Everest: Kenton Cool attempts ultimate three peak challenge

Posted by Tina Gardner on 08/05/2013
Kenton with long-time climbing partner, friend and Sherpa Dorje Gylgen at end of 2013 Puja ceremony.

In breaking news, Kenton Cool is about to set off on a long held pipe dream of his to climb the three summits of the Western Cwm. Summiting Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,516m) and Nuptse (7,861m) in one climb has never been attempted before. It’s a huge task and we're among the first to know.

Kenton says: “It has been a pipe dream of mine for a few years to try and climb the three mountains that form the Western Cwm: Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse.  The reason for wanting to do this is purely a selfish one; the Western Cwm is one of the most magical places I have ever been to. The Western Cwm has always been something special for me, ever since I saw a picture when I was young taken by Chris Bonington in 1975. It showed a camp deep in the Western Cwm with the three peaks of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse towering over it. The idea of climbing the Mountains that form this amazing hidden gem of a valley hit me then, and now it is time to finally make summiting them a reality.

“In the last 24 hours the plan has formed and there is a chance that I may be able to make use of the first weather window of the season...I’m not even sure if it’s possible to climb all three of these monsters in the manner that I hope, but that’s surely the best reason of all to try...If it all goes to plan I’ll be away from base camp for up to 10 days and there will be little or no updates from me during this time." 

Subject to weather-conditions Kenton will follow this schedule:

  • 9 May: Depart Base Camp
  • 11/12 May: Summit Mt Nuptse
  • 12/13 May: Descend to Everest Camp 2
  • 14/15 May: Summit Mt Everest
  • 16/17 May: Summit Mt Lhotse
  • 18/19 May: Return to Everest Base Camp

Kenton will be climbing with his long-time climbing partner, good friend and Sherpa Dorje Gylgen. Kenton and Dorje have shared six of Kenton’s ten summits together.

Before they set off, we managed catch up with Kenton to get his views on another big climbing challenge - the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC)'s bid to get climbing into the 2020 Olympics.

Update: Climbing's Olympic dream is on hold. Unfortunately Sport climbing has failed to reach the final shortlist of sports being considered for the 2020 Olympics. 

Will climbing in the Olympics have any impact on mountaineering?

I don’t think that the the Olympics will have a direct impact on mountaineering. As it stands, it is competition climbing which would be represented in 2020 which is far removed from mountaineering.  However what I hope will happen is that by being represented in the Olympics the whole sport of climbing will get a boost in the public eye. This in turn will hopefully inject potential sponsorship money which will be a much needed lift for the entire sport. One only needs to look at what happened in sailing and the way that after Sir Knox Johnston's round the world epic there was a huge injection of enthusiasm and then the money followed....and now look at where sailing stands. Of course its not all about the money but by having the exposure from the Olympics one would hope that we would see a pick up with the next generation of climbers and of course some of these would trickle into mountaineering which can only be a good thing.

You famously took an Olympic gold medal up Everest last year. What have you got planned for this year?
The Olympic gold medal last year was a great project to be involved with and its hard to think how we can top it. That said I do have a sneaky project in mind which will be pretty cool if we manage to pull if off....all I can say is watch this space and keep fingers crossed. (i think we've just found out what that is Kenton!)

29 May is an auspicious day - what will you be doing then? 
May 29th...of course that's the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest. It would be nice to be on the top that day but things are always dictated by the weather so we will see.

Do you think climbing would make a good Olympic sport?Higher, Faster, Stronger...that's the original motto for the Olympics. Climbing fits all of that. Having watched the World Climbing Championships in Chamonix a few years ago I have no doubt that it would make really good viewing. Look at Leeds 1989 (the first ever World Cup event), the route was set in such a manner that only one person got to the top...Jerry Moffatt of course.  I remember watching it with my mum on TV and she was at the edge of her seat.

Would you watch Olympic climbing on TV?
I don’t own a TV so probably not.....bit of a lame answer I know but thats the truth.

Ah well don't forget you can watch the GB Climbing Team compete in international competitions live on the IFSC website

Do you think British climbers have what it takes to win some gold medals for Team GB?
We don’t have the strength as yet to win lead or speed climbing but the bouldering team is looking strong and hey it's the Olympics...on the day anything could happen, it's just a pity that we didn’t have climbing in London in 2012.

Thanks Kenton. All the best for your record breaking 11th Everest summit bid and attempt to climb the three summits of the Western Cwm in one climb.

Follow Kenton on Twitter and Facebook

Find out more about climbing's Olympic bid.

When tweeting about climbing's Olympic bid please use #climbing2020.



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08/05/2013
Best of luck and please say hi to Mark Wood also summitting around the 17th, at Base Camp now.

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