Josh Lewsey's Everest diary: Monty Python and SPAM

England rugby star Josh Lewsey is undertaking the ultimate challenge in attempting to summit Mount Everest in aid of Help for Heroes. He'll be writing an exclusive diary during the expedition which you can keep up to date with here at The Independent.

4th May 2010

Monty Python have something to answer for! Though this may sound like the petty ramblings of a spoilt house boy, but after having spent two nights of rather unpleasant conditions at over 7000m, and then spent a 7500-10000 calorie day reaching 7300m and then descending back to the awaiting food at ABC, to be presented with none other than SPAM was to say the least a trifle disappointing!

My grandfather used to store tons of the stuff for a post apocalyptic nuclear holocaust and understandably his post war, rationed, generation were raised on the gellatined eyelids, entrails and hooves but who in their right mind honestly buys it now?

Moaning aside, the food plays such a vital role here both in terms of morale but obviously energy and therefore despite likely to return as thin as cat walk models, neither of us are fussy eaters and thus where possible we attempt to physically force down what we can in a poor attempt to counter act the calorie deficit.

Apologies about the lack of comms over the past couple of days. As mentioned the Began device is both temperamental and phenomenally expensive but my far more useful O2 mobile doesn't work at ABC.

Fortunately we're now back at BC and thus this can be sent.

We've just arrived back and now we await five days rest before the all important weather window to hopefully take us to the summit.

It's a 5-6 hour walk from ABC and hopefully the next time we do it....

Well it's a rather exciting thought.

The talk around the team is that administering yourself higher on the mountain is incredibly unpleasant- particularly when the weather comes in. So much so that we have now lost four from the group who've found it just a step too far. One wonders how many others will voluntarily withdraw before it gets serious again.

On that, it is without a shadow of a doubt a hugely intimidating and unpleasant task that lies ahead but the way I like to think of it is; that providing we get the weather window and since we've come this far, it's just five days and nights left of pain which you can then look back and reflect with pride to the end of your days- a fair trade in my book. People also mention the risk of frostbite and losing digits. This is a very real threat of which we will of course attempt our best to mitigate against, but let's not forget that we're doing this for guys who've lost entire limbs representing the country so what's the odd finger or toe in comparison?!

I'm waffling now but will try to include some pictures from tom when we'll also have a chance to wash the clothes we've had on for 10 days.

Missing home (and gravy) hugely!

Josh out.

5th May 2010

Down again at BC for what is hopefully our final period of R&R before the final push. Conversation is as varied as ever and everyone's making the most of the opportunities to relax before what we know will be the make or break trip back up the hill. We've all sampled enough of Everest now to really appreciate and forecast what we have lying in wait next week. The weather can be a showstopper or just make life massively unpleasant, but we've had a taste of the work rate required to overcome that terrain at those altitudes, and I think everyone knows how up for it we're going to need to be.

At the moment we're putting off the required mental preparation for a little while and just trying to put the world to rights around the mess tent. Unfortunately we've lost some of our international diversity in the past few days as 3 of our American members, and 1 Dutchman decided to call it a day, which leaves just 1 trigger happy upstate New Yorker to join in with our pre-election debates. Not that we really know what's going on back home with a slight lack of details from the outside world, but we get the odd bit of info sneaking through. Obviously being in the military I'm apolitical and just do as I'm told by the elected powers that be, but we're all looking forward to hearing the results in a couple of days.

So our equipment and oxygen has all been positioned where they're meant to be at the various camps, we're healthy (albeit stones lighter), and we haven't suffered too many side- effects from the altitude, so with any luck in a week's time the weather will allow us our first go at our goal. For now though, a bit of peace and quiet before the pre-match nerves start.

For LRB, thinking of you even when the comms are down.


For more information and to sponsor Josh's Everest climb visit