Peak family getaway

On top of the world: Steven and Shane Valentine surrounded by fog at Base Camp on Mount Everest in September.“Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of not being able to breathe.”

Despite almost a year of physical training and healthy eating to get into tip-top shape for the top of the world, Steve Valentine was still surprised at the physical toll Mount Everest took on him.

The retired police officer from Glen Alpine and his 32-year-old son Shane spent three weeks in the Himalayas in September and were delighted to make it to Base Camp of world’s tallest mountain.

At more than 5000 metres above sea level, the lack of oxygen in the Nepalese air was a shock to the Valentines’ systems.

“We had a fitness regime because we knew we’d have to be mentally and physically fit for the climb,” Mr Valentine said.

“It was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced –that altitude, not being able to get enough oxygen, every step is painful.”

The pair had wanted to take a special trip for a while and finally locked in Everest in December, 2015.

Neither had attempted a climb remotely like Everest before but had always been interested in the outdoors.

Mr Valentine read all the travel books and watched countless YouTube clips to be as well informed as he could before setting off.

But the 60-year-old was unprepared for the mountain’s beauty.

“It was mind-blowing, I couldn’t begin to explain,” he said.

The Valentines tackled the mountain in a group of 12 others, though one of their party was forced to finish her journey early after succumbing to illness.

Mr Valentine said the trip was a “once in a lifetime” adventure and he had a “really good time” sharing it with his son.

“We never shared a cross word the whole time,” Mr Valentine said. “Climbing Everest wasone of those lifetime experiences and we got to experience it as a family.”

Mr Valentine said he and his son had no regrets about not reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

“Going to the top is a whole different thing,” he said. “I didn’t have the preparation or the inclination to do that.”

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