Stepping into the unknown

Interview: meet the team member series.

A conversation with one of the original EIA team members.

In 2015, a team of 14 set off on our first Everest in the Alps challenge: to ascend 8,848 metres – the height of Everest – on skis, over four days in the Alps. It was the ultimate ski touring challenge and a world first.

Here we catch up with Rob De Lazlo, one of the first to take on the challenge of Everest in Alps, to find out what it was really like…

You were one of the original team members that tackled the first ascent, how did it feel stepping into the unknown?

It was a challenge. We knew the event was going to be tough but we prepared well and were very motivated.

What led you to take on the challenge?

I knew Rob and his family personally as we had both recently moved out of London to Hampshire. Our children were friends and knowing Toby and how his illness was affecting the family made me want to do whatever I could to help.

Did it take a lot of training to get mountain ready?

It definitely took a lot of training but I had competed in a few marathons before so I knew what it was going to take and was prepared to put the work in. I found the pace relatively easy but some in the team didn’t, that’s the nature of working in team though.

Had you ever ski toured before this trip?

Yes, I’m a regular ski tourer so that’s another reason this challenge appealed.

What was it like sleeping on the mountain in basic huts? Did it add to the experience?

The huts weren’t that basic! We had hot showers and good food but we did have to sleep in quite close quarters in bunks so I don’t think anyone got that much sleep.

Was it the first time you had ever taken on a challenge like this?

Like I said, I have done some marathons but this was the first challenge of this nature and magnitude, and for such a personal cause.

How was the temperature on the trip? Not as low as the -30 degrees they had on the second ascent?

Definitely not! For the first ascent it was normal spring weather in the alps. Blue skies, snow and sunshine, some days in a t shirt! Not like the Beast from the East that hit during the second ascent. I was in the alps for that supporting my wife who was completing the challenge and the temperatures reached then were not dissimilar to what you would find on Everest!

Have you caught the adventure bug now? Any more challenges on the horizon?

I would love to, although it’s hard with work and family commitments, but Everest in the Alps is ideal in that it is only a four day event so you can achieve a huge amount in a relatively short time.


Tom Bodkin