CLIMBING TO Everest Base Camp was the latest fundraising challenge successfully completed by Rugby League legend Barrie McDermott.
The 43-year-old retired prop forward from Grotton was one of a 41-strong group from the Steve Prescott Foundation to undertake the 12-day trek.
Not only did Barrie make it to journey’s end, but he also accomplished his goal of raising £10,000 for charity.
The group in total has so far raised more than £200,000 and are hoping it pay eventually reach £250,000 for The Christie, Oxford Hospital where Steve Prescott received treatment before his death, Rugby League Benevolent Fund and Try Assist.
Barrie, who 12 months ago climbed Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain for the Foundation, said: “I have been asked many times which was the harder and they were both in different ways.
“Everest Base Camp took nine days to ascend and three to descend whereas it was four days and two with Kilimanjaro.
“They were long days on Everest and, though we may only have climbed 700m, the distance covered daily was mostly between 15-20 miles.
“A combination of the length of the days, work load and altitude made it really difficult, but we were helped by a really good support crew.
“We took all the precautions to help acclimatise and took on plenty of water to remain hydrated. It is those things that can make the one to two per cent that can be the difference between success and failure. And all 41 members of the party made it which was great.”
Looking back Barrie, who played for Oldham, Wigan, Leeds Rhinos, Widnes, England, Ireland and Great Britain, added it was the trip of a lifetime.
He explained: “It was a brilliant experience and the scenery was breathtaking, stunning, picture postcard from the moment we set off, whether it be the mountain views, forests or cable bridges crossing rivers.
“When you are in the thick of it, it is important to absorb your surroundings, and I have plenty of photographs.
“I am delighted to do my bit for the charities and the bonus is that I had a brilliant experience. The focus was on raising money, but I was the beneficiary.”
Barrie, who has also run the Virgin Money London Marathon, undertakes challenges most years to help fill the void created after he finishing playing.
“I am lucky to be surrounded by a lot of enthusiastic and ambitious people and I intend to keep going on what are life-changing experiences,” he said.