Thanks from Francis


As many of you probably know, this summer I will be going to Ladakh, North India.  This is my second step out of six steps I am taking to prepare me to climb K2 in 2012 and become the youngest person ever to climb it.


The St James’ parish community has supported me in so many ways over the past few years, giving me the support and encouragement to persevere with my dream of climbing K2.  Throughout my illness the prayers and good wishes of everyone has been a great comfort to me and my family.


I have learnt to appreciate what belonging to such a close knit community is really about.


Last summer Geoff Ford, Dom Ford, Sonny Fabbricatore, Paul Cosgrave, my mother and I completed the National Three Peaks.  This was the first step on my way to K2.  My team raised £1,800 for the Paediatric Department of the Royal London Hospital and for the Hospital School where I have been treated for the last four years.  It was important for me to raise this money as my condition has had very little research done into it.  With the money we raised there has been a fund set up specifically for research into my condition and others like it.  Raising the money for the Hospital School has made a big difference to them and they have spent it on Special Needs leaning equipment.  I hope to continue my fund-raising for the Royal London Hospital and to be an inspiration to other young people that despite illness and disability your dreams can still be achieved. 


Here is some more information about what I shall be doing in India this summer.


The team will be flying out to Delhi on the 18th July.  Once we land there we have a quick sleep until 2am on the 197th July.  We have to leave Delhi at 2am so we land at Leh, Ladakh at 6am before the sun rises and the air resistance is not enough to slow our plane down!  We shall then spend 3 days in Leh acclimatising, exploring, white water rafting and we shall also be doing some preparation for our science projects, by meeting with the WWF (as we shall be doing research into the Snow Leopard and the local flora and fauna) and also meeting members of the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Team, as the main part of our science will be contributing to the work they did on Everest last year.


On day 6 we will be driving across the Kardung La (the highest motorable road at 5600m!) to where our trek to Base Camp begins.  Day 7 we will be trekking from Hundar to Sachen, a bit close to the Siachen Glacier for my liking!  Day 8 consists of a trek from Sachen to Wachen to where the team splits into two groups to explore two different valleys.


We will be exploring the previously unexplored Thanglasgo Valley (which has never been entered by any westerners and according to our Sherpa’s and Indian team they know of no-one to have ever been down there!)  Our expedition leader has been into the very start of the valley and established where Base Camp will be but beyond that all is unknown.  The best idea we currently have of what is out there is from Satellite Photos from Google Earth!




The first objective of the team is to find a trekking route between our two Base Camps.  We are not sure if this is possible but we will definitely give it a go and see what is out there.


Secondly there is one unclimbed 6000m peak we have our eye on.  Our Expedition leader has seen this mountain and thinks it is possible but he is unsure of any routes and if it will be at all possible to even access it!


Thirdly we hope to climb Dawa peak.  This has been climbed but being over 6000m it will definitely be a test.


Finally we hope to climb two other unclimbed peaks of circa 5600m.  These too are going into the unknown.




We also have four science projects we shall be doing whilst out there.


Firstly in accordance with the work previously done by the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Studies we will be doing medical tests at the various altitudes we will be at.  We shall be conducting a simple but effective test.  This involves stepping onto a step in time with a metronome for one minute.  We will measure our Blood Pressure and SAT's, previous to exercise, during exercise and one minute after.  This will hopefully show us whether age has an effect on acclimatisation and then we hope to link this back to the average person by, after all the studies have been put together, we hope to conclude how some people in Intensive Care survive de-saturation of oxygen levels and others die.  Once we have found a link to the survivors and what the have/do differently we hope to be able to give/instruct people to do the same as them and increase there survival chances!  (Sorry it’s all a bit complicated and trick to explain) We had it all explained last weekend to us by Dr Chris Imray of the Xtreme Everest project but after getting up at 5am and going for a 5km jog and then a day in the Welsh hills it was testing enough to stay awake let alone try to remember all that was said!


Secondly we will be working on Climate Change.  We shall be measuring the glaciers we have spotted on Google earth and seeing if they are growing or shrinking, and then send an expedition back in the future to see if they have grown or shrunk.


Thirdly we shall be using GPS data to map the area.  This will link in with our trekking objective and we hope that this area will become more accessible but also hope that all expeditions stick to our mentality of 'Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints'


Finally we shall be looking at the local Flora and Fauna.  This mean looking at high altitude plants and seeing if certain plant grow better at different altitudes and we shall look at how they adapt to these altitudes.  We shall be doing the same with the animals but we shall also be looking out of Snow Leopard prints and reporting them to the WWF to help conserve them.


Thank you very much for your support and all you donations towards this expedition, I hope you have found this interesting.


Many thanks,


Francis Charlesworth,

(For more information and updates visit my website at