In the latest update on his exciting journey as he is cheered on by fellow Sri Lankans, he is making steady progress, surmounting challenges of high altitude and extreme cold.
There has been an overwhelming response to the ‘Climb Everest with Johann’ campaign, which invites Sri Lankans to sponsor each step that Johann takes on the mountain for Rs.100 to participate in this exhilarating climb to the summit.
An Everest expedition requires a large financial commitment and every step sponsored goes towards financing the expedition. Johann has dedicated this expedition to all Sri Lankans. The legendary mountain lures climbers of various nationalities to explore it and affords some of the most testing physical challenges on this earth.
In the latest news from the snow-clad Himalayas, Johann left Sri Lanka on 4th April for Kathmandu, where he spent a couple of days meeting up with and preparing with his team for the climb. After ensuring the necessary equipment was in place, the heavier equipment was sent by air onto Lukla where it will be transported by yaks to Everest Base Camp.
Initially he flew from Kathmandu into Lukla, 2,860m, one of the most challenging airports in the world. On 7th April, Johann commenced the arduous climb. The first stop for the night was Phakding before commencing a steep climb the next day to Namche Bazaar at 3,440m.
The ascent to Namche Bazaar was followed by a two-day stop consisting of a tough acclimatization climb, a rest and a recovery day. Acclimatization climbs are performed by climbing up to a higher altitude, staying there briefly, and then returning to a lower altitude to sleep. With altitude, the air becomes thinner – the saturation of oxygen declines and the body has to produce more red blood cells to manage the thinner air. This will be true for the rest of the climb.
Thereafter, Johann proceeded to Tengboche, 3,860m, where he visited the famous Tengboche monastery and temple. Here, he received a formal blessing for the remainder of the journey. Onwards to Pengboche, 3,895m, for another night, he encountered significant snowfall and extreme cold.
From Pengboche, he pressed on to Pheriche, at 4,371m. Here, they had another rest and acclimatization day to recover. After 4,000m, the effects of altitude are more significant, with climbers often experiencing various signs of altitude sickness including headaches and nausea.
After Pheriche, Johann proceeded to Lobuche to climb the famous Lobuche Peak. This is a particularly difficult acclimatization climb, up to an altitude of 6,119m. He is presently on that climb, a three-day climb during which communication is cut off. Climbing Mount Everest is an accomplishment that bestows a rare distinction – not only on the climber but also on the country he hails from.
Having been in training since December 2016, Johann is technically equipped to undertake this expedition. He is no stranger to this act of courage. Johann Peries and Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala were the first Sri Lankans to attempt to summit the peak of 8,848m above sea level in April 2016. Although Jayanthi became the first Sri Lankan to scale the summit of Mt Everest, Johann managed to reach a height of 8,400m, a mere 448m short of reaching the summit, before technical difficulties forced him to descend. (Colombo Gazette)