A veteran climber has revived plans to tackle a Himalayan peak that had to be abandoned two years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Mick Fowler will again team up with Vic Saunders for the expedition to the unclimbed mountain this spring.
The pair will set off at the end of March for a planned alpine-style ascent of the 6,000m peak in the second week of April, returning to the UK later that month.
Retired tax inspector Fowler reunited with his old climbing partner Saunders in 2016 for a first ascent of the north face of Sersank in the Indian Himalaya and planned to tackle another peak the following year.
Photo credit: Mick Fowler
But the trip had to be put on hold when the Derbyshire-based climber was diagnosed with cancer of the anus. Surgery and treatment have left the veteran mountaineer dependent on a colostomy bag, and he is working with medical supplier Coloplast to develop a new bag for use during high-altitude climbing.
The pair are also being supported by outdoor gear brand Berghaus and will be using the company’s latest Extrem clothing and gear during the expedition.
Mick Fowler said: “The 2016 trip gave us a lot of pleasure and we started planning another climb almost as soon as we returned.
“My cancer diagnosis was an unwelcome interruption and there were times during my treatment when I doubted whether I would be able to return to the Himalaya. So I am looking forward to this trip with even more anticipation than usual.
“We have identified a very urge-giving unclimbed objective in a peak that is the finest in its range and dominates the skyline. It is remote, beautiful and challenging, all of which are qualities that excite Vic and me.
“Vic and I are grateful to the team at Berghaus, who have continued to support us through a challenging year and a half, and we look forward to putting some great kit through its paces once again during the trip. We have to rely on our clothing and equipment to perform in extreme conditions, or we simply can’t achieve our objectives. Our Berghaus gear will make a vital contribution to any success.
“The team at Coloplast are helping me to find a solution to the colostomy bag at altitude conundrum and I hope that any feedback I bring back will help other mountaineers who need to use this kind of kit to continue their climbing too.”
Mick Fowler and Vic Saunders were regular climbing partners in the 1980s when both men lived in London.
They became well known in mountaineering circles for completing many challenging Scottish winter routes, including Shield Direct on Ben Nevis, which was the first to be graded VI in a Scottish guidebook. Fowler and Saunders also explored the Himalaya and their last climb together before they went their separate ways was the first ascent of the Golden Pillar of Spantik in Pakistan in 1987. After the publication of Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic by Les Editions du Mont-Blanc in France in 2015, Fowler and Saunders decided to team up again, resulting in the successful trip to Sersank in 2016.
by Bob Smith
This article first appeared on https://www.grough.co.uk. The original can be read here.