THE boss of a Lancashire-based food manufacturing company is embarking on an epic trek up Mount Everest.
Faruk Vali, managing director of KQF in Blackburn, will begin a 5,000-mile journey on February 28, which will take him from his home town to Everest Base Camp in Khumjung, Nepal.
His epic trek will help raise funds for East Lancashire Hospice, which costs more than £3 million per year to run and is funded entirely by private donations.
Faruk is undertaking the challenge with three friends, Rafiq Ahmed, Ilyas Karbhari and Sufyan Dadabhai.
The group will spend 20 days on the trek, which will see them making camp at an altitude of 5,364 metres (17,598 ft).
As part of the journey, the four men will take in the frozen lakebed of Gorak Shep which lies at 5,164m and a trip to the nearby peak of Kala Patthar which, at a height of 5,545m, affords exceptional views of Everest’s summit.
In preparation, the group has been training hard both in the gym and in the mountains of Cumbria – making regular weekend trips to climb the Lakeland peaks in some of Britain’s worst weather.
Faruk said: “We've become quite familiar with blizzard conditions. In the last few weeks we’ve done Scafell, Helvellyn and many other summits. We’ve camped in a frozen cave and we’ve even done a winter night walk, which was fairly challenging.
“Of course, we haven’t had to contend with the sort of altitudes we’ll experience in Nepal, but we’ve been doing all we can.
“It will be the winter season when we get there and temperatures will be getting as low as -15C, so we’re taking this seriously.”
Those wishing to make a donation can do so by visiting the ‘Just Giving’ website www.justgiving.com/rtmeverest2014.
People can also follow the group’s progress on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RTMEverest2014