Garth Miller, an airline pilot, high-altitude mountaineer and former British Army Gurkha officer is attempting to set the fastest known time from London to the summit of Everest and return in a target time of 14 days in May 2022.
On Wednesday, Garth started his immersive Everest Experiential Learning Adventure by visiting St Mary’s School to talk to Key Stage 2 children about his mountainous challenge and encouraging them to make goals and inspiring them to make their dreams a reality.
Garth opened his talk by showing a series of superhero photos alongside their people characters. Garth asked the children can normal people be superheroes? He said, “Hopefully by the end of my talk you’ll want to be a superhero.” He told the children when I was 10 I had this picture of Tenzing Norgay, on my wall and I wanted to be Everest Man.
A few years ago Garth attempted to get to the top of Mount Everest but he had to stop as his oxygen system stopped working. Garth said, “It was really scary. Afterwards I still wanted to be Everest Man but I need a different strategy. Last time I climbed from Tibet and this time I will be climbing from Nepal.”
Next, Garth went on to show and tell the children about his route to the top of Everest, how he is training, what he will be taking in his 25kg rucksack (including Rufus a cuddly toy dog) and how he will achieve his challenge through strategy and planning and breaking each part down. He shared the true story of Monsieur Mange Tout (Michel Lotito) who started off by eating a computer, a set of skis, 7 TVs before he ate an aeroplane breaking it up over 2 years who is the Guinness World of Records for the strangest diet!
Training for Garth includes running with a oxygen reducing mask on and sleeping in a tent with a machine attached that takes out the oxygen both replicating the thin air at the top of the Everest. Garth said, “The top of the Everest is called the Death Zone, you can only survive 2 minutes without air at the top.” You can watch the video below to find out to replicate this yourself at home.
Thinking about the skills he needs himself to achieve this record-breaking challenge, Garth took out five brick words out of his kit bag and asked the children what they meant – determination, resilience, strategy, hard work, perseverance, team work.
The children then got the chance to ask Garth lots of questions which included What clouds feel like? What food will you eat? What will you do at the top? How many people have got to the top of Mount Everest and how many people have died attempting it? Talking about people dying Garth confirmed “Yes it is true that they don’t rescue the bodies as it is too dangerous. When I did the last attempt I stepped over a body.” Garth suggested that the children think about something he should do at the top whether that be a dance, a pose or a read a poem.
Pupil Cassius said, “The most interesting part of the talk was the planning that goes into the trip and breaking it down into small bits.”
Next time Garth sees the children he hopes he will be Facetiming them from the top of Mount Everest.
Afterwards Garth said, “I emailed all the local primary schools. I’m trying to make it a community thing, the days of big national expedition are long gone so I’m trying to keep focussed on the local community and getting local businesses interested in it. I’m self-funding this crazy adventure. Off the back of it I’m wrapping up this experimental learning adventure for all the primary schools and St Mary’s has really grasped it.”
“They were brilliant questions, what it shows it fires their imagination. What I’ve found is Everest really inspires children. It really speaks to them and it’s a really powerful metaphor for doing something out of the ordinary.”
Garth asked the children what dreams they had. He said “You can do it using these building blocks words and blow it into beyond your wildest dreams. If I can climb Mount Everest you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.”
If you would like to help Garth achieve his record, you can donate via https://www.gofundme.com/f/everest-an-experiential-learning-adventure