Tuesday, 01 October 2019 11:30

Mick Fowler returns to the Himalaya in bid to make 1st high altitude summit with a colostomy bag

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Leading British mountaineer Mick Fowler has returned to the Himalaya in his quest to be the first colostomy bag user to make a first ascent of a high-altitude summit.

In their second expedition of the year, Mick and climbing partner Vic Saunders will make an attempt on an unclimbed 6,000m peak. Mick and Vic were thwarted by appalling weather during a trip in April, but have regrouped and set off to the Himalaya late last month. As well as clothing and equipment from expedition sponsor Berghaus, Mick will also find out whether a colostomy bag will perform during an extended stay at high altitude and in extreme weather conditions.

Victor Saunders left and Mick Fowler with their equipment just before heading to the HimalayaVictor-Saunders-(left)-and-Mick-Fowler-with-their-equipment-just-before-heading-to-the-Himalaya

Mick Fowler, 63, is a three-time Piolet D’Or winner and known around the world for completing first ascents of routes on technically challenging peaks between 6000m and 7000m. Almost 30 years after they last climbed together, Mick and Vic Saunders teamed up in 2016 to achieve a first ascent on the north face of Sersank in the Indian Himalaya. Keen to continue the reunion, they agreed to attempt another striking 6,000m peak in 2017, but Mick was diagnosed with cancer and underwent extensive treatment, involving an ostomy (a procedure to re-direct the bowel to an exit through an opening in the abdomen wall). After regaining his fitness, Mick was able to link up with Vic for an expedition earlier this year, but they were forced to abandon their attempt on an unclimbed Himalayan peak due to bad weather and dangerous conditions on the mountain.

Energy sapping ground in the Himalaya for Mick Fowler in April 2019 photo credit BerghausEnergy-sapping-ground-in-the-Himalaya-for-Mick-Fowler-in-April-2019

Mick Fowler comments: “We have identified a fantastic objective that Victor and I have had in mind for some time. It is a spectacular Matterhorn-like peak which is unclimbed and looks to be challenging from all sides. It will no doubt provide a pleasingly difficult climb and the perfect high-altitude testing ground for our Berghaus kit and my colostomy bag. After being out of action for so long, being forced to abandon our attempt earlier this year was very frustrating. My experience from our short time on the mountain back then suggested that everything we take will perform well in all conditions – I relish the opportunity to find out for certain.”

Mick and Vic left the UK on 22 September and anticipate that their alpine style climb will take place in the first half of October, with the two men returning to the UK later in the month. Full details of the expedition will be posted on www.berghaus.com when available, and updates will be shared via www.facebook.com/berghaus, @TheRealBerghaus on Twitter, and @officialberghaus on Instagram.

Mick Fowler left and Vic Saunders are preparing for their second Himalayan expedition of 2019 photo credit Berghaus

The story of Mick’s cancer diagnosis and successful treatment can be read in a series of candid blogs at https://bit.ly/2GNNIYK. The third volume of Mick’s climbing memoirs, ‘No Easy Way’, was published in December 2018, and is in the running to win two highly prestigious mountain literature awards, the Boardman Tasker Award in the UK (to be presented at the Kendal Mountain Festival, on Friday 15 November), and the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature, which will be presented at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Canada in October.