
“However, all these hardships were eclipsed by the indescribable scenery, each day walking past a mountain bigger than the last. It was simply awe inspiring.”
On his arrival at Everest Base Camp, he unfurled a Bondgate IT flag before bringing it home as a cherished souvenir. He later visited the 5644m (18,577ft) Kala Patthar, which offered a close-up view of Everest.
Mitchell’s adventures weren’t quite over when he returned to fly out of Lukla, dubbed the world’s most dangerous airport. He was stranded there for two days when the cloud cover descended on the ski jump-shaped runway, which is tucked into the side of the hills.
In all, he covered more than 150 miles at an altitude which had 50 per cent less oxygen than at sea level.
Mitchell, from Newcastle, added: “I’m grateful to everyone – including Bondgate IT – who has so generously supported me and this fantastic charity.
Garry Brown, managing director of Bondgate IT, said: “We were delighted to sponsor Mitchell, who is working closely with the company as part of our growth strategy.
“Everyone here followed his progress with interest, and it was especially amazing to see the Bondgate IT flag on display at Everest Base Camp!”
Anyone wishing to donate or follow Mitchell Smith’s Everest challenge can visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MitchellSmith