I first met Marco Cremona and Dr Greg Attard a couple of months ago, and wrote a piece about them. I’d come away from that encounter with the feeling that it would be a long time before I met such driven, gifted people. Like many in Malta, I find the prospect of an environmental consultant, a medical doctor and a business systems consultant aiming to become the first Maltese to climb Everest something of great pride. Then earlier this week I discovered that Marco is also on the shortlist for the Good Entrepreneur, a pan-European competition organised by CNBC for business plans or ideas that will create a greener future for generations to come.
On the 26th August, the team sets off for the first of two major mountaineering expedition in the Himalayas: the sixth highest mountain in the world, Mt Cho Oyu (8,201m). Everest is scheduled for spring 2010 – if everything goes to plan.
Marco, Greg and the third man in the team, Robert Gatt, are in for a tough eight weeks as they climb Cho Oyu. At this kind of altitude, it’s impossible to predict what could impact the success of the expedition. Typically, the climbers are quietly confident – and in Victor Saunders, an Everest veteran of four climbs, they have a top guide to lead the expedition. The key challenge is to acclimatise to the altitude without encountering any major health problems. Marco and Greg say they’re well prepared for the climb. “We’ve been training hard both individually and as a team. It’s an 8-week expedition and you can leave nothing to chance, so we’ve been addressing anything from climbing skills to rescue routines. We’re ready for this.”
The challenge8000 team is committed to raising awareness of the high incidence rate of asthma in Malta as well as the hazards associated with dust particles in the air. This commitment resonates with the respiratory problems that climbers often encounter at high altitudes.
Duracell, the main sponsor of the challenge8000 team, is supporting their historic attempt.