Fancy the idea of a dip in freezing glacial waters? No? Then please allow us to introduce you to Lewis Pugh.
He is best known as the mad man who swam 1km across an open patch of sea near the north pole in 2007, to raise awareness of Arctic ice melting. Ring any bells? A pioneer of long distance swimming, he holds more ‘firsts’ than any other swimmer, and is the only person to complete long distance swims in all the worlds oceans. Now his swim adventures are taking him to new heights, literally. He has just set out from Kathmandu for his greatest challenge yet – to swim 1km in a glacial lake on Mount Everest.At 5,300 metres of altitude, this will be the highest swim ever undertaken. It will also be in water of 0-1 degree centigrade. To say this will not be easy is an understatement. Let alone swimming, anyone who has ever even tried walking at this altitude will have an idea how tough this will be. The trek up towards the Khumbu Glacier on Mt Everest will itself take 18 days, they will be acclimatising slowly, and Lewis will be doing test swims along the way. The team, which includes his coach, a kayaker, 2 photographers, 2 cameramen, a number of sherpas and 25 dzoopkyos (a cross between a yak and a cow) have just left Kathmandu and are headed for Lake Imja and the first test swim. Their first stumbling block seems to be the local police, who didn’t take too kindly to the kayak being carried off up the mountain.This latest escapade is being done to draw attention to the melting of the Asian glaciers and the consequences of it. As Lewis explains, the water from the Himalayan and Hindu Kush glaciers provides water for 2 billion people. These glaciers are melting fast due to climate change, and without them, there is a real risk of instability in the region. This swim is therefore a plea to every nation of the world to unite, stop arguing over who should do what to cut carbon emissions, and simply act now, using all means available.An inspiring adventure to highlight an important message. We would like to wish Lewis the very best of luck with his swim, and will continue to keep you updated.You can also follow his progress through his blog and find more info on his website. Going trekking in the Himalayas, and want to be supporting local community efforts to find a sustainable future? Check out these much better options.