Telecommunications director duo peak at 5,500 metres for the Exeter Foundation

South West Communications Group’s directors Sarah Flowers and Brian Lodge have returned from climbing 5,500 metres to one of the peaks of the Annapura range in the Himalayas to raise more than £3,000 for the Exeter Foundation.

The pair was due to climb to Mount Everest’s south base camp but had to change their plans at the last minute.

Mr Lodge said “We came to climb to Everest base camp along with hundreds of other like-minded souls and we would have flown half way up to Lukla at 2,800m and then joined the queue to get to base camp another 2,600m up the mountain to tick a box and walk back down. However, due to poor weather and a tragic airline accident we all did something very different.

“We climbed the whole way up the mountains from under 800m covering around 4700m in height to a point even higher than Everest base camp. We did not walk back but actually crossed the Himalayas via the Thorung La pass and came out on the other side.”

The team, which also included Mrs Flowers’ husband Kevin, Mr Lodge’s wife Nina and guide Paul Mattin, embarked on a far less travelled trek that took 17 days in total. They suffered various injuries and extreme fatigue along the way and stayed in very basic accommodation in often freezing conditions.

On the day they reached the peak, the team left in the dark at 5am with the temperature at -10 degrees climbing steeply for five hours before beginning the 1,400m tough descent to find their next accommodation.

Mr Lodge added: “We met people with absolutely nothing who were happier than anyone we have ever known. Our team became the closest of friends as we experienced cold, hunger, pain and complete elation together.

“While the aches and pains may last a day or two more, the memories of Nepal and the Himalayas will, I am sure, last us all a lifetime.”

Mrs Flowers and Mr Lodge return to work at Communications House in Exeter this week. There is still a chance to sponsor the team for their endeavours by visiting their Virgin Money Giving page at TEAM SWCOMMS EVEREST TREK.

Mrs Flowers said: “We have already been sponsored by a whole host of local businesses and friends. We would like to thank them for their support as it really spurred us on in the difficult times.”

All the money raised will go to the Exeter Foundation which supports local charities in the city and its surrounding areas.

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