Each year OMG takes on a physical challenge to benefit a charitable cause. This year’s challenge was to set off to Nepal to climb Mount Everest in partnership with Gulf for Good, a UAE based not-for-profit that organizes international challenges to raise money for charities in the host country.

The team trekked to Everest Base Camp during the first week of September raising funds for two charities – 40% of the raised money with a Nepalese orphanage, Mission Himalayas, with the remaining 60% going towards a charity providing relief to the Syrian people.

Those from PHD who took part in the trek included:

Elda Choucair, CEO PHD MENA
Luca Allam, Managing Director PHD Dubai
Sary Hamadeh, Account Manager, PHD UAE
Lea Bitar, Senior Executive Planner, PHD UAE
Georges AlJamous, Senior Digital Planner, PHD UAE
David Barnes, Associate Director Digital Data, PHD UAE

Alanna Turpin, Group Sustainability Manager at OMG MENA, documented their time in Nepal;

Day 1:

Our goal today was to take an internal flight and get started on our trek. Unfortunately the low flying clouds had other plans for us! From being up at 5.30am after a very late night, we waited until 2pm until we called it a day and took a trip to the orphanage to see where our/your donations would be supporting. Such a lovely afternoon meeting these children! I’m sure the challengers will share their own stories, but what was obvious to see is how much the children LOVED having us there!!

The money we raised will build a new common area for the boys, a solar panel system for hot water, computers for the children, desks and school supplies. This will make a massive difference to their lives! As for our next step, we will try again tomorrow morning to fly to the bottom of the mountain

Day 2:

We left early in the morning by helicopter to Phakding (2500 metres) where we trekked to Namche Bazaar (3400M) for our first day of trekking. It was a long day with sunshine, rain, lots of bridges and A LOT of steps! We set off a bit later than we probably should which meant some of us arrived at the lodge in darkness… awesome experience, stunning scenery and our first effect of altitude!

Today is an accumulation day, trekking up another 400m and back down again. We’re all in good spirits and ready to go!

Day 3:

Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar (3400m) was definitely needed as we jumped to a high height quite quickly. So today we trekked up yet more stairs above the clouds to Hotel Everest View at 3800m! A short trek of around 4 hours today which meant we had the afternoon for free time, playing Jenga and drinking coffee.

Day 4 & 5 (due to very bad connection!):

Yesterday we trekked from Namche Bazaar (3400m) through the clouds, up some extremely steep hills and steps to get to a beautiful monastery where we observed a religious ceremony and were each individually blessed by the high lama. We stayed the night in Dabouche at 3600m and went to bed shrouded by the clouds.

When we woke up this morning we were welcomed to the beautiful views of the mountains where we had our first glimpse of Everest! We trekked for around 8 hours today to a place called Pheriche and crossed the 4000m mark! As I write this, we are sat in a tea house eating popcorn, playing cards, drinking tea and chatting.

We are still on track to reach Everest base camp on Thursday!

Day 6:

Today was an acclimatization day, going up to 5000m and back down which helps your body adjust to the high altitude. We naturally split into smaller groups with two going up to 5000m and the others reaching 4800m before regrouping back down at our tea hut. What was meant to be a short, few hour hike turned into 8 hours for some!

We had beautiful views of Ama Dablam (mother and daughter mountain) and other surrounding mountains. All is going well and everyone doing fine! From this point our connection is going to be very sparse, so not sure when the next update will be!

Day 7 & 8 :

We all made it to Everest Base Camp! In what was one of the toughest days, walking for 10 hours up and down rocks at an altitude of 5100m to 5380m. We are all feeling tired in our legs, but have coped with the altitude extremely well.

We had a bit of drama on day 7 when one of the yaks that was carrying our bags fell into the river and we watched in horror from the mountain side as 4 of our bags washed down a fierce river, until it got stuck on a rock. The porters ran like mountain goats and eventually caught the bags! The yak is fine and although the contents of the bags were wet, it could’ve been much worse!

It is now 4am and we are up and ready to trek back down to Pheriche where hopefully we can catch the chopper back to Kathmandu and commence our way back to Dubai!